Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Workman Publishing: Meltdown: Discover Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Learn What You Can Do to Save Them by Anita Sanchez, illustrated by Lily Padula

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Graphix: The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Joanna Cacao

Yen on: Dark Souls: Masque of Vindication by Michael Stackpole

Grove Press: A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Stories by Leonard Cohen

Apollo Publishers: Why Not?: Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah by Mark Schiff

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Quotation of the Day

The Strand's Advice to B&N: Staff Picks

"I would say that they should go after recommendations. That's what we're doing--at the Strand, you walk in the store and we have such educated book lovers, almost everybody's majored in literature at the Strand. I want Barnes & Noble to stay afloat, because I want more people to read books, whether they're buying them from the Strand or from anywhere. That would make me happy."

--Nancy Bass Wyden, co-owner of the Strand Book Store in New York City, in an interview on APR's Marketplace program, responding to the question: "What would your advice be to Barnes & Noble to stay afloat?"


Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas


B&N's Nook Tablet: E-Battle Escalates

The tablet wars are now officially underway: the debut of Amazon's Kindle Fire is imminent and yesterday Barnes & Noble introduced its highly anticipated, $249 Nook Tablet, which will be in stores next week. B&N also dropped prices on the Nook Color ($199) and Nook Simple Touch ($99).

In addition to its e-reading capabilities, the new tablet offers several features that had been predicted by analysts, including access to entertainment options (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and others), plus a collection of apps, Web browsing and e-mail.

"The Nook Tablet delivers everything Barnes & Noble needs to deliver," analyst Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research told the Wall Street Journal. "While some consumers will compare the technical specs and make a decision, more will choose on the basis of the brand with which they identify." Epps projected that B&N will sell 1.5 million to two million Nook Tablets through January 31, with Amazon selling twice that many Kindle Fire tablets.

During the launch event, B&N CEO William Lynch stated that the retailer has sold "millions" of Nooks, TechCrunch noted, and he took some direct shots at Amazon. According to Mashable's Lance Ulanoff, Lynch "essentially declared war on Amazon's soon-to-ship Kindle Fire tablet." Lynch described the Kindle Fire as "a vending machine for Amazon services." Lynch also "repeatedly highlighted consumers' ability to walk into any Barnes & Noble store for product support. 'Where do you go for support for the Kindle Fire?' asked Lynch. 'To Seattle?' "

In Wired, Tim Carmody observed that "the markets for Apple, Amazon and B&N can coexist up to a point because they appeal to different segments. Barnes & Noble has to maintain its close connection with its customers while still offering additional features to maintain broad parity. But you have to say they're underdogs to win a high-tech shooting war. Better tech specs will only help Barnes & Noble fight off Amazon for so long. Ultimately, they have to make the bet that its rich local approach, from stores to storage, will resonate with customers better than Amazon's blitzkrieg from the cloud."

CNet's Scott Stein said it was time to consider a melding of print and digital formats: "Having just come from the unveiling of the latest Nook e-readers, I'm feeling more than ever that the future of reading will come in tablet form. I'm already 'that guy': I read all my latest books on my iPad via iBooks or the Kindle app. And yet, there's something big--something obvious--that e-readers are missing.... Why can't I buy a book and get the e-version as well? How much can that digital version cost? I'm never going to buy a second copy of that book. And, if I don't get that digital version, I'm not buying the physical copy. I just won't.... So, publishers, authors, anybody: give me some assistance. I don't need another e-reader. I need a way to fuse my physical books and my digital ones."

Soho Crime: Blown by the Same Wind (Cold Storage Novel) by John Straley

Copperfield's Move in Santa Rosa

Copperfield's Books has closed its Santa Rosa, Calif., store and will re-open in its new location this Friday, November 11. Copperfield's has eight stores in Sonoma and Napa counties.

The new, smaller store is located at 775 Village Court in Santa Rosa. The Press Democrat said that a grand opening celebration will be held November 30. The bookstore had announced the move in July, saying its lease was running out and it could not afford the landlord's proposed rent hike.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

Two Stores Make the Indie Case

Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., where a Books-A-Million opened last Friday, has this message for customers and friends: "If you like independent bookstores and what they do for you and what they represent, and you have one or more near you, buy books from them whenever you can."

And the store isn't looking for pity purchases: "Here's the only argument that really makes sense," owner Michael Herrmann wrote. "We'll be working every day to make sure that Gibson's is the best bookstore in Concord; we'll convince you, and we'll involve you in making us better, so you'll shop here and make a point of keeping us around."

One of its arguments is nicely personal:

"Our people know books. John is a five-time Jeopardy champion and a lover of history and politics. Paul, the former manager of Concord's Borders, is a huge fan of poetry and literary prose. Sandy loves good commercial fiction and nature writing. Taphi is into sci-fi and fantasy and graphic novels. Jim likes YA fiction--which is appropriate for a teacher! I crack a book every once in a while myself. And the list goes on."


