Monday, September 21, 2009

When They Talk About a Big Fall, September 22nd Pretty Much Sums it Up

It's only when I review the big Street Smart titles for the upcoming week that I realize just how big this fall is.

Street Smart is a program our wholesaler Ingram provides for customers. It's an affadavit program where retailers agree to get books before their on-sale date, but keep them off the selling floor. But the database is one place where the hard on-sale date titles are in one listing, across all publishers. We are large enough to buy most of our new titles from publishers, who do a great job of getting books to us on time (though you may noticed we were one day late on the new Anita Diamant, Day After Night, which was the #1 Indie Next Pick for September.

Oddly enough, some of the largest accounts for titles, generally mass merchants, also buy from wholesalers, through their jobber divisions.

Here's what the Ingram buyers are hot on for their marketplace.

#1 is Arguing with Idiots, by Glenn Beck. No surprise, considering how well his recent paperback original did nationally.

#2 is The Greatest Show on Earth, by Richard Dawkins.
They must have done this on purpose. Imagine Beck and Dawkins locked in a studio together.

#3 is the new What Color is Your Parachute. I heard that sales shot up this year, what with the economy and all the layoffs.

#4 is Diana Gabaldon's Echo in the Bone. My bookseller Sharon is a big fan. Don't knock 'em till you tried 'em.

#5 is Stuart Wood's Hothouse Orchid. The more he publishers per year, the more he sells. Our customers tend to tire of heavily-published authors, but the mass merchants like the brand names. James Patterson = Kleenex. James Patterson Presents = Scotties (which is actually another Kimberly Clark brand. To get the whole story, you'd have to find an out of print copy of John Byrne's Chainsaw.)

You have to go all the way to #13 to get to the new Stephen King, Just after Sunset. Who'd a thunk?

And to #15 to get to the new Margaret Atwood, Year of the Flood, which I was thinking would be our big book for the week (and Michiko Kakutani must have agreed, because she reviewed it a week in advance). It's a parallel story to Oryx and Crake (like a dystopian Marilynne Robinson), post-apocalyptic, following the lives of Toby and Ren, two women followers of a fundamentalist environmental group, God's Gardeners. Early reads from our staff were great! I'll mention that Amie (which I spelled "Amy" in a recent email newsletter) has been talking about this book for months.

Not only did she love it, she reminded me that there will be a third book set in the same world, leaving us with three parallel stories. It's like a dystopian Norman Conquests.

Come in this Tuesday, September 22nd, and survey the bounty.

1 comment: said...

Has Margaret Atwood gotten any better. I had to read The Handmaid's Tale in college and did not enjoy it.