One Writer's Beginning
"Wally put a piece of paper into my hands. He said, 'You have nothing
to lose at this point.' "--Deborah Eisenberg, whose new collection, Twilight of the Superheroes
(FSG, $23, 0374299412), has just appeared, speaking to the New York Times
about how her companion, Wallace Shawn, encouraged her to start writing.
Notes: Da Vinci Code Suit; Used Book Study
A lawsuit accusing Dan Brown of stealing the idea for The Da Vinci Code
opened yesterday in London. The New York Times
has a report.
The Book Industry Study Group's first comprehensive report on used book
sales is now available for sale. The organization had previewed the
report in detail at its annual meeting last year (Shelf Awareness
, September 29). For more information about the BISG report, click here
A Sacramento Business Journal
story (via MSNBC
about rising rents squeezing out central-city shops in the California
capital mentions Beers Books, which moved twice before arriving at its
present site 15 months ago. Owner Jim Naify, who also invests in real
estate professionally, solved the rent problem once and for all,
according the Journal
: he bought the building last July. "I think that's the only strategy of survival for small business," he said.
The Daily Breeze
profiles the Path, the Redondo Beach, Calif., spiritual bookstore and
gift shop that opened in 2001. Owned by Rev. Isaac Norris and
Marie-Noel Quanquin, the store aims to be a place "where people could
open up to the beauty of other religions and faiths in a nonthreatening
way," Quanquin told the paper.
To help people on their road to enlightenment, the Path offers classes
on astrology, sacred art, shamanism, psychic channeling and meditation,
among other subjects. Norris told the Breeze
that many people
like to come in, hang out on the large couch and soak up the energy.
"There is this one business owner who sits there for 30 or 40 minutes
to relax and go back to his store," he said.
Carol Valera Jacobson, who opened the Bookstore at the Serendipity
Coffee Shop in Craig, Colo., two weeks ago, calls her used bookstore
more of a "book redistribution site" than a bookstore, according to the
Craig Daily Press
. Book lovers can buy, sell or trade books at the store, which is located at 576 Yampa Ave.
As part of a fund drive for Boulder, Colo.'s new public TV station,
BTV-54, the local Barnes & Noble is operating a book drive through Saturday,
according to the Colorado Daily
. Customers can get a voucher at B&N; a percentage of the purchase price goes to the station.
Abebooks.com BuyZ FillZ
Abebooks.com, the online marketplace for new, used, rare and oop books,
has acquired FillZ, the U.S. book inventory and order management
company that helps booksellers offer books on Internet marketplaces,
including Amazon's U.S., Canadian, British and German sites; eBay;
Alibris.com and Half.com--as well as Abebooks. FillZ allow booksellers
to upload book inventory once and update it rather than replicating
those actions for each marketplace.
As with BookFinder.com, which Abebooks aquired last November, the
company plans to allow FillZ, which is based in San Francisco, to
operate independently but take advantage of Abebooks's resources and
Miron Cuperman developed FillZ's technology to help a friend who was
having difficulty loading book inventory on several marketplaces
simultaneously. The company was incorporated in June 2004. In 2005, it
facilitated orders for books worth more than $20 million.
In a statement, Hannes Blum, CEO and president of Abebooks, said that
"FillZ makes it extremely simple for booksellers to overcome the
fragmented nature of the market. We're aware of their international
potential and what they can offer to booksellers around the world."
Media Heat: Presidential Trivia and Bashing
Happy Mardi Gras!
The Today Show has another author-laden schedule this morning:
- Ten-year-old presidential historian Noah McCullough discusses his surprise bestseller, The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia (Random House, $9.95, 1400064821).
- Rachael Ray shares recipes from her bestselling cookbook, Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (Clarkson Potter, $19.95, 1400082544).
- James Garbarino politely talks about his new book on juvenile aggression, See Jane Hit: Why Girls Are Growing More Violent and What We Can Do About It (Penguin, $25.95, 1594200750).
- Jonathan Haidt cheerfully discusses his The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (Basic, $26, 0465028012).
Today on the Diane Rehm Show, Jules Feiffer
outlines the basics of his new children's
book, A Room with a Zoo
(Michael Di Capua Books, $16.95, 0786837020).
Today on Oprah, cookbook author Rachael Ray
(see Today Show listing
above) "shares her most romantic recipe . . . and what she can't live
without," as the show puts it.
Today on NPR's Fresh Air, Bruce Bartlett
discusses his new book,
Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan
(Doubleday, $26, 0385518277).
Yesterday Fresh Air did some straight talking with Marc Weingarten
author of The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson,
Didion, and the New Journalism Revolution
(Crown, $25, 1400049148).
