Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 30, 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: Book Passage's 30-Year Journey; New Stores

Congratulations! Book Passage, which has stores in Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Sunday, November 5, at the Corte Madera store with a program of events featuring some of the stores' many author-fans. At 11:30 a.m., children's storyteller and musician Christopher Smith performs. At noon, the store will serve up Georgeanne Brennan and Frankie Fankeny, whose new The Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, inspired and illustrated by the late Dr. Seuss, is just out. At 2 p.m. the store will toast independent bookselling, and from 2-5 p.m., Isabel Allende will emcee appearances by authors who include Dorothy Allison, Andrew Sean Greer, Robert Holmes, Anne Lamott, Adair Lara, Richard North Patterson, Martin Cruz Smith, Amy Tan, Jan Yanehiro.

Book Passage, which regularly puts on author events, runs writing and language classes and hosts travel and mystery writer's conferences, is donating part of the day's sales to the Marin Literacy Program.


Red Fox Books opened in downtown Glen Falls, N.Y., on October 19, the Albany Times Union reported. "The store stocks 10,000 titles from the usual literary genres and subclassifications (fiction, nonfiction, new releases, best-sellers, children's books, cookbooks, etc.)," the paper wrote. "Special events like reading groups, classes, story hours and author visits are also planned." Red Fox Books is located at 28 Ridge St., Glen Falls, N.Y. 12801; 518-793-5352;


Bruce and Laura DeLaney have opened the Rediscovered Bookshop in the Overland Park Shopping Center in Boise, Idaho. The store, which has the motto "New Ideas Arriving Daily," has 3,800 square feet of space and currently stocks some 18,000 new and "gently used" books.

Bruce DeLaney has managed an engineering laboratory, keeps bees and "enjoys many strategy games," and Laura DeLaney has been "a music teacher, farmer's daughter and has degrees in both music and English."

The DeLaneys said in a statement that they aim to create "a warm comfortable atmosphere combined with a knowledgeable staff that really cares about books . . . a vibrant meeting place where people could discover new ideas, exchange book recommendations and gain camaraderie with others who share their love of books."

The Rediscovered Bookshop may be discovered at 7079 Overland Rd., Boise, Idaho 83709; 208-376-4229;


By the end of November, Tonya Lowe and Ashley Wallace plan to open a bookstore in Williamson, W.Va., that will "offer scrapbooking classes and classes geared toward children," the Appalachian News-Express reported. The store will called the Open Book. No contact information yet.


On tour for his new book, The Audacity of Hope (Crown, $25, 0307237699), Senator Barack Obama is drawing crowds like those for a rock star, and the book has won election to a range of bestseller lists. Among the many indications of the author-politician's popularity:

Changing Hands, Tempe, Ariz., had to turn away as many as 2,000 people from an offsite reading by the Senator held last Monday, according to co-owner Gayle Shanks. Some 1,400 people attended, paying $35 ($10 for the event and $25 for the book--or a gift certificate at the store). Obama talked with Changing Hands staff about bookselling and "knew a lot" about how independents are faring, Shanks said. reports that as of last week a bookseller on the site was asking $1,698 for a signed first edition copy of Obama's 1995 title, Dreams From My Father. Another bookseller is offering a signed copy of The Audacity of Hope for $240.

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

DVDs: More Showing at a Bookstore Near You

Borders and Barnes & Noble are slimming down their music offerings somewhat and increasing DVD selections, Video Business reported. The changes are occurring both because of declining music CD sales in general and the void created by the folding of Tower Records and Musicland, which accounted for many DVD retail sales.

B&N has "reversed the emphasis within its music and movies sections over the last 18 months, from 60% music and 40% DVD space dedication to 60% DVD/40% music," the magazine said.

At Borders, which is shifting some space from music to DVD and other categories, more DVD titles are being displayed faceout now rather than spine out.

"It's a good thing to get away from the spine," one studio executive commented. "That is a book mentality, but it wasn't working for video sections. It's good for [shoppers] to be able to see that package sleeve and really see the film. It's a dramatic difference."

Bookstores make up just 2% of studio DVD sales, according to NPD president of music and movies Russ Crupnick, but he said that bookstores offer a "desirable consumer base."

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Barefoot Contessa Returns

This morning the Today Show serves up Food Network celebrity Ina Garten, whose new cookbook is Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again (Clarkson Potter, $35, 1400054346).

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

Books & Authors

Stop Global Warming Off to Hot Start

When the December issues of Self, Glamour and Marie Claire hit newsstands, all three glossies will contain features on environmental activist Laurie David and Stop Global Warming: The Solution Is You! (Fulcrum Publishing, $9.95, 155591621X). Despite some competition among the magazines, "they're all very supportive of Laurie's initiatives," said Fulcrum vice president Mike Dyer. "I think that's a big part of why they're all running something concurrently."

