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Saturday, 2 December 2006

Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion is expected to be the biggest seller at Gleebooks over Christmas, says Roger Mackell, co-owner of the inner-Sydney independent bookshop. Elisabeth Wynhausen's story in The Weekend Australian (no link) goes the rounds of booksellers and authors to gauge the trends for the holidays. Holiday trends are interesting, but Mackell is confident he knows what will sell:

"It's ironic that a book talking about the complete absence of God is going to be our bestseller for Christmas," Mackell says.

Readings, an independent in Carlton, a suburb of inner-Melbourne, is also selling many copies of the book.

Nowadays, nonfiction outsells fiction, a trend more evident than before this Christmas, according to [author Di] Morrisey. "What's interested me this Christmas is that the books that seem to be selling and garnering the publicity are nonfiction," she says.

And:
Inquirer's secret source in the industry says publishing companies may make half their budget in the last three months of the year.

Which justifies the 'Best Books' roundup included in The Sydney Morning Herald's Spectrum supplement today. Instead of the usual rundown of what has been selling best in chain and independent bookstores, the Herald has today published a list of the top ten books for 2006 in four categories: 'International fiction', 'International nonfiction', 'Australian fiction', and 'Australian nonfiction'. They've also included lists of international and Australian prizes, as a buying guide.

This is the first year they've done this. I think that it indicates a growing need among consumers for guidance in purchasing. Prizes and best-seller lists provide a sort of guide. Although, for me, to read a good story in The New Yorker is a better guide to quality. I tend to steer clear of 'best of' lists and lists of prize winners.

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