Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 18, 2010

Little Simon: Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Timber Press: As the World Burns: The New Generation of Activists and the Landmark Legal Fight Against Climate Change by Lee Van Der Voo

IDW Publishing: Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni, illustrtaed by Thibault Balahy


B&N CEOs: Steve Riggio Steps Aside; Two Promoted

Steve Riggio, brother of B&N founder and chairman Len Riggio, is giving up the post of chief executive officer but will remain vice chairman and stay "actively involved with the company."

William Lynch, who joined B&N as president of B& a year ago, is becoming CEO. At the same time, B&N veteran Mitchell Klipper, who has been chief operating officer of the company, is becoming CEO of B&N's retail group, which includes B&N's retail business and B&N's recently acquired college bookstores. Effectively, the company will have an e-CEO and a retail CEO.

In a statement, Len Riggio said that Lynch "came to us as a skillful leader in e-commerce who, in a short period of time, has done a superb job in quickly establishing Barnes & Noble as a major player in e-commerce and digital content. Given the dynamic nature of the book industry, William is uniquely qualified to lead the company's transition to multi-channel distribution and drive the continuing expansion of our e-commerce platform, e-books and other digital content and products."

Lynch said, "Our commitment is to leverage our Barnes & Noble stores and leading e-commerce channels such as, to provide consumers convenient access to the physical and digital products they want virtually anytime, anywhere."

Before joining B&N, Lynch was executive v-p of marketing and general manager of; CEO of; v-p and general manager, e-commerce, for Palm; and held senior positions at Seagram Universal and Guinness.

Riggio called Klipper "one of the most talented operators in the retail industry. He has been largely responsible for the nationwide expansion of our superstore concept, and we are thrilled he will be taking on additional responsibility for our important college business."


Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer

New York Book Week Makes Debut During BEA

BookExpo America will launch New York Book Week--designed to embrace extensive literary and book activity and draw attention to authors, books and publishing--during this year's show in May. Participating organizations and venues will include Times Talks, the 92nd Street Y, the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, Symphony Space, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and selected member stores of the Independent Booksellers of New York City (IBNYC), such as Housing Works, PowerHouse Arena and Book Culture.  
"I am thrilled that New York Book Week is poised and ready to debut in a significant and meaningful manner," said Steve Rosato, BEA show manager. "One of the things that we most wanted to do when we made the decision to keep BEA in New York City for the next few years was to work closely with the community. New York is the publishing capital of the world and there is already an enormous amount of literary activity taking place in the city. It seemed only natural that all of us should band together and call attention to our individual and collective efforts. That’s what New York Book Week is all about.”
For more information, go to BEA's New York Book Week web page or e-mail Roger Bilheimer at


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 07.06.20

Notes: Amazon's E-Pricing Threats; Bob Miller Joins Workman

With Apple's iPad launch just weeks away, Amazon raised the stakes again when it "threatened to stop directly selling the books of some publishers online unless they agree to a detailed list of concessions regarding the sale of electronic books," the New York Times reported.

Although Amazon has agreed in principle that major publishers will be able to set prices, "it is also demanding that they lock into three-year contracts and guarantee that no other competitor will get lower prices or better terms," the Times wrote, adding that the three-year commitment is not appealing to publishers in a rapidly changing digital book world.

The Times also noted that Amazon has begun talks "with smaller publishers that have not yet signed contracts with Apple" and appears to be "waging a publisher-by-publisher battle, trying to keep as many books as possible out of Apple’s hands, while preserving as much flexibility as it can to set its own prices."

Evan Schnittman, v-p for global business development at Oxford University Press, said Amazon’s strategy "is to work very hard to limit participation in the agency model to only the big four or five firms that are already announced. This would leave 50% to 60% of the content out there subject to the standard distribution terms, enabling Amazon to promote and price as it does today, and forcing Apple to have to compete with Amazon's strength."


