Cardboard Ice cream van

Whipping up Savings on a Bespoke Ice Cream Van Point of Sale Prop

The Ice-Cream Makers, about the heir to an ice cream dynasty, has become a smash in Germany and is currently #11 on the der Spiegel bestseller list. The book also sold 20, 000 copies in the Netherlands.

Book title: De ijsmakers / The Ice-Cream Makers

First published: in Holland in January 2015, by De Bezige Bij

Format: paperback

Author: Ernest van der Kwast, who was born in Mumbai and raised in Rotterdam, made his debut on the Dutch bestseller lists in 2010 with his novel Mama Tandoori, about his Indian mother. In 2012 he moved back to the Netherlands after living in Itlay for 10 years. The author’s forthcoming book, The Wonder That Doesn’t Collapse, will be published next month by De Bezige Bij.

How It’s Done: In addition to its perch on the der Spiegel list, Dawn Davis, in the U.S., recently acquired the novel for her 37 Ink Imprint at Atria. Rights have also sold in China, Korea and to Scribe, in the U.K. (in a world English rights deal).

Why It’s Working: Deputy director of De Bezige Bij, Francien Schuursma, said the in-house excitement for this book was palpable from the get-go. “We immediately knew, after reading the manuscript, that it had international potential.” When btb-Verlag won the German rights to the novel in a seven-way auction, the house's hunch was confirmed. And, because of the novel's focus on ice cream, the publisher was able to create a number of compelling point-of-sale materials, including cardboard ice-cream vans which were given to booksellers to place in their store windows. The in-house, excitement, the marketable theme and the general appeal of the novel have all, Schuursma thinks, helped the book along. There is also now interest in a possible film adaptation. “We imagine something along the lines of Chocolat meets Lost in Translation, but the perfect producer hasn’t approached us yet.”

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