Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gallery Books: The Lion Women of Tehran by Marjan Kamali

Other Press (NY): Deliver Me by Malin Persson Giolito, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Two Trees: Among Friends: An Illustrated Oral History of American Book Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century edited by Buz Teacher and Janet Bukovinsky Teacher

Atlantic Monthly Press: I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger


Ingram Takes Vital Digital Step

As a major step in bolstering its digital content delivery abilities and becoming a significant player in the field, Ingram Industries has bought Vital Source Technologies, Raleigh, N.C., which will be made a part of Ingram Digital Ventures. Ingram Digital Ventures is a new operating division of Ingram Industries that will work closely with Ingram Book Group and Lightning Source.

Founded in 1994, Vital Source is a major supplier of digital content delivery in the educational and professional markets. The company enables publishers, distributors and others to create and deliver textbooks, study guides, course packs and other content directly to faculty and students' computers in its proprietary VitalBook file format in a variety of forms, including custom curriculum products, private-label bundled products and single textbooks.

Students and faculty acquire content in the company's VitalBook file format using the VitalSource "Bookshelf" application, which is available as a free download at Bookshelf offers the ability to search across or within a collection of titles, annotate, highlight and purchase more VitalBooks from the VitalSource Store.

Michael Lovett, president and CEO of Ingram Digital Ventures, commented: "All of us in the content industry recognize that literally all information and media are migrating from physical to digital formats. VitalSource, as an early pioneer, has over a decade of experience in providing comprehensive, innovative digital solutions to meet the needs of publishers, institutions, students and other end users."

Frank A. Daniels III, who continues as CEO of VitalSource, which will remain in Raleigh, said that with the purchase, "The VitalSource platform will be immediately enriched by thousands of publisher relationships and titles, as well as many exciting new markets in which the VitalSource platform will provide significant value."

Neal Porter Books: Angela's Glacier by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Diana Sudyka

Notes: Spillane Dead at 88; New HMV CEO; Magazine Shopping

Mickey Spillane died yesterday at 88. Details about the cause have not yet been made public.

The master of the hardboiled mystery wrote 12 Mike Hammer novels that sold more than 100 million copies and were made into feature movies, TV movies and a TV series. He wrote another dozen books, some for children.

The AP (via CNN) offers a warm obit, which notes that when he came home from World War II, Spillane "needed $1,000 to buy some land and thought novels the best way to go. Within three weeks, he had completed I, the Jury and sent it to Dutton. The editors there doubted the writing, but not the market for it; a literary franchise began. His books helped reveal the power of the paperback market and became so popular they were parodied in movies, including the Fred Astaire musical The Band Wagon."


Effective September 28 at its annual meeting, HMV, which is merging Ottakar's with its Waterstone's stores, has appointed Simon Fox CEO to replace Alan Giles, who earlier this year had announced he would be leaving the company. Fox has been CEO of Kesa, which Reuters described as an "electrical-goods retailer."


Source Interlink, "the country's biggest distributor of magazines and a major middleman for DVDs and CDs," continues to be shopped around, and a management buyout is highly probably, according to today's Wall Street Journal. In addition to some 1,000 retail chains, including Target, Kroger and Walgreen, Barnes & Noble, Borders and are major customers.


The New York Sun debates the merits of Hotel ABA being located in Brooklyn during next year's BEA. A Manhattan bookseller calls it "absurd," but ABA COO Oren Teicher reiterates that midtown hotels will be much more costly to booksellers than even two years ago.

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Banned Books Week Prep

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is offering booksellers an updated version of its electronic handbook about how booksellers can participate in Banned Books Week, which will be held September 23-30. The handbook includes banned book lists, news of book bans and challenges, flyers and more.

ABFFE is hoping booksellers will use Banned Books Week to help raise funds to support its fight for First Amendment rights, for which it has designed a donation box for Banned Books Week. To order the free donation boxes, e-mail

ABFFE is also offering a Banned Books Week discount on its FREADOM T-shirts, buttons and stickers. To order, download the Banned Books Week order form at

ABFFE is also sponsoring "Protecting Privacy, Challenging Secrecy, and Standing Up for the First Amendment," an event honoring the Connecticut librarians who protected their patrons' right to privacy by fighting an FBI subpoena of customer records. The event will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 28. ABFFE encourages its Washington area members to attend. More information is available online on ABFFE's Web site.

Soho Crime: Ash Dark as Night (A Harry Ingram Mystery) by Gary Phillips

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hearing Loss; The Price of Privilege

This morning Good Morning America will listen to Michael D. Seidman, M.D., author of Save Your Hearing Now: The Revolutionary Program That Can Prevent and May Even Reverse Hearing Loss (Warner Wellness, $24.95, 0446578436).