Effective May 3, Bob Miller joins Workman Publishing as group publisher, responsible for the Workman, Algonquin and Artisan imprints. Miller was most recently at HarperCollins, where two years ago he started HarperStudio and served as president and publisher. Prior to joining HarperCollins, he was president of Hyperion, which he founded in 1990. Peter Workman will continue as president and CEO of the Workman, collaborating closely with Miller.

"Peter has really been doing the things I have been trying to do at HarperStudio since 1968," Miller told the New York Times. "He has avoided the pitfalls of trade publishing to an extraordinary degree, publishing books that sell over time. Advances and returns are not an issue the way they are at other publishers. I'm eager to see how he does it."

In a memo to HarperCollins employees, president and CEO Brian Murray said HarperStudio will now be led by Michael Morrison, president and publisher, U.S. general books and Canada.


Books Inc. is opening a third store in San Francisco International Airport, in renovated Terminal 2. The 3,000-sq.-ft. bookstore should open next February and will use the Compass Books name, which is also used by another of Books Inc.'s SFO bookstores (which opened in 1995), as well as the location in the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim. The Compass stores offer selected frontlist, deep backlist, magazines and limited sidelines. Books Inc.'s other SFO store is bzinc, which has 300 square feet of space and features bestsellers, magazines and many sidelines.

Books Inc. has 12 stores in California, including nine in the Bay Area, besides the SFO stores. Last year, Books Inc. opened a store in Berkeley.

The New England Independent Booksellers Association has a new logo, designed to be "fresh, contemporary and reflective of the organization." The winning design was created by Amanda Begins of Amada Begins Designs, Jeffersonville, Vt. She will receive a $250 gift certificate to her local independent bookseller: Phoenix Books, Café & Wine in Essex, Vt.


Shelf Awareness continues to grow, which has led us to seek a geek, "a junior level, fastidious" one. More formally, we are looking for a newsletter and web producer who will be responsible for production of the daily newsletter and other issues, updating the website and general administration/office tasks. The position is in our Seattle office and reports to the publisher. For a little more information, see our ad in this issue; resumes should go to


"I love independent bookstores," wrote Lindol French in the Sacramento Press. "The good ones are so much more than just what the name would suggest. The best are part art gallery, part history museum, part cafe, part think tank, part animal sanctuary, and part resistance headquarters (vive la resistance!). I knew when I was greeted at the door by a meowing, short-haired tabby that in Richard L. Press, Fine and Scholarly Books, I had found one of the good ones.... If independent bookstores are dinosaurs, we've got a T-Rex on the corner of 18th and F."


NPR's "What We're Reading" list this week includes A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks, The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley and So Much for That by Lionel Shriver.


"Pleasure seems to have become a rather neglected element in publishing," Orange Prize judge Daisy Goodwin told the Guardian regarding her experience reading the 129 entries for this year's competition.

"I think the misery memoir has had its day, but there are an awful lot of books out there which had not a shred of redemption in them," she added. "I'm more of a light and shade person and there does need to be some joy, not just misery.... I was surprised at how little I laughed... and the ones where there was humor were much appreciated I can tell you."


The Korea Times examined South Korea's reluctant approach to the e-book market, with publisher Kim Se-hun saying he believes his country's e-book industry lacks long-term vision and distinction from other forms. "Many e-book device buyers are early adopters who like new gadgets, not traditional booklovers," he said. "However, these light readers may be more interested in non-book content, and might not provide growth in the e-book market."


Omnibus Press, a division of the Music Sales Group that includes Schirmer Trade Books, Bobcat Books, Vision On Publishing, Gramophone Publications and Rogan House, will be distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services.

Omnibus Press publishes about 30 new titles per year and has more than 250 titles in print. It is best known for rock and pop themed titles. Omnibus also publishes reference trivia books, the In Their Own Words series and the Illustrated Lives of the Great Composers series.

Schirmer Trade Books publishes educational, entertaining and inspirational books about music with a focus on the recording arts, music business and genre histories. Schirmer Trade Books publishes 10 new titles a year and has an extensive backlist.

Vision On primarily publishes coffee-table photo books.


