Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 12, 2006

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny


Private Equity Firm Sells B&T to Private Equity Firm

Willis Stein & Partners, the private-equity company that bought Baker & Taylor in June 2003 for $255 million, has sold the wholesaler to Castle Harlan, another private-equity company, for $455 million.

Willis Stein had denied that the company was for sale despite several reports in recent months that B&T was being shopped around. The Book Standard reported that Willis Stein used an auction approach, which "quickly pruned out potential strategic suitors, leaving private equity firms as the main players."

The Book Standard also said that during Willis Stein's ownership, annual revenue has grown to about $1.5 billion from $1.2 billion. Books account for most revenue; music and video are estimated at 15%. Libraries account for almost half of sales. B&T purchased several companies during Willis Stein's tenure.

In a release, Castle Harlan vice chairman Gary Appel said that "the experienced management team led by Richard Willis, president and chief executive officer, that has directed its growth will continue to manage the business as our partners, and senior management will continue to retain an ownership stake in the company."

Appel added that B&T has "very strong and consistent year-to-year growth," particularly in its library and Internet fulfillment businesses. "Both are service areas that management expects will continue to show solid annual gains in the years ahead."

Castle Harlan owns such companies as Ames True Temper, which manufactures lawn and garden tools and accessories; Horizon Lines, a container shipping company; and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, the operator and franchisor of 480 restaurants.

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Bookstore Sales: Downs and Ups

Bookstore sales in March were $1.040 billion, down 3.9% from $1.082 billion in March 2005, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. By contrast, total retail sales in March were $330.6 billion, up 7.3% from $308 billion in February 2005.

For the year to date, bookstore sales were $4.235 billion, up 0.7% from $4.205 billion in the same period a year ago.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.


In related news, the Commerce Department reported yesterday that retail sales in April rose 0.5%, even with gasoline, auto and building material sales excluded, indicating continued strong consumer spending despite dramatic rises in gas prices. "It indicates that consumer spending, which makes up more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy and a fifth of the global economy, is on track to expand at a healthy pace in the second quarter, albeit more slowly than in the first quarter," the Wall Street Journal wrote.

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Notes: Christie Hardcovers; O.K. for Ottakar's Buy

The Wall Street Journal today explores the mystery of whether Black Dog & Leventhal's decision to publish 300,000 hardcover copies of eight Agatha Christie titles this fall and a total of 24 Christie novels by the end of next year will fly. The titles are priced at $12, and despite the current emphasis on graphic novels, chick lit and teen novels, the relaunch, the paper said, "underlines that older women remain a key audience in book-buying today."

Still, the publisher hopes to attract many younger readers, too, in part via the relatively low price and an Internet marketing campaign. And Barnes & Noble will promote the series in October as part of a celebration of mysteries. "We see them as a flagship product for the mystery section, which is a key subject area for us," B&N's Bob Wietrak told the paper.


Saying that a purchase would not lead to a substantial reduction of competition in book retailing at a "local, regional or national level," the U.K.'s Competition Commission today gave formal approval to HMV, owner of Waterstone's, to try to buy Ottakar's, Reuters reported. HMV's previous bid has expired, and it is expected to make a new one soon.


Ruth Gay, the author of books about Jewish life and wife of historian and author Peter Gay, died on Tuesday. She was 83 and suffered from leukemia, the New York Times reported.

In 1997, she received the National Jewish Book Award for nonfiction for Unfinished People: Eastern European Jews Encounter America (Norton, $14.95, 0393322408). Other titles she wrote included Safe Among the Germans: Liberated Jews After World War II (Yale University Press, $35, 0300092717) and The Jews of Germany: A Historical Portrait (Yale University Press, $35, 0300060521). Next year Yale is publishing The Jewish King Lear Comes to America, written by Gay and her daughter Sophie Glazer.


Cool idea of the day: The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is working on getting a group membership for NAIBA with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), one of the national associations that promote buying locally. AMIBA will also be at NAIBA's fall trade show to explain local alliances and answer questions.

During the week before the trade show, AMIBA representatives will be available to visit NAIBA stores and other merchants in their towns who have created or are interested in creating a local business alliance. Interested parties should contact NAIBA at 877-866-2422 or


Crane Hill Publishers, distributed by Independent Publishers Group, is launching a line that takes on some strong if dense competition. The Geek's Guides, which make their debut in July, aim to claim "a segment of the market currently owned by the Dummies and Complete Idiot's titles," the Birmingham, Ala., house said.

The first Geek's Guides will focus on wine, bartending, home improvement, personal finance, home buying, grammar and job hunting. Crane Hill plans to publish at least 36 titles.

