Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 11, 2005
Quotation of the Day
Not So Fast: A Critique of a Freakonomics Critique
I was fascinated the other day when I read in Shelf Awareness that Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt thought their author tour to San Francisco for Freakonomics was not cost effective and suggested that author tours are a waste of money. I think they fell into a trap of limited thinking--they looked at just a tiny part of the picture and didn't get all the facts. Since my economics teacher told me that was a trap to avoid and as a big fan of Freakonomics, I'm a bit disappointed in their limited view.
Yes, a trip all the way to San Francisco costs a lot, but that wasn't the problem. The problem was they had only one event here. The Bay Area has at least four distinct markets (San Francisco, Marin, the Peninsula and the East Bay). They could have spoken in four bookstores in two days and sold hundreds of books at each store. Without changing hotels, they could have even added events in bookstores in Santa Cruz or the Napa/Sonoma area. They would have drawn huge crowds in each store, and the cost of their travel would have seemed unimportant.
They might not know that events work in some bookstores at all hours of the day. For example, we recently hosted a huge event for Thomas Friedman on a weekday morning and sold hundreds of books. The World Is Flat continues to be front and center in our store and one of our bestsellers. And Friedman spoke at several Bay Area venues in two days.
Unlike Dubner and Levitt, not every author is a bestseller, and sometimes there aren't huge quantities of books sold at events. Even in those cases, exposure in each of the four Bay Area markets can pay big dividends in staff and customer awareness, which can result in increased sales for weeks and months after the event.
Bookselling Notes: Booker Longlist, Banned Books Week
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is encouraging booksellers and librarians to participate in Banned Books Week, Sept. 24-Oct. 1, the annual, sadly necessary event that is sponsored by ABFFE, NACS, AAP and ALA.
To help the effort, ABFFE has a new electronic handbook containing suggestions for displays, readings and other activities that is available on the ABFFE Web site. In addition, ABFFE is offering a Banned Books Week discount on the T-shirts, buttons and stickers that incorporate its FREADOM logo.
Booksellers may also receive a 50% discount on ABFFE membership if they join before the end of Banned Books Week.
Stevens Park in Hoboken, N.J., best-known as Frank Sinatra's hometown, is now a free hot spot, courtesy of the city government, Stevens Institute of Technology and Symposia Bookstore, a used bookstore affiliated with the nonprofit community network group Symposia, according to the Jersey Journal. The bookstore's contribution: the $75 Internet access fee.
Borders is closing its Framingham, Mass., store when the lease expires later this year, according to the MetroWest Daily News. A representative of the landlord indicated that the company had sought additional space at the site to expand but couldn't be accommodated. Borders has been revamping many of its stores and adding Paperchase stationery sections and Seattle's Best cafes, among other features.
As Borders prepares to open in nearby Warrenton, Va., the Rappahannock News profiles two bookstores, the Old Sperryville Bookshop and Fly-By-Night Books.
Opened two years ago by Pam Owen, Fly-By-Night, Flint Hill, Va., carries used books, collectibles, crafts and photographs with an emphasis on nature, local interest and children's titles. Robert and Julia Jordan of Blue Ridge Books, which sells rare and collectible titles at shows, on the Internet and from an antique shop, are renting space in the store to showcase their titles.
Located in a former church in Sperryville, the Old Sperryville Bookshop is open only Friday, Saturday and Sunday, carries new and used titles and has a coffee bar. Owner Nancy Ostinato has also begun publishing, working with the local historical society to obtain the necessary copyright and reprint a 1950 collection of stories about the county. My Rappahannock Story Book by Mary Elizabeth Hite, which retails for $23.95, is a store bestseller.
Quail Ridge in Tune With Symphony Store
In June, the Symphony opened the Box Office & Store at North Hills, the Raleigh area's first "lifestyle" shopping center--with residential units, offices, movie theaters, wellness centers, hotels, restaurants, shops and more. Besides offering tickets for the symphony, the Box Office & Store sells apparel, jewelry, decorative accessories, educational toys, merchandise from other museums as well as music and music books supplied by Quail Ridge.
"They're wonderful to work with," Quail Ridge owner Nancy Olson told Shelf Awareness. "And it's so good for us. It's the kind of partnership that helps us stay in the community's eye."
Quail Ridge's "other location" is in a different part of Raleigh, adding to the store's visibility, which is emphasized by the Symphony store's "prominent sign with us on it," Olson said.