Gayle Shanks, co-owner of Changing Hands, Tempe, Ariz., wrote an open letter to customers and others that makes a strong, thoughtful case for shopping at independents this season. She wrote in part:

"Indie stores like Changing Hands have in some ways become showrooms for books. We read, we recommend, we display staff picks, we advertise and promote, we interact one-on-one to match the right book with the right person, and we host hundreds of author events every year. Sadly, our sales don't always reflect our efforts. Luckily, we generate a lot of local publicity for books and author events--in local newspapers, blogs, and magazines, and on radio programs and morning television. But all too often the benefits of that hard work go to Amazon and the chain bookstores. This is not unique to Changing Hands. Millions of readers learn about books from enthusiastic indie bookstores across the country, then buy elsewhere, often resulting in our publisher partners lamenting the diminishing return they get from independent booksellers, when in fact the spike in online and chain store sales is frequently attributable to our collective nationwide efforts."

The promised: "We'll give you the best shopping experience imaginable, the most knowledgeable staff, and in our case, a selection of books and gifts so carefully chosen that browsing becomes pure pleasure, buying an act of affirmation."

Weiser Books: Hearth and Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit by Jennie Blonde


Image of the Day: Wrapped in Cabin Fever

The Bank Street Bookstore at West 112th Street and Broadway in Manhattan is one of six stores wrapped in honor of the Sixth Wimpy Kid Book (Cabin Fever) and its six million-copy first printing. The other stores are Anderson's in Naperville, Ill.; Children's Book World. Haverford, Pa.; Children's Book World, Los Angeles, Calif.; the Bookstore in the Grove, Miami, Fla.; and One More Page Books, Arlington, Va. "It's all so fun," said Jason Wells, executive director of publicity and marketing for Abrams Books for Young Readers. "I wish we could have wrapped 6,666!"


Harper Muse: When We Had Wings: A Story of the Angels of Bataan by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, and Susan Meissner

Food for Thought Turns 35

Congratulations to the Food for Thought Books Collective, Amherst, Mass., which is celebrating its 35th anniversary Saturday, November 12, with readings, toasts and a community feast from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and a dance party from 8:30 to midnight.

The collective is dedicated to the dissemination of radical and progressive media in all its forms and stands in solidarity with all struggles for justice, peace and equality and allies itself with all peoples resisting violence and oppression. "We seek to provide a space where voices, people and ideas silenced and ignored by the mainstream media are given room to be heard, to be seen, to be supported and to be realized," Food for Thought says. "We see ourselves as a hub for radical and progressive exchange and aim to provide a physical space in the community that is grounded in liberation for all."

Broadleaf Books: Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us by Mark Yaconelli

Demand on Porter Square Books

Nice mention: Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., is cited by Adrian Slywotzky in his new book, Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want It (Crown Business), as a company that takes "the individual-customer based approach.... Like Fresh Pond Market, their store has become a platform offering a wide array of products that can be organized and configured around customers' varying, ever-changing needs."

Amazon Reinventing the Wheel?

In an amusing poke at media and corporate hyperbole, Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd included these little gems:

USDA Prime: announced a new program for its Prime members: Kindle e-books that can be "borrowed" at no additional cost. Rumor is that they might print some of the books and make them available in centralized lending stations all around the country. It's all on hold while they try to figure out what to call the places.

Next Month: Amazon introduces innovative new book-title organization system, named after some guy named "Dewey."

Egmont's Pocock Returning to England

Douglas Pocock, executive v-p and managing director of Egmont USA, who has spent four years in the U.S. launching the house, is returning to England for family reasons. Egmont remains committed to its business in the U.S., which includes a team of eight people and a publishing program of middle grade and YA fiction.

Effective immediately, Cally Poplak, managing director of Egmont Press, has taken over management of the U.S. business from London.


Weber Moves Up at Random House

Jeff Weber has been named v-p, director, online and digital sales, at Random House. He has held multiple sales and digital business development positions with the company since 2001.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stephen King on Morning Joe

Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Stephen King, author of 11/22/63 (Scribner, $35, 9781451627282).


Tomorrow on Ellen: Taye Diggs, author of Chocolate Me! (Feiwel & Friends, $16.99, 9780312603267).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Robert Massie, author of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Random House, $35, 9780679456728).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: James Martin, author of Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062024268).

Movie Projects: The Marriage Plot; Where's Waldo?; American Wife

"Using his own money," producer Scott Rudin (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) acquired the film rights to The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, reported.

The New York Observer wondered: "So who will play which part? James Franco as Leonard Bankhead, right? And Jeffrey Eugenides' vest as Mitchell."


