Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 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


Notes: Gotham in Trouble Again; Hannibal to Rise Soon

The Gotham Book Mart in New York City, which was saved two years ago by two men who bought a building in Midtown for the rare book company, is in trouble again and faces an eviction proceeding and seizure of assets, according to today's New York Times.

Apparently Gotham owes at least $500,000 in back rent, taxes, interest and fees. Brown's lawyer told the paper that the building's owners would sell the building at a below-market price to a new owner who would continue to rent to the Gotham. Brown himself told the Times that he and his staff are busy cataloguing some $3 million worth of books and art to sell online. For the time being, the store is closed.

The store's owners, Leonard Lauder and Edmondo Schwartz, bought Gotham's current building for $5.2 million and are charging the Gotham $51,000 a month in rent. A year before moving, Gotham owner Andreas Brown sold the store's former building for $7.2 million; friends told the paper that he spent his money on buying more books and paying his employees rather than the rent.


Delacorte Press will publish Hannibal Rising, a novel about the early days of Hannibal Lecter, on December 5, according to the New York Times. The novel by Thomas Harris will precede by two months the release of a movie of the same name for which Harris wrote the screenplay. Instead of Anthony Hopkins, Gaspard Ulliel will play the young Dr. Lecter. 


It's that time of year again: BookExpo America is asking for recommendations of authors to appear at the many author events during the show, which will be held next year May 31-June 3 in New York City. The programming that centers on authors will be expanded again and includes the opening night keynote, the book & author breakfasts, the Saturday luncheon, the Sunday night fundraiser, the African American Booksellers Conference, educational panels and various forums. A new event is the Last Word, at which one author will provide closing remarks--this will take place on Sunday, June 3, at 1 p.m.

Contact Roger Bilheimer at for more information. Deadline is December 15.

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

NEBA Declares Independence

When the New England Booksellers Association convened this weekend at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, much of the action took place in a single conference room where the organization made key decisions about its future.

What's in a name? It depends on who you ask. At NEBA's annual meeting, the major issue was changing the organization's name from the New England Booksellers Association to the New England Independent Booksellers Association. After a heated debate, members voted in an overwhelming majority to become the NEIBA (still pronounced "nee-ba"), which many believe reflects the association's commitment to fostering business alliances in local communities. One member summed it up by saying, "I like the name change because that's who we are." Some opposed to changing the name felt it wasn't necessary to alter a long-standing brand since the word "independent" is written in the new mission statement, while others expressed the opinion that they might be seen as simply following in the footsteps of fellow regional organizations that already have Independent as part of their names. And, as one bookseller remarked, "If it's not broken, don't fix it."

Another modification was made to the association's mission statement. "To promote the sale of books" is now "To further the success of professional independent booksellers in New England and to foster a vital and supportive bookselling community."

Current NEBA membership is at 546 for the year 2005-2006, down slightly from 554 in 2004-2005. Some 18 new bookstores joined NEBA this year.

A search committee has been formed to find a replacement for Rusty Drugan, who is retiring from his position as the association's executive director because of health considerations. The committee will outline requirements for the job before accepting applications. Drugan's departure was on the minds of booksellers at the show, who wished him well, including Liz Burton, the owner of Harbor Books in Old Saybrook, Conn. "No matter how large or small you are, he always makes time for you," she said. "He's been an integral part of New England bookselling," remarked Chris Morrow of Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt. "We will miss him greatly."


Prior to the annual meeting a session was held to discuss NEBA's Strategic Plan, which is intended "to provide direction for the organization over the next five years." It calls for an in-store peer review program, NEBA staff visits to stores, creating a monthly electronic newsletter, expanding booksellers' networking opportunities, re-launching the association's Web site, establishing relationships with independent businesses in each New England state and other initiatives. Changes to the trade show and the holiday catalogue have already been put into effect this year.


On the trade show floor, publishers vied for booksellers' attention with contests, costumes, and confections--not to mention books and galleys galore. Some highlights:

The best book jacket belongs to Globe Pequot Press' From Baghdad, with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava by Lt. Colonel Jay Kopelman. The cover, which features an image of the slumbering pup, should aid in selling out the 100,000-copy initial shipment. The book has received an "amazing reaction," said Chris Grimm, director of field sales. From Baghdad, with Love, which goes on sale October 3, is the biggest one-day laydown in the company's history.

Visitors who stopped by Hachette Book Group's table were treated to peanut butter cookies, courtesy of sales rep Conan Gorenstein. The amateur baker made the cookies (which we can attest were indeed delicious) using a recipe from Amy Sedaris' humorous entertaining guide, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (Warner, October).

Although it might have seemed that a passerby lost a shoe, the work boot placed on the Harvard Business School Press table was holding entries for a contest to win an L.L. Bean shopping spree in conjunction with the publication of L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon by Leon Gorman (September).

Providence area resident Norman Desmarais appeared in 18th-century military dress (no musket) to promote his book Battlegrounds of Freedom: A Historical Guide to the Battlefields of the War of American Independence (Busca). This year marks the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown.  

More books creating buzz:

  • The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferrucci (Tarcher, August)
  • One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown, October)
  • Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (Random House, October)
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (HarperCollins, February)
  • Rescue Men by Charles Kenney (PublicAffairs, February)
  • The Liar's Diary by Patry Francis (Dutton, February)
  • The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian (Shaye Areheart Books, February)


William Taylor began Friday's session "Independent Booksellers as Mavericks" by complimenting Jen Welsh of Harbor Books in Old Saybrook, Conn., on her handbag and shoes. Welsh's bright green accessories (or "maverick green" according to Taylor) were a perfect match for the cover of Taylor's book, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, co-authored with Polly LaBarre. After listening to the authors talk about the future of business and entrepreneurship, more than 75 participants were, as Taylor said, "set loose" in workshops to "unleash the imagination." Among the ideas shared on boosting business: working with local schools, holding events with teachers, hosting foreign language and tutoring classes and offering innovative sideline products (furniture and maple syrup each received a nod). Ultimately, as Taylor told the audience, bookselling "is a passion business. And if it's a passion business, there's no telling what you can unleash on the world."


