Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 24, 2006


Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

News

SEC Conducting 'Informal Inquiry' into B&N Stock Options

Barnes & Noble, which earlier this month revealed that a shareholder had filed suit against it alleging "improprieties in the company's issuance of stock options" (Shelf Awareness, July 12), announced after the market closed on Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting "an informal inquiry into those practices." B&N said it "intends to cooperate fully with the SEC's investigation." When it gave notice of the lawsuit, B&N said its audit committee would review company stock option practices and that it is retaining independent legal counsel to look into the matter, adding that it "believes there is no merit to the complaint and that its practices with respect to the issuance of stock options have always been entirely appropriate and in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations."

Currently an estimated 80 companies, mostly high-tech firms, are being investigated or are voluntarily looking into their stock option practices. At issue is whether some stock options granted to executives and others were inappropriately dated to times the companies' stock was at lows, thus making the options more valuable.


PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi


NACSCORP Greets New President and COO

Effective August 14, Kurt Schoen, former president of American Greetings' Plus Mark division, will become president and COO of NACSCORP, the subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores that acts as a wholesaler to college and other stores and provides retail services, College Marketplace reported.

Schoen replaces Len Jardine, who earlier this year had announced plans to retire in September. Jardine will work with Schoen during the transition and will stay with NACSCORP through September as a consultant.

Jardine joined NACSCORP four years ago, when it was having financial difficulties. NACSCORP has been profitable the past three years, and under Jardine, it began a kind of cross merchandising agreement with Ingram. NACS CEO Brian Cartier acknowledged Jardine's "tireless service to NACS and the college store industry," adding that "thanks to Len's efforts, NACSCORP is once again profitable and providing the superior customer service for which it has been so well known for more than 40 years. We now have a solid foundation to build upon."

Schoen had worked at American Greetings for 11 years, and earlier was an executive at Rubbermaid. The Plus Mark division produces and markets seasonal products such as gift wrap, accessories, boxed cards and calendars through mass retail and school fundraising channels.


Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney


Chronicle Highlights 'Virtual Bookstore'

The San Francisco Chronicle surveys what measures some independent bookstores in the Bay Area are taking to compete better.

The most dramatic changed chronicled occurred at BookBeat in Fairfax, in Marin County, founded in 1999. Last fall, owner Gary Kleiman took out the seven bookcases in the center of the store and gave 4,000 books to charity, built a stage where musicians play three to four nights a week, got a beer and wine license and began offering free wi-fi service. The paper continued: "Now BookBeat is mostly a virtual bookstore. Instead of stocking a large inventory of new and used titles, Kleiman offers next-day service for most book orders. Customers order books by phone, then pick them up at the store. And, unlike online retailers, there is no shipping charge, since books are ordered in volume from nearby distributors." Book sales haven't slowed although books now represent 35% instead of 50% of BookBeat's business. "I knew that the cafe would always be part of BookBeat," Kleiman told the paper. "But I didn't realize it would become more of a cafe-music-Internet business."

At least four stores in the Bay Area--Kepler's, Modern Times, Cover to Cover and Bird & Beckett Books & Records--have membership programs, some of which have been written about in Shelf Awareness. This month Bird & Beckett, which is "known for its live, in-store jazz performances," served up a pancake breakfast fundraiser, according to the paper.

Marcus Books will repeat last year's poetry slam contest and may add a café to its Oakland store.

And Diesel A Bookstore in Oakland has cut back floor space by 30% to make room for offices, which will probably be rented by psychotherapists, who have many couches in the neighborhood already. Still, the store did not cut back on books stocked. It's also added crafts events and food demonstrations to its standard author readings and book club meetings. Co-owner John Evans told the Chronicle: "In a bookstore, the level of cultural interaction is political, it's aesthetic, it's intimate. Our responsibility is providing a space for those things to be alive."


Salty Dog Celebrates Birthday With Cooked Fish

On July 15, Salty Dog Books & Music, St. Michaels, Md., celebrated its first anniversary (Shelf Awareness, August 17, 2005) with an author event and grilling demonstration, featuring Lenny Rudow, author of Off the Hook: Rudow's Recipes for Cooking Your Catch. Partygoers included (l. to r.) Rudow; Tambra Trevarrow, owner of Salty Dog Books & Music; Drake Ferguson, host of Drake Around Town on 96.7 WCEI radio; and Marci Andrews, managing editor of Cornell Maritime Press, publisher of Off the Hook.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chris Anderson and His Long Tail

This morning on the Early Show: restaurateur Richard Stoney, who wrote the introduction to The Boathouse: Tales and Recipes from a Southern Kitchen by Douglas W. Bostick and Jason R. Davidson (Joggling Board Press, $26.95, 0975349899).

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This morning on Good Morning America: David and Elizabeth Emanual, authors of A Dress for Diana (Collins Design, $29.95, 006121437X), on the 25th anniversary of the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

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Today on the View, Cesar Millan, author of Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems (Crown, $24.95, 0307337332).

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Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Diane Beers, author of For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States (Swallow, $19.95, 0804010870).

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Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (Hyperion, $24.95, 1401302378).


Books & Authors

Murray Wins Wheatley

Victoria Christopher Murray has won the 2006 Phillis Wheatley Award for excellence in contemporary fiction, which was presented last Friday at the opening reception of the Harlem Book Fair in New York City, according to the Amsterdam News. The award honors the memory of the late African-American poet Phillis Wheatley.

Murray has written six Christian novels, the latest of which is A Sin and a Shame (Touchstone, $14, 0743287371). When she began writing after a 10-year career in corporate life, "I didn't even know that Christian fiction existed," Murray told the paper. "I knew that I wanted to write a book that was entertaining, compelling and put God in the middle and still have the book be a page-turner."