University Press of Kentucky: The Redshirt (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose) by Corey Sobel

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joy, ASL and Chelsea

Tomorrow morning on Fox News' Strategy Room: Julie Genovese, author of Nothing Short of Joy (Behler Publications, $15.95, 9781933016597/1933016590).


Tomorrow on Martha Stewart Living's Whole Living with Terri Trespicio: professor Gabriel Grayson, author of the American Sign Language reference book Talking with Your Hands, Listening with Your Eyes (Square One, $26.95, 9780757000072/075700007X).


Tomorrow on Ellen: Chelsea Handler, author of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang (Grand Central, $25.99, 9780446552448/0446552445).


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

This Weekend on Book TV: The Idea of Justice

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday, and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, March 20

9:15 a.m. At an event hosted by Legacy Books, Plano, Tex., Anousheh Ansari, author of My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer (Palgrave Macmillan, $25, 9780230619937/0230619932), talks about becoming an American astronaut. (Re-airs Saturday at 8:15 p.m. and Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

2:30 p.m. Andrew Lewis, author of The Shadows of Youth: The Remarkable Journey of the Civil Rights Generation (Hill and Wang, $28, 9780809085989/0809085984), presents a history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). (Re-airs Saturday at 11 p.m. and Sunday at 8 a.m.)

6 p.m Encore Booknotes. For a segment that first aired in 2001, Midge Decter, columnist and author of An Old Wife's Tale: My Seven Decades in Love and War, chronicled her life since the 1940s.

9 p.m. Steve Forbes discusses his book How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets Are the Best Answer in Today's Economy (Crown Business, $25, 9780307463098/0307463095). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss interviews Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (Basic Books, $26.95, 9780465014910/0465014917). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, March 21

2:15 a.m. For an event held at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral Youth Center and hosted by McNally Jackson Books in New York City, Amartya Sen discussed his book The Idea of Justice (Belknap Press, $29.95, 9780674036130/0674036131). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m.)

6:30 a.m. At an event hosted by the Strand Bookstore in New York City, Howard Bloom takled about his book The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism (Prometheus Books, $29, 9781591027546/1591027543). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 p.m.)

2:30 p.m. Gregory Zuckerman, author of The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History, chronicles Paulson's success betting against the housing market in 2007 and 2008 (Broadway Business, $26, 9780385529914/0385529910). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m. and Monday at 7 a.m.)

7 p.m. B.R. Myers, author of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves--And Why It Matters (Melville House, $24.95, 9781933633916/1933633913), takes an in-depth look at this closed society and the domestic propaganda to which its citizens are exposed. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)


Television: Adapting Elmore Leonard

Film and TV adaptations of books are always a controversial topic among readers as well as authors. One solution: On NPR's Fresh Air, Elmore Leonard explained how the challenge was met by creators of FX's new series Justified: "They said, 'We all have this little plastic bracelet on that says WWED--What Would Elmore Do?' It seems to me that they sound like my writing."


Books & Authors

Awards: Triangle Awards Finalists; Miles Franklin Longlist

Finalists for the Publishing Triangle's Triangle Awards and the Ferro-Grumley Awards are available online. The awards will be presented on April 29 in New York City. In addition, the organization has given its Bill Whitehead Award for lifetime achievement to Blanche Wiesen Cook, historian, activist, scholar and author of a multi-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.


The Miles Franklin Literary Award, honoring the best in Australian literature, has named 12 authors to this year's longlist. The shortlist will be announced next month, with the winner honored at a presentation dinner June 22. The 2010 Miles Franklin longlist:

Lovesong by Alex Miller 
The Bath Fugues by Brian Castro 
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey      
Sons of the Rumour by David Foster      
The Book of Emmett by Deborah Forster 
Siddon Rock by Glenda Guest
Boy on a Wire by Jon Doust      
Figurehead by Patrick Allington
Patrick and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
Truth by Peter Temple
Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett    
The People's Train by Thomas Keneally


German Book Office's March Pick

The German Book Office's March book pick is Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer by Ernst Weiss, translated by Joel Rotenberg and published here by Archipelago ($17, 9780980033038/0980033039).

