Shelf Awareness for Friday, August 12, 2005

Tor Books: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Amulet Books: The Stitchers (Fright Watch #1) by Lorien Lawrence

Kensington: Celebrate Cozy Mysteries - Request a Free Cozy Club Starter Kit!

University of Illinois Press: Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton by Lydia R. Hamessley

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Andrews McMeel Publishing: How to Draw a Reindeer and Other Christmas Creatures with Simple Shapes in 5 Steps by Lulu Mayo

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt


More on Freakonomics as Applied to Author Tours

Stephen J. Dubner's comments about the cost of the author tour for him and Freakonomics co-author Steven D. Levitt, quoted here on August 3, prompted Jean Westcott, senior marketing & publicity manager at International Publishers Marketing, Dulles, Va., to post the following on the Freakonomics Web site:

Having managed a large independent in D.C., I can tell you that the event's impact is more than that particular night's sales. The book is prominently featured in all of the store's advertising, including front-of-store placement for sometimes weeks at a time. Also, it helps to "brand" the author as their name is featured, "John Grisham-like," above the book's title. Another benefit is most smart stores keep a good stack of signed books for after-event sales. In major markets like D.C., N.Y.C., L.A., Boston, customers often have lots of choices for intellectual stimulation and having stock before and after an event sells to them in addition to the night's attendees.

I think it must be said, however, that stores and publishers need to analyze each author individually. Some authors are reluctant to go out into the world--writing being such a solitary activity, and an unhappy author makes an unpleasant event. Stores need to make honest efforts to promote and support events as they are getting "free" entertainment and usually advertising dollars from publishers. And authors, realize that what seems like a hassle to you (answering the same inane questions, travel, interviews) required the efforts of many people not the least of whom are the very attendees that took the time to come out and listen.

University of California Press: Law and Authors: A Legal Handbook for Writers by Jacqueline D Lipton


Bookselling Notes: 50 Grand Grant in Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids, Mich., Downtown Development Authority approved a $50,000 grant to Debra Lambers, owner of Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague, who plans to open a 7,800-sq.-ft. bookstore in Grand Rapids later this year, the Grand Rapids Press reported. The store will be in the former Steketee's department store in space that was once part of Steketee's book department. Lambers said she expects to spend $980,000 to open the store, hiring 20 parttime and 4 fulltime employees. It's the first general bookstore in Grand Rapids in 17 years.


NACS's CM Bulletin offers more details on Universal Digital Textbooks (UDT), the pilot program of MBS Textbook Exchange, textbook publishers and 10 college bookstores to offer e-book alternatives to students on some titles this fall.

While in the past, publishers have offered e-books, usually approaching students and faculty directly, this is one of the first times stores have been included in the process. The program also gets high grades because "the UDT card doesn't require upfront money from bookstores. Bookstores don't have to pay for an e-book until it's sold. Plus, if the card is stolen, it's useless without an access code."

As noted here in Wednesday, the e-book program has a few possible downsides: the discount vs. textbooks is just 33%, the e-book has printing limitations, it expires in five months and it can't be sold back.

Two e-steps forward, one e-step back.


I-T M-U-S-T B-E A S-L-O-W N-E-W-S D-A-Y at the New York Times, which today ran a feature on books for aging baby boomers on the upper left side of the front page. Edward Wyatt said that Penguin's and S&S's taller mass market paperbacks with larger typefaces and more space between the lines have received mixed receptions at retailers. Wal-Mart and some other big discounters objected to the higher prices and ordered "smaller-than-normal" quantities of the books. But a Borders buyer, Allison Elsby, said that "initial reaction looks relatively positive," although she emphasized that there are just a few books in the new format and they've been out only a few weeks.


Everyone who read The 9/11 Commission Report on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was struck by its gripping, thriller-like narrative. That quality and the fact that the report is a public document have helped Hollywood to begin making films and shows about that day, according to today's Wall Street Journal. The Discovery Channel will air a show The Flight That Fought Back about United Flight 93 this coming Sept. 11, and in the fall, ABC will broadcast a six-hour miniseries about the attacks and earlier related attacks. A&E is casting its own show about Flight 93.