This year's honorees are Walter Dean Myers, author of Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary; Omar Tyree, author of 13 books that focus on urban hip-hop culture; Chester Higgins, a photojournalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Black Enterprise and Art News; and Jan Carew whose works incorporate some of his experiences as an educator and author in Europe, Guyana and the U.S.


Book Sense: May We Recommend

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

Hardcover

The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck (Holt, $23, 0805080333). "This delightful love story between a tailor and a woman for whom he is fashioning a wedding dress is as frothy as the tulle wedding veil on a masterpiece gown. The characters are instantly likeable and well-drawn, and the setting (France and the Parisian world of couture) delights. Having a male protagonist and telling the story from his perspective gives the reader a truly different way to think about the highs and lows of a once-in-a-lifetime affaire de coeur."--Gladys Levis-Pilz, HearthFire Books of Evergreen, Evergreen, Colo.

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A History by Lewis Buzbee (Graywolf, $17, 1555974503). "Settle down in a cozy chair in your favorite independent bookstore to read this love letter to books and bookstores. The essays explore Buzbee's experiences with book lust as well as bibliophilia through the ages. An extremely welcome addition to every book lover's collection of books about books."--Dana Harper, Brystone Children's Books, Fort Worth, Tex.

Paperback

Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage (Coffee House, $14.95, 1566891817). "This story of a literate rat born in a bookstore is the kind of novel that pulls readers in with its very premise--its absurdity and zaniness leaving me to wonder how in the world it could possibly be pulled off in a believable and meaningful way. Yet it happens. I loved the book more and more with each page."--Hans Weyandt, Micawber's Bookstore, Saint Paul, Minn.

Picture Books

Will and Squill by Emma Chichester Clark (Carolrhoda Books, $15.95, 1575059363). "This is an adorable picture book about friendship and jealousy, which seem to go hand in hand sometimes. Will and Squill share lots of things, but not the new kitten that comes into Will's life. Cute illustrations, fun text, and a happy ending make this a great read-aloud."--Kim Soyka, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

The World's Greatest Elephant by Ralph Helfer, illustrated by Ted Lewin (Philomel, $16.99, 0399241906). "I have to tell you that this is now the greatest storytime book I have read. This story of a boy and his lifelong friendship with an elephant is full of action, heart, villains, heroes, choices, and conviction."-Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]



Deeper Understanding

Cool Idea: Six Stores Promote Themselves as a Group

What a difference a simple brochure can make. In June, six New Age bookstores in the mid-Atlantic area--who have dubbed themselves "the Mid-Atlantic New Age 6"--began promoting themselves as a group to authors and artists, emphasizing that they are "ready, willing, and looking forward to hosting you and your event." The group produced a brochure and began distributing it at the International New Age Trade Show West (INATS) late last month in Denver.

"Boy did we get some interest," Jean Haller, owner of Journeys of Life, Pittsburgh, Pa., one of the six stores, told Shelf Awareness. As of last week, she said, "we're working on our third booking."

Besides Journeys of Life, which Haller founded 17 years ago, the stores are Alchemists, Richmond, Va., breathe books, Baltimore, Md., Divine Inspirations, Nutley, N.J., Soul Journey, Butler, N.J., and Spark of Spirit, College Park, Md. The stores stress that "we're similar but different," as Haller put it. The stores tend not to do simply traditional signings, but have authors and artists lead workshops, talk about their work, and more.

The idea behind the group venture, Haller continued, is "strength in numbers and the cost factor. We can bring authors in, but it's almost prohibitive just for me to do. Also none of us has the time to do this by themselves. All of us are smaller stores, so we don't usually have much a chance for big names to visit unless something drops out of heaven. Pittsburgh is not on the map for author tours." She emphasized, too, that the stores--most of which are less than two years old and all run by women--are "not competitors in any sense of the word." The approach helps remind authors, artists and publicists of the stores and what they can do. "We're bringing the energy of six stores together and creating something viable for the presenter and the store," Haller went on. "It shows how alive our stores are."

The group-promotion idea is catching on among other retailers. Some New Age booksellers in other parts of the country who saw the brochure at INATS are considering and beginning to promote themselves in similar regional ways, Haller said. She noted that such an approach would work well for stores with other specialties such as children's, mystery or travel stores. "The moral of the story is for booksellers to look around and see who to partner with and attract authors that way."

The genesis of the brochure goes back to a tour made by Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak and some 30 books on signs and omens in nature and in the animal world, Haller said. At last year's INATS meeting in Denver, Andrews said he would come to Haller's store. She told him that Susan Weis of breathe books also wanted him to visit. One thing led to another and when he came to the area he went to both stores as well as others in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. That led Haller and Weis to talk about how to repeat the approach. "We said, 'Let's be creative. Let's try to do something so we could offer different things to the authors. If they're visiting New York, why not go to New Jersey, too, and down the coast?' "

Among the authors and artists currently planning trips to "the Mid-Atlantic New Age 6": Cyndi Dale, the Chakra writer, who will visit the area in February and James Wanless of Voyager Tarot fame. Haller noted: "Wanless said, 'Tell me when are where to be. This is so easy.' " Yet another is Judith Lukomski, author with Doreen Virtue of Crystal Therapy: How to Heal and Empower Your Life with Crystal Energy, who's coming from California in October and will go to at least three of the stores and maybe five.

Haller said that she and Weis are the "point people"--Haller for those inside who are talking with authors and Weis for people who approach the group. Haller may be contacted at jolbooks@aol.com and Weis at breathebooks@aol.com.


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