What sells and what doesn’t? Message from the bookstore. This week: Leo van de Wetering from Donner in Rotterdam.
Which books are currently doing well at Donner?
“We received more than a million visitors for the first time in 2023, putting us just below Diergaarde Blijdorp in the rankings, Rotterdam’s most popular zoo in the Netherlands. So don’t say that the bookstore has no future. Arjen van Veelens Rotterdam, an ode to inefficient and solidarity-based life, is our highlight. We have now sold 4,000 copies of it.
“What is striking is how popular self-help books are, especially among young people, and that goes from the English-language edition by Robert Greenes The 48 laws of power until Know yourself by Tinneke Beeckman. She is popular in Flanders, where around 10,000 copies of the book have been sold, but things are also going very well here. I understand that she does not like to use the term self-help, but it is a book with which you can hold up a mirror to yourself.”
Do you see any trends in sales?
“A bit related to that, books about trauma remain very popular. A nice new publication in that area is Mark Wolynns It Didn’t Start with You, The Legacy of Family Traumaa title that speaks for itself.”
Which book did you expect more from?
“The launch of I promise I’ll live to be a hundred, the logbook of the murdered crime journalist Peter R. de Vries and the commentary on it by his son Royce, is remarkable to say the least. It appeared the day after the elections won by the PVV, so that all the attention that was expected went to Geert Wilders. It sold very well, more than 75,000 copies, and it was also a success with us, but if it had been launched at a quieter time, the hype might have been even greater.”
Which book are you looking forward to?
“2024 is the Kafka year, because the writer died a century ago. Two years ago, Willem van Toorn published a new translation of Kafka’s work and it will be published this spring Kafka for beginners, which will undoubtedly be just one of many books to be published about him internationally. I’m also looking forward to the new Jan Brokken, The discovery of Hollandabout the artists’ colony that came to life in the Volendam Hotel Spaander from 1881 onwards and which was eventually visited by 1,400 painters from all over the world.”
Top 10 best-selling books at Boekhandel Donner, Coolsingel 129, 3012 AG Rotterdam.
1. Arjen van VeelenRotterdam
2. Anya NiewierraThe Camino
3. Joost de VriesHigher powers
4. Rob van EssenI will come back to this later
5. Terry HayesThe year of the locust
6. Tommy WieringaNirvana
7. Bella MackieHow do I kill my family?
8. Rob WijnbergSomething true for everyone
9. Cat BohannonEva
10. Tinneke BeeckmanKnow yourself