Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 10, 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


The End of Tower: Liquidation Begins

All 89 Tower stores, which include two Tower Books, are closing for good after Great American Group, a liquidating company, won a bankruptcy court-supervised auction and bought Tower's inventory for about $134.3 million, according to the Sacramento Bee. The money will go to Tower's creditors, who are owed some $200 million. The going-out-of-business sale will likely take eight to 10 weeks.

Besides the bookstores, Tower has sold a limited selection of books in its music stores. At one point the company had as many as a dozen Tower Books outlets, some paired with Tower Records.

Trans World Entertainment Corp. bid just $500,000 less for the company than Great American Group and planned to keep many of the stores open although most likely under another name. Record companies apparently preferred this approach and argued it would create more value for creditors, but the bankruptcy court judge rejected the effort.

Norton LLC won the bidding for Tower's name, Web site and other assets. Two other companies won the lease rights to Tower's stores. The Sunset Boulevard store in Los Angeles, one of the few owned by the company, was sold for $12 million to a real estate firm. The rights to Tower's 155 franchise stores overseas have apparently not been sold.

Russ Solomon opened the first Tower Records store in Sacramento in 1960. In an e-mail to employees sent by his assistant, Solomon wrote, "The fat lady has sung. . . . She was off-key. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You."

At its height a decade ago, Tower had $1 billion a year in sales and owned more than 200 stores around the world. During the company's first bankruptcy two years ago, the Solomon family gave up 85% of ownership to bondholders. The company filed for bankruptcy again in August. In its most recent fiscal year, sales were $430 million--and were continuing to drop.

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

Notes: Store Moves, Openings; Distribution Changes

Congratulations to McNally Robinson bookstores, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary, the Winnipeg Sun reported. The company, which has four stores in western Canada--in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Calgary, Alberta--and a store in New York City that opened in late 2004 and is run by family member Sarah McNally, is considered Canada's largest independent bookstore.


Jim Huang and members of his family have bought a building in Carmel, Ind., and plan to move his Mystery Company bookstore and publishing operations into the larger space--and rent out some of it to someone to run a coffee shop, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Mystery Company has been in 1,500 square feet of space in the Carmel Walk shopping center. The new building, which is on the edge of Carmel's "emerging Arts & Design District," has 6,000 square feet of space. Huang told the paper that the store will add "more children's books and some general titles that may have a topical connection to things happening or of special interest here." The store will also have space to host children's birthday parties, book parties and signings.


Only three years old, First Page, the Costa Mesa, Calif., children's store, has opened a branch in nearby Newport Beach, according to the Daily Pilot. Owner Christy Coyne celebrated the opening of the second First Page by inviting librarians from more than 40 schools to pick up special gifts donated by customers.


Hue-Man Bookstore, New York City, which recently signed on with Hudson Group to operate sections in some of its airport stores, will be a partner in AOL's Black Voices, according to the Amsterdam News. Co-owner Marva Allen told the paper, "They will take advantage of what we have to offer and we will be in a position to benefit from the tremendous traffic they receive."


In November 2007, Barnes & Noble plans to open a store in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the Midtown Shopping Center at 15th Street and McFarland Boulevard.

In May 2007, B&N will open a store in Glendora, Calif., in the Diamond Ridge Marketplace at Valley Center Avenue and Gladstone Street.

Both stores will stock the usual nearly 200,000 book, music, DVD and magazine titles.


The first Borders in the Gulf States, the result of a franchise deal announced earlier this year with Al Maya Group (Shelf Awareness, February 5, 2005), will open in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates at the end of the month, according to Trade Arabia. Another store will open in Muscat, Oman, next year.

The 16,000-sq.-ft. Dubai store will stock 65,000 titles in English and Arabic. To celebrate its opening, it will host a signing by Lord Jeffrey Archer.


Borders is making its first airport bookstore landing in New York, in LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal Marketplace early next month. The 2,850-sq.-ft. store will stock more than 10,000 book titles, including audiobooks, some magazines, "a selection of health and beauty products and top-selling DVD and CD titles as well as music accessories," the company said. The store will also have snack items and some "soft seating."

Borders operates stores at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport as well as in 11 other airports.


Vivien Jennings and Roger Doeren, owners of Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., are launching a campaign against the rumored opening of a Borders bookstore in a mixed-use development a mile and a half from their store, the Kansas City Star reported.

