Archive for the ‘Bestsellers’ Category

A Tale of Two #1 Best Sellers

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Fulfilling rumors from yesterday, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample), is an instant #1 NYT best seller, debuting during its first week on sale. In a slight adjustment to the rumor, it arrives at #1 on the Combined Fiction list, but not on the Hardcover Fiction list. On that list, the number one spot is still held by Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, (S&S/Scribner; Thorndike; S&S Audio), on the list after 37 weeks, representing another unusual trajectory, the slow and steady rise.

Is The Girl on the Train actually a debut, as is widely claimed? Not according to Gregory Cowles in the NYT‘s “Inside the List” column, it can only be counted as a debut thriller, since, as Hawkins herself says in an NPR interview, she previously published romantic fiction under a pseudonym (The Wall Street Journal identifies her alias as Amy Silver; WorldCat lists all three of Silver’s titles as only published in the U.K. and only held in U.K. libraries).

Still, a book by an author with no identifiable track record arriving at #1 during it’s first week on sale is a major feat (it wasn’t until “debut” author Robert Galbraith was revealed as actually being the famous writer of a certain series of childrens book that The Cuckoo’s Calling hit best seller lists, several months after publication).

As we noted earlier, to our knowledge, there’s been only one debut in recent history to arrive at #1 in its first week on sale, Elizabeth Kostova’s first book, The Historian, (Hachette/Little, Brown). It debuted on the hardcover list in 2005, back before there was an ebook list, so technically, that record still holds.

If you look at other lists, the story is different. On the PW/BookScan list,  The Girl on the Train is #2, after Saint Odd by Dean Koontz (RH/Bantam) and All the Light We Cannot See is at #3.

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The other debut novel on the new hardcover fiction list is The First Bad Man by Miranda July, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio), arriving at #6, after a barrage of media attention, not all of it positive. The best seller list annotation makes it sound like Fifty Shades of Grey, “A houseguest forces a passive woman into a bizarre but liberating sexual relationship.” Reviewing it, the NYT’s Michiko Kakutani said, “The novel starts off tentatively, veers into derivative and willfully sensational theater-of-the-absurd drama — part Pinter, part Genet — and then mutates, miraculously, into an immensely moving portrait of motherhood and what it means to take care of a child.” A few libraries are showing heavy holds.

On the Combined Nonfiction list, Ghost BoyThe Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorius (Simon & Schuster, 2011; OverDrive Sample) debuts at #5, long after its original publication, due to attention from the new NPR show, Invisibilia, (see our earlier story). Several libraries have ordered additional copies (it is now available in trade paperback) because of  heavy holds.

Debuting on the Combined Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous list at #8, is a title that some libraries have not yet ordered, Picture Your Prosperity, by Ellen Rogin and Lisa Kueng, (Penguin/Portfolio; Penguin Audio, 1/13/15). It’s been covered in the business press (the NYT Business section, and in Forbes).

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is #1

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Girl on the TrainWe’re hearing rumors that the debut rapidly racking up holds in libraries, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead; Thorndike; BOT Audio ClipOverDrive Sample), will hit the tomorrow’s NYT best seller list at #1.

UPDATE: EarlyWord just received confirmation from the publisher that it is indeed an instant best seller, debuting on the Feb. 1st list, to be released online tomorrow.

This makes it only the second debut in recent history to arrive at #1 in its first week on sale (the record was set in 2005 by Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian).

The book it is often compared to, Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s third novel, also made its debut on the list at #1 in June, 2012.

Author Paul Hawkins is one of the speakers at the upcoming ALA Midwinter Meeting, on the LibraryReads/AAP panel (sorry, that event is now completely booked). She will also sign in Penguin Booth #4823 on Jan. 31, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

The Zuckerberg Bump

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

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The second title in Mark Zuckerberg’s new Facebook book club, Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our NatureWhy Violence Has Declined, (Penguin/Viking, 2011; trade pbk, 2012; Brilliance Audio  OverDrive Sample), announced on Saturday, immediately moved up Amazon’s sales rankings, and is now at #307 from a lowly #7,514.

