Closing the Confidence Gap

Perhaps you’ve read about their work in the Atlantic or in the New York Times. Perhaps you’ve seen them on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The View, or Charlie Rose. Only time will tell if journalists Katty Kay (Washington correspondent for BBC World News America) and Claire Shipman (a contributor to GMA) will have the same cultural impact as Sheryl Sandberg did with Lean In, but signs look promising as their new book, The Confidence Code, enters our Hardcover Nonfiction list at #8. In the book, the authors ask why even the most successful women lack the confidence of their male counterparts. To answer this question, they utilize the latest findings from neuroscience, talk to leading psychologists, and interview women leaders from politics, sports, the military, and the arts. As the authors note, “The stakes are too high to give up on finding confidence just because the prevailing masculine model doesn’t fit. There are too many opportunities we are missing out on. What we need, we decided, is a blueprint for confidence, a confidence code, if you will, that will get women headed in the right direction.” Certainly their publisher hopes that this is the beginning of a major cultural conversation. Says Hollis Heimbouch, v-p and publisher, Harper Business, “The topic is very much of the moment, but it also speaks to timeless issues, including the nature vs. nurture debate, what it takes to succeed, how to raise happy and confident children, and what institutional barriers stand in the way for those who don’t fit conventional norms.” In addition to q&as in the May issues of Cosmopolitan and Glamour and plentiful radio appearances, the authors will appear in early May on FOX Business’s Money with Melissa Francis, Meet the Press, and Fusion’s Alicia Menendez Tonight.—Jessamine Chan

“The Sky” Is Not Falling

Attentive readers may notice that The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy (Dark Horse Comics), has found its way back onto our Hardcover Nonfiction list, despite it’s release (technically, its re-release date) in July 2013. While the collection, a three-book slip-cased set containing Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano’s paintings from 10 of the videogame franchise’s entries, is a sought-after collector’s item and certainly worthy of its strong numbers, it is notable that it nearly doubled its year-to-date sales in the course of a week. After some digging, the reason revealed itself to be, not surprisingly, a substantial price drop on Amazon in late March/early April. The Sky’s list price is $89.99 and can usually be found for about $50, but for about a month Amazon offered it for around $30— and for a day lowered it to $13. Such a steep discount easily found its way onto the Internet’s many daily deal listings, where fans noticed and snatched it up in droves. Publisher Dark Horse Comics has experienced a good deal of success recently with videogame art books, including The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, which contains art from Nintendo’s action-adventure series and was a surprise bestseller last year, particularly on Amazon, where its had its share of price reductions as well. So take a globally popular video game property, collect its ancillary material into a nicely produced package, then slash its price by more than 50%, and watch the sales roll in. It’s almost too easy.—Matt White

The Collector of Bestsellers

PW has a long history with perennial bestselling author Nora Roberts, whose latest novel, The Collector, debuts this week at the #1 spot on our Hardcover Fiction list. Roberts, whose romance novels have appeared on PW’s bestseller lists for years, dominated it for the first time in 2001: Time and Again was in the #1 spot and Seduction in Death, written under her J.D. Robb pseudonym, was #2.

Roberts has written 210 novels since her debut novel, Irish Thoroughbred, was published in 1981. She writes eight hours a day every day, and once told the Bergen County Record (N.J.) that she doesn’t begin with a plot outline or summary, but rather, begins by visualizing a key character, incident, or setting, and then writing a short first draft with the basic elements of the story inspired by that initial spark.

In her most recent fan newsletter, Roberts writes that one of the sparks that led to her writing The Collector was her curiosity about what goes on behind all those apartment windows in a city like New York. “Remember Rear Window,” she writes, “and how much trouble that caused for Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly?”—Claire Kirch

De Rosnay’s Experiences Inspire Another Story

While Tatiana de Rosnay’s latest novel contains a theme that runs through the other three novels she has written that were translated from French into English and published stateside—the impact of a family’s secrets upon its members’ lives for generations to come—The Other Story moves in a very different direction from her previous writings. While de Rosnay says that the book is not autobiographical, the idea for it indeed was inspired by her experience of being catapulted into the literary limelight after the 2006 release of Sarah’s Key, her seventh novel and the first one to be released in English. Sarah’s Key, the story of a modern-day journalist haunted by a tragedy dating back to World War II, became an international bestseller that sold more than five million copies in 38 countries. It was also adapted into a major motion picture that starred Kristin Scott Thomas.

In The Other Story, 24-year-old writer Nicolas Duhamel is inspired by a troubling family secret to write a novel that becomes an international bestseller. It is also adapted into a movie that wins its star an Oscar. Four years later, Duhamel is living large on the advance for his second novel, but enjoying his celebrity far too much to actually sit down and write.

The Other Story, which St. Martin’s reports has 75,000 copies in print, debuts at #20 on our Hardcover Fiction list.—Claire Kirch

Angleberger Folds Origami Yoda Series

In spring 2010, Amulet Books published Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, introducing Dwight, a sixth grader who communicates with peers through the voice of his Origami Yoda finger puppet. Four books followed in the series, which now has more than 5.3 million copies in print, and in August, Amulet will release the sixth and final novel, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus. The books grew out of Angleberger’s childhood love of Star Wars and origami, and he was surprised and pleased to discover how many kids share his fondness for both. “We put up 10 to 20 new pieces of their origami on the series’ website every single day,” he told PW. “And some kids have filmed themselves with their origami creations and put movies on YouTube.”

Angleberger, who described his years writing and promoting the Origami Yoda books as “an incredible experience,” said the sixth book “feels like a very natural conclusion.” But he has several other projects percolating. In May, Amulet will publish The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain!, first in a new middle-grade series about three kids who sneak into a soon-to-close sewage treatment plant to see a sludge fountain before it disappears. And in 2015, Amulet will release the debut book in what he describes as “a really gonzo, over-the-top mystery series,” illustrated by Cece Bell, Angleberger’s wife, whose graphic novel, El Deafo, is due from Amulet in September. —Sally Lodge

Top 10 Overall

Rank Title Author Imprint This Week Units
1 Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 70,643
2 Insurgent Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 66,868
3 The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin/Speak 58,514
4 Allegiant Veronica Roth HarperCollins/Tegen 57,902
5 Heaven Is for Real Todd Burpo Thomas Nelson 50,570
6 Heaven Is for Real (movie tie-in) Todd Burpo Thomas Nelson 47,840
7 The Collector Nora Roberts Putnam 47,304
8 Never Go Back Lee Child Dell 35,305
9 The Fault in Our Stars (movie tie-in) John Green Penguin/Speak 31,613
10 Minecraft: Redstone Handbook Scholastic Inc. Scholastic 30,466