In an e-mail last week, the pair asked customers "to voice their concerns to the developer, city officials, the center's brokers and the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce," according to the paper.

The developer, who said he is seeking locally owned retailers who are not the "same old run of the mill tenants," is talking with Jennings tomorrow.


Congratulations to Sanj Kharbanda, who has been promoted to senior marketing manager and named manager of e-marketing initiatives of Houghton Mifflin's trade and reference division. Kharbanda joined Houghton Mifflin last year as a marketing manager and before that worked for 15 years at WordsWorth bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. He was an early user of Web technology and among many other things, created the first independent bookstore bestsellers list, a forerunner of the Book Sense list.


Last night and today Chicago celebrates Jhumpa Lahiri, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning Interpreter of Maladies (Mariner, $13, 039592720X) is the choice of One Book, One Chicago. She appeared at the Chicago Public Library last night in conversation with Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey. This morning she meets with the members of Mayor Richard Daley's High School Book Club--350 high school students.


Effective November 1, Rugged Land Books, New York City, will be distributed by Perseus Books Group's Client Distribution Services, which handles distribution for some 50 clients.

"In just three years, Rugged Land has built a reputation for publishing compelling works of both fiction and nonfiction in categories ranging from sports biography/autobiography to historical novels," David Steinberger, president and CEO of Perseus, said in a statement.

Next month Rugged Land will publish two more titles in its Icons of the NFL series: Taylor by Lawrence Taylor (9781590710821) and Namath by Joe Namath (9781590710814). The company will extend the franchise into baseball next June, in conjunction with MLB Properties, with Yastrzemski, about Carl Yastrzemski and Munson, about the late Thurman Munson. Rugged Land has also published titles by CBS Sports commentator David Feherty, Court TV anchor Catherine Crier, Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace and football star Brett Favre.


Quadrille Publishing, the U.K. publisher of interior design, culinary arts, gardening and mind/body/spirit titles, will be distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services. Among the titles in its fall list, its first in the U.S., are:

  • Decorating Easy: Create A Simple, Comfortable Home with Pure Style by Jane Cumberbatch, a style authority
  • Source: An Internet Directory of Modern Interior Design by Fay Sweet, an author and broadcaster
  • Heal Yourself with Flowers and Other Essences by journalist Nikki Bradford
  • Heart & Soul Angel Cards by Angela McGerr, a most-appropriately named angel author
  • How to Do Everything and Still Have Time For Yourself by Dawna Walter, presenter of TV's The Life Laundry
  • Italia: The Recipes and Customs of the Regions by Antonio Carluccio, London restaurateur
  • The Really Useful Guide to Red Wine and The Really Useful Guide to White Wine by Susy Atkins, wine editor of delicious magazine


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

AP All Over Indies This Weekend

Two AP stories about how independent booksellers are faring against chains, neither written by usual book correspondent Hillel Italie, have been published in papers across the country the past few days with a range of headlines, including "Independent Bookstores Fight for Life," "Independent Bookstores Fighting Chains," "Genre Bookstores Hold Off Big Chains" and "Independent Bookstores Fight the Net."

In a bit of news, the story by Don Babwin (via USA Today) reports that Brent Books & Cards will close this month and reopen as a discount bookstore. Owner Adam Brent, son of Chicago bookselling legend Stuart Brent, said he knew his days selling new books were over when he noticed mail carriers delivering books from to tenants above the store. "Literally, they didn't walk downstairs or take the time to make a phone call."

The story noted that even though 200-300 indies close a year, ever more indies are opening. "For a long time, from 1992 to 2002, you literally could count on two hands the number of openings," Oren Teicher, COO of the American Booksellers Association, told the AP. "In the last three years there are 60, 70, 80 stores opening" each year.

The story mentioned several other stores that have made changes in the past year or so that have been covered at some length here and elsewhere:

  • The decision by Gary Kleiman, owner of BookBeat, Fairfax, Calif., to yank out most of his books and offer performances, free wi-fi and a café atmosphere.
  • The aim of the Mystery Company, Carmel, Ind., founded by Jim Huang nearly four years ago (see item above), to offer readers a place where they can talk.
  • The community support that helped Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, Calif., reopen a year ago.


