Every year I have to balance between the need to stock the National Book Award winners and not being able to get them because there’s a rush on the winner’s books. It’s important to have them as people come in after the awards are announced wanting the winners. And not having them in a timely way diminishes the store in some way.
I have given up trying to guess which books might win and bringing in five copies of the books I think will win only to have to return them because I’ve guessed wrong. I usually stock at least one copy of the shortlisted books, but I always need more. And I never ever guess right.
My W.W. Norton rep just emailed this afternoon about placing an order for the winners. Luckily for Norton, they have two books in serious contention and it’s likely they’ll win. Here’s the beauty of this plan: the books will only ship if they’ve won. There’s a five-book minimum which was easy to meet with The Swerve and Tonight No Poetry Will Serve.
This is a brilliant and simple idea. No risk for the bookstore and it makes me look prescient for having stock of the winners. I wish all the publishers would do this for award winners.