Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 18, 2005

Harper Perennial: The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel

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

Andrews McMeel Publishing: How to Draw a Reindeer and Other Christmas Creatures with Simple Shapes in 5 Steps by Lulu Mayo

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt


Harry Potter. Wow.

The superlatives and tremendous numbers involving the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hit higher, magical levels over the weekend. In the U.S., nearly seven million copies were sold in 24 hours, publisher Scholastic estimated. A second printing will push the total in print to 13.5 million. Hundreds--and sometimes thousands--of people, more than expected in many cases, appeared at an estimated 5,000 midnight parties. Young and old--and even most reviewers--loved the title. Tired but enthusiastic booksellers told Shelf Awareness this was their biggest title and biggest event ever.

Herewith we take a sampling of the magic, with perhaps the best comment first.


"Insane fun" was how Margot Sage-El, owner of Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., summed up the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. "It's part of the lore," she said. "It's an event. One parent thanked us for creating a memory for her kids."

Late on Friday night, she said, about 300 people--"many more than two years ago"--showed up for the store's party. It was more of a mixed crowd than in the past, she noted, including "lots of college kids, 17- and 18-year-old boys, children, even adults in costume. And some were kids just hanging out." Within five minutes after midnight, as if someone had tapped a wand, most everyone was gone. By noon the next day, the store had sold its 450 copies (except for a few reserved), 150 more than it had ordered for Harry Potter V. "Of course, people think we're making all kinds of money," Sage-El added with a laugh. "It's probably a wash."


On Saturday, Borders sold 850,000 copies of the book worldwide--up 100,000 from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and a new first-day sales record for the company--and estimated that 500,000 people attended its "midnight magic" parties. The Borders store in Singapore never closed Friday night, staying open 39 hours straight.


Barnes & Noble sold an estimated 1.3 million titles over the weekend, about 400,000 ahead of the previous Potter title. At a Dallas B&N, a power failure caused by storms did not deter 200 fans, who waited in the dark to buy the book at midnight, according to the Associated Press. A generator powered four cash registers and one light. Face painting and bean-bag tossing, among other activities, were postponed.


The main store of Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., sold 1,500 copies of the book by Saturday night; the Friday party was "the biggest special event in the history of this store," according to manager Robert Penya. When the line of people snaked around the entire block of the huge store and down two more blocks, police arrived to provide traffic control.

Britta Duncan, a member of Powell's children's team, noted that the book has "affected the sci-fi/fantasy category as a whole. There's a much bigger audience because of Harry Potter."

One longtime Harry Potter fan engaged in the onerous task of plowing through the new book on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., sold nearly 300 copies of the book at its midnight party and then another 350 as of late on Saturday. "It's flying out of the store," said a bookseller, who had to get off the phone because yet another line of customers had formed--but not before he added: "The books are a joy to sell because people are so enthusiastic."

Brookline Booksmith gave Harry Potter V T-shirts to those who purchased the current book and showed the Harry Potter movies in its Cinemasmith. The store is offering the book at a 20% discount the "first week only!"


Noting the "online numbers at Amazon and B&N" in the weeks before July 16, the Tattered Cover in Denver, Colo., had "wondered if our events would even draw a crowd," Neil Strandberg, manager of operations told Shelf Awareness. But no worries: the main Cherry Creek store drew 2,500 people and the Highlands Ranch store hosted 1,000.


Contacted on Saturday afternoon, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association executive director Hut Landon said that of the 1,400 copies of the book stocked in its San Francisco office in case local member booksellers ran out, 900 were gone already. He noted that with the last Harry Potter, many stores were caught by surprise and upped their orders this time. "I thought, 'Who's going to run out now? Maybe a small store that recently opened.' But one store picked up 100 this morning and then came back for another 100 10 minutes ago.

"Partners/West gets a ton of credit," Landon continued, referring to the wholesaler that had suggested and helped operate the service. "This was a good thing." Then he ended the conversation because, as he put it, "I've got more customers!"


The main University Bookstore outlet in Seattle, Wash., drew 700 people to its midnight party and sold 900 copies of the book by Saturday evening. The store's Bellevue and Mill Creek stores drew 100 and 400 people, respectively. Children's buyer Betsy Voelker said, "By far, it's the biggest book of the year. I think this book will pay for the entire children's section for the whole year."


Gearing its event for younger children and their parents, Stanford Bookstore, Stanford, Calif., scheduled an 8 a.m. party on Saturday in its main store, but when a line of more than a hundred people formed early, doors were opened at 7:45. Within 45 minutes, the store had rung up $3,500 in sales, according to director Ken Bowers, who said the event "rivaled the grad night we do every year for graduating seniors, which is a very lively Stanford event. The mood was electric."

Besides breakfast, there were puzzles, word searches and a Harry Potter who entertained the crowd.


Square Books Jr., the children's outlet of Square Books, Oxford, Miss., had a 7 a.m. party on Saturday morning (10% off for attendees in pajamas; 20% off for witches and wizards). Later on Saturday, a busy salesperson said that "the children loved it, really loved it," and noted that people were still coming in and buying the book.


At the Ypsilanti (Mich.) District Library, which before the weekend had 62 people on a waiting list for its 12 copies of the book, a "read-a-thon" began Saturday at 10 a.m.: staff members and volunteers took half-hour turns reading the entire book aloud.


Some 2,500 people visited the Milwaukee (Wis.) Public Library during its Friday night party, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. At midnight 148 books were checked out, and staff members from Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop handed out about 250 copies of the book to people who had paid for it earlier. At Schwartz's five stores, about 3,000 copies were sold.