The selection may seem at odds with the times, but Zuckerberg insists, “Recent events might make it seem like violence and terrorism are more common than ever, so it’s worth understanding that all violence — even terrorism — is actually decreasing over time. If we understand how we are achieving this, we can continue our path towards peace.” He adds, “A few people I trust have told me this is the best book they’ve ever read.”

As to the length, it is 800 pages. Zuckerberg admits he will need a month to finish it, so he promises to pick a shorter book in two weeks so club members can read both at the same time.

One of those people is Bill Gates, who has called The Better Angels of Our Nature his “favorite book of the last decade” and “a long but profound look at the reduction in violence and discrimination over time.”

The rise in sales was not quite as great as for the first selection, Moisés Naím’s The End of Power, which climbed to #10 on Amazon’s rankings and also just debuted at #14 on the Jan. 25 New York Times combined nonfiction best seller list. Ironically, as The Washington Post reported, Facebook proved to not be a conducive platform for the book discussion.

The attention also generated holds in libraries. Given the brief two-week window for these selections, however, it will be a losing proposition for libraries to try to meet the demand. We can just hope Zuckerberg’s discovery that books can be “very intellectually fulfilling … in a deeper way than most media today” has resonance.

 

Pierce Brown, Best Seller

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Red Rising  golden-sun

Debuting on the Jan. 25 NYT hardcover fiction best seller list at #6 is the second in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, Golden Son, (RH/Del Rey; Recorded Books; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample), surpassing the first book, which spent three weeks on the extended list.

Librarians have been big supporters of the series, making the first title the #1 LibraryRead pick last February. Golden Son is on the current list, with the following recommendation:

“After reading Red Rising, I was looking forward to seeing more of the politics of this world. Darrow has infiltrated the Golds and works to bring them down from the inside, end their tyranny, and free his people. There’s so much political drama and action. Brown does a wonderful job describing it all through Darrow’s eyes. It’s exhausting, thrilling, and heart wrenching!”

Nita Gill, Brookings Public Library, Brookings, SD

Entertainment Weekly calls it the “gripping follow-up to last year’s should-have-been-huge debut.”

It is the lead in this week’s NYT BR “Inside the List” column.

“Unexpected” Best Seller Continues

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

9781476746586_95d5dThe Jan. 25 New York Times best seller lists are studded with new titles, but the real surprise is a book that has already been on the hardcover fiction list for 36 weeks. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (S&S/Scribner; Thorndike; S&S Audio) is not only remarkable for its tenure on the list, but for its gradual rise to number one.

In December, the New York Times examined the factors that went in to making this “unexpected breakout bestseller.” At that point, it had just climbed from #6 to #2. As S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy observed, “An awful lot of titles drop off the best-seller list after four months, and it’s a miracle if it lasts more than four months,” but even more surprising, this one, “not only kept going, but the longer it went, the bigger it got.”

The book emerged last February as a favorite among librarians on GalleyChat, and went on to become a May LibraryReads pick and a LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites.

Many libraries continue to show heavy holds (we issued a holds alert for it back in April last year). One large system expects interest to continue, having just entered a substantial reorder. The trade paperback is currently scheduled to release in June, but don’t count on that if the hardcover continues selling.

Next week, we’ll see if it continues at number one, or whether The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, (Penguin/Riverhead) takes that spot.

Zamperini A Best Seller Times Four

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

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The film adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s long-running best seller Unbroken has served to keep that book on the NYT Best Seller List in hardcover for 189 weeks. In addition, the tie-in is #1 on the paperback list after 23 weeks and YA version is #8 on that list after 8 weeks.

Now a new title joins the pack, Zamperini’s own, which he finished just before his death at 97 last year. Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini, David Rensin, (HarperCollins/Dey Street Books; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the new hardcover nonfiction list at #9.

Reviewing it when it came out in November, USA Today warned that other than shedding “more light on the reality of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), which afflicted Zamperini,” it doesn’t go much beyond Hillenbrand’s book. It does, however, exude “the nothing-to-lose honesty of a nonagenarian whose to-hell-and-back history results in a spiritual self-satisfaction.”