Some people have the unshakeable opinion that flip-flops are not appropriate footwear in many situations, but they're quite popular on campus, NACS's CM Bulletin notes. Arizona State University Bookstores sold nearly $50,000 worth of flip flops last year at prices ranging from $12 to $40.


Sigh. A Patagonia outdoor gear store opens today in the site of the old Ruminator Bookstore near Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.


The post office--technically speaking, a postal substation--in the bookstore at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., will stay open after all, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

The bookstore had planned to close the post office, which serves the 23,000-member community, because the Postal Service was demanding it upgrade equipment and sign a new contract that the store said was too costly. The store has said the service is already a money-loser.

Under a compromise, the store will continue to use the old equipment until it breaks down. . .

KidsBuzz for the Week of 07.13.20

Bookstore Sales: June Swoon, But Wait Until July

Bookstore sales in June dropped 6.5% to $1.08 billion compared to the same period a year earlier, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. In slightly positive news, bookstore sales rose 2.7% compared to May, whose adjusted figure is $1.055 billion.

For the year to date, bookstore sales are $7.113 billion compared to $7.395 billion during the first half of 2004, a 3.8% drop.

By comparison, total retail sales in June rose 8.6% to $325.1 billion.

University of California Press: Smoke But No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes That Never Happened by Jessica S. Henry

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The War of the Poor
by Éric Vuillard
trans. by Mark Polizzotti

Éric Vuillard's The War of the Poor, in translation from the original French, is a brief, lyrical work of history that captures the emotional force of Thomas Müntzer's theological ideas and their violent manifestation in the German Peasants' War (1524-1525). Judith Gurewich, editor and publisher of Other Press, says, "Éric is more eager to pick up moments of anxiety and change from the past as a way to make us think of the present than to focus on the past alone." War of the Poor is as much about "the art of revolt even at very high cost" as it is "the limits of those who claim to be revolutionary." Rage at hypocrisy and inequality are at the core of Vuillard's passionate, beautifully written book, echoing from the 16th century into the present. --Hank Stephenson

(Other Press, $17.99 hardcover, 9781635420081, October 20, 2020)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nader and Navasky

A main ingredient today on the View will be Tyler Florence, author of Eat This Book: Cooking with Global Fresh Flavors (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 1400052378).


Today on Leonard Lopate:
  • Sean Naylor, author of Not a Good Day to Die (Berkley, $25.95, 0425196097), discusses Operation Anaconda, the 2002 battle in Afghanistan that he argues could have destroyed Al Qaeda and captured Osama bin Laden.
  • Philip Short talks about the murderous Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, the subject of his new book, Pol Pot:Anatomy of a Nightmare (Holt/John MacRae, $30, 0805066624).


Scheduled for tonight on Charlie Rose, an inveterate pair:
  • Ralph Nader, whose The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap (Regan Books, $15.95, 0060779551) appeared in paperback last month.
  • Victor Navasky, editor of the Nation and author of A Matter of Opinion (FSG, $27, 0374299978).


Yesterday Fresh Air featured The Kite Runner, the debut novel by Afghani-born physician and author Khaled Hosseini, which has flown high on bestseller lists for a year, in part because of book club interest.

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer

Books & Authors

Handful of Handsells

Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books in New Orleans, La., recently spoke with Shelf Awareness about titles he and others on the staff are handselling.

The Combination by Ashley Nelson, one of the Neighborhood Story Project series, which was founded by Abram Himelstein, author of a self-published bestseller, Tales of a Punk Rock Nothing, and Rachel Breunlin--both teachers at a local high school. "They work with kids in the public schools. These books are written by kids and published by them. They've done five, and this is the one that's doing the best. You can't get it anywhere else."

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke (Bloomsbury, $22.95, 1582345910). "My wife [co-owner Judith Lafitte] is handselling this. It's about an English guy who spends a year in France. He's supposed to be advising a company on bringing in British teahouses, but things don't quite go as planned."

Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast by Mike Tidwell (Vintage Departures, $14). "This is my handselling favorite. It's about wetland loss in Louisiana told in way so that anyone can understand what's happening. People may already understand intellectually, but now they can understand with hearts. The state is just eroding away. It's a disaster of hemispheric proportion."

