Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Quotation of the Day

Captivating Capote

"A fascinating and fine-grained reconstruction of that period in its subject's life, a time when he pursued literary glory and flirted with moral ruin."--A.O. Scott in today's New York Times on the film Capote, based on Gerald Clarke's biography, which opens in theaters on Friday.

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi


Bookselling Notes: New Store, New Job, Relief Request

The Book Trader, a new and used bookstore with gifts and handmade jewelry in Spearfish, S.D., celebrates its grand opening on Friday. "This is not going to be a big, new bookstore," owner Sharon Neva told the Black Hills Pioneer. "This is more of a cozy atmosphere where people can bring up their coffee, sit and read."


Jennifer Swihart has joined Consortium Book Sales & Distribution as marketing director. She has years of marketing and publicity experience in the industry and has worked at HarperCollins, Putnam, Scribner, Broadway Books and Lynne Goldberg Communications.


After seeing a copy of the book, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals part of the untold story of Ashley Smith, whose Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero appears today. Apparently during the night Brian Nichols held Smith hostage in her home, she gave him more than readings from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. When he asked for marijuana, she gave him the "small amount" of crystal methamphetamine she had--but didn't take any herself (and says she has remained drug-free since then). "I was not going to die tonight and stand before God, having done a bunch of ice up my nose," she writes.


A warm tale of a bookstore rescuing a long out-of-print local classic comes from the cold north. Lorie Kirker, owner of Alaskana Books, Palmer, Alaska, an Anchorage suburb, has updated (with help from Cheryl Homme) and reprinted Above the Arctic Circle, the journal of James A. Carroll, an Alaska pioneer and adventure, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reported.

Originally published as The First Ten Years: Memoirs of a Fort Yukon Trapper 1911-1922, the book has been in demand for some time.


The ABA is calling on its bookstore members to donate a percentage of sales this coming Saturday, October 1, for the Bookseller Relief Fund, which was created after Hurricane Katrina to provide humanitarian relief to individuals for such things as temporary housing, food, clothing, transportation, medical expenses, etc. (Fund monies won't be used to rebuild businesses.)

Already the fund, seeded by the ABA with a $25,000 donation, has received contributions from publisher partners, regional booksellers association, booksellers and others in the industry.

"In the face of the tragedy in the Gulf, many booksellers have generously opened their homes and offered money and jobs to help their colleagues," said ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz. "Our hope is that this in-store effort on October 1 will further aid recovery in the bookselling community."


At ease. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reviewed Owens & Ramsey Historical Booksellers, which emphasizes the Civil War and sells new, used and rare historical books as well as prints, period newspapers, maps, magazines and period music. Owners Marc and Jill Ramsey bought the store in 1995 and stock some 5,000 volumes. One of their markets is renting books to film companies; for example, their titles fill the library in ABC's new show Commander in Chief.


Forbes has ranked Jeff Bezos, founder and head of, as the 43rd richest American. The magazine estimated his net worth at $4.8 billion.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Meow: Rivals for Powell's Fup??

The Noblesville Daily Times offers a portrait of the Wild, a children's bookstore in Noblesville, Ind., that opened on Saturday. Owned by Krista Bocko and Jane Mills, self-described "co-queens," the Wild will have a cat whose name will be determined by a contest.


St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Norwalk, Conn., has renamed its bookstore after the church's cat, Angel. Bookstore manager Don Sileo told the Stamford Advocate that "people felt that, whether it's coincidence or not, a lot of good things have happened since her arrival" four years ago, including a doubling of membership. Angel's Book Nook sells titles on saints, gardening, labyrinths, pets, religion and spirituality as well as religious icons, CDs and greeting cards. Sileo added that the name change from St. Paul's Bookstore might help alter the "perception that [the store] was only for people at the church."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Christopher Lawford on GMA

This morning's Good Morning America features:

  • Christopher Lawford, whose Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (Morrow, $25.95, 0060732482) tells the story of this Kennedy cousin's long battle with addiction. He also appears on the Early Show tomorrow.
  • Bill O'Reilly, who factors in The O'Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America's Families (HarperEntertainment, $22.95, 0060544252).
  • Alexander Tsiara, author of The InVision Guide to a Healthy Heart (Collins, $19.95, 0060855932), which goes on sale November 1.