"People are coming to realize that if they don't support their communities they'll lose them," Betsy Burton said to fellow booksellers at Friday's session "Shop Local: Forming Business Alliances in Your Community." Burton, owner of the King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a key player in launching Local First Utah, was joined by Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Laury Hammel of the Alliance for Local Living Economies. According to Mitchell, there has been an increase in the number of independent business alliances over the last several years and, added Hammel, many of those have been headed by booksellers. Mitchell also noted that collectively the businesses that make up an independent alliance in Austin, Texas, constitute the city's fifth largest employer, which gives them clout with local officials.

Several New England booksellers then shared their experiences on forming business alliances, among them Chris Morrow of Northshire Bookstore (who is spearheading a state-wide effort in Vermont), and Allan Schmid of Books Etc., whose campaign in Portland, Me., included T-shirts with the tag line "Buy Local. Keep Portland Independent." Said Schmid, "I was going to wear mine, but it was in the laundry."

Information about starting an independent business alliance can be found at

Moderator Elizabeth Bluemle of the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vt., left early from Saturday's panel "Capitalizing on Your Children's Department" but had a good reason: a signing for her children's book My Father the Dog (Candlewick Press).

Organized by the New England Children's Booksellers Advisory Council, the panel discussion centered on managing the three "Cs": customers (talking to parents, teachers and children, who should be treated as primary consumers); content (knowing which titles to order and recommend); and climate (making your space inviting and user-friendly). As Alison Morris of Wellesley Booksmith in Wellesley, Mass., pointed out, it's necessary to think of children and young adults as valued customers and not just extensions of their parents. Studies show that children under 12 influence $500 billion of purchases per year.


"I live in New York, but I think of myself as a Yankee," Susan Cheever told early risers at Sunday's author breakfast. Cheever gave an entertaining account of how she came to write American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work (S&S, December), which she revealed had an accidental beginning. She became interested in the happenings--literary and romantic--in mid-19th century Concord after being asked to pen the introduction to a new edition of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Cheever discovered that not only was this small Massachusetts town the center of American thought and literature but  it had its fair share of drama and love triangles that she likened to Desperate Housewives. "I usually don't love my own work, but I love this book," said Cheever of American Bloomsbury. "I wish I was still writing it."

Also speaking at the breakfast were Barry Lopez, editor of the anthology Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape (Trinity University Press, September), and Christopher Moore, whose upcoming novel is You Suck: A Love Story (HarperCollins, January). Moore, who did double duty while in Providence with a signing on Saturday afternoon at the Brown Bookstore, thanked booksellers for "supporting my career and my bad habit."

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Good/Bad News: Holiday Sales Predicted to Rise 5%

The National Retail Federation expects retail sales in November and December to increase 5% to $457.4 billion. The past two years, holiday retail sales rose more than 6%; the average annual increase during the past decade has been 4.6%.

For the New York Times the prediction that sales will rise 5% won the headline, "Retailers See Strong Sales for Holiday." At the Wall Street Journal, however, the glass was half empty. It wrote: "Retailers Draw a Weak Forecast for Holidays."

Among the factors influencing the predictions: the weak housing market that some fear "has begun to take its toll on middle- and upper-income U.S. consumers, who had kept spending despite soaring energy prices over the past year," as the Journal put it. But interest rates and gasoline prices have fallen from recent highs.

The Times had more good/bad news, saying that many clothing and other retailers bought conservatively so that they are unlikely to be discounting early because of a glut of inventory, but so far there are no clear "must-have" products.

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Former Gov. James McGreevey on Oprah

This morning on the Early Show: Donald Spoto, author of Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn (Crown, $25.95, 0307237583).


Today Oprah offers a long interview with former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who resigned two years ago and whose new book about his life is The Confession (Regan Books, $26.95, 0060898623).


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Moazzam Begg, author with Victoria Brittain of Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar (New Press, $26.95, 1595581367).


Today on Inside Edition, Jeremy Iversen talks about his High School Confidential (Atria, $25, 0743283635).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist whose new book is The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina (Penguin, $25.95, 159420098X). 


The Bestsellers

The August IMBA Bestsellers

The following are the August bestsellers at Independent Mystery Booksellers Association member stores:


l. The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
2. The Messenger by Daniel Silva
3. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
4. Pegasus Descending by James Lee Burke
5. Dead Wrong by J.A. Jance
6. No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews
7. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
8. Blown Away by G.M. Ford
8. Coronado by Dennis Lehane
8. No Good Deed by Laura Lippman
8. Billy Boyle by James Benn

Paperback (trade and mass market):

1. The Mournful Teddy by John Lamb
2. Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton
3. Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle
4. The Chocolate Bridal Bash by Joanna Carl
5. An Unmentionable Murder by Kate Kingsbury
6. Damn Near Dead edited by Duane Swierczynski
7. Edge of Evil by J. A. Jance
8. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
9. Dead Man Docking by Mary Daheim
10. Murder of a Real Bad Boy by Denise Swanson
10. One Hex of a Wedding by Yasmine Galenorn

[Thanks to IMBA!]


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