David's initiatives include the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, which she founded with Senator John McCain and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., to raise awareness about global warming. To date, the site has registered more than 500,000 supporters. David is also the producer of Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth (the companion book is No. 8 on the New York Times paperback nonfiction list), as well as the HBO documentary Too Hot Not to Handle.

David's other claim to fame is that she is the wife of comedian Larry David (who wrote the book's introduction and whose character on the sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm drives an eco-friendly Toyota Prius). David has achieved credibility in her own right as an environmental activist, but Dyer acknowledges that her celebrity status has aided in heightening awareness for the book. "I think just like with Al Gore, the thing we see with successful books today is that the media, or at least awareness of a person's name, plays a huge role," he said. "While Laurie has a deep Hollywood Rolodex, these people are supporting her because of her commitment to the environment and not just because she's Larry David's wife."

Media attention for David's book, which was published last month and now has 30,000 copies in print, has included author appearances on the Martha Stewart Show, the Al Franken Show and the Fox News channel. In more of a grassroots effort, books were distributed to attendees of the Clinton Global Initiative Conference in New York City in early October, as well as to members of the Natural Resources Defense Council board.

A significant portion of the sales of Stop Global Warming have come from non-bookstore retailers like outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia, which is selling the book in its stores across the country. Several museums hosting exhibits on global warming and climate change have also picked up the book, as have the clothing and house wares chain Anthropologie, New York City's ABC Carpet and Home and the boutique Midnight Farm on Martha's Vineyard. "It's a very eclectic mix of people who are getting on board with this book," Dyer said. "They're really kind of embracing the topic," he added. "They're almost using the book as a positioning tool for their concern about the environment."

Where sales have been lagging, noted Dyer, is at independent bookstores, something he believes can be remedied with a merchandising strategy like that used by Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle, Wash., where Stop Global Warming is displayed near Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. "I think stores would do well to take advantage of the continual media that all three pieces are getting and build a display," said Dyer in reference to the two books and the DVD of An Inconvenient Truth.

Barnes & Noble has opted to promote the book nationally, as has Canadian retailer Indigo Books & Music. Indigo has selected Stop Global Warming as one of "Heather's Picks"--books chosen by Indigo CEO Heather Reisman--and will be given merchandising from the second week of November throughout the holiday season.

Another factor Dyer identifies as contributing to the book's momentum is an increased awareness of environmental causes among the general public. "There is certainly a buzz going on now about being green," he said, and there is "some type of upwelling where environmental topics are becoming more prominent."

This is good news for Fulcrum, which was founded 23 years ago as an environmental publisher. The company, which is expanding and recently moved to larger headquarters in Golden, Colo., has since branched out into other areas but has stayed true to its roots. There are some 50 environmental books on its backlist, and this spring it will publish Biodiesel and the Future of the Family Farm by Willie Nelson. The country crooner's book is part of the Speaker's Corner Series--compact essays on important public policy and social topics--as is David's Stop Global Warming.

David will continue to make appearances until the end of the year, and Fulcrum is planning to launch a second wave of publicity in early 2007. This will include additional tour stops for David and a feature in the April issue Cosmo Girl magazine, which will help achieve David's goal of reaching out to the teen and college markets.

With an increasing social awareness of "being green" and an author with a solid platform (and, yes, celebrity connections), things are heating up for Stop Global Warming.--Shannon McKenna

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:


The Birth House by Ami McKay (Morrow, $24.95, 0061135852). "This is the story of Dora Rare, a gifted midwife and healer, whose home is the close-knit community of Scots Bay, Nova Scotia. Dora and the women she serves must struggle to maintain their meaningful traditions when they're threatened by the arrival of a male physician. Like the tidal surge in the Bay of Fundy, McKay's wonderful novel pulls you in. A great book club pick!"--Maryjude Hoeffel, Bookin' It, Little Falls, Minn.


My Pet Virus: The True Story of a Rebel Without a Cure by Shawn Decker (Tarcher, $9.95, 1585425257). "This subtly hilarious memoir is the story of a life with hemophilia--and AIDS. Sound depressing? Think again! With humor and attitude, Decker describes his life and adventures--including meeting his childhood heroes Depeche Mode, wrestler Ric Flair, and his AIDS activist wife-to-be-without a shred of self-pity."--Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, Mich.

For Children to Age 8

Pumpkins by Ken Robbins (Roaring Brook, $14.95, 1596431849). "From the farmer planting the seeds to the leftover pumpkins rotting on the ground, Robbins portrays with lush photos the lifecycle of the pumpkin, including becoming a jack-o-lantern. And the text adds to the beauty."--Ilene Colburn, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, Ind.

