Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 12, 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

Editors' Note

Quotation of the Day

Keeping Nantucket Nantucket

"It reduces the need or desire to go places when they all look the same. Nantucket is a hassle to get to, it's expensive, and if, when you got there, you find the same thing at home, it reduces the experience."--Wendy Hudson, co-owner of Nantucket Bookworks, to the New York Times about the Massachusetts town's proposed regulation to ban chain stores and franchises from its downtown (Shelf Awareness, April 5).

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj


To the Editor: Now These Are Odd Requests

Jennifer Yao, a librarian at the New York Public Library, responds to part of our story yesterday about the NAIBAhood Gathering on Sunday in Phoenixville, Pa.:

I can't say that I agree that stamps, magazines or newspapers constitute "odd" requests at a bookstore. Stamps are sold at bookstores throughout Europe, and SoHo is crawling with foreign tourists and businesspeople. Magazines and newspapers can be found at Barnes & Noble so why not at other bookstores?
If you want a sample of "odd" requests, ask your local librarian. I've been asked for the location of the checkout desk for buying library books; to go home with people to help them set up their computers; to edit a letter to the INS; to help locate a small, non-antique typewriter for purchase; to find and print out anything and everything on the Internet; and to dispense sundry office supplies such as manila folders, paper clips, rubber bands and envelopes, free of charge.

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


Handselling Feat: A Small Death Gets Renewed Life

Last summer, after a customer recommended Robert Wilson's A Small Death in Lisbon, a  World War II mystery first published in the U.K. in 1999, to Leah Brock, bookseller and buyer at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle, Wash., she checked it out and put it on the staff recommendations display. Since then, Brock said, "it's been crazy" for the Berkley mass market title ($7.99, 0425184234). "We sold 20-30 the first couple of months, 50 in November, 115 in December," she explained. "It was our number one bestseller during Christmas. It's still number two on our store list. Before that we sold about two a year."

Brock said several factors have contributed to the amazing gain in sales. In general, she noted, it is unusual for a "staff rec" to be a mass market; they tend to be mostly hardcover and trade. "Some of the booksellers think we should just carry trade; mass markets are available at grocery stores," Brock said. "But we're right by a train station, so we agreed to keep the mass markets and even encourage them. This one stood out for being mass market."

According to Brock, who describes herself as "very picky about mysteries," another factor is that A Small Death in Lisbon has "the whole package: great setting, characters, a plot that sizzles, espionage--it's wonderful, a real page-turner." (The book won a Gold Dagger Award.) In addition, she said, "It's got a great cover."

Brock noted that Elliott Bay displays its own bestsellers prominently in the front of the store. "People buy heavily from that display, and they are very trusting. They will buy unusual stuff if it's a staff rec or store bestseller. A Small Death in Lisbon is not selling from the mystery section but from the displays." (By now, Elliott Bay has quite a few copies of the book on hand, so it is available in several spots around the store.)

Elliott Bay's online store takes staff recommendations seriously as well. The web site has pictures of all booksellers (32 currently, including Carl the Dog); customers can click on anyone and see their personal recommendations.--Maria Heidkamp

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary, and Happy D.E.A.R. Day

Happy birthday to Beverly Cleary, who turns 90 today! It's also D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything and Read Day), for which Cleary's dear Ramona Quimby is official spokesperson. (In Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona takes part in a D.E.A.R. program in school.) Sponsors of the day, intended "to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority," include the National Education Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, the ALA's Association for Library Service to Children, Reading Rockets and HarperCollins Children's Books.

In connection with both the birthday and D.E.A.R. Day, HarperCollins has repackaged Cleary's Ramona books with new cover art and interior illustrations. The eight went on sale yesterday:
  • Beezus and Ramona (0688210767/038070918X paper)
  • Ramona and Her Father (0688221149/0380709163 paper)
  • Ramona and Her Mother (0688221955/038070952X paper)
  • Ramona Forever (0688037852/0380709600 paper)
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (0688004776/0380709562 paper/0688154875 Spanish edition)
  • Ramona the Brave (0688220150/0380709597 paper)
  • Ramona the Pest (0688217214/0380709546 paper/0688148883 Spanish edition)
  • Ramona's World (0688168167/0380732726 paper)
[Thanks to dear Carl Lennertz for reminding us!]

Politics & Prose Rolls Out New Carpet to BEA Attendees

As we reported March 29, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association will visit Politics & Prose on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17, just before BEA, for an in-depth view of the store's operations, including receiving and returns, accounting, events, marketing, etc. (Sign up with NAIBA for this event at 877-866-2422 or via e-mail.)

