Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 2, 2012

Workman Publishing: The Reverse Coloring Book(tm) Mindful Journeys: Be Calm and Creative: The Book Has the Colors, You Draw the Lines by Kendra Norton

Aladdin Paperbacks: Return of the Dragon Slayers: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch #5) by Brandon Mull

Norton Young Readers: Children of Stardust by Edudzi Adodo

Union Square & Co.: Wait for Me by Sara Shepard

Grove Press: Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee

Peachtree Teen: Aces Wild: A Heist by Amanda DeWitt


Powell's Opening in Former Barbara's Spot

On March 1, Powell's Books in Chicago is opening a third bookstore, in the University Village space formerly occupied by a Barbara's Bookstore that closed last month, according to Chicago Journal. The site is on the University of Illinois's Chicago campus and didn't get enough traffic for Barbara's, according to its co-owner, Don Barliant (Shelf Awareness, January 10, 2012).

Powell's owner Brad Jonas, a founder of CIROBE, the huge remainders show, said, "We hope to have a pretty sizable inventory there--it'll be pretty strong," and will include used and new books. Jonas indicated that the university has been "very supportive in making sure that area has a store there."

Powell's had a store nearby and is hoping the new store "can draw back" old customers.

Berkley Books: City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita

AAP November Sales: Slower Pace of E-Growth

Net book sales in November dropped 1.8% to $856.1 million, as reported by 77 publishers to the Association of American Publishers. For 2011 through November, net sales fell 3.3% to $9.7 billion.

E-books yet again had the biggest gain, but the 65.9% increase marked a slowing of what had been triple-digit increases for most of the preceding several years. (In October, e-book sales had been up 81.2%, and in September, they rose 100.2%.) In a related note, sales of adult mass markets fell 56.4% and adult hardcovers were off 20.9%.

Results by category:





 $77.3 million


 Children's/YA hardcover

 $87.2 million


 University press paperback

 $3.3 million


 Downloaded audiobooks

 $7.2 million


 Religious books

 $56.2 million


 Higher education

 $244 million


 University press hardcover

 $4.2 million



 $50 million






 $14.5 million


 Adult paperback

 $77.8 million


 Children's/YA paperback

 $36.8 million


 Adult hardcover

 $174 million


 Adult mass market

 $20.8 million



KidsBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

Amazon to S.C. Customers: Pay Your Taxes

South Carolina residents who made purchases from Amazon in 2011 are currently receiving e-mails from the online retailer as a reminder they owe the state sales tax on those items. The Charleston Post & Courier reported that in 2009, approximately 12,000 residents out of a possible two million declared these taxes on their individual returns, and the state collected less than $1 million of an estimated $112 million owed for online purchases.

The e-mail reminders are part of the deal struck between Amazon and the state legislature that granted the company a five-year sales tax-collection exemption in exchange for investment in the state and job creation. Last fall, Amazon opened its Lexington County distribution center, and recently announced plans for a million-square-foot fulfillment center in Spartanburg.

Anthony Freeman, who owns A. Freeman Consulting and Tax Service, suggested the e-mail may have caught many residents by surprise: "Honestly, I would say that most people don't know about it. But that doesn't mean they don't have to report it."

South Carolina lawmakers required Amazon to tell its customers in the state "the amount of money for which they owe tax, but did not require Amazon to report that information to the state--a point Amazon notes in its e-mails to customers," the Post & Courier wrote.

Obituary Note: Wislawa Szymborska

Polish poet and Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, "whose simple words and playful verse plucked threads of irony and empathy out of life," died yesterday, the Washington Post reported. She was 88.

When Szymborska was honored with the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature, the award committee's citation called her the "Mozart of poetry," mixing the elegance of language with "the fury of Beethoven" and tackling serious subjects with humor, the Post noted.

From "Nothing Twice":

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.


Winter Institute 7: Social Media

What a difference a year makes. While booksellers may not feel like social media masters just yet, a majority of those in attendance at a packed social media session at the Winter Institute were at least in the game.

Examining the social media experience in the world of books were author John Green (whose The Fault in Our Stars, just published by Dutton, claimed the #1 spot on both the IndieBound and New York Times lists), and booksellers Andrea Vuleta of Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop in La Verne, Calif., and Ann Seaton from Hicklebee's in San Jose, Calif.

