Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thank You Booksellers For Making Our Award-Winning Books a Success!

St. Martin's Press: Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Franz

Walker Books: The Good Hawk (Shadow Skye, Book One) by Joseph Elliott

Tor Books: Deal with the Devil: A Mercenary Librarians Novel by Kit Rocha


Lawyer to DoJ: Where Are the Public Comments?

The June 25 deadline for the Department of Justice to publish the letters it has received regarding the e-book pricing settlement on its website has passed. This week Bob Kohn, an attorney and CEO of Royalty Share "who previously wrote a legal brief in support of Apple and the publishers (but does not work for any of the parties involved)," sent Judge Denise Cote a letter "stating that the DoJ's failure to make the letters available to the public--and to provide its response to those comments--on time violates federal antitrust rules," paidContent reported, noting that the proposed final judgment on the settlement is set for August 3.

"The DoJ has told the Court that it has received hundreds of pages of hundreds of comments," wrote Kohn. "The public had a statutory right to see those comments 14 days ago. When a member of the public fails to meet the statutory deadline for submitting comments under the Tunney Act, there are consequences: participation by matter of right becomes participation at the Court's reasonable discretion. There should be no less serious consequences when the government fails to meet its statutory deadlines."

Regarding the DoJ's tardiness in filing its response to the public comments, Kohn wrote: "I respectfully ask the Court to order the DoJ to publish the comments by Friday, July 13 and to publish their response to the comments by July 27 (a full 7 days prior to the date its motion for entry of  judgment is due). In addition, the Court should order such other relief as would befit the Justice Department's flagrant noncompliance with federal law."
Mark Ryan, an attorney for the DoJ, responded to Kohn's questions with a letter to the judge in which he said "more than 800 comments... relating to the proposed consent judgment" had been received and "as many as half" of those "arrived within a few days or after the comment deadline" of June 25, making it impossible to publish them online immediately, paidContent wrote. He contended the department is "working expeditiously" to make the comments available sometime around July 20, and the department's responses will be published simultaneously. Ryan claims that on April 18, the DoJ requested and was granted "additional time to prepare and file our submission."

Kohn countered that he can find no record of the DOJ's extension request: "The government had an opportunity to seek more time, but it didn't. It can't have it both ways: that is, ask the court to cut off the public's right to submit comments on June 25, and then file and publish the comments at its own convenience on its own schedule."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Farhad Manjoo on Amazon's 'New Game'

Slate columnist Farhad Manjoo offered some provocative commentary on this week's investigative piece in the Financial Times regarding Amazon's strategy of opening many more warehouses in highly populated areas to provide faster delivery services.

By agreeing to pay sales taxes, Amazon now "has a new game" with a goal "to get stuff to you immediately--as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy," Manjoo wrote, adding: "It's hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed."

Manjoo concluded: "Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn't look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you'd always go with the 'instant gratification' of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn't really 'instant'--it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that's even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?"

Running Press: Thank You! Now on Instagram!

Pottermore: Chamber of Secrets Unlocked

The initial chapters of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are now open for exploration on Pottermore. The book is being launched in three installments, with the next one due to be unveiled "in the coming weeks," according to the Pottermore Insider blog, which noted: "There's plenty to discover and enjoy. Read more exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling; view The Burrow for the first time and de-gnome the garden. Collect your second-year shopping list, find more Galleons and visit Diagon Alley, where all Pottermore students can now purchase their second-year school books."

BINC: Double Your Donation with PRH

She Writes Launches 'Hybrid' Press

She Writes, the women's online writing network with approximately 20,000 members, has launched She Writes Press, "which it calls a hybrid between traditional and self-publishing models," paidContent reported. Brooke Warner, former executive editor of Seal Press, is the publisher.

"She Writes Press is not a platform for writers who can't make it in the 'real world of publishing,' " said She Writes founder Kamy Wicoff. "It's for writers searching for a model that actually makes sense in a radically changed publishing landscape."

Warner commented: "We are in our infancy at this stage of the game, but both of us understand publishing and our contacts run deep. We will advocate for our authors just as traditional presses advocate for theirs."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Tender Thing by Emily Neuberger

Lucky Friday the 13th: Blue Ridge Books Turns Five

Congratulations to Blue Ridge Books, Waynesville, N.C., which will celebrate its fifth anniversary tomorrow on Friday the 13th. As fate would have it, Jo Gilley and Allison Best held the grand opening for their shop on Friday, July 13, 2007. Celebration plans this weekend include a 13% off all in-stock books sale as well as a full schedule of events.


Image of the Day: The Great Escape Takes the Cake

On Tuesday, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich., hosted a launch party for The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Morrow). The book, told from the point of view of Lucy Jorik, continues the story told in Call Me Irresistible, in which Lucy flees her wedding to Mr. Irresistible, Ted Beaudine. The store commemorated the party with this yummy-looking non-wedding cake.


Lexicon Needed for 'Everyday Bookselling Vexations'

What's the word for "when you're looking for a book for a customer and you can't see it because it's on display face-out?"

