‘Humans of New York’ Storms Bestseller List
Yaniv Soha, associate editor at St. Martin’s, won the rights to Brandon Stanton’s “photographic census” of New York faces last fall, at auction. Now, in its first week out, Stanton’s Humans of New York is that rare book of photography that is a smash. Stanton, 29, a former bond trader, came to New York from Chicago three years ago and began photographing random people in the street, and conducting little interviews with them. He would then post words and images to his Facebook page. He now has a million-plus following and a wildly popular blog. The book debuts on our Hardcover Nonfiction list at #2, and actually knocks Bill O’Reilly’s latest chronicle of a death formerly told out of the #1 spot on the New York Times list. Soha, who has published several clever and/or hipsterish books at SMP, including a biography of Banksy, a guide to indie bands, and send-up of David Petraeus, attributes Humans’ success to Stanton’s “extraordinary gift not just for photography, but for connecting with others. It’s his empathy and passion that people are reacting to.” Soha reports that publicity for Stanton rolls on—he will be on NBC Nightly News, Last Call with Carson Daly, and will also be the subject of a New York Times feature. St. Martin’s report that Humans of New York has 150,000 copies in print. —Michael Coffey
With a Friend Like Harry
The Scandinavians are here to stay with their mysteries, detectives, and dark nights of the streets and the soul and right out front is Jo Nesbø, a Norwegian writer whose flawed (of course) homicide detective, Harry Hole (by now you should know it’s pronounced.. HEU-leh) returns for his fifth outing with Knopf. Police hits our Hardcover Fiction list at #10. Nesbø told PW in a 2012 interview that he named the character for a formidable policeman in his grandmother’s town who was invoked to get him home on time when he was a boy. With close to 10,000 copies of Police sold this first week, and Knopf reporting 65,000 copies in print with initial sales at more than double Nesbø’s previous hardcovers, publicity director Paul Bogaards observes: “The paperback publication of The Bat, the first book in the Harry Hole series, has certainly been a driver.” Nesbø is an international bestseller, translated into 47 languages, with reportedly more than 20 million copies sold worldwide. He was a rock musician and a stock broker in another life. By now, it seems, he’s found his niche. —Louisa Ermelino
That still preaches: Graham book starts at #19
It’s no surprise that the new book by Billy Graham, The Reason for My Hope: Salvation (Thomas Nelson/W Publishing), debuts at #19 on our Hardcover Nonfiction book. This is the 32nd book written by the celebrated evangelist, who has been preaching for more than 70 years. He doesn’t need to do a lot of publicity at this point, but it certainly helps that the book is a central part of a November evangelism campaign by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that will involve 22,000 churches. And Graham himself is scheduled to appear in a video message that will be broadcast beginning Nov. 7, his 95th birthday. Yes, he also does Facebook; his FB page has 1.2 million “likes” but is topped by 1.4 million likes for the association. Publisher Thomas Nelson reports that the book has gotten great placement in stores, and Franklin Graham, Billy’s son and media stand-in for his dad, did several media days during launch week. —Marcia Z. Nelson
Turow Twins Murder with Campaign Finance Issues
Scott Turow’s Identical debuts at #4 on our Hardcover Fiction list. Loosely based on the Greek myth of Castor and Pollux, the twin sons (one mortal and one immortal) of Zeus, Identical tells the story of Paul and Cass Giannis, identical twins, whose future was bright until one fateful day in 1983 when Athena “Dita” Kronon—then-girlfriend of Cass Giannis—was murdered after her family’s summer party.
Twenty-five years later, Paul is midway through what looks to be a successful run for mayor of Illinois’s Kindle County (where Turow sets all his fiction), and Cass is about to be released from prison after serving 25 years for Dita’s murder. Dita’s brother, Hal Kronon, is willing to do whatever he can to insure that Cass stays in prison, and, using his vast resources, he gets a legal team and an ex-FBI agent—who is the head of security for the Kronon family business —to persuade a judge to reopen the investigation into Dita’s murder.
Identical examines how money can buy the freedom to slander with impunity and control the political discourse. Campaign financing is very much at issue, as conversation in the book revolves around what people are hearing in commercials and reading in the news—much of which is placed there by ad buys.
Turow, the president of the Authors Guild, gave the keynote address at the 40th New England Independent Booksellers Association fall conference, held Oct. 6–8 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. An author tour that began in New York City on Oct. 15 will continue into November with stops in Charleston, S.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Miami. —Peter Cannon
Bridget Jones and the Age of the Widget
It’s a comfort to realize over time that certain characters in certain books never change. Take, for example, the inimitable Bridget Jones, who after 10 years is still facing such perplexing social dilemmas as, “What do you do when your girlfriend’s 60th birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend’s 30th?” Seem familiar? It should—it’s been more than a decade since Ms. Jones has fretted over such predicaments. Not surprisingly, matters have changed considerably during that decade; not only has Bridget traded in her infamous diary for a Twitter account, but she is now (spoiler alert) a single mom! Despite the myriad challenges of a thoroughly modern life, however, author Helen Fielding has made certain that Bridget has lost none of her off-the-wall appeal. Her latest escapades are chronicled in Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, for which Knopf announced a 165,000-copy first printing. The novel snags seventh place on this week’s Hardcover Fiction List, with sales of 13,118 at Nielsen outlets. For die-hard fans waiting at the stroke of midnight for their very own copy, stores offered Welcome Back Bridget Jones party kits, while bona fide social animals have procured their Bridget fixes from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The book was anointed the latest pick by the Today Show Book Club, and Time hit the stands Oct. 11 with a profile on Fielding. GMA and E! News aired interviews, profiles ran in AP and USA Today, and full-page ads are running in the NYT Book Review and the Sunday Styles section (natch). Lastly, not only is our girl up-to-date, but she’s offering, as usual, helpful tips for the socially challenged: “Do Not Tweet When Drunk”; “Do Not Tweet About Date During Date.”—Dick Donahue
Bobby Orr with the Puck…Hockey Great Scores with Long-Awaited Memoir
Perhaps as famous as any hockey player ever known, Bobby Orr hasn’t participated in a biography of him or written his own memoir—until now. The resulting book, Orr: My Story, debuts at #10 this week on our Hardcover Nonfiction list.
Orr, the legendary goal-scoring defenseman for the Boston Bruins of the 1960s and ’70s, explains why he is breaking his silence: “I am a parent and a grandparent and I believe that I have lessons worth passing on.” Apparently, fans agree. No. 4 has been drawing crowds of a thousand-plus at his New York– and Boston-area readings. On Oct. 17, at the Paper Store in Framingham, Mass., he drew 3,000 fans, and the store sold 1,400 books in two and a half hours.
Neil Nyren, Putnam publisher and editor-in-chief, says of the book: “The success of the book is totally a tribute to Orr himself. I’ve seen him at his signings—no matter how many people are on line, he talks to each one of them, asks where they’re from, shakes their hand. Especially the kids—he loves talking to the kids. He wrote this book because of them, because he felt he had things he wanted to pass on to them. It’s been an honor to work with him.”
The book copubbed on the same day in Canada and the U.S., and Orr kicked off his tour with appearances on CBS Sunday Morning; NBC’s Costas Tonight, ESPN’s Sports Center, CenterStage with Michael Kay, the NHL Network, as well as features in the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal.—Mark Rotella