Shelf Awareness for Friday, September 23, 2005

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Our Pool by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Tor Teen: The Hunting Moon (The Luminaries #2) by Susan Dennard

Atria Books: The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger

Berkley Books: Iris Kelly Doesn't Date by Ashley Herring Blake

For Dummies: For Dummies series


Bookselling Notes: BAM Drops 10.8%; E-Attitudes

Yesterday the stock market punished Books-A-Million, which announced late Wednesday that Nasdaq had planned to delist it for not yet filing its Form 8-K with the SEC. In heavier-than-average trading on an up day on Wall Street, BAM stock closed at $8.20 a share, down 10.8%.


The Auraria Campus Bookstore, serving the Community College of Denver, the Metropolitan State College of Denver and the University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center Downtown Denver Campus, celebrated its grand reopening this week with tours, giveaway drawings for a DVD player, an iPod and more and a fashion show that featured clothing with the schools' logos.

Manager Jerie Bray told the University of Colorado at Denver Advocate that the reopening was "a different way of getting people in the store." Auraria plans to stage fashion shows at least once a semester.


Go figure.

In a story about the MBS Textbook Exchange program under which Princeton and nine other college bookstores are offering e-book alternatives to some textbooks, the Brown Daily Herald at Brown University, which is not yet taking part in the program, found some hesitancy on the part of students toward using e-textbooks.

One Princeton student told the paper, "I'm a little old-fashioned," adding that she liked the feel of a book in her hand and assumed scrolling up and down pages would be "annoying."

A Brown student said, "I would be interested in [an e-book] as a supplement. It's useful to have the real thing."


As if anyone needed reminding, several retail forecasts released this week predict a modest holiday season gain. For one, the National Retail Federation said retail sales in November and December would rise 5%, the lowest level since 2002 and down from last year's 6.7% growth. For its part, Ernst & Young indicated sales in the last two months of the year would rise 6%-7% compared to 8.3% last year. (Obviously the two organizations measure sales differently.)

The not-surprising culprits: Hurricane Katrina, gas prices and a stagnant job market, although rebuilding spending could turn around consumer confidence.


Banned Books Week starts tomorrow. May it not be so necessary in the future.


Congratulations! Curbstone Press in Willimantic, Conn., celebrates its 30th anniversary with a series of author readings during the next five days and a gala party on Sunday. For more information, call 860-423-5110 or check out the press's Web site.

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman

Powell's and A Powerful Pair

An "amazing synergy" has developed between, which accounts for a third of overall Powell's sales, and the eight Powell's stores in and near Portland, including three at the airport, according to CFO Miriam Sontz. Local customers check the availability of titles on and bring printouts into Powell's stores. Customers have about a 95% chance of getting a book ordered online from the store, since the titles might be "floaters"--not where they should be or in the coffee shop--or sold since the customer found them.

Powell's Burnside store--the City of Books--now encompasses an entire city block and stocks on average one million books "that we know of," as Sontz put it. It has 150 sections and 1,000 subsections, many of which are bigger than most specialty stores. The 23-year-old store has 75,000 square feet of retail space and another 20,000 of office space.

Remainders, "another byproduct of the publishing industry," Sontz commented, continue to grow in importance and now account for 12% of the books in the Burnside store or about 100,000 volumes. (The rest of the store's inventory is split evenly between new and used.) Last year, sales of remainders at the huge store grew 25%. They're also popular on

One reason customers are attracted to remainders: Powell's treats them like new books. For example, Powell's doesn't put them on a dolly. (In many cases, they might as well be "new" books, since sometimes their original pub dates were only 6-8 months earlier.) The store considers them not used books but as books no one has read yet. The company has two remainders buyers, one fulltime, and tends to buy by the title not skids. Remainders, Sontz said, "are another way of being cost-competitive."

