Taking the good news where we can find it, from the NYTimes:
No Big Hits, but Bookshops Say They’re Thriving
… While Bookscan does not include e-books and covers only roughly 75 percent of retail outlets, this year’s figures provide a snapshot of the fragmented holiday sales picture as a whole: independent bookstores report that a range of books are moving nicely, but there are mixed numbers from Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, and solid but not stellar growth in digital sales. Independent bookstore owners say they are thriving even without that surefire best seller because of a wide array of options this year: everything from Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” (list price $28.99) to Chris Ware’s expensive graphic novel “Building Stories” — which comes with 14 components, including bound volumes, a board and a tabloid newspaper ($50) — to attractive impulse buys like “I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats” ($12.95)…
There are many reasons bookstores point to for their successful holiday season. President Obama, they note, set the stage when he took his daughters, Sasha and Malia, to One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, where he snapped up 15 children’s books.
Small bookstores report that they are also benefiting from the popularity of Kobo e-readers, which were designed for independent bookstores and allow customers to buy e-books through the independents’ Web sites, as opposed to say, Amazon…
Ms. Anderson’s was a familiar story across the nation, according to the American Booksellers Association, a trade group for independent bookstores. Dan Cullen, a spokesman for the association, said that in-store book sales for November, which includes Black Friday and the start of Christmas shopping, were up 10 percent compared with 2011 figures….
My own “doorstop of the moment” read is Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree: Parents, Children & the Search for Identity. It’s worth every bit of the attention it’s garnered, although I wouldn’t recommend it for expectant parents or those of young children. (And if you don’t have a convenient independent bookstore, remember that purchases through the front-page Amazon link in the right-hand column help keep the Balloon Juice servers running.)
What books, hardcopy or digital, are on everybody’s gift lists / wish lists this gifting season?