The Written Word in Ripley, Ohio, combined the arrival of the latest Harry Potter book with the store's own arrival: opened on June 15, the store waited until Saturday to have its grand opening ceremony, which followed a midnight Harry party.

The Written Word, owned by Sarah Weisman, stocks a range of titles in addition to Harry Potter and is located at 105 N. Second Street, Ripley, Ohio 45167; 937-392-4712.


Including a train ride, the "Enchanted Village and World of Harry Potter," held in Peninsula, Ohio, and organized by Blue Heron Bookstore, was a "fabulous" event, Julia D'Andrea, who did publicity for the program, told Shelf Awareness later on Saturday. "There was a ton of very happy people."


Sponsored by Northern Lights Books & Gifts, the delivery of Harry Potter titles via the Hogwarts Express in Duluth, Minn., drew 700 people.


At ease: Stars & Stripes reported that 200 parents and children showed up at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's Bookmark at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy to buy 150 copies of the book in the early morning hours on Saturday. At the bookstore at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, 80 customers were waiting at 7 a.m. to buy Harry Potter; that store sold $10,000 worth of the books in its first eight hours on sale.


Now the big question: in the next year or two, how to top this? Then again, in some ways the challenge will be easier because it's the only title left until the spell is broken.

University of California Press: Smoke But No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes That Never Happened by Jessica S. Henry

Leavitt Leaves Gay Novel, Gay Bookstore

In an essay about gay books and bookstores in yesterday's New York Times Book Review, author David Leavitt recalls working in the Oscar Wilde Bookshop in New York City for all of a day in 1983. His seven hours of probationary effort ended without a job, "I suspect because I complained to [owner] Craig [Rodwell], too loudly, about books not stocked, delivering a lecture on the dangers of confusing fiction with propaganda."

In the more serious part of the piece, called "Out of the Closet and Off the Shelf," Leavitt argues that "the gay novel, along with the gay bookstore," has become obsolete. "Now, thanks in great part to the efforts of the men and women who opened the first gay bookshops, a new generation is coming of age for whom the whole matter of homosexuality is just one of a host of different ways of being."

He finished: "Once it was revolutionary to publish a gay novel, or open a gay bookshop, but now the time may be upon us when the revolutionary thing to do is to retire the category altogether. I'm for stepping into the post-gay future--which is why, every time I go into a Borders, I move a few books from the gay fiction shelf to the general fiction section, restoring them to their rightful place in the alphabetical and promiscuous flow of literature."

GLOW: Houghton Mifflin: How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz

Media and Movies

Charlie's Box Office: Not Close, No Chocolate Cigar

Sweet. For once, a book has beaten the top-selling movie.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
, which opened on Friday, took in $55.4 million in three days, according to studio estimates, making it the No. 1 movie of the weekend and helping to reverse the slide in ticket sales that has lasted most of the year. Still, in just the first 24 hours on sale, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold 6.9 million copies, Scholastic said. Assuming a discount of 40% on the $29.99 book (and not all copies were discounted that much), the gross on Harry would be $124.4 million.

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

Think of a Donkey? Lakoff Profiled in the Times Mag

Although it doesn't mention his name for the first two pages, yesterday's New York Times Magazine has a cover story on George Lakoff, the U.C. Berkeley cognitive scientist and linguist and author of Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives (Chelsea Green, $10, 1931498717) who has become a major force in helping the Democratic Party try to bounce back after last year's presidential defeat. In Friday's Shelf Awareness, Andy Ross of Cody's Books said this about Lakoff's book: "Most political books are dead, but this is hot, hot, hot. It offers a very sophisticated analysis."

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

Osteen's Slam Dunk: Church Takes Over Arena

Best known among many booksellers as the author of the blessedly successful book Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (Warner Faith, $19.99, 0446532754), the televangelist Joel Osteen is also head of the Lakewood Church, a nondenominational church in Houston, Tex., that over the weekend moved upcourt--into the former Compaq Center, once home of the Houston Rockets.

A capacity crowd of 16,000, including the Governor of Texas, officially opened the new church.

Media Heat

Tomorrow Leonard Lopate interrogates former NYPD Cold Case Squad deputy inspector Vito Spano and Stacy Horn, authors of The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad (Viking, $24.95, 0670034193).

Lopate also literally talks trash with Elizabeth Royte, author of Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash (Little, Brown, $24.95, 0316738263).

Tomorrow Diane Rehm steals a few minutes with Edward Dolnick, author of The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060531177), about the 1994 theft and recovery of Edvard Munch's The Scream.

Today Leonard Lopate talks with:
  • Stephen Yafa, author of Big Cotton: How a Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map (Viking, $25.95, 0670033677)
  • Lynne Jones, author of Then They Started Shooting: Growing Up in Wartime Bosnia (Harvard University Press, $27.95, 0674015614)
  • John Banville, who discusses the life and work and lack of recognition of Booker Prize-winner J.G. Farrell--for the Summer Reading series.

Today on Diane Rehm: Maria Mudd Ruth chirps about her Rare Bird: Pursuing the Mystery of the Marbled Murrele (Rodale, $23.95, 1594860904), about the unusual, threatened Pacific Northwest native whose nesting habits weren't understood until the 1970s.

Yesterday Larry King Live cross-examined Nancy Grace, former prosecutor, former Court TV fixture and now on CNN and author of Objection!: How High-Priced Defense Attorneys, Celebrity Defendants, and a 24/7 Media Have Hijacked Our Criminal Justice System (Hyperion, $24.95, 1401301800).

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