But Politics & Prose is also hosting and co-hosting several other events during BEA to which it is inviting attendees. (In anticipation of the arrival of many booksellers from around the country, the store is also sprucing up, which includes the installation of new carpet.) Among author appearances scheduled during BEA:

Wed., May 17 at 7 p.m., a reading by David Maraniss, author of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero, about the late Pittsburgh Pirates baseball star (and boyhood hero of yours truly).

Thurs., May 18 at 4 p.m., a reading by Roger Angell, whose new book is Let Me Finish.

Thurs., May 18 at 7 p.m.: Donna Leon, whose new Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery is Through a Glass Darkly.

Sun., May 21 at 1 p.m.: Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey, editors of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup: 32 Writers on 32 Countries, and Franklin Foer, who contributed an afterword.

Sun., May 21 at 5 p.m.: Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism.

In addition, the bookstore and Akashic Books are hosting a reception to which "all are welcome" on Thurs., May 18, at 7 p.m. at the nearby Buck's Fishing and Camping restaurant and bar at 5031 Connecticut Ave. The party will feature five-minute "sampler" readings by Joe Meno, author of The Boy Detective and Hairstyles of the Damned (Akashic/Punk Planet); actress Meg Tilly, author of the new novel, Gemma; Heather Rogers, author of Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage (New Press); Billups Allen, author of Unfurnished; and Hal Niedzviecki, author of Hello, I'm Special: How Individuality Became the New Conformity (City Lights).

Politics & Prose is located at 5015 Connecticut Ave., N.W. (202-364-1919).

BEA Education: 2.0 Revolution 101

A major focus of BEA's educational program on 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, at the Washington Convention Center, will be the 2.0 Revolution and its effect on publishing. (For those of us still just getting comfortable with Podcasts and RSS feeds, the 2.0 Revolution is a loose concept representing advances in the Web in recent years, including the spread of blogs, Google and Wikipedia.) Many of the participants will "discuss the Web-enabled realities which are ushering in new opportunities on the one hand while posing a threat to old publishing models on the other." Of particular interest, Chris Anderson of the Long Tail concept is one of the speakers. Microsoft is the official sponsor.

The key events include:

Premium Publishing in a Web 2.0 World: Finding New Paths to Profitability via Merging Media Channels. Speaker: John Blosssom, president of Shore Communications. Room 201, 9:30 a.m.

Embracing Collaboration: A Publisher Roadmap. Speaker: Don Tapscott, president of New Paradigm Learning Corporation. Room 201, 11 a.m.
Long Tail Prescriptions for the Book: From Authorship to Sales. Speaker: Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief, Wired Magazine, and author of The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. Room 201, 1:30 p.m.
The Future of Publishing in the Digital Age. Speaker: Carly Fiorina, former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Room 201, 3:30 p.m.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Walter Mosley, Neil MacFarquhar

This morning on the Early Show: Walter Mosley, author of Fortunate Son (Little, Brown, $23.95, 0316114715).

Also on the Early Show: Jessica Kaminsky, author of The Truth Behind the Rock: Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Engagements . . . Until Now (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $19.95, 1416911421).


This morning on the Today Show:
  • Mike Lupica, who goes to bat for his new children's title, Heat (Philomel, $16.99, 0399243011).
  • Julia Baskin, one of the teen co-authors of The Notebook Girls (Warner, $22.95, 0446578622).
  • Geoffrey Zakarian, author of Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/Country: Life Around the Table (Clarkson Potter, $37.50, 1400054680).


Today NPR's Fresh Air debriefs Neil MacFarquhar, the New York Times reporter whose debut novel, The Sand Cafe (PublicAffairs, $24.95, 1586483684), is a satire of a war correspondent in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.


On this morning Writer's Roundtable on World Talk Radio, Antoinette Kuritz talks about moving between genres with Wendy Corsi Staub, who has written and ghostwritten YA, suspense, women's fiction and horror and whose most recent book is The Final Victim (Kensington, $6.99, 0821779710). She also talks with Clive Cussler about his first children's book, The Adventures of Vin Fiz (Philomel, $15.99, 039924474).


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: General Anthony Zinni, author of The Battle For Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose (Palgrave Macmillan, $24.95, 1403971749).


Today on NPR's All Things Considered: Tony Hendra, author of The Messiah of Morris Avenue: A Novel (Holt, $24, 0805079645).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose show, guest host William Safire, formerly a New York Times columnist, talks with Jesse Sheidlower, editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary.


Repeating a recent show, tonight Daily Show with Jon Stewart features Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and author of The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (Norton, $14.95, 0393324877).

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