Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 25, 2005
Bookselling Notes: QVC Selling; Borders and DAP Moves
In QVC style, Jeanne Bice, whose Pull Yourself Up by Your Bra Straps: And Other Quacker Wisdom (Hyperion, $20, 1401302351) appears September 1, summed up the appeal of her book this way: "Nobody wants to hear my life story. But there are many women my age, and even younger, women who were raised to be go-getters, and none of us were really trained how to do big things in this world. We're all just looking to see, 'How can I make my life better?' I am not telling anybody how to do it; I'm just saying this is what worked for me."
After Bice's performance, Hyperion did some deep thinking and decided to print around 100,000 copies of the book.
HMV Group, which operates HMV music stores and Waterstone's, has emerged as a possible bidder for Ottakar's, Reuters reported today. Last week Ottakar's management said it is considering buying the U.K. bookstore chain.
After an agency review, Borders has chosen Interpublic Group's Carmichael Lynch to handle the creative portion of its advertising, according to Adweek. The most recent work of the previous agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, was a holiday campaign with a 60-second TV spot, Borders's first appearance on national airwaves in six years, and a 90-second spot shown in movie theaters. Borders has spent $15-$20 million on ads "in recent years."
In other Borders news, the owner of Johns Creek Towne Center, Suwanee, Ga., said it has signed a lease with Borders for a 23,115-sq.-ft. store and cafe with an outdoor patio. Ironically the store completes the "redevelopment" of a Kmart, Borders's onetime owner, which closed in 2003.
Distributed Art Publishers is moving its inventory to Perseus Group's CDS subsidiary, which will handle fulfillment and other services. Orders placed online with DAP after today will be shipped from the new location in Tennessee beginning October 3. DAP clients include the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, HatjeCantz, Charta, Books & Co., Steidl, Actar and Nai.
In other Perseus news, Susan Weinberg, previously a publisher at HarperCollins, has been named publisher of PublicAffairs, replacing founder Peter Osnos, who remains editor-at-large.
Beginning this Sunday, August 28, and lasting until Sunday, September 11, the general public may vote online at abcbookcompetition.org for the second Children's Picture Book Competition, sponsored by the Association of Booksellers for Children. One vote per e-mail address, please.
The winner among the 10 finalist author/illustrator teams will receive editorial help from children's author and educator Kathi Appelt. The story will then be illustrated, printed and marketed, and the winner receives 3,000 copies of the finished book. ABC estimates the value of the prize at more than $30,000.
Publication date for the winner of the first competition, 12 Dog Days of Christmas in New York City, is sometime next year. The winner of the current competition should be published in 2007. The third competition starts on Sunday: deadline for manuscript submissions is November 30.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713-937-9184.
GLBA Breezes Back to Windy City
This is GLBA's first show in Chicago since 1994, when the association decided to stop meeting in the Windy City because for a time, the ABA--and then BEA--was held annually at McCormick Place. "But now that BEA is moving around again," executive director Jim Dana told Shelf Awareness, "we decided to go back." He added that "if all goes well," GLBA will return to Chicago regularly and meet sometimes in the Detroit area, particularly years BEA is in Chicago. The last three years GLBA was in Dearborn.
The theme of this year's show is "making book cents." A Sunday "common session" focuses on outside sales, and a Friday common session declaims on poetry for children. The trade show takes place all day Saturday and Sunday until 2 p.m.
Educational panels, most of which are on Friday, address such things as profitability, sidelines, working with a publicist, e-mail newsletters, alliances with other businesses and rep-bookseller relations. Reps will stage picks of the lists sessions for adult and children's books followed by a buzz session that will be led by buyers.
Among author events are the Friday Book Awards luncheon, the Saturday afternoon Reading Room, the Saturday evening Booksellers Banquet, which features Studs Terkel, Thomas Lynch, James McManus and Elizabeth Kostova, and the Sunday Children's Book & Author breakfast.
