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January 2017 eNewsletter

"Bookstores always remind me that there are good things in this world."
—Vincent Van Gogh

In our business, the last few frenzied weeks of shopping in December are often what makes the rest of the year possible. With one bookseller on the bench with a broken foot, we were down but not out. (If you see Cindy, ask her what happened. She's been inventing creative stories).

This year seemed particularly hectic with the first night of Hanukkah falling on the same night as Christmas Eve. As the holidays closed in, we rushed joyously through the days, recommending and restocking, welcoming and wrapping. Our feet hurt but our hearts were full as we furiously rang up customers and crammed shoulder-to-shoulder at the wrapping table, cutting paper and knotting bows. We sold enough greeting cards so that every man, woman, and child on the island could have one. You should be warned that we sold over 6,000 candy items in 2016, and we're proud that most of them were made by our favorite local chocolatier, Ann Peterson and her team at Island Treats. We suspect reducing candy consumption might turn up on many a Mercer Islander's lists of New Year's resolutions. Or not. We've restocked, after all.

Besides the plethora of gifts, cards, and chocolate that flew out the door this holiday season, we kept a close eye on the books. We always use this time of year to take note of our annual bestselling titles. No one is more curious than we are about what our customers loved the most over the past year. Despite its October release, Maria Semple's hilarious new novel Today Will Be Different topped the list, and our hometown boy Joel McHale came in at #4 with Thanks for the Money. The real mover was The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis, which had only three or four weeks in release to make it all the way to #14.  And it should come as a surprise to no one that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was the top-selling title for children and teens.

We're looking forward to getting back into the groove this month with the return of our weekly Storybook Corners, PJ Story TimeOpen Book Club, Cookbook Book Club, and a special author event with Will Schwalbe you won't want to miss. 

We feel blessed to kick off another year of commerce and community. Thanks for making it possible.

Your Booksellers,

Laurie, Marni, Cindy, Marilyn, Lillian, James, Miriam, Lori, and Nancy

Island Books Yearly Top 40

Last month we gave you our booksellers' favorite books of the year. Now that 2016 has come to an end, we're free to release an even more revealing best-of list, straight from the best judges of all: our customers. We always find this round-up revealing, and if you enjoy it, don't forget you're always welcome to peruse our archive of previous annual bestsellers.

Now without further ado, here are the books we sold the most copies of in 2016. 


Destination of the Month: Australia

It's the coldest part of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, but in the Southern Hemisphere it's the height of summer. What better time to visit Australia? It's a country that in many respects is like the United States--similar in physical size, the friendly informality of the inhabitants, and the widespread interest in sports, among other things--but it has a character like no other place on earth. It also has a strong literary tradition, so there are plenty of books to choose from that will inform and entertain you as you prepare for a trip to the Antipodes.

To browse previous destinations of the month, go here.


Counter Intelligence:
Marni's January Pick

Marni spent her holidays enjoying Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, which will become a PBS drama this month. Reflecting one of the most intriguing aspects of the young Victoria, that of a sheltered young girl who little more than a month after her 18th birthday became Queen, Goodwin's depiction veers somewhat from the strict historical chronology to portray Victoria's strong emotional core. The young Victoria is the worker as well as the queen bee, yet still “the sort of woman who flowered in male company.” 

See More Staff Picks

Reading-Related Rambles

In December, we reviewed our top 10 blog posts of 2016, James and Lori R. challenged each other to read a book they picked for each other, Miriam took stock of everything she read in the last year, and James said farewell to 2016 and reminded us to read and support beloved Northwest writer Brian Doyle, who is now struggling with brain cancer.

To keep up with our newest posts,
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Upcoming Events

Wed, Jan 4, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Sat, Jan 7, 6:00pm: 
PJ Story Time with Simon Okelo and Nancy Stewart

Wed, Jan 11, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Wed, Jan 18, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Wed, Jan 25, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Wed, Jan 25, 7:00pm:
Cookbook Book Club: Recipes by Diana Henry

Thurs, Jan 26, 7:30pm: 
Open Book Club: In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien

Sat, Jan 28, 5:00pm: 
Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living

Kids/Teens Yearly Top 10

Kids' books are a BIG part of the Island Books experience--so big they deserve their own bestseller list. That Harry Potter remains a phenomenon you already know, but maybe you don't know the extent of it--the latest installment of the saga was our single bestselling book this year. So hip, hip, hooray for the next generation of readers!


Open Book Club

In January, we'll read and discuss In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien. This riveting novel about  the disappearance of a Vietnam vet's wife was recommended to us by Nancy Pearl as the book that inspired one of her most memorable book club discussions. 

Don't forget if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.


20% Off Indie Bestsellers

We always offer a 20% discount on the top ten bestsellers in non-fiction and fiction for the week, as reported by independent booksellers across the country.