Holds are light in most libraries.

Geniuses Hit the Best Seller Lists

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

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Unbroken isn’t the only movie causing a rise in sales for related books.

Debuting on this week’s NYT paperback nonfiction list at #10 is Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Andrew Hodges, (Princeton U.P.), the basis for The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing.

9781846883477_45c3aIt joins Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (RH/Bantam), at #5 after six weeks, returning to the lists after its original publication in 1988 as a result of the movie, The Theory of Everything, which is actually based on the memoir by Hawking’s wife Jane from 2007, now re-eeleased as a tie-in, Travelling to Infinity: The True Story Behind The Theory of Everything by Jane Hawking, (Alma Books, November 7, 2014). NOTE: Thanks to Kate Hull for the update on the tie-in.

BONE CLOCKS Best Seller

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

9781400065677_611e9-2Many were surprised that David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, (Random House, 9/2/14; Recorded Books) didn’t make the transition from the Booker longlist to the shortlist, but Mitchell can take solace in the fact that it debuts at #3 on the 9/21 NYT Hardcover Fiction best Seller list, the highest spot so far for any of the published longlist titles.

Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, is a fan. She alerted branch staff last week,

I love it when the customers are ahead of me! David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) has come roaring back with yet another spendidly written, mind-bending read. I thought The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet was brilliant, but this book is astounding, and the customers have snatched every last copy.

The heroine — if you can call her that — is Holly Sykes (Holly, as in GoLightly? Sykes as in Bill Sykes from Oliver Twist?) David Mitchell loves nothing more than to keep you wondering, and wonder you will. He’s also one of the most evocative writers I’ve ever read, literally painting pictures with words — it’s no wonder Hollywood is tempted to make films of his books. To say he enjoys playing with the timeline, and your reality, is an understatement, and of course, that’s his plan. It’s your job to relax and enjoy the ride.

You don’t really read Mitchell, so much as experience him. If you haven’t read Mitchell, this is the perfect novel with which to start.

Happy Experiencing!

You can read the first chapter via OverDrive.

KINGDOM OF ICE A Best Seller

Monday, August 18th, 2014

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We predicted it would be a best seller, but In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Outside magazine’s Hampton Sides, (RH/Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print) exceeded our expectations, debuting on the 8/24 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list at #3. Library holds are increasing, of course, and several have ordered more copies.

The book, which has already received wide coverage, was reviewed in Sunday’s NYT Book Review, saying, “In the Kingdom of Ice” is a harrowing story well told, but it is more than just that. Sides illuminates Gilded Age society, offering droll anecdotes of Bennett’s [owner of the New York Herald, who financed the trip] escapades in New York, Newport and Europe.”

The audio sample, below, offers one of those droll anecdotes about the “exceedingly wealthy and flamboyant” Bennett. You can also read a sample, via OverDrive:

Trailer For GONE GIRL

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

No, we don’t have the first trailer, but what we do have is the teaser for the first trailer (calling M.C. Escher).

The actual trailer will debut on Entertainment Tonight on Monday, April 14.

New Bestseller: YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

You Should Have KnownDebuting at #15 on the New York Times hardcover fiction list this week is a book we’ve had our eye on, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s You Should Have Known, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio). That position  puts it just below another domestic thriller, The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty (Penguin/Putnam/Amy Einhorn) which has had a fairly long 16-week run on the list.

You Should Have Known arrived with strong advance buzz and 3.5 stars from People magazine. Janet Maslin in the New York Times last week heaps praise on the first part of the book, but complains that the latter “isn’t nearly as gripping.” The Los Angeles Times reviewer Wendy Smith says, “It’s almost impossible to put down Jean Hanff Korelitz’s riveting new novel for the first 200 pages as it dismantles the comfortable existence of a couples therapist over the course of a few nightmarish weeks” and agrees that the tension “dissipates in the second half,” but doesn’t regard that as a bad thing, simply  the book developing a “quieter drama.”