Tucker's Apple-Dandy Day by Susan Winget (HarperCollins, $12.99, 0060546468). "Tucker, a lovable bear, is supposed to pick some apples for his mother's delicious apple pie, but, instead, he helps his friends and forgets to pick his own apples. This is a sweet story about helping others in need and sharing with friends."--Samantha Haldeman, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

Deeper Understanding

An Alphabetical Life: Our Last Excerpts

The following is the last of five excerpts Shelf Awareness has run from An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the Business of Books by Wendy Werris (Carroll & Graf, $15.95, 078671817X), which will be published officially on November 5. A former bookseller and longtime sales rep, Werris also works as a freelance author escort and photographer in the Los Angeles area. For more about Werris and the book, go to her Web site.

Werris's first job as a rep was for Two Continents Publishing, run by the Shatzkin family, which distributed both U.S. and U.K. titles. After a first day "selling" that featured her hitting a boy on bicycle with her car and never making it to the bookstore, she began to get used to the routine.

As a book rep, I learned the finer points of dining while driving. Unless the occasion called for taking a buyer out to lunch, on an ordinary day--while driving between appointments--I chowed down at the steering wheel. First I learned where all of the fast food joints were on my route, such as the In n' Out near Ventura off the 101 freeway, or the MacDonald's between San Juan Capistrano and Camp Pendleton on the way to San Diego on I-5. My favorite, Jack In the Box, called to me on the way to downtown L.A., at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Third Street.

It took me a few years to get the rules of personal etiquette down to a science in my car. Along the way I spilled and slopped fast food kibble on so many items of clothing that I hoped my dry cleaner would start giving me a discount. Occasionally I had to detour to the nearest Gap to buy a new sweater or T-shirt, rather than walk into an account with the remnants of Burger King's chicken broiler across my right breast.


I found that a key requirement for a book rep is to resonate with the solitary life. We all spend so much time alone, feasting on the silence of this peculiar choice of careers, that there must be a willingness to wear aloneness like a cloak of honor. Fortunately, I was able to assume this inner posture easily.


Traditionally, publishers' reps had always been men. It was a well established boy's club when I first started out, so I had to become my own role model, inventing and improvising as I went along. Was I supposed to be alluring and playful when selling to male buyers, turning the then-stereotypical image of women to my advantage in that way?  Would the illusion of helplessness make these men buy more books from me?  And with the women, how was I to proceed without making them feel threatened by having to buy from a confident, independent young woman?  Should I patronize them?  Behave passively, or with aggression? In those early days, I had no idea what to paint for the outline of my identity as a book rep.

So I fell back on that old behavioral standby--humor. Thanks to my father I was always pretty clever in that department, and by leading with laughter I somehow found a good balance for my sales persona. It unfolded gradually over the course of my first selling season, the spring of 1975. As I met each buyer for the first time, it was my self-deprecation that created a good first impression. "Hello," I'd say, "I'm the sacrificial lamb from Two Continents." The ability to poke fun at my ineptitude and myself helped to make the buyers relax. I would forget to bring something essential to many sales calls--an order form, perhaps, or a pen--and have to borrow a writing implement from the buyer, or scribble the order on a note pad or the back of another publisher's catalogue. But no matter what, I laughed aloud at myself, which in turn made the buyer take a detour from irritation to a fond reaction.

I was fortunate to be raised by a woman who had a low tolerance for bullshit. My mother never put on airs, never pretended to be anything other than her natural self, and she absolutely knew who she was. People always knew where they stood with her. Her favorite expression was, ". . . and you can kisch miern tuchos!"  For the uninitiated, this is Yiddish for the friendly saying, "Kiss my ass, pal!"  

This memory was music to my ears when I finally sorted out the confusion of how, as a publishers' sales rep, and a female one at that, I should behave with the multi-faceted personalities of bookstore buyers. What worked best for me then, and still does now, was simply being myself. Straight up, undiluted, maddeningly candid me. For those who didn't appreciate this behavior, I certainly toned it down. However, before leaving the store I mentally turned around, bent over and conjured my mother's pearls of wisdom.


One of the most distinctive payoffs of being a book rep is the camaraderie one realizes in meeting others of the same ilk. It's a small world, this business of books, and sooner or later we all meet one another and form relationships unlike any others in our lives. We share an understanding of the unique aspects of our jobs, and there's a symbiosis at work on many levels. We drink together and rage together; we share gossip and rumors and sometimes we pair off and have sex with each other. In many ways we cannot live without one another. The friends I made thirty years ago are still my comrades, book-ended within a thousand pages of empathetic love.

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