Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 3, 2011

Marvel Press: Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi, illustrated by Noa Denmon

Minotaur Books: The Shadow House by Anna Downes

Soho Crime: One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips

Ballantine Books: The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice by Benjamin Gilmer


Wasilla Walden Now an Indie

Maria Clark, the manager of a Waldenbooks in Carrs Mall in Wasilla, Alaska, that closed last month, is opening a new bookstore called Buy the Book in the old Walden location, the Frontiersman reported. The store aims to open in November, and the staff will include former Walden employees.

Clark said that the old Walden was "a thriving business" despite the problems of Borders Group and was the only place residents of the Mat-Su Valley could buy new books without driving 40 miles to Anchorage.

The store is being redesigned and will include a seating area in the front. Clark also plans to host local author events, something Walden discouraged, stock local authors' titles, do book swaps, have more book signings and have book clubs.

To build the business, Clark has received a $25,000 donation from one customer and is accepting other donations.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Children's Store Opening in Katonah, N.Y.

Little Joe's Books, a children's bookstore, opens this Thursday, October 6, in Katonah, N.Y., above its sister store, NoKa Joe's restaurant and café. The store will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a story time, according to the Lewisboro Ledger. Anyone who wears a "mad hat" on Thursday, which is National Mad Hatter Day, will win a prize. There will be free cider and wine on Thursday, and free balloons all weekend long.

Owner Jennifer Cook told the Daily Bedford that she had surveyed residents about what kind of business they wanted to see in the location and a bookstore was the top pick. With the closing of Borders in nearby Mt. Kisco, she decided the time was right to open.

She chose to specialize in children's books in part because "choosing a book together with your child, and sitting down and reading together--that's an experience you can't get on Amazon."

Little Joe's Books is located at 25 Katonah Ave., Katonah, N.Y. 10536; 914-232-7278.

photo: Bedford-Katonah Patch


University of California Press: Savage Journey: Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo (1st ed.) by Peter Richardson

More BAM Stores Open

Books-A-Million has opened a new store in Fort Myers, Fla., at the Edison Mall, as well as a newly remodeled store in the Kansas City, Kan., Legends shopping center, where BAM relocated to a larger site. Both stores will celebrate their grand openings October 8.


Little Bigfoot: A Home Under the Stars by Andy Chou Musser

Co-op Coup: Buffalo Street Books Sales, Shareholders Up

Six months after Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, N.Y., became a community-owned cooperative, the store "continues to thrive and receive community investments," the Cornell Sun wrote. There are now 630 owners of the store, a number that continues to grow slowly but steadily.

Formerly owned by Gary Weissbrot, Buffalo Street Books was in danger of closing when it instituted the co-op plan earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, March 7, 2011).

Bob Proehl, community outreach coordinator, told the paper that the new model has made it easier for the bookstore to turn a consistent profit. "It puts us in a position where we're not suffering to pay back a lot of investors," he said. "And it does change the relationship that we have with our customers." He also noted that customers who own a share in the bookstore are much more likely to tell their friends to shop at the local bookstore rather than buy books online.

Sales have risen at the store, although Proehl is not sure how much to attribute to the new ownership structure and on how much to the closing of a Borders in Ithaca in April.

Sorry, Muggles: No Harry Potter E-Books Until 2012

The previously announced October release of the seven Harry Potter novels as e-books (Shelf Awareness, June 24, 2011), has been delayed until next year. A post on the Pottermore Insider blog said that registration would still open up for everyone by the end of October, but the Pottermore Shop, "which will sell the Harry Potter e-books and digital audio books, will now open in the first half of 2012, in order to allow us to focus on our first priority: opening Pottermore to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be."

Kindle Fire: Hot Sales, Cold Margin

Amazon and its retail partners took 95,000 first day orders for the Kindle Fire, according to eDataSource. PC Magazine reported that this number equaled "about a third of the 300,000 first-generation iPads Apple sold on its first day, but still impressive given Amazon is only shipping the Kindle Fire on November 15." The estimate was calculated by "tracking e-mail purchase receipts in 800,000 inboxes," PC Magazine wrote.

Amazon's new tablet will not be a high-profit hardware item, however. A "preliminary virtual estimate" by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service found the Kindle Fire's bill of materials (BOM) is $191.65, and the total cost to produce, factoring in manufacturing expenses, is $209.63.

"When further costs outside of materials and manufacturing are added in--and the $199 price of the tablet is factored along with the expected sales of digital content per device--Amazon is likely to generate a marginal profit of $10 on each Kindle Fire sold," iSuppli noted, adding that, as many experts have previously observed, the "real benefit" of the device for Amazon will be its ability to promote sales of physical goods outside the book business and "create an umbilical link between digital content and a more conventional retail environment."

