Sunday, December 18, 2011

What's Selling this Week? Well, First of All, There's So Much That I'm Dividing it Into Three Days of Posts. First the Adult Hardcovers...

Continuing the trend from last week, The Art of Fielding is our #1 hardcover book. Jason just informed me that the next reprint is not going to make it until after Christmas. We have 36 left, but I suspect that at the rate we're selling it, we'll likely run out before Christmas.

In other news, I guess the Knopfs have it. This imprint has 6 out of our top 15 fiction books this week, and a full half of our top 10. And I'm not even counting Doubleday and Pantheon.

Hardcover Fiction
1. The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
2. Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James
3. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
4. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
5. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
6. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
7. 11-22-63, by Stephen King
8. The Leopard, by Jo Nesbo
9. American Boy, by Larry Watson
10. The Cat's Table, by Michael Ondaatje
11. The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka
12. The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco
13. On Canaan's Side, by Sebastian Barry
14. V is for Vengeance, by Sue Grafton
15. A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin

I'm glad to say that perhaps the best residue of my hour on At Issue with Ben Merens from earlier this week was a continuing interest in discovering Sebastian Barry. We had folks coming in, not just for On Canaan's Side, but for his earlier titles. FYI, I tend to send folks to The Secret Scripture first.

I'm also curious to know how our more mainstream books are tracking, as this might be an indication of how we are growing our business. I haven't had too many customers asking why we weren't discounting more commercial titles, but in fact, we do put a decent number of them on Boswell's Best on arrival, such as Michael Connelly and Janet Evanovich. The short answer is that sales are neither dropping nor growing. All sales are fairly comparable with prior books, though. We're slightly lagging on sales of The Drop and Explosive Eighteen over comparable titles from 2010, but we're up a few copies for V is for Vengeance from U is for Undertow, with a more copies sold likely to come.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
2. Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
3. A History of the World in 100 Objects, by Neil MacGregor
4. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson
5. The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt
6. George F. Kennan, by John Lewis Gaddis
7. Catherine the Great, by Robert K. Massie
8. The New New Rules, by Bill Maher
9. All in One Basket, by Deborah Mitford
10. The Complete Record Collection, by R. Crumb

Did I say that history and historical biography are driving our bestsellers this holiday season? It's tricky when two of the most high profile cookbooks celebrate Moroccan cuisine (The Foods of Morocco and Mouad). Both are great, but a bit intimidating. Come in and ask Conrad how easy cooking from Wolfert can be. Further down is the new Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, which I am convinced that we would have done better with if the publisher courted us a bit more, either with commission rep, phone contact, or even an email to Jason. Hint! Hint!

We're also getting some momentum on Momofuku Milk Bar. I just like to say Momofuku Milk Bar on occasion.

While I'm not surprised that we're a little soft in celeb-driven titles, I'm a little more fascinated by the softness in the thesis type book of the Thinking Fast and Slow type. Then I went back and looked at our bestsellers for last year, and guess what? Not much there either. And we had three strong non-event cookbooks, from Ina Garten, Gourmet, and The New York Times. Needless to say, these brands that resonate with our customers weren't there this fall.

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