Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Editors' Note

Happy New Year!

Shelf Awareness hopes that all of you had a rewarding holiday season and wishes you a most happy and prosperous new year.

Despite our best intentions to the contrary, we did do a little work on our week off. The news and events page on our Web site has been updated with lots of information about trade fairs and consumer shows being held during 2006. One of our many new year's resolutions is to keep that information updated regularly.

Although it's not on our calendar, there's another thing to look forward to in 2006: next January 1, ISBN-13 becomes the standard of the world and the 10-digit ISBN will be a fond memory. For more information, go to the Book Industry Study Group's Web site.

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Quotation of the Day

The Romance of Travel; The Travel of Romance

"This is really how I travel, through romance books. You find out about cities and countries and all sorts of things."--Gloria Fenskie, a loyal customer of a Waldenbooks in Midland, Tex., that is closing this month, as quoted by the Midland Daily News.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!


After 10 Years of Struggle, Davis-Kidd in Jackson to Close

The Davis-Kidd Booksellers store in Jackson, Tenn., is closing later this month. The Jackson Sun called the store "a grand experiment, an upscale, trendy boutique bookstore and coffee hangout smack in an urban blip surrounded by rural West Tennessee."

Owner Neil Van Uum told the paper that the store had struggled to be profitable since it was opened in 1995 by the original owners of Davis-Kidd, Karen Davis and Thelma Kidd. (They sold the company to Van Uum's Joseph-Beth Group in 1997.) "Sadly," he continued, "it was probably built too big for this sized market. And while we tried to explore lots of options (sub-leasing space, lease relief) to remedy the situation, we came to a point in the lease where we could step away, and decided this was the best option."

At one point, Davis-Kidd had four stores, in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Jackson. The Knoxville store closed in 2000. In October, the Nashville store moved to larger quarters (Shelf Awareness, August 24).

'Twas the Season: Early Christmas Returns

Ho, ho hum. Among the trends in general retail of the solid but not overwhelming holiday season:

  • Internet sales again rose significantly, estimated by some at as much as 30% over the same period last year and amounting to perhaps $30 billion; 30% of households made purchases online.
  • Increased use of gift cards, which has skewed sales figures somewhat since they aren't counted as sales until they're redeemed, effectively extending the holiday season.

Sales at a range of stores open at least a year owned by some 70 general retailers rose between 3% and 3.5% during November and December over the same period last year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS.

Same-store sales during December at Wal-Mart stores, the largest retailer in the country, rose just 2.2%, the company said, at the low end of its predicted 2%-4% increase and a drop from 2004's gain of 3%. The company's gift card sales may boost January sales.


Booksellers' reports both direct to Shelf Awareness and in other media were mixed.

The Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops in and around Milwaukee, Wis., had a "good season," according to v.p. and COO Mary McCarthy. The stores made their number with two days left to go before the end of the year. She called it "a challenging season with no one big book, but the buyers and the publishers did a great job with stock." Like many other booksellers, Schwartz had trouble getting copies of The Silver Spoon, which was its only hard-to-find title.


At Chesterfield Books, Chesterfield Township, Mich., the holiday season began slowly but picked up the last week, owner Connie Geverink told the Port Huron Times-Herald. The Friday before Christmas was the store's busiest day. Still, sales overall were similar to last year's mainly because "people in Michigan are still worried about jobs and unemployment," she said.


Andy Ross, owner of Cody's Books, which last year opened its third store, in San Francisco, told the Contra Costa Times that the new store and the Fourth Street store in Berkeley had "a pretty good Christmas" although the original Telegraph Avenue store, like other retailers in that part of Berkeley, had "some problems."


Downtown Princeton, N.J., was busier than usual in December, according to retailers quoted by the Princeton Packet. Logan Fox, owner of Micawber Books, said sales took off after December 15. "The streets in particular felt really lively in a way that they haven't the last couple years," he commented.


December was "a good month overall" and the last week before Christmas was "a real hammer" at Fact and Fiction, Missoula, Mont., the Missoulian reported. As at many other bookstores, this year's store bestsellers were "all over the map," owner Barbara Theroux said. Among the Fact and Fiction's top sellers during the year: Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke, which outsold Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, X Out of Wonderland by local author David Cates and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.


The Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass., had good weather on Christmas Eve day, "an ideal day for last-minute shopping," owner Peter Hugo told the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune. He's become used to "all those husbands" who don't start shopping until 3:30 or 4 p.m. on the last day before Christmas.


At least one bookseller opened on Christmas Day and drew about 30 people despite the pouring rain. breathe books, Baltimore, Md., had planned to stay open 12-4 because owner Susan Weis wanted to offer people a place to go on the holiday, particularly Jews, some of whom traditionally see movies and eat Chinese food on Christmas. ("We're saying now there can be Chinese food, movies and books!" she said in Shelf Awareness, December 15.) The group included new and regular customers, half Jewish and half Gentile. Some brought Chinese food and set up a buffet. The customers stayed later than expected, and at 6:30, Weis had to "kick people out."

Calling the day fun and "a money maker," Weis said that next Christmas she wants to have music and maybe a poetry reading and donate some of the day's proceeds to charity.