The GBO called this "an enthralling portrait of a disturbed mind," told from the point of view of Letham. "His retelling of his crime is less of a criminal mystery, than a gripping psychological exploration. Exiled to a disease ravaged island and lost in epidemiological pursuits, Letham reveals himself with surprising results; underneath the cool rationality and emotional detachment, is a man capable of feeling."

Ernst Weiss was born in 1882 in what is now the Czech Republic, was a physician and surgeon and friend of Franz Kafka. A Jew, he committed suicide in Paris when the Nazis entered the city in 1940. Little of his work has been translated into English.

Shelf Starter: An Unfinished Score

An Unfinished Score by Elise Blackwell (Unbridled, $24.95, 9781936071661/1936071665, April 6, 2010)

Opening lines of books we want to read:

She hears the words on the radio. It is the radio that announces her lover's death. His is not a household name, not in most households, but he happens to be the most famous person on the plane that went down. The plane's wreckage, strewn across Indiana farmland, is being examined for clues. Crews search for the voice recorder, the black box that holds the secret of two hundred seventy-one deaths. Two hundred seventy, plus one.

Suzanne's rib cage shudders--a piano whose keys are struck all at once--yet she does not cry. She does not cry, but only closes her eyes and presses her palms flat on the cool counter. None of the facts of Alex's life suggests that it ends in a soybean field.
At the dining room table, playing a board game and separated from her by the counter on which she works, sit the other members of her household, a household in which Alex's name at least rings a bell. Her husband's dice clack against the wood; her best friend sighs as her game piece is sent back to start; Adele's hands clap three times.--Selected by Marilyn Dahl

Book Review

Book Review: The Bars of Atlantis

The Bars of Atlantis: Selected Essays by Durs Grunbein (Farrar Straus Giroux, $35.00 Hardcover, 9780374260620, April 2010)

Recipient of Germany's prestigious Georg Büchner Prize for his poetry, Durs Grünbein (Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems) displays his considerable gifts as an essayist in this thoughtful and thought-provoking collection. His interests range far and wide, from the sea (both as a mysterious natural phenomenon and as a symbol of the unconscious) to Classical Greece and Rome (with its philosophers, dramatists and poets as our literary forefathers). Ancient Greek culture, he remarks, preferred the dialogue for exploring the significance of life; in these essays, we discover Grünbein's ability to set up similarly exploratory dialogues with his readers, to engage in conversations that echo his belief that poetry is "an art whose entire purpose it is to set off fireworks in the reader's psyche."

Grünbein's smart yet colloquial voice shines as he celebrates his pantheon of heroes with passion (naturalist Charles Darwin, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and poet Rainer Maria Rilke, among others). One moment he can wittily declare that "A fertility god is the last thing a culture will toss overboard," and then the next he will adopt fiercely combative positions that philosophy has systematically undermined poetry in the minds of contemporary readers and that modern urban planning has destroyed all possibilities for ever building viable new town squares. Architects who regard their calling as "The Mother of All Arts" will certainly be ready to go to the mat over Grünbein's opinion of architecture and the buildings that the discipline designs: "in the end all that matters is their worth as ruins."

Growing up in Dresden (or, rather, in what remained of Dresden after the horrific fire-bombing of the city during World War II) provides rich material that Grünbein does not waste in his memories of himself as budding poet and thinker within the repressive confines of the German Democratic Republic. Essays like "Why Live Without Writing" and "In the Name of Extremes (On the Brevity of Life)" will hold special appeal for poets, satirists and those who love them.

While the poets among us and their readers ponder the multiple implications of Grünbein's definition of a poem as "a memento suspended over the abyss of existence," I am racing off to find a copy of The Satyricon by Petronius on his recommendation that "Never before had a social milieu been articulated with such multifaceted richness--in the jargon of its most shameless representatives, as the most authentic gossip of all."--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: An engaging and provocative introduction to one of Germany's foremost poets and essayists that seems like an extended conversation with a new friend.


AuthorBuzz: Constable: The Mimosa Tree Mystery (A Crown Colony Novel) by Ovidia Yu
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