Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 19, 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


Timber Sale Leads to Sales Department Changes

Timber Press, the Portland, Ore., publisher of books about gardening, horticulture, botany, natural history and the Pacific Northwest, is making changes in its sales operations as a result of its purchase by Workman Publishing last month.

Effective in September with the spring 2007 list, Workman will take over selling Timber Press to trade stores from the five rep groups that currently represent Timber Press across most of the country. In addition, sales manager Kent Watson, who was responsible for all national accounts except, has been let go, and national accounts will now be handled by Workman in New York.

The four people on Timber Press's staff who handle special markets will continue to do so. Jane Connor, publisher of Timber Press, told Shelf Awareness that "because so much of what we do is getting to special markets, this is a very minimal change."

Other than Watson, all of Timber Press's staff of about 30 remain. Connor added that sometime later this year, "our distribution will change, but in the meantime, this will continue through Graphic Arts Center Publishing. All orders and account inquiries will continue to come to Timber. "

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo

Notes: Updike Tours; Wikipedia Model for Globaltext

Despite mostly negative reviews, John Updike's Terrorist (Knopf, $24.95, 0307264653) has done better than many of his other recent books, has landed on a range of bestseller lists and has an in-print figure of 118,000 copies after six trips back to press. The reasons, according to today's Wall Street Journal, include:

  • A sense that perhaps critical reaction isn't as important as it used to be. "How many movies sell $100 million worth of tickets despite bad reviews?" John Sargent, CEO of Holtzbrinck, said.
  • For the first time in 16 years, Updike is on the road promoting his newest offering at the request of his publisher. "It's something I discovered I can do," he told the Journal. "It's like Muhammad Ali, who towards the end of his career discovered he could take a punch. I can take the punch of a book tour, although it's not over, and I might be on the mat before you know it."
  • With the book, Updike "made a shrewd decision by changing direction and addressing a contemporary issue," the Journal wrote. Vin Altruda, president of Borders Group U.S., commented: "There is interest in why an 18-year-old would become a jihadist, and Mr. Updike's book helps answer that question."


NACS's Campus Marketplace looks at an unusual project called Globaltext, in which four university business professors, using Wikipedia as a model, are modifying Wiki software to produce free online college textbooks for students in developing nations. CM noted that the organizers have "garnered the support of thousands of their business-education colleagues around the world to contribute content to their Globaltext project," which is scheduled to make its debut early in 2007.

Following the release of the first two Globaltext books--one on information systems, the other on business fundamentals--the group hopes eventually to have 1,000 Wiki books online, each sponsored by a global company.

To read about the reaction of NACS, U.S. text publishers and others, click here.


The Rocky Mountain News offers a short history of the Lowenstein Theater, where the Tattered Cover is moving its flagship store this coming weekend. The Tattered Cover is adapting the main theater space to a bookstore, leveling the floor but retaining most other features such as the vaulted ceiling, two small balconies, a few original seats, the stage and backstage. Originally called the Bonfils Memorial Theater, the site has been abandoned since 1989.

Henry Lowenstein, a Denver producer and arts activist for whom the theater was renamed in 1985, commented: "No bones about it, I clearly would have preferred it to continue as a theater. But it was not in the cards anymore. The next-best thing is for the Tattered Cover to move in. They have been respectful of the theater's heritage. Their job is to sell books, but the architecture is remarkably careful about keeping the feeling of a theater."


The impending closing of Cody's Books's flagship store in Berkeley, Calif., made yesterday's New York Times. For the view from across the continent, click here.


The bookstore at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Wash., has had to move to temporary quarters after the building in which it was housed was declared unsafe, the Olympian reported. The building has been inspected annually since the 2001 Nisqually earthquake and had passed until this year's inspection.


For the ALA annual conference in New Orleans that starts this Thursday, June 22, Fodor's offers a downloadable PDF New Orleans travel guide at Updated for the ALA, it has information on hotels, restaurants, sites and Hurricane Katrina's effect on the Crescent City.

