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Christmas predictions: James Redden from Harry Hartog in Canberra

In the lead-up to Christmas, the busiest time of year on the bookselling calendar, Books+Publishing is asking booksellers across the country to predict their biggest sellers.

In the this week’s instalment of the series for the 2018 Christmas period, Harry Hartog Woden manager James Redden offers his Christmas predictions.


Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (Picador) is already powering along here in Canberra. Perhaps not as accessible as The Book Thief (Picador), I think the author’s name should help sell this beautiful novel.

We haven’t always had the sales success with the Man Booker Prize-winners in the past, but Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber) is proving itself to be a leading Christmas bestseller for us.

I’d like to see Chris Hammer’s Scrublands (A&U) continue to sell well into Christmas; it’s a truly remarkable debut novel that deserves all its success. We also have the luxury of the author living close to the shop, so he pops down when he can to sign copies.


Leigh Sales is already seeing the sales with Any Ordinary Day (Hamish Hamilton). Most customers are buying for themselves now, although I feel this title would make a thoughtful gift for that special someone.

Richard Glover’s The Land Before Avocado (ABC Books) ticks all the right boxes for our demographic. I have high hopes for this one and it is an easy hand-sell.

My personal favourite is Papa Goose by Michael Quetting (Black Inc.). Such a lovely story about a laboratory director who ends up father to a gaggle of goslings. Short but sweet, and the perfect antidote for these troubled times.


I feel Annabel Crabb is going to steal the show again with Special Guest (Murdoch). It has some easy yet fantastic recipes, and the design throughout is perfect.

It’s hard to narrow down to just one but we are seeing a sharp rise in vegan cookbook sales. If I was hand-selling, I would likely go for the new release by Smith & Daughters, Smith & Deli-cious: Food from our Deli (That Happens to be Vegan) (Shannon Martinez & Mo Wyse, Hardie Grant). Visually, this book makes the perfect gift.

Art & design

The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair (John Murray) was recently released in paperback format and it is my favourite design book this year. The perfect colour reference book for any artist.

All the Henry Carroll ‘Read This’ photography books continue to sell like crazy, starting with Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs (Laurence King). They are great for beginners and experts, covering plenty of different subjects. I think these are great stocking stuffers.


Some of our favourite local authors have some magnificent titles for Christmas. Shelly Unwin’s There’s a Baddie Running Through This Book (A&U) is so much fun to read out loud with a group of kids. It invokes those same emotions we all felt when first reading There’s a Monster at the End of this Book (Jon Stone, Golden Books).

Jack Heath’s The Truth App (Scholastic), the first book in his ‘Liars’ series, is just plain fun. Middle-grade fiction that is perfect to thrill tech-savvy kids, it’s a bit like the TV series Black Mirror but for young readers.

Local picks

The Capital Cookbook 3 (Quicksand Food) has an amazing array of recipes from Canberra’s best chefs and cooks. Coupled with exquisite photography of the nation’s capital, this could be perfect just as a coffee table book.

I can also see Tania McCartney’s new children’s book Mamie (HarperCollins), hitting the top of bestseller lists. It’s a gorgeously illustrated picture book, with the author’s passion for May Gibbs flying off the pages. Something for adults and kids to enjoy.

Trending topics

Titles about myths and legends, whether fiction or nonfiction, are popular this year. Thankfully Stephen Fry helps out again with Heroes (Michael Joseph), while Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (Hamish Hamilton) is showing promise on our bestseller list. Special mention to Madeline Miller’s Circe (Bloomsbury) from earlier in the year, which continues to sell in the store.



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