On his Paper Over Board blog, university press book sales rep John Eklund observed: "One of the brainstorms that I will never actually get around to executing is inventing a glossary of terms for common bookselling phenomena which have no shared vocabulary."

Inspired by hearing a bookseller recently use the term "orphans," Eklund began considering the "fluid exchange of professional banter" that is the book trade's lifeblood: "If someone says 'the publisher was OS indef so I put it on wholesaler TBO, and it eventually came after cascading three times,' everyone will get it."

But what about the "familiar phenomena--about which only a bookseller would care--that occur frequently enough in the bookstore that it seems to me they have earned descriptors of their own?" Eklund offered a number of examples before concluding: "Any experienced bookseller could think of more examples. Perhaps, in the spirit of DARE, the Dictionary of American Regional English, there could be local accents and slang in our new lexicon. And remember, we are book people so we are polite. Suggestions welcome!"

Bookstore Wedding Video of the Day: Bookmans Mesa

Daphne and Andrew, loyal customers of the Bookmans Entertainment Exchange store in Mesa, Ariz., recently walked down the book-lined aisles for their wedding ceremony. The couple met in the store, and the Bookmans family wished them "a lifetime of happiness and dragon slaying. Also, the cake is a must-see."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Yoko Ono & Sean Lennon on Jimmy Fallon

Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Adam Perry Lang, author of Charred & Scruffed (Artisan, $24.95, 9781579654658).


Tomorrow morning on Live with Kelly: Kristen Johnston, author of Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster (Gallery, $25, 9781451635058).


Tomorrow on C-SPAN's Washington Journal: James Carville, co-author of It's the Middle Class, Stupid! (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399160394).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Marcus Samuelsson, author of Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Random House, $27, 9780385342605).


Tomorrow night on ABC's 20/20: Koren Zailckas, author of Fury: A Memoir (Viking, $25.95, 9780670022304).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, authors of An Invisible Flower (Chronicle, $16.95, 9781452109114).

Movie Projects: Big Screen Color for Fifty Shades of Grey

Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced that Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will team up for a film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that both producers "are known for their work on book adaptations. De Luca and Brunetti collaborated with producer Scott Rudin on The Social Network, based on the nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires. De Luca also produced last year's hit baseball movie Moneyball."

"At its core, Fifty Shades of Grey is a complex love story, requiring a delicate and sophisticated hand to bring it to the big screen," said Universal co-chairman Donna Langley. "Mike and Dana's credits more than exemplify what we need in creative partners, and we're glad to have them as part of our team."

The Guardian noted the "hiring suggests studio Universal, which bought the rights to E.L. James's bestselling knee-trembler for $5 million in March, is taking the film version very seriously indeed."


This Weekend on Book TV: Hotels, Hospitals and Jails

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, July 14
5 p.m. Anthony Swofford, author of Hotels, Hospitals and Jails: A Memoir (Twelve, $26.99, 9781455506736), chronicles his life since leaving the military. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7 p.m. At an event hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash., Kristen Iversen talks about her book Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (Crown, $25, 9780307955630). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

8 p.m. Andrew Blum presents his book Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet (Ecco, $26.99, 9780061994937). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m.)

9 p.m. Ed Rendell discusses his book A Nation of Wusses: How America's Lost the Guts to Make Us Great (Wiley, $25.95, 9781118279052). (Re-airs Sunday at 2:45 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Angela Stent interviews Peter Collier, author of Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick (Encounter Books, $25.99, 9781594036040). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. & 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. At an event hosted by Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., E.J. Dionne Jr. talks about his book Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (Bloomsbury USA, $27, 9781608192014). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:45 a.m.)

Sunday, July 15
7:45 p.m. James K. Galbraith presents his book Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780199855650). (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

11 p.m. Gary Weiss discusses his book Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul (St. Martin's, $24.99, 9780312590734). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

Books & Authors

Award: Brandford Boase for Children's Debut Novel

Annabel Pitcher has won the £1,000 (US$1,550) Branford Boase award, which recognizes the most outstanding debut novel for children, for My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, the Guardian reported. Chair of judges Julia Eccleshare said the jury felt the winner was "a practically perfect" novel. "It has been an exceptionally strong year for debut novels, and any of the seven books on the shortlist would have made a worthy winner," she observed, adding that the author's "writing is excellent, the difficult premise is handled with great skill, and Pitcher absolutely captures the voice of 10-year-old Jamie."

Book Review

Review: How to Be a Woman

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (Harper Perennial, $15.99 paperback, 9780062124296, July 17, 2012)

One of the best developments in memoir is the rise of books in which witty and wise women examine their lives with unladylike candor. British journalist Caitlin Moran's memoir-manifesto How to Be a Woman is as funny and careerist as Tina Fey's Bossypants, as divulging as Ayelet Waldman's Bad Mother and as earthy as Cheryl Strayed's Wild (maybe even earthier--despite the Judy Blume-ish title, How to Be a Woman is not a book for young teens).

