Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Author's win a new chapter in her career

Could see spike in book sales

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TORONTO -- Alice Munro has long been considered among the elite of Canadian writers, but her elevation to the global list of Nobel laureates and the subsequent debut of two of her books on Amazon's bestseller list suggests her celebrated career is about to enter a new phase.

Experts suggested Thursday her Nobel Prize for literature may boost her own sales figures while simultaneously bolstering her home country's reputation for literary excellence.

Retailers are stocking up on copies of Munro's famed short-story collections in anticipation of a spike in demand for her work.

Those collections earned the 82-year-old Ontario-born author the 110th Nobel Prize for literature on Thursday, making her the first Canadian-based author and the 13th woman to secure the honour.

The effect on Munro's sales figures was immediate. Two of her titles, her latest collection entitled Dear Life and a compilation called My Best Stories, vaulted into Amazon.ca's top 20 sales list mere hours after news of the Nobel award was announced.

Neither title had ever appeared among the retailer's top-selling titles in the past, a fact experts said is not surprising for an author who has garnered more critical than popular acclaim.

Other retailers, however, said they plan to use her Nobel victory to try to bring her work to new audiences.

In Winnipeg, Dear Life was prominently displayed at McNally Robinson Booksellers Thursday, though store co-owner Chris Hall didn't expect them to be there long.

Munro's work is a consistent seller to men and women, he said, based on the quality of storytelling structure and character development.

"She gets into people's heads and she tells stories about real people," Hall said, adding he expects a slight bump in the entire Munro catalogue. "There's isn't a lot of plot in her work, not in a traditional sense; it's got more to do with real people going through real struggles. That's the appeal it has."

Bahram Olfati, senior vice-president of print and e-reading with Indigo Books and Music, said Munro's work will be the subject of a promotional campaign.

Chapters and Indigo stores will prominently feature a Munro section in coming weeks, while the author's catalogue will be promoted on the company website. An email congratulating Munro on her accomplishment and featuring her titles will be sent to the entire online customer base, he added.

 

-- The Canadian Press, with staff files

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 11, 2013 A7

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