Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gallery Books: The Lion Women of Tehran by Marjan Kamali

Other Press (NY): Deliver Me by Malin Persson Giolito, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Two Trees: Among Friends: An Illustrated Oral History of American Book Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century edited by Buz Teacher and Janet Bukovinsky Teacher

Atlantic Monthly Press: I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger


Notes: Unusual Closings and Openings; Paper Potter

Reprint Book Shop in Washington, D.C.'s L'Enfant Plaza, just south of the Mall, is closing on January 27. The store and other retailers are apparently losing their space to make way for the National Children's Museum, which is moving to the site.

Owner Michael Sullivan wrote to publishers: "This closure is brought about neither by bankruptcy nor retirement. We remain interested and committed to keeping in contact with you as well as your company's sales, publicity and receivables divisions."

The store had an emphasis on government policy, politics, business and African-American titles. It also had a strong author series.


One of the best-known bookstores in the world specializing in Irish titles, Kenny's Bookshop and Art Gallery in Galway, Ireland, closed last Saturday. The store will continue to sell online at, and Kenny's Art Gallery will stay open until mid-April, when it moves to a new space.

Tom Kenny told the Galway Independent that he shook at least a thousand hands on closing day, a day he described as "warm and full of tears."


Loompanics Unlimited, which in recent years has sold alternative and underground books online and via mail order, is closing. Planning to retire, unreserved owner Mike Hoy wrote in a cartoon on the Web site, "Having Loompanics has been the biggest thrill of my life. For thirty years, I got to live my dream (and stick it to the man!). I want to thank everyone who made it possible: our customers, authors, artists, reviewers, interviewers, vendors, and most of all, the super efficient Loompanics staff . . . and everyone who made it necessary: all the censors, prudes, prigs and pigs in the world, especially in the U.S.A."

All stock is being sold at a 50% discount.


The paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be published in paperback on July 25 and be priced at $9.99, Scholastic announced yesterday. The book will have a first printing of two million copies, bringing the U.S. in-print figure for all six Harry Potter books to more than 120 million. The hardcover, which appeared last July 16, had an initial printing of 10.8 million.


Although at first glance it looks like a case of here we go again, today's New York Times reviews "old questions" about the veracity of Night, the Elie Wiesel title that Oprah has chosen as her next book club pick. The author and his agent told the Times that they have never portrayed the book as a novel. And Wiesel's wife, who did the new translation, said the new version corrects several factual errors, including Wiesel's age when he arrived at Birkenau ("15" replacing "not quite 15") and a description of a couple on the way to Auschwitz in a cattle car, and adds some material from the Yiddish original that didn't appear in the earlier translation.

--- joins the Webcasting world: a half-hour show hosted by Bill Maher with guests whose books, songs and films will be touted for sale simultaneously makes its debut on June 1, according to various news services. Called the Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher, the weekly show will be broadcast on the Web but will not be downloadable. Highlights of the premiere will be shown beginning January 24. UPS is sponsoring the show and will run ads. Amazon, which has experimented with some Webcasts but not done a regular show, intends to add other original programming eventually.

Weirdly Maher, best known for his scathing political humor, has been asked by Amazon to steer clear of politics, according to the New York Times.


Amy Rhodes, who most recently was v-p and publisher of trade books at Rodale and v-p, director of sales and marketing at Harry N. Abrams, has been named publisher and general manager of Watson-Guptill Publications and its imprints, Amphoto Books, Back Stage Books and Billboard Books. She commented: "It's a list with a great backlist and lots of potential for growth."


Cool idea of the day. Cannon Beach Book Co.'s third annual Midwinter Mystery Weekend will be held January 27-29 and feature dinner speaker Steve Martini as well as other mystery authors, including Larry Brooks, Nancy Bush, Robert Ferrigno, G.M. Ford, Lisa Jackson, Skye Moody and Jess Walter. Events include an opening cocktail party, a variety of workshops, book signings, readings and Q&As.

The Mystery Weekend is held during a slow time of the year for the Cannon Beach, Ore., store, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year (Shelf Awareness, July 1).