In chatty chapters that resemble newspaper essays (the author is a TV critic and columnist at the Times of London), Moran blends self-deprecating autobiographical anecdotes with earnest meditations on the parlous state of modern feminism. Her prescription for feminism's renovation is de-intellectualized and universally inclusive, as she rails against a list of lamentables ranging from laddish sexism in the workplace to the economic folly of young women who adopt porn-inspired feminine depilation trends (e.g., "Hollywood" waxing). Rakishly personal and uninhibited, How to Be a Woman's treatment of feminism is down-the-pub clever, not ivory-tower rarified, and apart from a few references to Germaine Greer, it takes the history of the women's movement for granted.

How to Be a Woman garners its hot topics from Moran's life, beginning with her pitiable 13th birthday and her simultaneously underinformed and privacy-free adolescence as the eldest in a big home-schooled family. An early gem recounts her reporting début as a 16-year-old Wolverhampton wunderkind in the all-male London newsroom of Melody Maker: Moran's descriptions of her efforts to fit in are both funny-awkward and inspiring. In spite of the chronological timeline, How to Be a Woman's structure is more thematic than autobiographical, with chapters that transition quickly from the personal to the essayistic on everything from body image to weddings to Lady Gaga, with the exception of some intensely intimate accounts of childbirth and an abortion. The book culminates with Moran's mature attitudes toward love, motherhood, work and family.

Moran's writing in How to Be a Woman belies the late Christopher Hitchens's old saw about unfunny women. Her one-liners and set-pieces are offhand, mischievous without being mean, and occasionally hilariously rude. Some bring out the guffaws and the shakes, and put to rest forever the idea that feminists don't have a sense of humor. --Holloway McCandless, blogger at Litagogo: A Guide to Free Literary Podcasts

Shelf Talker: A British journalist's personal, funny and occasionally ribald approach to modern feminism.

Deeper Understanding

Fireside Books and Jane Laclergue: An Appreciation

Jim Lynch, author of Truth Like the Sun and two other novels, who lives in Olympia, Wash., writes:

Jane Laclergue was the first person I ever introduced myself to as an author. In 2005, I popped into her tiny Fireside Bookstore in Olympia, Wash., to tell her nervously that my first novel was coming out soon and that it was set around here and that I lived nearby.

She glanced at her computer and told me she'd ordered two copies, which she said was plenty, considering how difficult it is to sell hardbacks. I strolled out thinking, Wow, this is going to be hard. But Jane read The Highest Tide that night, called me the next day and started ordering it by the case.

A few months later, she sent me a note congratulating me: The Highest Tide was already Fireside's all-time bestseller--having just surpassed the children's book The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts.

Over the next seven years, it felt that we were almost in business together, until she announced a couple weeks ago that Fireside was closing and that her 25-year run of bookselling was coming to an end this month.

I think most authors see indie booksellers as their saintly allies in a daunting enterprise. But some of them, especially local ones we see regularly and who stick with us through multiple books, begin to feel like accomplices and friends and closer to us perhaps than our distant agents, editors and publicists.

Jane always stacked my books front and center on the table so that you couldn't miss them when you entered her bookstore, which was smaller than most hotel rooms. She was an old fashioned handseller, informative not condescending, persuasive not pushy, though people joked she'd follow customers out the door pitching my books.

Nobody has ever put so much value on my signature. People expect to get signed copies of your book here, she'd remind me, urging me to swing by at my earliest convenience. And whenever I showed up, no matter how disheveled, she'd make it sound, to her one browsing customer, as if Richard Russo or John Irving had just walked through her door.

And while I'd happily do it myself, she'd prefer to open the books to the title page for me to sign, even though there was no line of people waiting for signatures, even though I was just savouring my writing break with her. But Jane didn't know any other gear than the efficient and gracious bookseller. She'd show me the new Indie Next list and pass along advanced copies of novels she knew I'd enjoy. She'd give me her prediction on which novel was going to win the Pulitzer this year, and she'd share the travails of trying to stay out of the red, but she was almost always upbeat.

When I had good news--a new book coming out, a possible movie deal, or some sort of award--I'd look forward to sharing it with her. When I won, Jane won. She sat with me at a banquet table to accept a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. And after throwing book launch parties for my last two novels, she'd be beaming from selling so many new hardbacks. Well, Mr. Lynch, she'd tell me, you just helped me pay two month's rent.

On the last big night in her bookstore, some 50 loyal customers somehow jammed inside to listen to author Jess Walter be interviewed by me about his new novel. Jane was as accommodating and gracious as ever, not once mentioning in her lingering Carolina accent that she'd be putting up going-out-of-business signs two days later, not wanting to take away from the event or draw attention to herself.

Jane taught me how hard the book business is and how fast it's changing. Increasingly, she told me about customers who, while browsing her new titles, admitted they now bought all their books online or had switched to e-books and absolutely loved them. Still, I wouldn't allow myself to imagine her retiring and getting out.

I wish I could afford to do the Ann Patchett thing and step in and keep Fireside rolling. But the truth is I wouldn't be anywhere near as good at it as Jane was. (And, no doubt, not as good as Ann is either.) It obviously takes more than a passion for books. Bookselling demands its own special skillset, and Jane Laclergue had it in spades.


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