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Borders Group Opens Huge Pa. DC

Last Friday Borders Group officially opened its new, 600,000-sq.-ft. Northeast Distribution Center in Carlisle, Pa., which replaces the 125,000-sq.-ft. center in Middletown, Pa., that is closing this year. In the near future, the Carlisle DC will process and ship more than four million books a month to more than 430 Borders and Waldenbooks stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

About half of the 100 employees of the Middletown DC have moved to the new facility. Currently the center has 180 employees but as it gets up to speed, it will have about 500 workers. In early 2008, Borders will make the DC responsible for all book returns and reshipment for Borders and Walden stores in the U.S.

In connection with the opening, Borders and Scholastic are donating 400 books--one for every new job the DC has created--to Bellaire Elementary School in Carlisle, which is moving soon. Borders is also helping fill the expanded library in the new school building.

Borders now has six U.S. distribution facilities, which process and ship more than 240 million books a year.

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ron Suskind and The One Percent Doctrine

This morning on the Early Show, Senator Edward Kennedy talks about his new children's book, My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C. (Scholastic, $16.99, 0439650771).


This morning on the Today Show: Janet Evanovich, whose new book is Twelve Sharp (St. Martin's, $26.95, 0312349483).

Also on the Today Show this morning: Ron Suskind, author of The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (S&S, $27, 0743271092). Suskind appears on NPR's Fresh Air today, too. Embargoed until now, the book, excerpted in the current Time, is getting a lot of play.

Last but not least on the Today Show: Calvin Trillin, whose latest is A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme (Random House, $12.95, 1400065569). Trillin also appears tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.


Today on the Ellen Degeneres Show: Julie Andrews who with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, has written The Great American Mousical (Julie Andrews Collection/HarperCollins Children's, $15.99, 0060579188).


Today on the View and tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Al Gore, author of An Inconvenient Truth (Rodale, $21.95, 1594865671).

Books & Authors

Fulcrum Rides Into New Territory with Broken Trail

Broken Trail--the book and movie--has broken new ground for both cable TV network AMC, which is showing the first half of the new three-hour movie this coming Sunday, June 25, and Fulcrum Publishing, Denver, Colo., which has published the book ($14.95, 1555916058) written by the film's screenwriter, Alan Geoffrion. (Geoffrion has written short stories and screenplays and been in the horse business for more than 40 years.) Broken Trail is AMC's first major original movie and Fulcrum's "first real novel," Mike Dyer, v-p of sales and business development, told Shelf Awareness.

"It's been an eye-opening experience" to sell fiction, Dyer continued. In "niche nonfiction," there's a leniency for a quick new title, but with fiction, reviewers want galleys three to six months and more before pub date, and reviewers continue to be biased against paperback fiction originals, he said. Because the final version of the book was put together only this spring, "We missed all kinds of cycles." And even though many booksellers have asked for paper publications because of the price advantage with customers, some were confused by Broken Trail, which is a paperback.

Dyer was also surprised by the initial "reluctance" of some accounts to buy more than one or two copies of a book whose movie version has a $15 million marketing budget. Now at least, including sales through wholesalers, the company has an estimated 30%-40% of stock in independent trade stores, and Wal-Mart has taken 20,000 copies. The book first shipped the week of BEA.

Featuring Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church and produced and directed by Walter Hill, Broken Trail the movie, which closely parallels the book, takes place at the turn of the last century. An uncle and nephew played by Duvall and Church are on a drive across the old West, bringing horses to a representative of the British Empire who wants them for use in the Boer War. On the way, the cowboys come across a scoundrel who is transporting five young Chinese women he had bought in San Francisco to take to mining camps to work as prostitutes. Dyer said that "unlike a lot of Westerns, there is only a little shoot-'em-up" in the film and book. "It takes a different tack. At the core is the five women's story." The movie also is appearing at a time when there has been a resurgence in the genre, particularly following HBO's Deadwood series and Brokeback Mountain. At least four more Westerns will be appearing in the next year or so, including one starring Brad Pitt as Jesse James.