First B&N Contact: 'Dear Borders Customer'

In a "Dear Borders Customer" e-mail about Barnes & Noble's purchase of Borders loyalty program, B&N CEO William Lynch wrote in part, "First of all let me say Barnes & Noble uniquely appreciates the importance bookstores play within local communities, and we're very sorry your Borders store closed."

He continued: "Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try and earn your business. The majority of our stores are within close proximity to former Borders store locations, and for those that aren't, we offer our award-winning Nook digital reading devices that provide a bookstore in your pocket. We are readers like you, and hope that through our stores, Nook devices, and our online bookstore we can win your trust and provide you with a place to read and shop."

Lynch told Borders customers that before October 15 they may opt out of having B&N transfer their information. If they do opt out, "we will ensure all your data we receive from Borders is disposed of in a secure and confidential manner." If not, all data will be covered under B&N's privacy policy.

Penguin Reads Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For the second year in a row, Penguin Group is holding the Read Pink program in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Under this year's initiative, more than 300,000 copies of eight bestselling mass market titles--by Nora Roberts, Catherine Anderson, Christina Dodd, Jillian Hunter, Lynn Kurland, Amanda Quick, Bertrice Small and Lauren Willig--will have Read Pink seals on the cover. In the back of each book, Penguin is including information to make readers aware of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Penguin is again donating $25,000 to the Foundation.

Last year, as part of the Read Pink program, Penguin shipped nearly 400,000 romances with Read Pink seals and information and some 12,000 floor displays that had Read Pink information.

Perseus Signs Agents for New E-Venture

Perseus Books Group has launched Argo Navis, a digital publishing, distribution and marketing service for authors who control their own e-book rights and who are represented, at least for now, by either of two literary agencies: Janklow & Nesbit Associates and Curtis Brown. Perseus plans to expand the service to other agencies.

Under Argo Navis, the authors will act as their own publishers and receive 70% of revenue. Using Perseus's Constellation system, Argo Navis will offer such services as digital conversion, digital print, digital marketing and distribution. The authors' agencies will act as "liaisons" with Argo Navis.



Image of the Day: Amelia Bedelia in Real Life

At Books & Greetings, Northvale, N.J., (r.) Herman Parish, author of the Amelia Bedelia Books (founded by his late aunt Peggy Parish), with owner Kenny Sarfin and his daughter Halle Sarfin dressed as Amelia.


What to Read While Occupying Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street library is a "haphazardly organized" pop-up institution occupying a bench on the side of Zuccotti Park. The New Yorker's Book Bench blog reported that there "is no rhyme or reason to the selection: a volume of Walter Benjamin's writing sits beside Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep; the only books that are sectioned off are the children's books. All together, about one hundred titles--along with back issues of Harper's--await protesters and passersby--in the spirit of the affair, you needn't be an 'insider' to borrow."

The "appointed caretaker" is Betsy Fagin, a librarian who lives in Brooklyn. She "came to the protest for the first time and found a short stack of books lying on the ground where everyone was camped out. She decided to go to one of the organizational meetings for the protests and ask if anyone else thought it would be a good idea to start a proper library," Book Bench wrote.  

Happy Birthday, University of Maine Bookstore!

Congratulations to the University of Maine Bookstore, Orono, Maine, which celebrated its 100th birthday on Friday. More than 200 students, faculty, alumni and staff were at the party, according to the Bangor Daily News.

"I have a wonderful staff," bookstore manager Dick Young told the paper. "All the work that the staff and the store do for the students and the community sometimes doesn't get recognized." He also thanked "students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends for helping to make 100 years of service possible."

"The Union is the center of the campus where students, faculty and the community all come to build relationships, and the bookstore is the center of the Union," said Colleen Gagnon, who has been on the bookstore staff 31 years. "We love the students and the community, and we are so happy that they all came out to wish us a happy birthday."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Seriously, Ellen DeGeneres on Her New Book

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Ralph Branca, author of A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace (Scribner, $25, 9781451636871).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: Barron Lerner, author of One for the Road: Drunk Driving since 1900 (Johns Hopkins University Press, $24.95, 9781421401904).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Joel Brenner, author of America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare (Penguin, $27.95, 9781594203138).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Ken Ballen, author of Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals (Free Press, $25, 9781451609219).


Today on Hannity: Herman Cain, author of This Is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House (Threshold Editions, $25, 9781451666137). Tomorrow the presidential candidate will be on Imus in the Morning, Fox & Friends, Your World with Cavuto and Fox Radio's Kilmeade & Friends.


Tonight on Fox's Lou Dobbs Tonight: Duff McKagan, author of It's So Easy (Touchstone, $26, 9781451606638).


Tonight on Nightline: William Shatner, author of Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large (Dutton, $21.95, 9780525952510). He will also be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning.