Last year the company moved operations into a beautifully refurbished warehouse, arguably the nicest warehouse in the book business, that has a landscaped front entrance, exposed wood ceilings, airy work spaces and a carpet that looked fine to Shelf Awareness. The 60,000-sq.-ft. building has shelving that can accommodate some 320,000 volumes; new shelving to be installed next month will add space for another 100,000 volumes. If it's necessary, there is space to expand the building.

E-books sell well on, according to Dave Weich, director of marketing and development. Besides technical and academic titles, bestselling e-book categories include popular fiction, romance and erotica. The company sells on three platforms, Adobe, Microsoft Reader and Palm. Occasionally e-books are at or near the top of's bestseller list. Recently, for example, several the e-book versions of several Norton psychology texts shared the number 2 and 3 spots.

This week the rich site is adding Bookcast, which Weich described as "tasty book candy." The audio programs are simultaneously entertaining and informative, sophisticated and charmingly homey (on the inaugural edition, the sound of typing provides background for news flashes). They include selections from author events at Powell's, interviews with authors, news about awards and the industry, trivia, contests, etc. Future Bookcasts will feature Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Carl Hiaasen, George Saunders, Chuck Klosterman and ESPN baseball columnist Rob Neyer.


The three Powell's stores at the Portland International Airport are smaller versions of the general Powell's stores and, unusually for airport bookstores, carry used books. They also sport some very witty shelf talkers. Our favorites:

  • "Bourne Again? Rediscover Ludlum's Classical Suspense Series."
  • "Reichs puts the ick in Forensic: Better than Cornwell? You be the judge."

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2023

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Imaginary Alphabet
by Sylvie Daigneault
GLOW: Pajama Press: The Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault

Lazy, lemon lollipop-licking lemurs join a menagerie of other merry and meticulously embellished animals in an extravagant abecedary for a wide-ranging audience. Publisher Gail Winskill admired author/illustrator Sylvie Daigneault's "stunning" previous work. But, Winskill said, "nothing prepared me for the beautiful art and clever alliteration" of The Imaginary Alphabet. Confident in the book's "appeal to readers of all ages, especially wordsmiths and art lovers," Winskill knew "within a matter of minutes" she wanted to publish it. With an elaborate search-and-find accompanying its alliterative linguistic delights, this playful and ornately illustrated alphabet book is a visionary accomplishment. --Kit Ballenger

(Pajama Press, $22.95 hardcover, ages 3-7, 9781772782998, September 19, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Zadie

Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show, Diane Wilson reasonably explains her book, An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas (Chelsea Green, $27.50, 1931498881).


Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show: Zadie Smith on her new novel, On Beauty (Penguin Press, $25.95, 1594200637).

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Books & Authors

One Big Push for A Million Little Pieces

In a major change from her recent book club choices, yesterday Oprah picked a book by a living author, not a classic, and nonfiction, not fiction, for her next book club selection. Apparently in the three years since she changed the focus of her book club toward classics, Oprah has realized the limitations of the approach. As she put it to today's New York Times: "I wanted to open the door and broaden the field. That allows me the opportunity to do what I like to do most, which is sit and talk to authors about their work. It's kind of hard to do that when they're dead." Another possible reason for the change: while sales of Oprah's classics were astounding by classics standards, her audience did not take to them as enthusiastically as they did many of her earlier picks of books by current authors.

The new book club title is A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (Anchor, $14.95, 0307276902). Oprah's Web site describes it this way:

"A Million Little Pieces is James Frey's shocking true story about his battle with addiction and his gut-wrenching journey to recovery. At age 23, after a decade of drug and alcohol abuse, Frey hasn't just hit rock bottom, he's knocking on Death's door. One more drink or one more drug, the doctors tell him, will kill him. But this will be no ordinary stint in rehab--in a move that's both courageous and obstinate, Frey rejects the Twelve Step Program and chooses his own path to sobriety. Raw and honest, Frey's descriptions of his withdrawal and the Fury that rages inside jump off the page and pull you in. A Million Little Pieces is an unforgettable account of how far one man will go to destroy himself and what it takes to turn him around."