The Geek's Guides will retail for $9.95, have a 6" X 8" paperback format and be "straightforward and highly accessible, but hipper and more fun to read than their competitors," Crane Hill publisher Ellen Sullivan said.

BEA on the Horizon: Time for a Pedicure?

Fodor's advises: After a long day of pacing the convention floor, treat your weary feet to a pedicure at Andre Chreky Salon. Adjacent whirlpool chairs allow you and a friend to get pampered simultaneously. Adding to the indulgence, in the evenings you'll enjoy complimentary wine and live piano music or in the morning gratis espressos and pastries.  For details and more exclusive BEA coverage of restaurants, shopping and entertainment in Washington, D.C., visit

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Beauty Goddess Vadhera

This morning the Early Show has an audience with Shalini Vadhera, author of Passport to Beauty: Secrets and Tips From Around the World for Becoming a Global Goddess (Griffin, $14.95, 0312349629).

Also on the Early Show: Mark Fuhrman, author of A Simple Act of Murder: November 22, 1963 (Morrow, $25.95, 0060721545).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Christine Brennan, author of Best Seat in the House: A Father, A Daughter, A Journey Through Sports (Scribner, $26, 0743254368).


Today on the View: Teri Hatcher, author of Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life (Hyperion, $24.95, 1401302629), and John Stossel, author of Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know Is Wrong (Hyperion, $24.95, 1401302548).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show, guest host Brian Grazer, producer of Imagine Entertainment, talks with Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Little, Brown, $25.95, 0316172324).

Books & Authors

Awards: The 18th Annual Triangles

The 18th Annual Triangle Awards, honoring the best lesbian and gay fiction, nonfiction and poetry published in 2005, were presented last night in New York City:

The new Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction went to Mack Friedman for Setting the Lawn on Fire (University of Wisconsin Press).

The winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry was Richard Siken for Crush (Yale University Press).

The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry was won by Jane Miller for A Palace of Pearls (Copper Canyon).

The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction was won by Tania Katan for My One-Night Stand with Cancer (Alyson Books).

The Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction went to Martin Moran for The Tricky Part (Beacon Press).

The Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction was won by Patricia Grossman for Brian in Three Seasons (Permanent Press).

The Ferro-Grumley Award for Gay Fiction went to Barry McCrea for The First Verse (Carroll & Graf).

The Robert Chesley Foundation's playwriting Lifetime Achievement Award was won by Megan Terry and its Emerging Artist award went to Kathleen Warnock.

Some awards winners were already announced, including Karla Jay for the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement and a special Leadership Award to the Oscar Wilde Bookshop, the longtime independent bookstore in New York City's Greenwich Village.

Book Brahmin: Michael McCullough

Michael McCullough is sales manager at Duke University Press in Durham, N.C. In his spare time he gardens and gives tours at the Duke Lemur Center. Here he responds to a series of queries we occasionally ask people in the business:

On nightstand now:

The Object of My Affection by Stephen McCauley (I wanted to reread it before I start on Alternatives to Sex, his newest); The Four Elements by Roz Chast

Favorite book when you were a child:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Top five authors:

Jane Austen, Jane Austen, Jane Austen, Barbara Pym, E.M. Forster

Book you've "faked" reading:

I once offered a late-night critique--mostly in French--of the entire oeuvre of French theorist Julia Kristeva to a gay French novelist I had just met in a dive bar in Times Square. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Book you are an "evangelist" for:

Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century by Laura Shapiro; The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys by Chris Fuhrman (University of Georgia Press)

Book that changed your life:

A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing
by Elaine Showalter

Favorite line from a book:

". . . the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."--Closing lines of Middlemarch by George Eliot

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Book you will be found to have "unconsciously" plagiarized from:

Please Don't Eat the Daisies by Jean Kerr

Best recent movie adaptation of a classic:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (richer characterizations, not so preachy)

Most embarrassing experience as a bookseller:

I realized I was quietly humming the theme song to the Partridge Family as I rang up a sale for David Cassidy at the old Doubleday flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The Bestsellers

The Book Sense/SIBA List

The following were the bestselling titles at Southern Independent Bookselling Alliance stores during the week ended Sunday, May 7, as reported to Book Sense:

