Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Trios: The Einstein Girl, by Philip Sington: Waterstone’s Perspective

Last time The Einstein Girl appeared here, we learned how its cover was created; today, Rodney Troubridge (the Fiction Marketing Planner at Waterstone’s) reveals how he makes his decisions; and next time, a key account manager at Random House will discuss selling this sort of literary fiction to booksellers.

As a lucky retailer who gets sent a lot of proofs to read it is always enjoyable to think, 'what shall I read next?'

Looking back I think what interested me about The Einstein Girl was that it had been recommended by the publisher at a highlights presentation of their titles a few months before. I didn't know any thing about the author other than vaguely remembering his previous novel but I liked the plot line and so I gave it a go.

I have always liked reading books set in the interwar period in Germany and/or Central Europe and admired the way the doomed Weimar Republic is portrayed and the frightening spectre of the Nazi takeover beginning its terrible influence. I was also intrigued to see how the author would handle the giant figure of Einstein and how he would fit into the overall story.

Luckily my colleagues on the buying team felt equally enthusiastic and we will be promoting the title in branches of Waterstone's from publication.

Philip's editor at Harvill Secker has kindly squirrelled away five copies of The Einstein Girl for us. If you'd like to be in the running for one of them, all you have to do is answer the following question: where did the designers find the photograph which appears on the cover of The Einstein Girl? Send your answers to "competition at philipsington dot com": a week after the third article in this series appears, Philip will select the five winners at random and I'll announce them here.


Derek said...

Good grief. You mean booksellers read every single book they get sent? I thought they just looked at the cover and the name of the author.

Sally Zigmond said...

No, they don't read EVERY book sent but they read a heck of a lot of them. I know because I used to work for Waterstone's. Also, those staff recommendations ARE genuine. Staff are actively encouraged to recommend books they love.

Believe it or not, most people who work in bookshops love books and are very knowledgeable about them. Just ask. But don't expect them to know off-hand every book that's ever been written.

Mind you, you wouldn't believe the number of customers who expect you to and also whether it's in stock without having to check the computer.

Oh the joys of book-selling!