The other story, by Justin M. Norton (via the San Francisco Chronicle), investigates a range of "genre stores" in California, including:

  • Borderlands Books, San Francisco, which claims double-digit sales growth every year during the past decade.
  • Other Change of Hobbit, Berkeley, whose founding partner David Nee called it "an adoption agency. We find books that people will want to read and hook them up with them."
  • Burbank's Dark Delicacies, which sells only horror books and horror-related products, which says its closeness to Hollywood makes all the difference.

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ageless and The Real Deal

This morning on the Today Show: Suzanne Somers, author of Ageless: Bioidentical Hormones and Beyond (Crown, $25, 0307237249).


Today on the Early Show: former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill, author with Judah S. Kraushaar of The Real Deal: My Life in Business and Philanthropy (Warner Business, $32, 0446578142).

Also on the Early Show: Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (Free Press, $14, 0743284283). Levy will appear on the Colbert Report tonight.


This morning on CNBC's Squawk Box, John Walston will hawk his new book, The Buzzword Dictionary: 1,000 Phrases Translated from Pompous to English (Marion Street Press, dist. by IPG, $12.95, 1933338075).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: CNN's Lou Dobbs, whose new book is War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back (Viking, $24.95, 0670037923). Dobbs will also appear on Larry King Live tonight. 


Today on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and Fox and Friends: Doro Bush Koch keeps it all in the family with My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H. W. Bush (Warner, $29.99, 0446579904).


Following an appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday by Joseph Trento, author with his wife, Susan, of Unsafe at Any Altitude: Failed Terrorism Investigations, Scapegoating 9/11, and the Shocking Truth About Aviation Security Today (Steerforth, $25.95, 158642128X), the embargo on the book and publicity for it is over. Yesterday the authors appeared on the Early Show and CNN Headline News. Today they're on Fox's Hannity and Colmes and the Mancow Show. 


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Charles Frazier, the author of Cold Mountain whose new book is Thirteen Moons (Random House, $26.95, 0375509321).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard whose new book is Tough Choices: A Memoir (Portfolio, $24.95, 159184133X). 


Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman, Bob Woodward continues to plug State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III (S&S, $30, 0743272234).

Books & Authors

Query About Coulter: No Soul or No Brain?

Coming out this week are two titles that critique Ann Coulter in different ways, both from HarperCollins imprints, one of which has apparently cost the author his job:

Soulless: Ann Coulter and the Right-Wing Church of Hate (Regan Books, $24.95, 0061246492) is by Susan Estrich, the USC professor, commentator, author and manager of Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign.

Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter (Morrow, $21.95, 0061243507) is by Joe Maguire, who until last week, when his bosses saw the book, was an editor in charge of markets coverage at Reuters. According to the New York Times, neither side would say Maguire was fired, and both said he had been given conditional approval some time ago. A Reuters statement about Maguire's departure mentioned the company's principles of "integrity, independence and freedom from bias."

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:


Sharp Objects: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (Shaye Areheart, $24, 0307341542). "Reporter Camille Preaker is sent to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover what might be the connection between a young girl murdered nine months earlier and another young girl recently gone missing. Having fled Wind Gap nearly a decade ago, Camille suddenly finds herself unwillingly reunited with her family and forced to confront tragedies from the past. This exceptional and disturbing thriller is not to be missed."--Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, R.I.


Gardenias by Faith Sullivan (Milkweed, $15, 1571310525). "This is a book to be savored, one to be treasured. In this sequel to The Cape Ann, Faith Sullivan's memorable characters are again struggling with World War II and their expectations for happiness as they confront various challenges. Ultimately, this is one of the most optimistic books about the human condition I have read."--Joci Tilsen, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minn.

For Ages 9 to 12

The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls by Elise Primavera (HarperCollins, $16.99, 0060569468). "Four girls who, quite frankly, hate each other must form an alliance to defeat an evil, if fabulously attired, witch from obtaining the actual magical slippers from the mythical land of OZ. Accomplished illustrator Elise Primavera demonstrates her ability to keep readers turning the page with the most unbelievably talented combination of text and illustrations."--Christopher Stroth, Books Inc., Burlingame, Calif.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


Full Name of the Author of Half of a Yellow Sun

Ooops. In our mention last week of the appearance on the Diane Rehm Show of the author of Half of a Yellow Sun (Knopf, $24.95, 1400044162), we misstated her name. It is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Our apologies.


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