The announcement last week of the National Book Award finalists brought a variety of responses. Many cheered that four of the five fiction nominees are women. Others cheered that Jonathan Franzen wasn't one of those fiction nominees. Some puzzled over nominated titles that are not so well known, while still others cheered that they weren't so well known. Regardless of the reactions, and the fact that the NBAs often bring more in reputation than they do in sales, publishers went to work last week to plan new print runs and get more copies of their finalists on shelves. Here's the rundown of what publishers are doing for the nominees in the fiction and nonfiction categories.
Parrot & Olivier in America (Knopf)
Carey, who has twice won the Booker, is the only male nominee in the category. A Knopf spokesperson said the imprint went back to press for another 5,000 copies of Parrot after the nomination was announced, bringing the total in-print figure to 30,000. Knopf is also adding the NBA nomination sticker to the newest editions.
Lord of Misrule (McPherson & Co.)
The second hardcover by Gordon that the Kingston, N.Y., indie has published, after Shamp of the City-Solo in 1974, Lord of Misrule hasn't even hit shelves yet. The book, which is slated for a November 15 release, was sent to the printer a little over a week ago, said publisher Bruce McPherson. The first printing is 2,000 copies and, as McPherson explained, adding to that run wasn't an option. McPherson has ordered a second printing of 3,000 copies, though he admitted that exact numbers are tricky to pin down since things are changing "hour to hour." Regardless of the final number, McPherson said that the combined print run for the book will be the largest the press has ever done.
Great House (Norton)
Great House has had very little time on shelves, having been published just days before its nomination was announced—its official publication date was the day before the nominees were named, October 12. Since the nomination coincides with launch press for the book, a number of interviews are already lined up. The book graced the cover of the October 17 New York Times Book Review and reviews have run in People, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and other publications. A Fresh Air review also ran, and Krauss was featured in All Things Considered and is doing a 16-city tour. Norton did an initial printing of 70,000 and is going back for another 20,000 copies.
So Much for That (Harper)
Harper is doing its due diligence for Shriver, who won the Orange Prize for We Need to Talk About Kevin, going back to press for an additional 5,000 copies of So Much for That. A spokesperson at the imprint said there are currently 40,000 copies of the book in print; it was published in March. As for new promotion, All Things Considered is featuring a "You Must Read This" essay by Shriver this week.
Karen Tei Yamashita
I Hotel (Coffee House Press)
The other relative unknown published by a small press among the fiction finalists, Karen Tei Yamashita has been with Coffee House since 1990, when CHP released Through the Arc of the Rainforest. I Hotel, which came out in June and is Yamashita's fifth book with the indie, went to press for an initial 7,500 copies. Coffee House publisher Allan Kornblum said there are about 1,200 copies left from that initial printing, and he plans to go back to press for another 7,500 copies. He may go back to press again depending on "how the award ceremonies go." Yamashita's tour for the book on the East Coast has now been extended.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Random/Spiegel & Grau)
Publisher Julie Grau said she is going back to press for more copies, though she wasn't sure how many. Grau gave hard numbers on the book, saying that it's sold 20,000 net in hardcover and 6,000 in e-book, with an additional 10,000 copies available in paperback. S&G will also add the NBA nomination seal to the new editions.
John W. Dower
Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq (Norton–New Press)
This book was copublished by Norton and the New Press. The backstory for the shared publication is tied to Dower's first book, War Without Mercy, which was released by Pantheon in the 1980s and acquired by André Schiffrin when he led the Random House imprint. For his second book, Dower returned to Schiffrin, who by then had founded the New Press, which is distributed by Norton. In a copublishing arrangement for that second book, Embracing Defeat (1999), Norton and the New Press worked on the title jointly, and it went on to win both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. As Louise Brockett at Norton explained, that copublishing arrangement, which worked out so well last time around, continues with Norton and the New Press "collaborating with the author at all phases of the publication." Schiffrin and Ed Barber at Norton acquired Cultures. As for print stats, there are 50,000 copies of Cultures, which came out in September, in print, and Norton has gone back to press for another 10,000 copies.
Just Kids (Ecco)
The biggest general celebrity among the nominees, Patti Smith was lauded for her memoir chronicling her 20s in New York City during the late '60s and her lifelong friendship/romance with Robert Mapplethorpe. The paperback edition of the book is scheduled for November 2.
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
FSG was in its second printing of the book when the nomination was announced, with 10,000 copies total available. With the nomination, Spring, who did a notable amount of media when the book was published in August, will now "go back to NPR and some select places we hadn't secured earlier," said FSG's Jeff Seroy. FSG is also going back to press for an additional 3,500 copies.
Megan K. Stack
Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War (Doubleday)
Every Man was published in July and a Doubleday rep confirmed that the imprint has 20,000 copies of the book in print after two runs. The book is one of Barnes & Noble's current "Discover" picks, and that promotion runs through the end of the month. Currently Doubleday has no plans to go back to press.