Working with AMC was "great and very collaborative," Dyer said. AMC will likely run the movie 20 or 30 times more during the summer and is doing a "making of Broken Trail" movie. Its marketing for the film includes ads on the network, billboards in Los Angeles and posters on many phone kiosks in New York City. Besides that, Duvall in particular has been making the rounds of radio and TV shows touting the movie and book, often bringing along Geoffrion. Last week the movie had a premiere in New York City, which featured a paparazzi-lined red carpet for stars like Duvall--and a discreet side entrance for cowpokes from places like Fulcrum and Shelf Awareness.

The project had an unusual genesis. A year and a half ago, Fulcrum president and publisher Bob Baron and associate publisher and v-p Sam Scinta were in Washington, D.C., in January and were casually invited to a Super Bowl party "in Virginia." They went, and the party turned out to be at Duvall's house. There they met Alan Geoffrion and learned about the Broken Trail movie project that Geoffrion had been working on for years. The author said he had "roughed out" a manuscript and wondered if Scinta might mind "checking it out to see if there was a book."

The movie was filmed last fall in Alberta, and Geoffrion spent much of the winter finishing the book. "We got the manuscript in chunks, and it was finally put together in February and March," Dyer said.

Another interesting aspect of this project involves printing. The book's printer, Malloy in Michigan, has promised a five-day turnaround from Fulcrum order to the delivery to the company's warehouse, part of an effort to encourage small- and medium-sized publishers not to overorder initially because of the lure of lower per-unit costs. After a first printing order of 20,000, Fulcrum has re-ordered weekly 3,000-5,000 copies, and the most recent order is another 20,000, putting the total at 50,000. "The book's effectively been out three weeks, and we're on our fourth print run," Dyer said with a bit of awe. "It's almost POD."

As a result of this approach, Fulcrum has "about 80%" of the Broken Trail stock "in the field. We're not storing most of it." For the company, it is "by far our bestselling title in years and the biggest media opportunity in company history," Dyer said.

Now that Fulcrum has blazed a trail into fiction, it will publish two more works of fiction this fall. "Sam [Scinta] always wanted to do fiction, but was looking for the right time," Dyer said.

Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Book Sense Picks:


Visigoth: Stories by Gary Amdahl (Milkweed, $15.95, 1571310517). "Amdahl's collection of stories is as tight as a fist about to punch you out. Amdahl's stories are about men and violence, but not the violence men do to others as much as that which they absorb on a daily basis. It's a refreshing book, sincere and weighty."--Thomas Richardson, Dutton's Brentwood Books, Los Angeles, Calif.


Slipstream by Leslie Larson (Shaye Areheart/Crown, $23.95, 0307337995). "The unraveling lives of five characters, all connected to the Los Angeles airport (and each connected to the others), is at the heart of this debut novel. The twists and turns of the story and a great set of characters make this a perfect book for summer vacation, a long plane trip, or a lazy weekend at home."--Karen Maeda Allman, Elliott Bay Book Co., Seattle, Wash.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin, $19.95, 0618477942). "Alison Bechdel, cartoonist/author of the long-running Dykes to Watch Out For, shares some of her own story in this graphic novel-style memoir about an icy New England family whose patriarch has a very big secret."--Karen Maeda Allman, Elliott Bay Book Co., Seattle, Wash.

Children 9 to 12

The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $16.99, 0439749182). "Nine-year-old visionary Thomas is the narrator of this remarkable novel, the child of a father who is a religious zealot filled with fear. When Thomas becomes friends with a next-door neighbor (reputed to be a 'witch'), he begins to chip away at the father's anger until it can no longer imprison anyone but the father himself."--Carol Chittenden, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, Mass.

The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen by M. T. Anderson, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Harcourt, $15, 0152053522). "Oh, joy! Another absurd, inventive, hilarious, spoof mystery-adventure from the inimitable M.T. Anderson. This one takes readers to a mountain summer lodge, which just happens to be hosting kids from other detective series. Echoes of Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, and other sleuths of past eras amuse adult readers, while kids will be laughing out loud at curious characters."--Elizabeth Bluemle, Flying Pig Children's Books, Charlotte, Vt.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

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