Buried in an announcement about record-setting holiday sales, said its top-selling books were The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set (paperback) by C.S. Lewis, The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman and Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook) by Rachael Ray.


The Borders in Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Ariz., drew many travelers on their way out of town who needed to find last-minute gifts, general manager Kathy Roe told the Arizona Republic. Besides books, hot sellers were CDs, gift cards and iPods.


Another hot sideline, in California, reminds us of a calendar that was a hit in the mid-1980s and featured Ronald Reagan. (There was probably one for Bill Clinton, too, but that didn't enter our consciousness in the same way.) The key chain features a digital clock that counts down the days until President Bush's last day in office. It was created by Bookshop Santa Cruz owner Neal Coonerty, who told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that the store has sold 2,500 of the $11.98 key chain since October.

Media and Movies

Movie Tie-in: Fateless

Fateless opens on Friday. Based on the novel by 2002 Nobel Prize-winner Imre Kertesz about a 14-year-old Jewish boy who survives the Holocaust, then tries to survive liberation in Budapest, this film from Hungary is cinematographer Lajos Koltai's directorial debut. The book is available here as Fatelessness translated by Tim Wilkinson (Vintage, $13.95, 1400078636).

Media Hum: Chess Bitch Makes Media Move

This morning on Good Morning America, Christine Rosen gives a quick lesson from her timely new book, My Fundamentalist Education (PublicAffairs, $24, 1586482580).


Today WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show defers to Jennifer Shahade, the 2004 U.S. Woman's Chess champion and author of Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport (Siles Press, $24, 189008509X).

Books & Authors

Stocking for Walking: A PBS Event of Biblical Proportions

Tomorrow night, PBS begins broadcasting the three-part series Walking the Bible, which it calls "part adventure, part archeological detective work and part spiritual exploration." The series follows Bruce Feiler, author of a book by the same name, on his travels through 10 countries as he hunts for traces of the biblical era. He is accompanied by biblical archeologist Avner Green.

Feiler's biblical trekking titles include:
  • Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses (HarperPerennial, $14, 0060838639)
  • Walking the Bible: A Photographic Journey (Morrow, $32.50, 0060799048)
  • Walking the Bible (children's edition) (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0060511192)
  • Walking the Bible (HarperAudio abridged CD, $14.95, 0060872683)
Part two and three of the series air on Wednesday, January 11, and Wednesday, January 18, respectively.

Attainment: New Books Today and Yesteryear

Here's a little new-book catchup:

Today is the bumped-up pub date for James Risen's State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (Free Press, $26, 0743270665), by the New York Times reporter who co-wrote the paper's expose last month of the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping of communications in the U.S. Some are wondering why the paper sat on the story for a year, then published it in mid-December. Did it wait in order to help the book? Did it worry about being scooped by this book? In any event, the debate about the Patriot Act and the NSA wiretapping will keep this title from going undercover anytime soon.

Already the AP reported today that the book cites many examples of the CIA ignoring intelligence about Iraq that did not conform with the Administration's preconceptions, particularly information gathered from Iraqi scientists that the country's nuclear development program had ended 10 years before the rush to war in 2003.

Among the major titles of 2006 is one released on New Year's Eve day, just three years after the disappearance of the late Laci Peterson. This latest in Laci literature is by her mother, Sharon Rocha. Her book is called For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Justice (Crown, $25.95, 0307338282). Major publicity starts at the end of this week on Friday's Today Show and continues next week.

It's the time for the release of Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life by Lee Eisenberg (Free Press, $26, 0743270312), which has gotten a number of major publicity hits.

Also being released today:

  • Hostage by W.E.B. Griffin (Putnam, $26.95, 0399153144)
  • All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam, $24.95, 0399153055)

The Bestsellers

Book Sense's Strong and Steady Holiday Sellers

For the week ended Sunday, December 25, the Book Sense bestseller list had no books making debuts, but it did highlight what it called "strong and steady holiday choices," with commentary:

In hardcover fiction:

22. The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks (Warner, $24.95, 0446500127). For fans of Civil War historical fiction. The #1 Book Sense Pick for September.

Hardcover nonfiction:

19. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard (Doubleday, $26, 0385507968). A riveting account of Roosevelt's 1914 trip through the Amazon. A Book Sense Pick.

Trade paperback fiction:

21. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco, $13, 0062502182). An enduring and influential work.

Trade paperback nonfiction:

25. Will in the World by Stephen J. Greenblatt (Norton, $14.95, 039332737X). A romp, a chronicle, an account of how Shakespeare became "Shakespeare."

The Season's Most Wanted at B&N

The following with the bestselling titles at Barnes & Noble stores and B& during the week leading up to Christmas:
1. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
2. Mary, Mary by James Patterson
3. Teacher Man by Frank Mccourt
4. Marley & Me by John Grogan
5. Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter
6. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
7. Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray
8. 1776 by David McCullough
9. The Chronicles of Narnia (one-volume edition) by C.S. Lewis
10. Memoirs of a Geisha (movie tie-in edition) by Arthur Golden
11. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
12. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
13. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
14. The Broker by John Grisham
15. The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman
16. Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou
17. At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks
18. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
19. S Is For Silence by Sue Grafton
20. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

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