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Christmas predictions: Perth booksellers Bill Liddelow from Boffins Books and Jane Seaton from Beaufort Street Books

In a series running in the lead-up to Christmas, Books+Publishing is asking booksellers across the country to predict their biggest sellers and ‘surprise sellers’.

In this instalment, Boffins Books co-owner Bill Liddelow and Beaufort Street Books owner Jane Seaton offer their Christmas predictions.

Bill Liddelow, co-owner of Boffins Books in Perth


  • The Journey: My Story, from Backyard Cricket to Australian Captain (Steve Smith, A&U)
  • Origin (Dan Brown, Bantam)
  • Working Class Man (Jimmy Barnes, HarperCollins)
  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Jessica Townsend, Hachette)
  • La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One (Philip Pullman, Penguin).

With Steve Smith in Perth for the third Ashes Test in mid-December, and a far leaner line-up of cricket books than we had last year, I believe The Journey will be our standout title for Christmas. Dan Brown’s book is already selling strongly, and will be a safe bet for gifting in the home stretch to Christmas. Jimmy Barnes’ first volume did very well, and the second, Working Class Man, has wider appeal and may surpass the first. So many of our staff loved reading Nevermoor, and now love converting readers to it, so it has to be up there! Finally, La Belle Sauvage is also selling steadily and we expect it will be a stayer until Christmas.

Surprise sellers:

  • The Courage to Be Disliked (Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga, A&U)
  • Home Time (Campbell Whyte, IDW)
  • Phantom Architecture (Philip Wilkinson, S&S)
  • The Little Library Cookbook (Kate Young, Head of Zeus)
  • Special Relativity and Classical Field Theory: The Theoretical Minimum (Leonard Friedman, Allen Lane).

A few of us here have read The Courage to Be Disliked, and found it rewarding. We find it easy to hand sell. Once the initial shock of the title has subsided and you share a bit of what it’s about, people take to it very quickly. And they in turn are spreading the word. Campbell’s book Home Time is sensational, and he’s a local. It’s our bestselling graphic novel. Phantom Architecture is a fascinating collection of unbuilt masterpieces, and one of the featured projects is local—a 1950s sensational modernist cathedral for the Benedictine Monastery at New Norcia in WA. The Little Library Cookbook features great food from great stories. How could you go past the seafood chowder from Moby Dick? Customers love this quaint, but useful, cookbook. Special Relativity is the third in the ‘Theoretical Minimum’ series on classical and quantum mechanics, and the take-up is far higher than for the first two—probably because special relativity is sexier. Well, a little bit sexier, at least to your average boffin.

Local sellers:

Our customers like to ‘shop local’, and I feel that these WA titles are going to perform very well:

  • The Doctor’s In: Memorable Moments at the WACA Ground (Ken Cassellas, Churchill Press)
  • Dungzilla (James Foley, Fremantle Press)
  • The Legend from Bruce Rock: The Wally Foreman Story (Glen Foreman, FF Press)
  • Noongar Bush Medicine (Vivienne Hanson & John Horsfall, UWA Publishing)
  • The Collected Poems of Faye Zwicky (Faye Zwicky, UWA Publishing)
  • Extinctions (Josephine Wilson, UWA Publishing).

The memorial volume on the WACA ground, The Doctor’s In, is very timely, with the last Test being played there in December—and the game moving to the new Perth Stadium from next year. James Foley’s Brobot was a favourite last year, and Dungzilla should do just as well. It’s a perfect and crazy book for little boffins that many of our customers will love. Wally Foreman was a legend as a cricket commentator and an advocate for sport in WA. Foreman’s son Glen pays homage to his dad in this wonderful book that people all over the state have taken to heart.

Three books from UWA Publishing are also on our radar. Noongar Bush Medicine reached the shelves last December, but has been cracking along all year. It’s all about the medicinal plants traditionally used by Indigenous people in south-west WA. The late Faye Zwicky’s volume will be the perfect poetry book for Christmas, and Extinctions is selling very strongly—we get very excited over here when the Miles Franklin winner is a West Australian.

Jane Seaton, owner of Beaufort Street Books in Perth


There’s a good range of books across all genres this year, but children’s is particularly strong. I think the books we will sell through the most are:

  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Jessica Townsend, Hachette)
  • Sweet (Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh, Ebury)
  • First Person (Richard Flanagan, Knopf)
  • Force of Nature (Jane Harper, Macmillan)
  • Stories and True Stories (Helen Garner, Text)

But there are a few more titles I think will be up there:

  • 200 Women (Geoff Blackwell, Ruth Hobday & Kieran E Scott, Echo Publishing)
  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo, Particular Books) and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Volume Two (Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo, Timbuktu Labs)
  • The Wizards of Once (Cressida Cowell, Hachette)
  • Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest Expeditions (David Attenborough, Two Roads)
  • Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic: Timeless Book One (Armand Baltazar, HarperCollins)
  • The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse (Mac Barnett, illus by Jon Klassen, Walker Books)
  • Extinctions (Josephine Wilson, UWA Publishing)
  • The Passage of Love (Alex Miller, A&U)
  • The Life to Come (Michelle de Kretser, A&U)
  • La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One (Philip Pullman, Penguin)
  • A Long Way from Home (Peter Carey, Hamish Hamilton)
  • 5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food (Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph)
  • Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles (Alex Elliott-Howery & Sabine Spindler, Murdoch Books).

Quirky sellers:

These books make our jobs easier:

  • Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View (Various, Century)
  • Nowherelands: An Atlas of Vanished Countries 1840-1970 (Bjorn Berge, Thames & Hudson)
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: The Four Elements of Good Cooking (Samin Nosrat, Canongate)
  • The Little Library Cookbook (Kate Young, Head of Zeus)
  • Incredible Cabinet of Wonders (Lonely Planet).



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