MGM has acquired the film rights to Classic Media's Where's Waldo? character for a live-action family adventure, reported. Classic Media will produce the project for MGM.

"We are thrilled to be bringing the search for Waldo to the big screen," said Jonathan Glickman, MGM's motion picture group president. "Along with our partners at Classic Media, we look forward to making a worldwide adventure that will appeal to 'Where's Waldo?' fans of all ages."


Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia; The Painted Veil) will adapt Curtis Sittenfeld's bestselling novel American Wife. reported that the project "is being funded by Red Crown Productions, whose Daniel Crown and Daniela Taplin Lundberg are producing with Marissa McMahon's Kamala Films." Red Crown recently finished production of another adaptation, Henry James's What Maisie Knew with Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard.

Movie Casting: Paradise Lost

Rufus Sewell has joined the cast of Paradise Lost, the big screen adaptation of John Milton's classic poem, directed by Alex Proyas. Variety reported that Sewell will play "Samael, Lucifer's partisan who urges him to start the rebellion in Heaven." The "male-dominated ensemble" also includes Bradley Cooper, Ben Walker, Casey Affleck, Sam Reid, Djimon Hounsou, as well as Diego Boneta and Camilla Belle, who will play Adam and Eve.

Books & Authors

Awards: Galaxy; Impac Dublin Longlist

Category winners for the 2011 Galaxy National Book Awards included Alan Hollinghurst, who did not make this year's Man Booker shortlist but was named Waterstone's U.K. Author of the Year for his novel The Stranger's Child. The Guardian noted that an "academy of 750 book industry experts voted for Hollinghurst as their writer of the year, ahead of Booker winner Julian Barnes and his short novel A Sense of an Ending and Carol Birch's Booker-shortlisted Jamrach's Menagerie."

The Galaxy awards are intended to recognize titles "that boast both wide popular appeal and critical acclaim." Public voting is now open for the book of the year from the 11 category winners. The online polls close December 20, and a winner will be named shortly thereafter. You can find a complete list of this year's Galaxy award category winners here.


The longlist for the €100,000 (US$137,912) Impac Dublin Literary Award, presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English, features 147 titles nominated by libraries in 122 cities and 45 countries worldwide, and includes 34 titles in translation, spanning 18 languages, as well as 31 first novels. The Impac Dublin shortlist will be announced April 12 and the winner on June 13.

Book Review

Review: Shiny Objects

Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don't Have in Search of Happiness We Can't Buy by James A. Roberts (HarperOne, $25.99 hardcover, 9780062093608, November 2011)

The Beatles may have sold us on the notion that money can't buy us love, but what about happiness? In Shiny Objects, veteran marketer and professor of consumer behavior James A. Roberts pulls back the curtain on advertising, the American Dream and contemporary consumerism in an attempt to encourage reflection on spending habits and a return to non-material pursuits.

Two parts sociology and one part self-help, Shiny Objects contains a thorough review of the literature related to spending and happiness. Roberts calls attention to the deep contradiction between Americans' stated belief that material possessions cannot make us happy and the undeniable fact that we continue to buy as if they will. Additionally, numerous studies indicate that happiness is largely biologically determined--that we inherit it rather than acquire it--so though we may feel a boost in happiness immediately after a purchase, it is short-lived. We quickly adapt to the "new normal" and begin looking for the next acquisition and the next temporary bump. Roberts calls this the "treadmill of consumption," and he cites evidence that pursuit of material possessions (and the long hours of work and stress required to pay for them) is inversely related to well-being, self-acceptance, personal relationships, community involvement and other indicators of social, psychological and physical health. In fact, the primary difference between happy people and unhappy people is not income, homeownership or the number of gadgets owned, but social relationships. Accordingly, Roberts encourages readers to check their consumer behaviors and rededicate themselves to pursuing relationships and avocations that can lead to genuine happiness, and he provides quizzes, checklists and basic cognitive-behavior tools to help them do so.

But Shiny Objects is about more than research. Roberts reveals marketing techniques and ploys in hopes that informed consumers will be less likely to fall prey to them, and he explores the social models that prop up our materialistic values, from the American Dream to the increasingly popular prosperity gospel, to the product placement that is rampant in entertainment (there are 205 product placements in the average episode of The Biggest Loser!). Giving readers a wealth of information to parse, Roberts--who cannot seem to decide if he is a theorist, a therapist or both--offers an intellectual approach to an emotionally charged subject and suggests concrete changes readers can effect in their lives and environments to escape from materialism and build lives with real meaning. --Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Shelf Talker: An intellectual approach to an emotionally charged subject--consumerism--with suggestions on how to escape materialism and build a life with real meaning.


AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
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