Olson said that the merchandise Quail Ridge supplies is "selling well." Quail Ridge also takes orders through the Symphony's Box Office & Store. The Symphony receives a 10% cut, and one of its employees, who has gift shop experience, operates the store.
Quail Ridge and the Symphony continue to cooperate in other ways: the symphony regularly sends musicians to the store to put on programs. "We've always done stuff with them, but this is even better," Olson added. One of the nicest aspects of the deal, according to Olson: "They approached us!"
Media and Movies
Book TV: A Little Summer Revision
Saturday, August 13
7 p.m. Encore Booknotes. The late Robert Sobel, author of Coolidge: An American Enigma (Regnery, $19.95, 0895262479), discussed the life of the 30th president of the United States. In the book, he argued that Coolidge was a productive president, cutting taxes four times and achieving a budget surplus every year in office.
8 p.m. Public Lives. In an event that took place at R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., Edward Renehan, author of Dark Genius of Wall Street: The Misunderstood Life of Jay Gould, King of the Robber Barons (Basic Books, $30, 0465068855), argued that Jay Gould, owner of Union Pacific, has been portrayed unfairly and that his reputation for ruthlessness came about because he beat other business tycoons like J. P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Sunday, August 14
6 p.m. After Words. Michael Novak, director of Social and Political Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, interviews Harvey Kaye, author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America (Hill and Wang, $25, 080908970X), about the influence of Paine's writings on reformers such as William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Eugene Debs. (Re-airs at 9 p.m.)
10 p.m. History on Book TV. At an event hosted by the Smithsonian Associates at the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Nicholas Ostler, author of Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World (HarperCollins, $29.95, 0066210860), discussed why some languages are more popular than others and the growth rates of lesser-known languages.
Media Heat: Journalist, Admiral and Doctor
Yesterday on Talk of the Nation, Scott Huler declaimed about the "poetry" of the Beaufort wind scale and its inventor, Sir Francis Beaufort. Huler is the author of Defining the Wind: The Beaufort Scale and How a 19th-Century Admiral Turned Science into Poetry (Three Rivers, $12.95, 1400048850)
Tomorrow Diane Rehm has an appointment with Dr. Anne Peters, author of Conquering Diabetes: A Cutting-Edge, Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment (Hudson Street Books, $24.95, 1594630038).
Books & Authors
No Puzzle: Sudoku Sweeps the Country
New York Times puzzlemeister Will Shortz told the paper: "I've been a fan of sudoku for years and an addict since April. Sudoku is just perfect for the international puzzle competition because it doesn't matter where you are from or what language you speak." Shortz will publish three puzzle collections over the next two months.
Shortz isn't the only one to try to solve this sales puzzle. His and other books out in the past month or two include:
- Sudoku Easy Presented by Will Shortz Volume 1: 100 Wordless Crossword Puzzles (St. Martin's Griffin, $6.95, 0312355025)
- The Sudoku Book: An Introduction to Su Doku with 101 Puzzles by Sam Griffiths-Jones (Harriman House, $10, 1897597649)
- The Book of Sudoku: The Hot New Puzzle Craze by Michael Mepham (Overlook, $9.95, 1585677612)
- The Official Book of Sudoku: Book 1 (Plume, $10, 0452287200)
- New York Post Su Doku 1: The Official Utterly Addictive Number-Placing Puzzle by Wayne Gould (Collins, $7.95, 0060885319)
- Sudoku: More than 200 Fun and Challenging Japanese Number Puzzles by Tammy Seto (Gramercy, $5.99, 0517228270)
- The Big Book of Su Doku #1 (Sudoku) by Mark Huckvale (Newmarket, $8.95, 1557047030)
Also check out www.sudoku.com, from which many fans download free puzzles.
Attainment: New Titles Next Week
Guinness World Records 2006 (Guinness, $27.95, 1904994024). This record 51st edition of one of the bestselling book series of all time has been revamped with new features, updated entries and records, including a comprehensive sports facts section and new categories based on computers and the digital age.
Remains Silent by Michael Baden and Linda Kenney (Knopf, $22.95, 1400044197). A forensic thriller from the medical examiner and legal expert, Remains Silent, the first in a series, follows a trail of deaths and bodies to secret, malicious experiments by the government. The book is also available in audio format (RH Audio, $34.95, 0739324039, unabridged CD).
Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf, $24.95, 0375412913). More than zero? This begins almost as an autobiography, but quickly changes into a horror story when Ellis's house becomes infested with malevolent spirits bent making him acknowledge his troubled past.