Libraries that ordered it modestly are showing heavy holds, as high as 12:1.

Harlan Coben Movie Deals

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Missing You   Six Years   Tell No One

So far, only one film has been made of  Harlan Coben’s best selling novels, the 2006 French film, Ne le dis à personne, and it was not released to U.S. theaters (several libraries own the DVD). [UPDATE: We stand corrected. As one of the comments points out, the film was shown in 112 U.S. theaters].That seems odd, since, as the Washington Post characterizes  the writer, he is the “master” of a film-worthy type of story, “a life suddenly unraveling, the past summoned back into a swiftly shifting present, secrets peeling back to reveal more secrets.”

Hollywood seems to have caught on. Three of Coban’s books now in various stages of development.

His latest thriller, one of his many standalones, Missing You, (RH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; Thorndike) releasing today, was just picked up for adaptation by Warner Bros., according to Deadline.

The plot involves an internet dating site. Booklist says, “Coben never met a technological device he couldn’t turn into a riveting plot element … Coben’s meticulous plotting and his incorporation of the technology are first-rate. His characterization and dialogue? Not so much.”

In the pipeline are two other standalones. One is an English-language version of Tell No One, currently being scripted at Universal. The second, Six Years, published last year, is being produced at Paramount, with Hugh Jackman set to star.

Backlist Best Seller: GEEK LOVE

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Geek LoveA former Paris Reviw editor pays tribute in Wired this week to the “dazzling oddball masterpiece,” Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn (Knopf, 1989), on the 25th anniversary of its release, citing its many well-known fans. Author Karen Russell recalls discovering it at 15, “I felt electrocuted when I read that first page with Crystal Lil and her freak brood. I stood there in the bookstore and my jaw came unhinged. No book I’ve read, before or since, has given me that specific jolt.”

Although it had success in its day (it was a National Book Award finalist), the novel brought in more royalties for Dunn last year than in any year before.

The piece also includes some lore for publishing geeks; it was legendary editor Sonny Mehta’s first acquisition for Knopf and was designed by the then little-known Chip Kidd’s.

All copies are out in circulation at the libraries we checked.

Surprise Best Seller: THE GUEST CAT

Monday, February 10th, 2014

A book translated from the original Japanese, published here in trade paperback, arrived at #16 on Sunday’s NYT Pbk Trade Fiction best seller list.

The Guest CatThe Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide, trans. by Eric Selland, (New Directions)

A best seller in both Japan and France, on the NPR web site, reviewer Juan Vidal calls it “… a rare treasure. In just under 140 pages, it spans a wide spectrum of emotion and detail. Takashi Hiraide, the Japanese poet and novelist, blindsided me. His prose — so illuminating and achingly poetic — made me care.”

The Publishers Weekly review is equally strong and allays any concerns about the translation, noting the “the gorgeous and textured, lolling rhythm of its prose.”

An excerpt is available here.

A True DOWNTON ABBEY Readalike

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

“For fans of  Downton Abbey” has become one of the most used phrases in promotional copy. As the NYT Book Review asks,

Is it possible nowadays for otherwise intelligent Americans to reflect on England without thinking first of Downton Abbey? To put it another way: Can beleaguered American publishers expect to sell any English author without promising — however absurdly — a tie-in with Julian Fellowes’s opulent confection?

Secret RoomsThat’s the opening line for the review of the original trade paperback, The Secret Rooms, (Penguin; Thorndike) which goes on to say, “in the case of Catherine Bailey’s stylish new book about one of England’s grandest dynasties, the link proves apt.”

The book, a December LibraryReads pick, was also also featured in the Daily Candy (although with the British cover), which, of course,  made the requisite reference, “If you add a dash of the macabre and a hefty serving of intrigue to Downton Abbey, you get Catherine Bailey’s latest, a true story about a creepy castle and a duke whose private space was sealed in 1940 and reopened only in 1999.”

We hear it will appear at #20 on the upcoming NYT Paperback Nonfiction best seller list.