Monday's Washington Post had a long 25th-anniversary story on Daedalus Books & Music, Columbia, Md., much of it a breathless account of strolling the aisles of CIROBE last fall with company buyers--including president Robin Moody--as they made deals on remainders. Daedalus opened its first free-standing store in Baltimore, Md., on Monday, and a grand opening celebration is planned for this Saturday (Shelf Awareness, November 18).


Johnny and Linda Bell have opened Greater Vision Christian Bookstore, Holly Springs, Ga., according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The 2,500-sq.-ft. store, which sells books, CDs, videos, DVDs, jewelry, gifts, Bibles (even a comic-book Bible) and art, is offering a "get-to-know-you" sale through March 4.


Tom and Nancy Shawver, owners of the Bloomsday Books, a used and rare bookstore in Kansas City, Mo., are opening a second store, in the Crestwood Shops, where their store had earlier been located for five years, according to the Kansas City Star.

The paper wrote: "Shawver said he has been stopped while shopping at the grocery store or elsewhere in the Brookside or Crestwood area by former customers who said they missed having Bloomsday Books nearby. 'And I have had to respond of how much I missed them,' he said. 'It's going to be great. Nancy and I are happy.' "


Nelson and Milda Enos, who bought Jupiter Books and Art Store in Jupiter, Fla., 10 years ago, are planning to sell their used bookstore, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Nelson Enos told the paper that he hoped to find someone like himself to whom he could sell the store. When he arrived in Jupiter, he said, "I was 59 and, when you go looking for jobs in the restaurant business, you find they're looking for somebody that's 30. Also, I was talking with managers and I had a lot more experience than they had--they really didn't like that."


Great fundraiser: to benefit the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, the association will begin selling "Radical Militant Librarian" buttons at the Midwinter meeting beginning tomorrow in San Antonio, Tex. The reference is to recently revealed e-mails among FBI agents criticizing "radical, militant librarians" as well as superiors who were reluctant to use some Patriot Act provisions. The Office will continue to sell the buttons after the conference.


In collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English, the Academy of American Poets is sponsoring the National Poetry Read-a-Thon, which will begin in April, during National Poetry Month. Starting now, teachers can go to to download Read-a-Thon lesson plans, find worksheets for students, talk about the program with other teachers in an online forum and sign up to receive a new poetry anthology geared to students aged 10 and 14. The anthology, How to Eat a Poem, is being published by Dover Press with an initial print run of 30,000--to be distributed free to teachers and students.

"This program can help jump-start the reading of poetry in classrooms or supplement the work that teachers are already doing," said Tree Swenson, executive director of the Academy of American Poets. will post students' responses to poems, and teachers will be able to share their experiences with other teachers. At the end of the Read-a-Thon, five school libraries will receive $250 grants to be used to acquire poetry books.

Neal Porter Books: Angela's Glacier by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Diana Sudyka

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Bremer on Iraq

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 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 Web site.

Saturday, January 21

7 p.m. Encore Booknotes. History professor Bernard Lewis discussed his book What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and the Middle Eastern Response (Orion, $12.95, 075381675X).

8 p.m. After Words. Jim Hoagland, a columnist and senior foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, interviews L. Paul Bremer III, the first U.S. postwar ambassador to Iraq and author of a book about the experience, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (S&S, $27, 0743273893). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Media Heat: Annie Proulx on Bookworm

James Carville appears today on the Today Show to talk about his new book, written with Paul Begala, Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (S&S, $24, 074327752X).

Also on the Today Show: Dr. Henry S. Lodge and Chris Crowley talk about their book, Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You're 80 and Beyond (Workman, $24.95, 0761134239).


Speaking of aging well--or at least pleasurably--today on the Diane Rehm Show, Gail Sheehy talks about her new book, Sex and the Seasoned Woman: Pursuing the Passionate Life (Random House, $25.95, 1400062632).