The Jewish Community of New Orleans by Irwin Lachoff and Catherine C. Kahn (Arcadia, $19.99, 0738518352), part of the Images of America series. "This book is just out. The authors are well known locally. It's an inexpensive book with archival photos and descriptions on a subject that has not had much done on it."

Happy Birthday, Social Security

In what seems like a fitting celebration, on Sunday, the 70th birthday of Social Security Act, Brookings Institution Press is publishing Social Security: A Balanced Approach by economists Peter A. Diamond and Peter R. Orszag ($22.95, 0815718373). The revised and updated edition aims to "offer a strategy to restore the long-term solvency of this government program without sacrificing its social purpose of providing security to Americans during times of need."

The authors--Diamond is an MIT professor and Orszag is a Brookings fellow--also analyze the Bush administration's proposal for individual accounts and discusses the "price indexing" proposal to restore long-term solvency by changing how benefits would be calculated.

Hooks for Books: Through August 22

Friday, August 12

Invention of the sewing machine in 1851 and the first successful test of the space shuttle in 1977. Birthday of William Goldman (b. 1931), George Soros (b. 1930) and Cecil B. DeMille (b. 1881).

Saturday, August 13

Anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall erected in 1961. Birthday of the first English printer, William Caxton (b. 1422), Alfred Hitchcock (b. 1899) and Fidel Castro (b. 1927).

Sunday, August 14

Anniversary of Pakistan independence from Britain in 1947 and the passing of the Social Security Act by FDR in 1935. V-J Day in 1945. Birthday of Russell Baker (b. 1925), Steve Martin (b. 1945), Danielle Steel (b. 1947), Lynne Cheney (b. 1941), Gary Larson (b. 1950) and Alice Adams (b. 1926).

Monday, August 15

National Relaxation Day and beginning of National Aviation Week. Religious feast day of Assumption of the Virgin Mary, completion of the Transcontinental Railway in 1870, anniversary of Woodstoock in 1969. Birthday of Napoleon (b. 1769), Edna Ferber (b. 1887), Sir Walter Scott (b. 1771) and Julia Child (b. 1912).

Tuesday, August 16

Anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley in 1977 and of the Harmonic Convergence of 1987. Birthday of T.E. Lawrence (b. 1888), William Maxwell (b.1908) and Charles Bukowski (b. 1920).

Wednesday, August 17

First balloon crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1978. Anniversary of Indonesian Independence Day in 1945. Birthday of Evan Connell (b. 1924), John Hawkes (b. 1925), Jonathan Franzen (b. 1959), V.S. Naipaul (b. 1932) and Alexander Theroux (b. 1939).

Thursday, August 18

Bad Poetry Day and anniversary of the sale of the first birth control pills in 1960, the printing of the first mail order catalogue, by Montgomery Ward, in 1872, and the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote. Birthday of Lewis Meriwether (b. 1774), Robert Redford (b. 1937) and Alain Robbe-Grillet (b. 1922).

Friday, August 19

Little League World Series begins in Williamsport, Pa., National Aviation Day, Afghanistan Independence Day in 1919, birthdays of Ogden Nash (b. 1902), Ring Lardner (b. 1915), Orville Wright (b. 1871), Coco Chanel (b. 1883) and Frank McCourt (b. 1930).

Saturday, August 20

The day on which plutonium was first weighed in 1942 at the University of Chicago. Birthday of H.P. Lovecraft (b. 1890), Al Roker (b. 1954) and Jacqueline Susann (b. 1921).

Sunday, August 21

Poet's Day, celebrating all writers of poetry, the anniversary of the admission of Hawaii as the 50th state in 1959, and the founding of the American Bar Association in 1878 in Saratoga, N.Y. Birthday of artist Aubrey Beardsley (b. 1872) and Robert Stone (b. 1937).

Monday, August 22

Be an Angel Day, National Punctuation Day, the anniversary of the first performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 1847. Birthday of Dorothy Parker (b. 1893), Ray Bradbury (b. 1920), and E. Annie Proulx (b. 1935).--Edward Nawotka []

G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR: Hey, Who Made This Mess? by Primo Gallanosa
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