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Madeline Levine, author of The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0060595841).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Major new books appearing next Tuesday, July 25, include:

The Messenger by Daniel Silva (Putnam, $25.95, 0399153357) follows Gabriel Allon, an Israeli art restorer and spy, as he unravels a terrorist attack on the Vatican.

Dead Wrong by Judith A. Jance (Morrow, $25.95, 0060540907) offers the latest about Sheriff Joanna Brady, who has two cases and a pregnancy.

The Expected One by Kathleen Mcgowan (Touchstone, $25.95, 0743299426) is a religious thriller involving lost histories of Jesus, the Vatican and secret Christian societies.

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben (Dell, $24, 0385340605) continues the exploits of sports agent Myron Bolitar--a prized client's past returns in potentially lethal ways.

Insight: Case Files from the Psychic World
by Sylvia Browne (Dutton, $25.95, 0525949550) explores readings and experiences from Browne's 50-year psychic career.

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas Ricks (Penguin USA, $27.95, 159420103X) uses on-the-record statements by senior military officials and personal reporting to show how the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has become a complete debacle.

Books appearing in paperback on Tuesday, July 25:

Born to Be Wild by Catherine Coulter (Jove, $7.99, 0515142395)

Marker by Robin Cook (Berkley, $9.99, 042520734x)

Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller (Ballantine, $13.95, 0345469593)

Twice Kissed by Lisa Jackson (Kensington, $7.99, 0821779443)

First Impressions by Jude Deveraux (Pocket, $9.99, 0743437152)

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray on Return Trips: Online Customers Can Go Home Again

We all have favorite travel destinations we "discovered" at some point, and to which we return whenever we can. The urge to go back applies even more to Web siteseeing because it's so easy--no long lines, no traffic jams, no lost luggage, no screaming kids (headphones help).  

Why do people visit certain Web sites day after day? Why do you? Why do customers visit certain bookstore Web sites regularly? Why don't they?

In response to my first column for Shelf Awareness, a reader disagreed with this statement: "Presumably, the sites weren't built for current patrons, nor are they there to lure readers into the bricks-and-mortar store." He said a lot of regular customers used his site "as an additional way to stay in touch, and to help them plan visits to the store--both in terms of checking times/dates of events and also to search for books using our online db before driving here to buy the books in person."

I agree, but--if I may paraphrase Miss Peggy Lee--"Is that all there is . . . to a bookstore Web site?" Event schedules and title research are important services, but they're modest goals. You can drive a Ferrari to the supermarket for groceries. Is that the best use of its potential?
Some Web sites do try harder. The July 6 issue of Shelf Awareness reported that at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, "30% of store revenues come from online sales." While the site itself isn't visually striking, it is absolutely packed with useful information for mystery fans, and offers a range of incentives to purchase books online, including discounts and free shipping. I'm currently interviewing owners Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman. I'll share their thoughts on the topic with you in an upcoming tour stop.

I'll also tell you about Pass Christian Bookstore, which was leveled during Hurricane Katrina and has survived the perilous transition period by functioning aggressively and passionately as an online operation. Author Carolyn Haines called my attention to this effort and suggested I contact owner Scott Naugle. "They've built a great e-mail list," she said, "and stay in touch with their clients in that way, until a new storefront can go up." Scott and I are now discussing his online strategy ("Our Web site has kept us in business," he wrote), and I'll share his thoughts with you soon.  

Ultimately, it's all about return trips. We travel to certain places for many reasons, but we go back out of loyalty and a desire to replicate a pleasurable experience. It doesn't have to be complicated.  

For years, my morning ritual has included a cup of coffee and a visit to Arts & Letters Daily. The site is simplicity itself visually, and hasn't changed much in all the time I've been going there. Each morning, new links are posted for three articles, culled from all over the Web. There always seems to be something worth reading.

So I return every day.

On the other hand, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has an intricate, beautiful Web site. Even though I'm a bricks-and-mortar member (if a long-distance one here in Vermont), I seldom visited online until they began posting "Today's Featured Work of Art from the Permanent Collection" on their home page. That relatively simple addition, fresh each morning, has altered my relationship with the museum.

So I return every day.

"By and by I got this idea of a travelling bookstore," Christopher Morley wrote nearly a century ago in Parnassus on Wheels. "I had always been a lover of books, and in the days when I boarded out among the farmers I used to read aloud to them. After my mother died I built the wagon to suit my own ideas, bought a stock of books from a big second-hand store in Baltimore, and set out."

Back then, the notion of a bookshop that went to where the readers were wasn't revolutionary. Traveling salesmen of all descriptions plied their trades from house to house, farm to farm. Maybe a little Parnassus spirit is worth considering again. For different reasons, Mystery Lovers Bookshop and Pass Christian Books have found ways to build their online wagons and "set out." Both are on my "Favorites" list.--Robert Gray

Powered by: Xtenit