Book series are ubiquitous in MBS, and there are reasons. “Series work on several levels,” says Joel Fotinos, v-p, editorial director, and publisher of the St. Martin’s Essentials imprint. “They allow the publisher to publish material on a variety of topics but that all fits into a theme.” There are marketing advantages, too, he notes. “Each new book allows retailers and media to revisit the entire series, which keeps the books selling. And series are great for readers. If you are interested in one of the books in a series, you also have access to books on related-but-different topics that you may not have thought about before.”
Publishers of series in MBS are all doing books on the same topics, so design and packaging are key, Fotinos says. “There are many books on certain topics, so ours need to be the ones that grab the readers’ attention, so they want to not only read the book, but also own it and have it on their shelves.”
SME’s Essential Wisdom Library features modern-language editions of sacred books such as the Bhagavad Gita, the writings of St. Francis of Assisi, the I Ching, the Tao te Ching, and Toltec wisdom. The Start Here Guides include Energy Healing: Simple and Effective Practices to Become Your Own Healer as well as Forest Bathing: Discovering Health and Happiness Through the Japanese Practice of Shinrin Yoku, and Meditation: The Simple and Practical Way to Begin Meditating —all three of which are available now. November will bring Chakras: Using the Chakras for Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Well-Being and Auras: The Anatomy of the Aura is coming in April 2020. The GPS Guides to Life (Good, Practical, Simple) series includes four classic motivational and religious science books by James Allen, Napoleon Hill, Joseph Murphy, and Wallace Wattles publishing between January 2019 and spring 2020. “I think of each series as a library of collected wisdom that brings ideas and information to readers in very specific ways,” Fotinos says.
“MBS is fundamentally about curiosity,” says Sterling senior editor Kate Zimmermann. “They’re useful for people who want to have multiple paths to happiness and healing and self-discovery.” Sterling’s Ritual Wellness series includes Ritual Wellness: CBD by Blair Lauren Brown (Nov.), as well as titles on ayurveda, herbs, melatonin, collagen, goddess shamanism, and intuition releasing from October 2019 to April 2020.
“This series is more health-oriented,” Zimmermann says, “but a component of each book is how you can incorporate the featured ingredients—like adaptogenic herbs or CBD—into your daily practice.” Sterling also pays attention to packaging, she notes; “They’re pleasurable to look at and own, and they make great gifts.”
Sterling’s Little Bit Of series includes A Little Bit of Dreams as well as titles on tarot, crystals, and the Buddha. Forthcoming are A Little Book of Self-Care: Breathwork by Nathalia Westmacott-Brown (Sept.) and volumes on trigger points, sleep, and self-reiki (coming between September 2019 and January 2020). “I felt the intro books on the market needed a refresher,” Zimmermann says. “We now have 20 books in the series, with over a half million of them sold.” The top sellers, according to the publisher, are Dreams (70,000 copies) and Auras (50,000 copies).
Kate Pollard, publishing director of U.K.-based Hardie Grant, says, “A combination of things—including the uncertain political climate, environmental issues, and the like—are making people feel they have no control over their lives, so harnessing the zodiac and other mindful spiritual practices can give a sense of understanding and power.” Hardie Grant’s Seeing Stars astrology series (under the Hardie Grant Books imprint) will simultaneously release 12 titles—one for each sign of the zodiac—in October. The Little Book Of series now numbers eight titles, with three more set for release in the remainder of 2019 and another three due out by March 2020, bringing the total number of books in the series to 14.
Pollard says the Little Book Of series has sold one million copies worldwide, 250,000 of which were in North America. The top seller, The Little Book of Mindfulness, has sold more than 104,000 copies since its release in the U.S. in 2015. Books on love, quiet, and confidence released in spring 2016; volumes on friendship and mindful travel released in fall 2016, and books on happiness and tidiness released in spring 2018. In fall 2019, the series will add The Little Book of Mindfulness 2 and The Little Book of Sex, and volumes on motherhood, self-care, and sisterhood are coming in spring 2020.
Hardie Grant’s Modern Witchcraft series launched in October 2018 with Everyday Magic. Love Spells released earlier this year. According to Hardie Grant, total worldwide sales for the first two books are more than 64,000, 51,000 of which were for Everyday Magic. The next release in the series is Mama Moon’s Book of Magic (Apr. 2020).