Tonight on the Daily Show: Thomas L. Friedman, co-author of That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374288907).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Jerome Groopman, co-author of Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You (Penguin, $27.95, 9781594203114).


Tomorrow on CNN's American Morning: Duff McKagan, author of It's So Easy (Touchstone, $26, 9781451606638).


This morning on Good Morning America: Scott Bolzan, co-author of My Life, Delete (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062025470).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Julianne Moore, author of Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever (Bloomsbury, $16.99, 9781599905518).

Also on the Today Show: Aarón Sánchez, author of Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours (Atria, $26.99, 9781451611502).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Jeffrey Sachs, author of The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity (Random House, $27, 9781400068418).


Tomorrow on the Bob Edwards Show: Chuck Klosterman, author of The Visible Man (Scribner, $25, 9781439184462).


Tomorrow on Ellen: Ellen DeGeneres herself discusses her new book, Seriously... I'm Kidding (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446585026).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Michael Moore, author of Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446532242).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: John Lithgow, author of Drama: An Actor's Education (Harper, $26.99, 9780061734977).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Jacques Steinberg, author of You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World's Toughest Triathlon (Viking, $27.95, 9780670023028).

Last Call for Last Call

Tonight PBS will air the second part of the three-part series Prohibition: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The first part ran last night, and part three airs tomorrow night.

The tie-in book is Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent (Scribner, $17, 9780743277044).


Book Review

Review: The Stranger's Child

The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst (Knopf, $27.95 hardcover, 9780307272768, October 14, 2011)

There's an exhilarating sense of truthfulness watching Alan Hollinghurst's characters interact and grow old in his new masterpiece, The Stranger's Child. With a serpentine, multi-branching plot spanning almost 100 years, the reader watches children change into doddering elder folk, opinions reverse and morph, reputations rise and grand houses fall. Along the way, Hollinghurst teases and fools the reader, playing with the traditions of the classic British novel, all in his trademark gorgeous prose. It's a literary field day, with roots in an era when passionate friendships dared not speak their name.

The tale begins with 16-year-old Daphne Sawle becoming infatuated with Cecil Valance, a wealthy young poet who at Cambridge has become the inseparable friend of her older brother. Cecil is visiting the Sawle home, Two Acres, where he will write his most famous poem. Then the First World War erupts, wrecking lives and scattering the characters, and their secrets become the mysteries that perplex their biographers years later.

Part of fun of this book is not knowing which characters will vanish from the plot and which ones will recur. With a cast ranging from servants to baronets, from piano teachers to bankers, the story moves forward for the most part through large social events--a guest at the family home; a party honoring Cecil Valance; Daphne's 70th birthday. Manners and politeness reign. But suspense lurks just beneath the surface of this glossy, privileged world of rigorous conventions and repressed passion, and can break out on a pretext as thin as the children's piano-and-dance performance being stopped by their angry father, a scene that explodes with emotional violence.

Games with the reader are a Hollinghurst delight. When a chapter opens with a character yelling, "Rubbish! Rubbish!" there's no way of knowing until two chapters later that the man is simply calling his dog. You'll be well into Part Two trying to figure out how Daphne, who has flirted in vain with gay Cecil Valance, has, 10 years later, become Lady Valance in Cecil's ancestral home.

Some dozen years pass between Part One and Part Two. Part Three begins in 1967 in a bank at closing time. With each new part, the reader, like a time traveler, is catapulted forward and dropped down without ceremony into the story a number of years hence, trying to figure out what has happened to the characters left behind, not to mention what their new married names may be. Puzzling it all out makes for gratifying literary sport, filled with cunning surprises.

The Stranger's Child is the most challenging, perceptive, labyrinthine, hugely satisfying fiction entertainment since--well, since Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, which won the 2004 Booker Prize. Hollinghurst serves up one great big banquet of a book, with plenty of the cruelty and sting of the real world, the irrationality of lust, the fickleness of fame, unanticipated deaths--and unexpected, priceless moments of compassion and grace. --Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: Literary tricks and surprises abound as Hollinghurst follows several dozen characters through almost 100 years of hidden passionate friendships and secret loves.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in St. Louis

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in and around St. Louis, Mo. During the week ended Sunday, September 25:


1. Trick of the Dark by Val McDermid
2. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
3. Plugged by Eoin Colfer
4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
5. The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris
6. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
7. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
8. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
9. Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy by Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss
10. Noir at the Bar edited by Scott Phillips and Jedediah Ayers


1. Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson
2. Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham
3. Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
4. Everything on It by Shel Silverstein
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss
7. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
9. Floyd and the Future Frog by Paul Cook
10. Shelter by Harlan Coben

Reporting bookstores, all of which are members of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance: Left Bank Books, Main Street Books, Pudd'nhead Books, Subterranean Books, Sue's News.

[Many thanks to the booksellers!]

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