American Booksellers Association content officer Dan Cullen began the session by citing pertinent statistics from PEW Research. "Sixty-five percent of adult Internet users use social media," he said. "Fifty percent of all Americans use social media." In fact, the only segment of the population for which half of its population were not using social media is those 65 years old and older. Still, "Wired seniors are growing in usage the most," said Cullen, who quoted James Joyce's Finnegans Wake: "Here comes everybody."

A quick poll of the room showed that nearly everyone present uses Facebook and Twitter, a majority use Linked In, and a handful use Tumblr and Google+. "The static web is dying so fast," said Green, who thinks within a year or two social media will dominate the Internet. "Tumblr is way better than all of the other ones," he said.

Instead of trying to sell his latest book with social media, Green said he uses social media to build a community. "I included my community in the process," he said--sharing the good and the not-so-good on the way to book publication.

For Vuleta at Mrs. Nelson's, the social media puzzle began to take shape when she started to challenge her staff to get involved. "To say to someone, 'You're my Twitter person,' just doesn't work," she explained, "because your client base may not love one person."

Twitter can lead to surprising results. This past fall, Oliver Jeffers did an event for Stuck (Philomel) at Mrs. Nelson's and was so taken with the idea that bestselling author Chris Van Allsburg would be at the store soon that he bought copies of Van Allsburg's books, including his most recent, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), for him to sign. Vuleta tweeted and updated the store's Facebook page about it. The result: the store sold 38 Van Allsburg books through Twitter and 11 though Facebook. "[Social media] has a life of its own, and its own energy, if you just keep going," said Vuleta.

Seaton said a local blogger has helped Hicklebee's step up its social media efforts. "She wants us on Tumblr as well," said Seaton, who admitted the store is focused more on Facebook at the moment. "If you have an IndieBound website, you can post directly from there."

One of the first questions from booksellers concerned how to manage staff on social media. "You have to trust and have the right people," said Vuleta. At Mrs. Nelson's, a range of staffers post, including a 76-year-old, and Vuleta said most customers can discern who is posting. "Staff members have their own little following," she added, comparing the situation with customers who follow shelf talkers by their favorite staff members.

The panelists agreed that lightening up on the exactness of a post helps. The ease of Twitter is a generational thing--and to use it well, Cullen suggested that people take a look at how younger people are communicating. "I compose a post," said Cullen. "The way they are using it is actually truer to the experience of the medium."

The ability to be more relaxed and human work to the indie bookseller advantage on social media. As Green pointed out, corporations like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are unable to produce an "authentic voice" for social media. "Having a soul is one of the most important tings in social media and on the Internet," he said. "We don't have a bunch of lawyers telling us what to say." --Bridget Kinsella



Image of the Day: Film Night at Boswell Book Co.

On Monday night, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis., hosted an event for Steve Boman (c.), author of Film School: The True Story of a Midwestern Family Man Who Went to the World's Most Famous Film School, Fell Flat on His Face, Had a Stroke, and Sold a Television Series to CBS (BenBella Books). In the audience were two stars of the documentary American Movie: The Making of Northwestern: film director Mark Borchardt (r.), one of the store's regular customers, as well as musician Mike Schank.


B&N Recommends Defending Jacob

Barnes & Noble's latest Recommends title is Defending Jacob by William Landay (Delacorte Press), which was published yesterday.

Among B&N booksellers who helped choose the book, Jessica Valeske of Tigard, Ore., said, "Defending Jacob is exactly the sort of book you can’t help but want to talk about once you’ve finished. It is a smart, well-written, deeply haunting tale of family and tragedy that lingers with you."

B&N called the book "equal parts legal drama and the story of a family in crisis," as well as a "genre-busting, page-turning, conversation-starting novel that captivated our booksellers. Assistant D.A. Andy Barber is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters the New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a classmate. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son. Andy will face a trial of his own--between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive."