No Emotional Lie: A Million Little Lies on Way
Here is a release we have to run in its truthy entirety:
James Pinocchio wakes up in the back of a New York City taxi with a
combination lock piercing his left ear and no idea how it got there, or
what the combination is. The following day, his wealthy parents decide
to put an end to his drinking and dancing, and they send him off to
Sleepy Hollow, the famous rehab facility in Upstate New York, where he
meets all sorts of Fascinating Characters, one more Unbelievable and
Amazing than the next.
As Mr. Pinocchio describes the experience in his harrowing new memoir, A Million Little Lies
(ReganBooks, March 28, 2006; $14.95; Trade Paperback Original), his
new-found, Larger Than Life Friends challenge him to confront his
Deepest, Darkest Fears, taking him to the to the very edges of despair.
"Mr. Pinocchio's story, which he co-wrote with best-selling
ghostwriter, screenwriter, and studmuffin Pablo F. Fenjves, stretches
credibility to the breaking point, but the unbelievable pain, the dirty
sex, and the endless amounts of girlish crying make it all
worthwhile--and eventually lead to Redemption and Healing (though not
for Mr. Pinocchio)," says Judith Regan, CEO, ReganMedia.
Here's what the critics have already said about A Million Little Lies, one of the most heartfelt and inspiring true stories in recent years:
"I cried like a little girl."--Larry M., age 6, Bozeman, Montana
"I know James Pinocchio, and I know his brother, Geppetto Jr., and I
can't say I care for either of them.--John B., Sewickley, Pennsylvania
"The best and only book I've ever read."--Hugo C., Caracas, Venezuela
"I am proud to be an Italian."--Gemma G., Honolulu, Hawaii
"Anyone who has ever had a bad Pinot Noir will relate to this heart-wrenching story."--Pedro C., New York City
A Million Little Lies is the first book bought by Acquisitions
Editor, Michael Broussard, formerly an agent at Dupree/Miller and
Associates. Says Broussard, "Since I come from the world of
agenting, I certainly know a million little lies." ☺.
Hope Against Hope--For Part of the Country
Attention blue staters!
Working with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Melville House has rushed into print Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush ($9.95, 1933633085), bringing up what the house calls "the word that dare not speak its name."
In the book, the Center sets out a legal article for impeachment based
on four charges: warrantless surveillance, misleading Congress on the
reasons for the Iraq war, violating laws against torture and subverting
the constitution's separation of powers. Supplemental material includes
a history of impeachment and articles of impeachment brought
against Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
Melville House's Dennis Johnson called the response "overwhelming,"
following shipments two weeks ago to independent bookstores. More
copies were shipped to chains yesterday. After two printings, 25,000 copies are in print.
At the same time, the Hoboken,
N.J., publisher has added to the campaign for the book by offering to
pay shipping and handling fees to send the book to the Congressional
representative of any buyer who purchases the book on Melville House's
Web site. (Some 27 representatives have signed a resolution calling for
investigation of impeachment charges.) Also yesterday, Amy Goodman,
host of Pacifica radio's Democracy Now! show, talked with Michael
Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and read
from the book.
Asked about whether impeachment could just result in a President
Cheney, Johnson responded: "We can't be paralyzed into doing nothing.
Impeaching the president will put them all on call, and of course, there
are a few (Rep. John Conyers, D.-Mich., for example) who are calling
for the impeachment of both of them."
Comic-Con Confab Consensus: Manga Moves
Manga sales continue to expand and are drawing a new audience to the
world of comics and graphic novels, particularly women, was the
consensus of members of a buyers panel at New York Comic-Con at the
Javits Center this past Thursday. The session was part of the ICv2
Graphic Novel Conference and was moderated by Milton Griepp, founder
and president of ICv2.
(Booksellers note: New York Comic-Con turned out to be so much of a
draw that the show, which could accommodate 10,000 people at a time,
was shut down partway during the day Saturday because
of overcrowding. Reed Exhibitions had expected overall attendance of
20,000 over three days; on Saturday
alone 20,000 showed up.)
"On the subway, girls as young as 12 to 14 and women in their 30s are
reading manga," James Killen, graphic novel buyer at Barnes &
Noble, said. At the same time, "in the superhero genre, readers are
mostly male," Killen continued. And comics literature draws an "older,
more sophisticated" male crowd. B&N is "looking to invest" in the
whole area and "solidify" its offerings.