Today KCRW's Bookworm has a guest not to miss: Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain (Scribner, $16, 0743294165), the short story that is the basis for one of the hot movies of the winter and a major Oscar contender. As Bookworm described this show: "Annie Proulx expresses her passion for accuracy of detail and truth of character. She is one of the lucky few writers to see those qualities brought to the film adaptation of her work. We discuss Ang Lee's film Brokeback Mountain and the ways in which it reflects the author's vision."


Yesterday Talk of the Nation talked with nation of China scholar Merle Goldman about her new book, From Comrade to Citizen: The Struggle for Political Rights in China (Harvard University Press, $39.95, 0674018907).

Soho Crime: Ash Dark as Night (A Harry Ingram Mystery) by Gary Phillips

Deeper Understanding

Mission Accomplished: 'A Communistic Berkeley Kind of Place'

The new Cody's Books in San Francisco's Union Square district is "doing pretty good, actually," owner Andy Ross reported. The holiday season was strong, and sales so far in January are up dramatically from November. "It's not our best-performing store yet, but our second best. On December 23, we were as busy as Virgin Music," which is located in the same building.

Ross opened the $3.5 million, 22,000-sq.-ft. store last fall in what had been a vacant and dilapidated space on the corner of San Francisco's Stockton and Market Streets after "very expensive" renovations (Shelf Awareness, July 14).

Though sounding generally satisfied, Ross noted that there are some challenges to overcome at his new location. "One of the problems, which we knew about from the beginning, is that most of the store is in the basement," he said. "It has much lower rent than what's usual for Union Square, 10% of what ground level rent would be, but [from the street] you can't see how big the 20,000-sq.-ft. space in the basement is."

In an effort to lure the curious to the escalator that will whisk them to the "main" floor, as he prefers to describe the basement, Ross has installed a literary slide show in the window, interspersing pictures of the spacious and elegant downstairs with those of author readings and others. Other marketing and promotional efforts for the new location include school fundraisers and author readings, starting with former President Jimmy Carter, who was at the store last Friday.

Cody's San Francisco carries about 100,000 titles and is growing. Ross said this Cody's, like its predecessors across the Bay in Berkeley, has a "really good backlist," including plenty of literature and academic titles, not just commercial bestsellers. Big books for the holiday season, consistent for all three stores, included in nonfiction, Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking; in fiction, Zadie Smith's On Beauty; and (though he did not say so, by now clearly in a category all its own) James Frey's A Million Little Pieces.

Ross himself still seems to be adjusting to the size of the new store. "It's pretty big," he said. "Sometimes, it seems empty even when it's full. There's lots of display space, almost too much." He described the main floor as having "a pretty interesting design," with some areas having a "tight feeling, like a library stack," and others full of low shelving and wide open space, allowing customers to find an area that appeals to them.

The store's quiet, rubber flooring, which Ross got at the same time a nearby museum was installing it, gives the place a "meditative, library feeling." He confessed that "sometimes you want more of a feeling of liveliness" but called the new flooring "beautiful, extremely durable and easy on the feet."

"Each store has its own personality," Ross continued. "We're trying to be kind of a Berkeley kind of place in what is essentially a very commercial area." He wants the Union Square Cody's to have a feeling distinct from nearby Borders or other chain stores--a complicated goal. "We sell a lot of commercial books, romances, Oprah kind of stuff that we don't sell that well in Berkeley," he explained. "But we also sell a lot of academic books, more than at our 4th Street store." The new store is also doing well in a number of "micro-markets," including computer, business, art and architecture.  

When Ross overheard one out-of-town visitor describe the new store as "just a communistic Berkeley kind of place," he said he knew he was "doing something right."  

Things may be taking a turn for the better still. "If location is destiny, then we just had a big windfall," said Ross, who has learned that Barney's, an upscale New York department store, will be moving in next door (where an FAO Schwarz had once been). A Bloomingdale's will open in the neighborhood soon, too.

Ross has made an informal study of the shopping bags his customers have been toting. He has observed "lots of Macy's bags, not too many Apples" and concluded, "We're becoming part of the scene."

Though he's still a bit nervous about his hefty investment, overall, Ross said he is "thrilled. No regrets."--Maria Heidkamp

[Editors' note: Maria may be reached at]

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