App of the Day: My Artist's Way Toolkit & App

Tarcher/Penguin has launched a digital/mobile product called My Artist's Way Toolkit & App that is based on Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, which has sold more than two million copies in North America. Published 20 years ago, the book has the premise that everyone has creative potential that can be unlocked with various strategies and tools--which lend themselves to an interactive platform. As the company put it, the toolkit is "designed for a new generation of creatives, professionals and aspiring artists who are more likely to leave home armed with an iPhone or laptop than a journal."

The toolkit is built on a web platform that refreshes with daily inspirations and has an interactive notebook and weekly exercises and activities from Cameron's library and more. The cost is $4.99 a month or $3.99 a month with a one-year subscription. The platform developed for My Artist's Way likely will be used for other Penguin works.

"The Artist's Way is not a book that you simply read," said Tarcher/Penguin publisher Joel Fotinos. "It's a program that you engage with. You complete exercises, record your stream-of-consciousness thoughts, and actively seek inspiration in the outside world. The My Artist's Way Toolkit & App is the perfect companion since it gives readers the digital tools to do all of these activities wherever they are."

Columbia Distributing Hong Kong University Press

Effective immediately, Columbia University Press is the exclusive distributor for Hong Kong University Press in North America. The two presses publish in some overlapping and complementary fields, including Asian Studies, Film Studies, history, politics, literature and economics.

Founded in 1956, Hong Kong University Press publishes nearly 60 new titles a year. It was previously distributed in North America by the University of Washington Press.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Power Concedes Nothing

Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Connie Rice, author of Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones (Scribner, $26, 9781416575009).


TV: Game Change Trailer; Scruples

HBO has released a full-length trailer for Game Change, directed by Jay Roach and based on the book Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilman and Mark Halperin. The project stars Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin, Ed Harris as John McCain and Woody Harrelson as McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt. It premieres March 10.


ABC has greenlighted a one-hour pilot episode of Scruples, adapted from the 1978 bestselling novel by Judith Krantz. Actress Natalie Portman will serve as one of the executive producers, as will the author's son, Tony Krantz, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted that the novel had an earlier "small screen turn as a miniseries starring Lindsay Wagner back in 1980."

This Weekend on Book TV: Deborah Scroggins

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 4

8 a.m. Ashraf Khalil talks about his book Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation (St. Martin's, $26.99, 9781250006691). (Re-airs Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 2 a.m.)

10 a.m. Greg Palast, author of Vultures' Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525952077), examines the BP oil spill. (Re-airs Saturday at 9 p.m., Sunday at 1 a.m. & 10 p.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

7 p.m. David Pietrusza presents his book 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America (Union Square Press, $24.95, 9781402767487). (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m. and 4 p.m.)

8 p.m. Sally Bedell Smith discusses her book Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch (Random House, $30, 9781400067893). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Former Pakistan ambassador to the U.K. Akbar Ahmed interviews Deborah Scroggins, author of Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror--The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui (Harper, $27.99, 9780060898977). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. At an event hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Thomas Frank talks about his book Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right (Metropolitan Books, $25, 9780805093698). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.)

Sunday, February 5

4 a.m. A discussion of The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (PublicAffairs, $29.99, 9781610390781) with Kati Marton, who wrote the introduction, and Strobe Talbott, one of the contributors. (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.)

12 p.m. In Depth. Mark Steyn, author most recently of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (Regnery, $29.95, 9781596981003), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: B&N Discover Great New Writers Finalists

The finalists for Barnes & Noble's 2011 Discover Great New Writers Awards are:

Volt by Alan Heathcock (Graywolf Press)
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Untouchable by Scott O'Connor (Tyrus Books/F+W Media)
Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo (Free Press)
[sic] by Joshua Cody (Norton)
Kosher Chinese by Michael Levy (Holt)

Winners receive a $10,000 prize and a full year of additional promotion from Barnes & Noble. Second-place finalists receive $5,000, and third-place finalists, $2,500. The winners will be announced March 7.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday and Wednesday, February 7 and 8:

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories by Nathan Englander (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307958709) contains eight pieces of short fiction.

Kill Shot by Vince Flynn (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, $27.99, 9781416595205) is the latest thriller featuring CIA assassin Mitch Rapp.

Left for Dead by J.A. Jance (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781451628586) gives Ali Reynolds two new mysteries, both seemingly involving the Mexican drug trade.

Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are by Sebastian Seung (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547508184) argues that personality is the result of how brain cells are connected.

Hilarity Ensues by Tucker Max (Blue Heeler Books, $25.99, 9781451669039) concludes the "fratire" trilogy begun with I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (Random House, $27, 9781400067558) explores the Annawadi slum near Mumbai's airport and luxury hotels.

Da Vinci's Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image by Toby Lester (Free Press, $26.99, 9781439189238) tells the story of Da Vinci's iconic Vitruvian Man.

The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right by Arthur Goldwag (Pantheon, $27.95, 9780307379696) chronicles the history of hatred and conspiratorial hysteria in America--and how is still exists today.

Wild Thing by Josh Bazell (Reagan Arthur, $25.99, 9780316032193) continues the story of Dr. Peter Brown, aka former mob hitman Pietro Brnwa.

Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life by Natalie Dykstra (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780618873852) is a biography of Henry Adams' wife, a privileged and popular woman who killed herself in 1885.

Now in paperback

The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Kate Egan (Scholastic, $18.99, 9780545422901).

The Hunger Games Tribute Guide by Emily Seife (Scholastic, $7.99, 9780545457828).

Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister (Norton, $15.95, 9780393341294), which was the subject of a long Shelf Awareness tribute last year.


Book Review

Review: Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974

Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974 by Bill Morgan, editor (Ecco Press, $35 hardcover, 9780061711428, February 2012)

Rub Out the Words, published 18 years after the first volume of William S. Burrough's correspondence, picks up right where its predecessor left off--the very next day, in fact. It's 1959, a few months after the European publication of Naked Lunch, and though Burroughs is still in touch with Allen Ginsberg, he's also beginning to forge relationships with, as editor Bill Morgan (who also edited the correspondence of Ginsberg, Kerouac and others) explains, "a new coterie of creative people who were not related to the Beat Generation."

Chief among these was Brion Gysin, a writer and artist who introduced Burroughs to the "cut-up" technique of breaking down written works into new sequences, which would increasingly shape his writing over the next decade. Burroughs would enthusiastically describe the "cut-up" method in letters to his friends, encouraging them to use it as well. While he saw the technique as cutting edge, though, he didn't always view it as avant-garde: in one letter to Gysin, he makes a lengthy pitch for a character sketch based on the 12th-century mystic Hassan i Sabbah intended to be sold to Reader's Digest. Another literary brainstorm from the same period involves a scenario for a novel that he and Gysin could co-write with Paul Bowles, Lawrence Durrell and Graham Greene; then there was the attempt to make a film of Naked Lunch, offering the lead to James Taylor....

Morgan (The Typewriter Is Holy) maintains a minimal presence. Before the letters begin, he offers a timeline laying out key events in Burroughs's life during this 15-year period; after that, he limits himself to footnotes identifying people and art works and an occasional interstitial elaboration of biographical context. Otherwise, it's one pure dose of Burroughs's voice after another. Certain themes emerge: Burroughs was a vocal advocate of using apomorphine as a treatment for drug addiction, for example, writing to doctors and magazine editors calling for further research into its capabilities. He also fought persistently against his public reputation as a drug addict, which among other things prevented him from obtaining a permanent visa to the United Kingdom. "Under no circumstances would I use any of these drugs at the present time or advise anyone else to do so," he wrote in 1966, rejecting the idea that he endorsed either hallucinogenic drugs or heroin. "I am very tired of having opinions arbitrarily attributed to me which I neither entertain nor express."

Though the letters will likely be recognized first and foremost for their literary significance, Rub Out the Words also offers us intimate glimpses of Burroughs's personality. It isn't always pleasant--Gysin in particular could bring out his misogynistic streak--but when he expresses frustration over his son's accelerating drug addiction or marvels at the explosion of gay porn movies being freely shown in Times Square by the early 1970s, readers are reminded of the real life obscured by Burroughs's literary iconography. Though expensive, the collection offers insight into Burroughs's life and art not available anywhere else. --Ron Hogan

Shelf Talker: A selection of letters representing one of the most fertile periods of Burroughs's career, including his ambivalent research into Scientology's personal development techniques to spur creativity.


KidsBuzz: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova
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