The Bestsellers

Book Sense Bestsellers: Trade Paperbacks

The following are the bestselling trade paperback titles during the week ended September 18 at hundreds of independent bookstores around the country, as reported to Book Sense.

Trade Paperback Fiction

1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12.95, 1400032717)
3. The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Amistad, $13.95, 0060557559)
4. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0142001740)
5. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, $15.95, 1582346038)
6. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin, $15, 0143034901)
7. Snow by Orhan Pamuk (Vintage, $14.95, 0375706860)
8. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square, $14, 0743454537)
9. Wicked by Gregory Maguire (ReganBooks, $15, 0060987103)
10. Light on Snow by Anita Shreve (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316010677)
11. I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe (Picador, $15, 0312424442)
12. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Harvest, $14, 015602943X)
13. The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, $16, 0743269268)
14. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, $16, 0743227441)
15. Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos (Grove, $13, 0802142109)

On the Rise:
37. Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner (Milkweed, $14.95, 1571310479). White boy grows up in an igloo in remote Alaska.

Trade Paperback Nonfiction
1. Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner, et al. (Three Rivers, $12.95, 1400082315)
2. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage, $14.95, 0375725601)
3. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624)
4. Chronicles--debut--by Bob Dylan (S&S, $14, 0743244583)
5. Sudoku Easy, Volume 1: Presented by Will Shortz (St. Martin's, $6.95, 0312355025)
6. Bad Dog--debut--by R.D. Rosen, et al. (Workman, $9.95, 0761139834)
7. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (Norton, $16.95, 0393317552)
8. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316010790)
9. Bad Cat by Jim Edgar (Workman, $9.95, 0761136193)
10. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad (Back Bay, $12.95, 0316159417)
11. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (Anchor, $14.95, 1400032806)
12. Will in the World--debut--by Stephen J. Greenblatt (Norton, $14.95, 039332737X)
13. Sudoku Easy to Hard: 100 Wordless Crossword Puzzles editec by Will Shortz (St. Martin's, $6.95, 0312355033)
14. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (Random House, $13.95, 081297106X)
15. The Old Farmer's Almanac 2006 (Old Farmer's Almanac, $6.95, 1571983678)

On the Rise:
28. The Dogs of Bedlam Farm by Jon Katz (Random House, $12.95, 0812972503). As it says in the subtitle: An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, and Me.

May We Recommend


If You Want Me to Stay by Michael Parker (Algonquin, $19.95, 1565124847). "Sweet soul music is a character in this novel about the journey of two white boys to find their mother. The book is a riveting, original read."--Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

His Oldest Friend: The Story of an Unlikely Bond by Sonny Kleinfield (Times, $24, 0805075801). "This is the touching story of a friendship between a 20-year-old Dominican Republic man, poor and despairing, and a resident of a Jewish nursing home who loves opera, books, and cultural activities. He is hired to spend a few hours a week with her, and the relationship blossoms into true friendship.."--Nancy Davis, Millrace Books, Farmington, Conn.


Clearcut by Nina Shengold (Anchor, $13, 1400079691). "Set in an isolated part of the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s, this is a gritty, action-packed, passionate debut novel that follows three compelling characters who are looking to find and complete themselves. The rugged, unforgiving terrain in which the drama plays out is as beautifully contrasted as the characters."--Susan Avery, Ariel Booksellers, New Paltz, N.Y.

For Middle Readers

Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples (FSG, $17, 0374380252). "This story of a young Afghan girl during the time just after 9/11 is a treasure. Details about life in the Afghan mountains and in refugee camps, as well as insights into the Muslim religion and life under the Taliban, are presented seamlessly as part of this very believable story. This is a timely and important book that you just can't put down."--Carol Stoltz, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

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