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Casual Vacancy's Expected Sales are Down?

Posted by: Catherine
September 27, 2012, 03:29 PM

Hyped as the most anticipated novel of this season, Washington Post has reported that sales may not live up to the hype. The Washington Post blog reports:

But for the most eagerly anticipated book of the year, Politics & Prose had sold only about half a dozen of their 300 copies by the time Oliver was not quite a half a dozen chapters in. That’s about a third of what the store would order for the “Harry Potter” series, but, according to senior book buyer Mark LaFramboise, 20 times more than they usually order for other books. For “Harry Potter,” the store could count on swarms of pre-teens rushing the door at midnight on the day of a new release. For “The Casual Vacancy,” the author’s first adult novel, there have been no such crowds.

The Wall Street Journal blog SpeakEasy suggested that harsh reviews and critical statements may hurt sales.

Tough early reviews may make it harder for J.K. Rowling’s new adult novel “The Casual Vacancy” to generate staying power on the national best-seller lists. The book, set in a small town in England and focused on characters involved in a local election, went on sale nationwide this morning.


The Los Angeles Times reviewer David Ulin noted that “what’s surprising, given Rowling’s ability to spin a story, is just how unsatisfying it ultimately becomes.” Elsewhere, Monica Hesse, writing in the Washington Post, wrote , “Much of the book I admired, even if I didn’t love,” before concluding that the novel “would be a little better if everyone were carrying wands.”

Meghan Cox Gurdon in The Wall Street Journal, however, was more upbeat, writing that once the novel gets underway, it “becomes a positively propulsive read.” She adds that the book “may not be George Eliot, but it’s J.K. Rowling; and that’s pretty good.”

One leading independent retailer said the book sold six copies in the first hour on sale Thursday. “It might be review proof, as many books are,” said Mark LaFramboise, chief buyer for the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington D.C. “The curiosity factor is really strong, and there is a built-in audience. We’re prepared for the book to be very successful.”

It may not help that the novel is expensive at $17.99 for the e-book edition compared to $12.99 and $14.99 for many rival best sellers. In hardcover, its recommended price is $35 although it is widely available online for the discounted price of $20.

We will have more news about sales later this weekend. 

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TO be specific-
I have now finished this trashy, foul mouthed book. It is full of cliches and 1970s outdated generalisations. As ever- heavy on the adverbs but the plot is so predictable as to be almost laughably inept. It is not a pleasant experience to read this book.
So, so disappointing on a number of levels.

Posted by Beazle on September 30, 2012, 08:06 AM report to moderator
797 Points

Well, that’s your opinion, isn’t it? Please, don’t tell me what to think! Reading books is extremely subjective. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I find it interesting and engaging and, even if it is not the kind of a book to be my favourite, I do love Jo’s writing style and as a writer I understand why she would want/need to write it. As for adverbs – I could never see what the problem is – I love adverbs and I’m glad that she keeps using them!

Posted by ethelnorthbrook {ROAR} on September 30, 2012, 08:21 AM report to moderator
159 Points

This is the review I left on GoodReads about The Casual Vacancy. I told one of my friends I was still waiting for Hogwarts: A History since I constantly forget that it’s not a real book! LOL!

I wanted SO much to like this book. I started into it knowing it wasn’t going to be anything like Harry Potter; although I can’t lie, I was secretly hoping the next turn of a page would offer a message like “PSYCH!! The next 400 pages are all about Harry!” Sadly, that didn’t happen and for other reasons I’m doing one of those things I so rarely condone and am stopping this book.

Let me back up – I was, like so many others, anticipating this book so much I could nearly taste it. I’d had it preordered on my Nook for months, as soon as ordering it was an option, and then went to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy in hardback because I wanted a first edition.

I got into Harry as a late teen, thanks to kids that I used to babysit, whom are now nearly grown themselves. I only say that to intimate that I am not a teenager, young adult, etc, but a 30-something year-old who, admittedly reluctantly, acknowledges that Harry Potter is not real. I know life isn’t always rosy and I am not completely naive to the ways of the world.

All I can say, so far, is that this book is so boring, I’m struggling to get through it at all! I wouldn’t mind an abuse scene at this point just so something would happen. As other reviewers have pointed out, the book is heavy on the adjectives, which in Rowling’s fantasy work were well-placed and beautifully knitted a story. In The Casual Vacancy though, they seem to just weigh this book down. Also, there’s been a lot of discussion about the foul language in the book. Personally, I have no problem with dropping the F bomb and I use it as often and creatively as possible in my life. However, it seems that with the vulgar language in the book, as with the adjectives, it’s just there because it can be, not because it adds anything to the story or defines the characters any better. At first I thought the over use of the f word was for shock value, but Rowling has managed to make me numb to it as a word at all.

I’m not saying I’m giving up on this book completely, but I am dropping it for now. Maybe when the power goes out and I’ve read every other book I’ve ever thought about reading, I will pick this one back up. For now, all it has been good for is putting me to sleep!

Posted by Ravenclaw78 on October 02, 2012, 12:53 PM report to moderator
159 Points

I’d like to add that the review is my OPINION & do not, by any stretch of the imagination, think others would dislike the book. I’m so happy for others who do enjoy it and I don’t begrudge JKR ONE BIT for writing this book! I think it took bravery and guts to publish this book under her own name & I have the utmost respect for her! Just because I didn’t enjoy the book doesn’t mean that I dislike Jo, her work, or anyone that loves The Casual Vacancy.

If we all had the same taste about everything, the world would be a very boring place!

Posted by Ravenclaw78 on October 02, 2012, 12:58 PM report to moderator
206 Points

really Beazle? trashy? foul-mouthed? I mean come on! just because it isn’t harry potter doesn’t mean you can say things like that. I for one will read because Jo is my favorite author! (again, I apolagize if i sound stuck-up)

Posted by WizardRockFansAreTheSweetestKindOfFans on October 12, 2012, 06:02 PM report to moderator
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