Saturday night GLBA is putting on another quiz bowl, organized by Carol Besse of Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky., which last year included a mix of general-interest and bookselling questions. (A tiebreak series concerned where various returns warehouses are.)
For the first time, the show is holding publishers roundtables, at which publishers can do small focus groups.
For more information, go to GLBA's Web site.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: March of the Penguins
Scheduled for tonight on Charlie Rose: Ian McEwan, author of Saturday (Doubleday/Nan Talese, $26, 0385511809).
Authors tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Christopher Hitchens, author of Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (HarperCollins, $19.95, 0060598964).
Tomorrow Diane Rehm talks with Bonnie Angelo, author of First Families: The Impact of the White House on Their Lives (Morrow, $25.95, 0060563567).
Tomorrow Leonard Lopate explores several very serious and one fun topic with the following guests:
- David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Austism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy (St. Martin's, $26.95, 0312326440).
- Anne Marie Oliver and Paul Steinberg, authors of The Road to Martyrs' Square: A Journey Into the World of the Suicide Bomber (Oxford University Press, $26, 0195116003).
- Joel Lobenthal, author of Tallulah!: The Life and Times of a Leading Lady (ReganBooks, $29.95, 0060394358).
Books & Authors
Handsells: Hummingbird's Buzz; People People
One of the store favorites is The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (Little, Brown, $24.95, 0316745464), a first novel by the author of The Devil's Highway and other nonfiction titles and published in May. "It's a great novel with well-developed characters and magnificently realized," Cindy Dach, events coordinator at Changing Hands told Shelf Awareness. "It has a contemporary feel. It's full of magical realism. It's set in the Hispanic Southwest." In addition, the staff compares it with works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Victor Villasenor, particularly the latter's memoir, Rain of Gold (Delta, $17, 038531177X). "There aren't that many books like this," Dach observed. "It's a very limited category." Since publication, the store has sold 76 copies of The Hummingbird's Daughter.
At the store's daily meetings "those of us who had read it kept saying it was so good," Dach continued. Eventually more people read it, and soon "a range of people in the store liked it. Usually there's a lot of disagreement" about handsells, she noted, but The Hummingbird's Daughter "crossed taste boundaries."
The book also was easy to handsell because the staff "fell in love" with the author who had been in town for the Arizona Book Festival in April. "He did a reading at the store, and we thought he was wonderful. It was a great reading. He was so nice and genuine to everyone on staff."
Satisfied customers have included many teachers who said it was the time of year "they get to read something they love," Dach said. "We would tell them this book will take you away from your day. So many books today deal with tough issues, but this is such an otherworldly story." Dach added that The Hummingbird's Daughter is also "a book writers really like."
Dach emphasized the importance of the booksellers' attitude toward authors as much as their books, saying, "Authors underestimate what a $7-an-hour person can do to their careers." She noted that through Independent Booksellers Consortium, Changing Hands communicates regularly with more than 20 other stores and "at BEA cocktail parties, the first thing we do with other booksellers is share stories about authors. They have no idea how well networked stores are."
The other book Changing Hands people have gotten behind is one that's in short supply: The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia (McSweeney's, $22, 1932416218), published in June. "Two of the staff read it and flipped out," Dach said. Soon most of the younger staff in particular read it and adored it. "They say, 'It's the best novel I've ever read in my life. You have to read it, it's so good.' " When handselling The People of Paper, Changing Hands staff call it reminiscent of Ulysses.
"The very literary members of the staff have fallen head over heels in love with it," Dach continued. That love has gone so far that the staff planned to pool money and do a fundraiser to pay the costs for Plascencia to come to Tempe from his home in Los Angeles and do an event. When Plascencia learned of the effort on his behalf, he said he wouldn't take the money and would drive out and stay in a friend's apartment.
"I've never seen anything like this in my five years here," Dach said with amazement.
The store has sold 22 copies of The People of Paper over the summer, but has been out of stock on the title more often than it has had it in stock. McSweeney's is reprinting.