Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella

HarperOne: I Finally Bought Some Jordans: Essays by Michael Arceneaux

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Quotation of the Day

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.

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo


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.

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj BuyZ FillZ, 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; and well as Abebooks. FillZ allow booksellers to upload book inventory once and update it rather than replicating those actions for each marketplace.

As with, 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 international focus.

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."

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Media and Movies

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 Legacy (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).

Books & Authors

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."

Deeper Understanding

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, higher level."

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 section."

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 table."

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 future."

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