Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ohn Green's The Fault in Our Stars was the top selling book on Apple's iBooks bestseller list for the week ended February 3. The trailer for the film adaptation of the book was released last week, receiving significant attention (the movie hits theaters in June). The book was up six spots in the week, ousting the previous bestseller, Lone Survivor. Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson's book, also enjoying a boost thanks to its screen version, slid to #2. In yet another example of the page-to-screen effect, Robert Edsel and Bret Witter's 2009 The Monuments Men was a newcomer to the list last week, at #13. The film based on the book, starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett, is due out February 7 and has been heavily promoted. Top Paid Books 1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin Group US) 2. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell & Patrick Robinson (Little, Brown and Company) 3. Divergent by Veronica Roth|Katherine Tegen Books) 4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books) 5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books) 6. Sycamore Row by John Grisham (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 7. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown and Company) 8. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard (HarperCollins e-books) 9. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin Group US) 10. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (Penguin Group US) 11. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown Publishing Group) 13. The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel & Bret Witter (Center Street) 14. Flirting With Desire - Complete Collection by Lucia Jordan (Vasko) 15. Command Authority by Tom Clancy & Mark Greaney (Penguin Group US) 16. Duty by Robert M. Gates (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 17. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Inc.) 18. The Love Playbook by La La Anthony & Karen Hunter (Penguin Group US) 19. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Random House Children's Books) 20. First Love by James Patterson & Emily Raymond (Little, Brown and Company)

by Judith Rosen)

“Relentlessness” paid off for furniture maker Peter Korn, founder and executive director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, and author of Why We Make Things and Why It Matters, published by David R. Godine, Publisher just before Thanksgiving. That’s the adjective that David Godine uses to describe how he came to publish the book. “I give him credit for his persistence,” said Godine, who doesn’t typically publish personal, illustrated books. But Korn wore him down with his follow up after submitting the manuscript over the transom. The resulting book, which combines Korn’s memoir with his thoughts on the creative process, has been “an eye-opener” for Godine in terms of risk taking. The press has already sold out of its first printing of 4,000 copies; a second printing of 5,000 copies is due this week.

“Peter Korn has taken us all by storm,” commented publicist Sue Ramin on the book’s sales velocity. “Peter came to us with the proposal. I think it struck a chord in this era when everything’s mass produced. It’s not just woodworkers who are interested.” The book, too, was designed to appeal to a broader audience than typical Godine customers. It has a clear white cover with woodworking tools and red lettering that matches the red cloth cover. There’s also a 16-page glossy insert with color photos, many of Korn’s furniture.

Why We Make Things and Why It Matters got a boost late last year when the New York Times ran a q-and-a with Korn in the Home & Garden section. The book got an additional push from a national tour, which he is in the midst of, that is taking him from Maine to New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Bellevue, Wash. He will speak at a number craft museums, as well as art museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. But even before the campaign got launched some booksellers found that customers were drawn to the book and to the idea of creative practice. John Netzer, general manager and buyer at Concord Bookshop in Concord, Mass called it “the surprise hit of the holidays.”

That’s not to say that Korn is a stranger to strong book sales. His bestselling book, Woodworking Basics (Taunton Press), has sold more than 60,0000 copies and continues to sell 6,000 copies a year. In 2013, it was translated into Chinese and Korean. It, like the other books that he has written prior to Why We Make Things and Why It Matters, is a how-to, which may account for part of Korn’s difficulty in finding a publisher for his new book, which is more of a philosophical/personal treatise. “I had any number of agents who thought it was good book,” said Korn, adding that they all turned him down. “They said that they wouldn’t know what shelf to put it on at Barnes & Noble. It fell between two stools. What I hope is that now instead of falling between two stools, I have encompassed two stools.”

As for Barnes & Noble, after originally passing, as the agents had predicted, it is now stocking Why We Make Things and Why It Matters. On Amazon it is in the top 20 in both philosophy/ aesthetics and woodworking projects.