Bill Schanes, v-p of purchasing at Diamond Comic Distributors, said
that "the ratio of females to males is increasing" in a market that
used to consist of "just muscle-bound books." He noted, too, that manga
lovers tend to want to write and draw their own manga, which has
created demand for many manga how-to books. Watson-Guptill has some
strong offerings in this area, Schanes said.
Ingram's major market for graphic novels and manga has been libraries,
according to Jeannine Wiese, graphic novel specialist at the
wholesaler. "A lot of female readers are going into libraries for
graphic novels and especially manga." Lowered prices have helped, too,
she said. "Libraries are very appreciative of that." Now there is
increased "retail demand and need" for graphic novels and manga.
Panelists urged publishers to keep numbers manageable. Diamond Comic
Distributors's Bill Schanes said the company sends out more than 100
titles a month. "Many of our stores are challenged by so many titles,"
in particular because there isn't much information about lots of them.
"Publishers can do a better job of providing information," he added.
Jim Mortenson of Comix Revolution, Evanston and Mt. Prospect, Ill.,
reinforced this point, saying he wants from publishers "more
information on why they're publishing a title, who will buy the title,
how they're driving readers to stores, schedules," and more.
B&N's Killen emphasized that media attention helps sell the genre
and reviews "lend to the legitimacy of graphic novels as a whole." He
noted, too, that cross merchandising is effective. For example, SimCity did
well for years at Barnes & Noble. After the SimCity movie came out,
sales boomed, and even after the media faded, sales kept up "at a new,
Killen listed some of the important books that have crossed over into
other genres at B&N, including the two Persepolis titles by Marjane Satrapi
(Pantheon) and Epileptic by David B. (Pantheon), which have sold in both the graphic novel
and autobiography sections. Likewise Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of
No Towers (Pantheon) "didn't go to the ghetto of the graphic novel
section" but was also put with current affairs titles. "Graphic novel
readers will travel to wherever graphic novels are," he said, but
other readers might not go to the graphic novel section.
For his part, Comix Revolution's Mortenson praised Hill and Wang for
its upcoming 9/11 Commission Report in graphic novel form as another
title that should find a wide audience.
Panelists urged publishers to maintain the highest quality. "With the right
storytelling, right content, right authors, all books sell fine,"
Diamond Comic Distributors's Schanes said. He noted that "we're
starting to see mainstream authors venture into the comics category,"
particularly established writers in SF and fantasy, a phenomenon that
may help bring in a new wave of consumers.
Likewise, Ingram's Wiese said that "cream rises to the top. If it's
high quality and there's positive fan awareness and hype in the media, the
demand is there from our retail and library customers. I can't stress
enough the need for high-quality writers and artists."
Price, content and format in graphic novels "matter to customers
tremendously," David Webster, graphic novel buyer at Midtown Comics,
which has two stores in New York City, said. Some large format graphic
novels are problematic because they don't fit easily on either
retailers' or customers' shelves. Many of Midtown's customers "enjoy
cheaper books, and if they're on sale, it's even better," Webster
added. As for content, Webster said he likes "diverse content," and
prefers to use subject categories in his store such as autobiography
and biography, YA, and more rather than just have all titles in the
store classified alphabetically by title.
Midtown Comics has some difficulty drawing customers into the store,
Webster noted. "A majority of my customers buy from the superhero
Comix Revolution's Jim Mortenson outlined two seemingly contradictory
trends in format. On the one hand, large publishers with many titles
have normalized trim sizes. At the same time, "if something really
demands it," unusual titles are being published in "unique sizes." For
example, the $120 Little Nemo in Slumberland (Sunday Press Books), the
store's "biggest selling book last year" in dollar terms, was so big
physically "that you could put legs on it and it could be the coffee
As for pricing, "comics guys are willing to pay a lot more than others for content,"
Mortenson said. Manga and other titles with crossover potential do
better at lower prices. The store's average prices range from $19.95
for comics titles to $12.95 for manga.
B&N's Killen reiterated that "diversity in content will greatly
build the customer base." He also called for comics that "focus on the
younger reader" to offer an alternative to "watching TV or playing
video games. If we get younger readers, they will stay fans until
they're my age."
Mortenson thought that the industry should concede certain subjects to
other media. "The power fantasy stuff of the '70s and '80s
is best done by video games now," he said. Besides, he pointed out that
"the largest influx of customers for manga" is people who "weren't
reading comics as kids."
For her part, Ingram's Wiese called for more educational material for
younger people, noting that graphic novels can help "children learn. Not all children are readers." Some are "visual
learners or auditory learners, and graphic novels can be a great key to
adapt various learning styles."
Webster of Midtown Comics drew a laugh by saying, "It's not children
who are the future; it's parents who buy their kids comics who are the