Hardcover Fiction

1. Beach Road by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge (Little, Brown, $27.95, 0316159786)
2. Digging to America by Anne Tyler (Knopf, $24.95, 0307263940)
3. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $21.95, 0375422722)
4. Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0060564660)
5. Full of Grace by Dorothea Benton Frank (Morrow, $24.95, 0060892358)
6. Promise Me by Harlan Coben (Dutton, $26.95, 0525949496)
7. Mother by Maya Angelou (Random House, $9.95, 1400066018)
8. Dark Harbor by Stuart Woods (Putnam, $25.95, 039915342X)
9. Everyman by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 061873516X)
10. Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark (S&S, $25.95, 0743264908)
11. Miss Julia Stands Her Ground by Ann B. Ross (Viking, $24.95, 0670034924)
12. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (Ballantine, $24.95, 0345476158)
13. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (Ace, $23.95, 0441014003)
14. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (Knopf, $25, 1400044731)
15. The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury (Dutton, $24.95, 0525949410)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Morrow, $21.95, 0060817089)
2. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (FSG, $30, 0374292795)
3. Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier (Harmony, $24.95, 0307337332)
4. You: The Owner's Manual by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0060765313)
5. The Mighty and the Almighty by Madeleine Albright (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060892579)
6. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme (Knopf, $25.95, 1400043468)
7. American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips (Viking, $26.95, 067003486X)
8. Being Dead Is No Excuse by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays (Hyperion, $19.95, 1401359345)
9. A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger (Norton, $23.95, 0393059804)
10. Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings by Tyler Perry (Riverhead, $23.95, 1594489211)
11. The Gospel of Judas edited by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, Gregor Wurst (National Geographic, $22, 1426200420)
12. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95, 006073132X)
13. Cobra II by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor (Pantheon, $27.95, 0375422625)
14. American Gospel by Jon Meacham (Random House, $23.95, 1400065550)
15. Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin's, $23.95, 0312315961)

Trade Paperback Fiction

1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
2. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14, 031242440X)
3. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0143036696)
4. March by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, $14, 0143036661)
5. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House, $13.95, 0812968069)
6. Saturday by Ian McEwan (Anchor, $14.95, 1400076196)
7. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin, $15, 0143034901)
8. History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Norton, $13.95, 0393328627)
9. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $14.95, 0307277674)
10. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $12.95, 140007570X)
11. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square, $14, 0743454537)
12. A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316154512)
13. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0142001740)
14. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage, $14, 1400078776)
15. True Believer by Nicholas Sparks (Warner, $12.95, 044669651X)

Trade Paperback Nonfiction

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Vintage, $14, 0679745580)
2. Plan B by Anne Lamott (Riverhead, $14, 1594481571)
3. Night by Elie Weisel (FSG, $9, 0374500010)
4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Scribner, $14, 074324754X)
5. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (Gotham, $11, 1592402038)
6. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage, $14.95, 0375725601)
7. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (Penguin, $15, 0143036610)
8. Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals by Rachael Ray (Clarkson Potter, $18.95, 1400082552)
9. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624)
10. The Covenant With Black America edited by Tavis Smiley (Third World Press, $12, 0883782774)
11. The Fair Tax Book by Neal Boortz and John Linder (Regan Books, $14.95, 0060875496)
12. Collapse by Jared Diamond (Penguin, $17, 0143036556)
13. The End of Faith by Sam Harris (Norton, $13.95, 0393327655)
14. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz (Workman, $18.95, 0761104844)
15. Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson (Harvest, $15, 0156031442)

Mass Market

1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $7.99, 1400079179)
2. Pawleys Island by Dorothea Benton Frank (Berkley, $7.99, 0425204316)
3. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket, $9.99, 1416524797)
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Warner, $6.99, 0446310786)
5. The Innocent by Harlan Coben (Signet, $9.99, 045121577X)
6. 1984 by George Orwell (Signet, $7.95, 0451524934)
7. Broken Prey by John Sandford (Berkley, $9.99, 0425204308)
8. Deception Point by Dan Brown (Pocket, $9.99, 1416524800)
9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Ballantine, $6.99, 0345342968)
10. The Third Secret by Steve Berry (Ballantine, $7.99, 034547614X)

Children's (Fiction and Illustrated)

1. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Yearling, $6.50, 0440421705)
2. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss (Random House, $17, 0679805273)
3. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, $7.99, 0763625299)
4. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0694003611)
5. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Chicken House, $7.99, 0439709105)
6. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Knopf, $9.95, 0375826696)
7. Night of the New Magicians (Magic Tree House #35) by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca (Random House, $11.95, 0375830359)
8. Lilly's Big Day by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, $16.99, 0060742364)
9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf, $16.95, 0375831002)
10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (children's movie tie-in edition) by C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0060765461)
11. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (HarperCollins, $15.99, 0060542098)
12. A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy, illustrated by Jon J. Muth (Hyperion, $19.95, 0786851112)
13. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, $18.99, 0763625892)
14. Only in Your Dreams (Gossip Girl #9) by Cecily Von Ziegesar (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316011827)
15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $29.99, 0439784549)

[Thanks to Book Sense and SIBA!]

Powered by: Xtenit