Sunday, December 31, 2017

Boswell bestsellers for the week ending December 30, 2017 plus the Journal Sentinel TapBooks page

Here are Boswell's bestsellers for the week ending December 30, 2017.

Hardcover Fiction:
1. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
2. Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
3. Devotions, by Mary Oliver
4. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
5. Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich
6. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
7. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy (look for a big announcement)
8. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
9. Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks
10. The Power, by Naomi Alderman

Our sales of A Gentleman in Moscow in December 2017 were triple that of December 2016. It's interesting to me that the #1 indie bestseller, Artemis, did not even make our top ten this week. Looking closely at the data, it looks like you would call this a runaway regional bestseller, with much stronger sales on the west coast. I wonder if this is a tech thing?

While we've sold a lot of copies of A Visit from the Goon Squad over the life of the book, it was interesting to not that the book was not a major bestseller for us in hardcover. Less than 4% of our sales were in hardcover. Compare that to Manhattan Beach, where we (and most other booksellers) have seen major success. My guess, however, is that five years out, we will not equal our hardcover sales with the paperback release, even if we do a book club push. I guess we can take that as a self-imposed dare and see what happens.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Janesville, by Amy Goldstein
2. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan
3. Grant, by Ron Chernow
4. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
5. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, by John Gurda
6. Going into Town, by Roz Chast
7. The Secret Lives of Color, by Kassia St Clair
8. We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
9. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein (appearing at major fundraiser his spring)
10. Vacationland, by John Hodgman

Our last-minute shipment of Janesville from the publisher (with us covering expedited shipping) paid off, with our additional order selling out by December 28. The paperback arrives on January 2. Similarly our creative scrounging of copies for The Death and Life of the Great Lakes really helped pop last-minute sales.

While Going into Town did not reach the sales levels with us of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, we've had very strong numbers on this celebration of New York City, and it's interesting to note that both books made Jim Higgins's top ten for the year in the Journal Sentinel.

Paperback Fiction:
1. Bitters in the Honey, by Marjorie Robertson
2. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
3. The Drifter, by Nick Petrie (trade and mass editions combined)
4. History of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund
5. The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
6. The Anatomy of Dreams, by Chloe Benjamin (event for new book 1/18)
7. The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton (with Gregory Blake Smith on 2/8)
8. Cold Clay, by Juneau Black
9. Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black
10. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman (both covers, event 2/19)

Nice to see that folks are taking our advice to pick up Chloe Benjamin's first book, The Anatomy of Dreams, in anticipation of The Immortalists. The new novel lands January 9 and our event is January 18.

We've started stocking the Nick Petrie mass markets The Drifter and Burning Bright, to see if they help get new readers for the series.and between that and two covers for André Aciman's Call Me By Your Name and both Juneau Black titles selling, it's got us seeing double.

While we're following our general rule of stocking both the original and tie-in edition for the book, and we're using the tie-in cover to promote our event on Feb 19 (in conversation with Suzanne Jurva of Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance), the original cover is selling better. Thank goodness the days of the tie-in jacket replacing the original cover are behind us. Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, on the film: "You don’t just watch Luca Guadagnino’s movies, you swoon into them."

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
2. Milwaukee Haiku, by Barbara Ali
3. The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, by Thomas H. Fehring
4. How to Fight, by Thich Nhat Hanh
5. The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis
6. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby (event 5/10)
7. The Glass Universe, by Dava Sobel
8. The Future of New Writing, by John Freeman
9. The Lost City of the Monkey God, by Douglas Preston
10. Women and Power, by Mary Beard

Though we normally don't start promoting May events in the previous December, I brought in some of Samantha Irby's current book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, and someone put the books on the event gondola and well, we sold them. Over the next few weeks, we get back some of the space that is dedicated to gift books for upcoming events. Irby comes to Boswell for the reissue of Meaty, her book of essays from Curbside Splendor.

I don't know what popped Lost City of the Monkey God, but we had our best week since release. Andrew Liptak writes in The Verge: "When Preston accompanied a team of archaeologists to explore the city on foot, they found an undisturbed set of ruins overrun by the forest, likely untouched since it was abandoned. The cities belonged to a previously unknown civilization, and the reasons for its collapse aren’t known, although Preston speculates that the apocalyptic pandemics could have played a role."

Books for Kids:
1. Dog Man and Cat Kid, by Dav Pilkey
2. Here We Are, by Oliver Jeffers
3. The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman
4. Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green
5. Red and Lulu, by Matt Tavares
6. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
7. The Explorer, by Katherine Rundell
8. Pierre the Maze Detective: The Mystery of Empire Maze Towers, by Hiro Kamigaki
9. Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Septys
10. A Is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara

Looking at the ABA indie bookstore bestseller lists, lots of books had a holiday theme, but most were classics, with How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, Little Blue Truck's Christmas, and our perennial favorite The Snowy Day (which of course isn't holiday specific), sitting in the top ten. There are so many that come out each season, but it looks like Matt Tavares's Red and Lulu is the clear favorite. I asked Amie about this and she said that our other new seasonal title that had strong sales was A World of Cookies for Santa, by M.E. Furman, with illustrations by Susan Gal.

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Jim Higgins review Cold Clay, the second novel from Juneau Black, which as you know, is the writing team of former bookseller Jocelyn Koehler and current bookseller Sharon K. Nagel. He writes: "Like Shady Hollow, Cold Clay could be read by teens as well as adults. Even the squeamish can play: no gore, no violence and no sex, just a chaste (if rocky) romance. The ideal readers of Cold Clay will be people who read a lot; they'll enjoy the book's sly humor, allusions to other writers and winks at mystery conventions.

"Vera Vixen, the determined reporter heroine of the first novel, returns for more sleuthing here. While all reporters are foxes, she also happens to be one genetically. Her friend and sounding board is Lenore Lee, a raven who owns the Nevermore bookstore, apparently the tallest building in town. (Turn your mental Poe-detector on for her scenes.)"

Originally printed in the Chicago Tribune, Darcel Rockett profiles Henry Louis Gates, whose two literary projects this fall were The Annotated African American Folktales and 100 Amazing Facts about the Negro.

And Sean Keane reviews Canto Bight: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, by Saladin Ahmed, Mira Grant, Rae Carson, and John Jason Miller. This review was first featured in the New York Daily News.

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