Happening this morning on the Today Show, Kevin Liles raps about his Make It Happen: The Hip-Hop Generation Guide to Success (Atria, $24, 0743497368).


Today Diane Rehm speaks with Anthony Shadid, author of Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War (Holt, $26, 0805076026).


Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Christopher Andrew goes on deep background about his The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World (Basic Books, $29.95, 0465003117).
  • David Bodanis energetically discusses E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation (Walker, $25, 0802714633).
  • Mario Livio adds up The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry (S&S, $26.95, 0743258207).
  • Kurt Vonnegut represents A Man Without a Country (Seven Stories, $23.95, 158322713X).

Book March of March of the Penguins

National Geographic Books is falling in step with the surprising popularity of March of the Penguins, which since its June release has become the second-highest-grossing documentary ever in the U.S. (second only to Fahrenheit 9/11) and the bestselling nature documentary. Directed by Luc Jacquet, the movie has sales that have waddled beyond $70 million.

A tie-in book for adults and one for children, both entitled March of the Penguins, will appear in November, timed to coincide with the release of the March of the Penguins DVD. The adult title ($30, 0792261828) will feature 150 color photographs, most by Jerome Maison, the movie's cinematographer. The 32-page children's edition ($5.95, 0792261836) is aimed at kids 5-9.

Both books tell the movie's story: the emperor penguins' annual trek from the edge of Antarctica to their inland breeding ground, where they endure months of cold and near starvation as they mate and attempt to raise a new generation of chicks. The adult book also tells the store of the French film crew, which went on a 13-month trek, enduring cold and other privations as it tried to create a movie that captured the penguins' experience.

Deeper Understanding

Change: Book Standard Summit, Part 2

In a reflection of how technology has affected the business and ideas, Peter Osnos, founder and editor-at-large of PublicAffairs, attributed his invitation to speak not to his 40 years of editing, writing and creating content but to "a single comment on distribution that made its way into the industry." It happened this summer, when he announced that he would step down as publisher of PublicAffairs and was quoted by Michael Cader in Publishers Lunch as saying he intended to spend some of his newfound free time examining distribution issues. Piqued by the comment, Shelf Awareness interviewed Osnos and wrote a full-length article about his views on distribution challenges (August 19), an article that Osnos has used widely to explain his project and that helped lead to the invitation to speak.

The book distribution model "will be fundamentally different in 10 years," Osnos said and warned that "awareness of change on the horizon is not the same as effectively moving and preparing for change." Although "tens of millions of dollars" have been spent trying to figure out what to do, he continued, "there still seems to be general confusion" and "the initiative is moving to the online aggregators," Amazon and Google.

The industry "needs a distribution system up to date in technology and offering a range of services for all constituents: authors, agents, librarians, publishers, booksellers and readers," he stated, adding that the "decline of serious information is a myth." He pointed to NPR, which has 30 million listeners each week. It doesn't matter whether talking about large or small publishers, he said, "we have books people want to reach."

Martin Manley, president and CEO of Alibris, called the supply chain in the book business "broken." His reasons: 25% of product is returned; 100% of economic growth is driven by price increases; and titles continue to proliferate.

His company, he said, recycles books "pretty efficiently." Consumers turn to used books when they can't get new copies or want the book at lower prices. He predicted "fights as the value chain gets refigured" but noted that when developing iTunes, Apple's Steve Jobs was able to work with music companies to restructure digital content delivery and come up with "acceptable protections."

Manley predicted that in 10 years there will be no out-of-print books and used book sales will grow to about 20% of the market from the current 10%. ("Secondary markets" in any industry, he said, "don't get much bigger than 20%.") He also predicted that instead of 3,000 new ISBNs being issued a day, 100,000 new ISBNs will be assigned daily as everyone becomes "an author and publisher."

Seemingly on the hot seat, Tom Turvey, strategic partner development manager of Google Print, emphasized that while Google's library program has caused great controversy--the most recent manifestation of which was the Authors Guild's suit last week--the Google publisher program has been a "great success."

Concerning the library project, Turvey said "we're interested in information of all kinds" and acknowledged that "we may have different ideas of where the line for fair use is drawn." Looked at "dispassionately," he said, the different viewpoints are "not a big surprise. It's a disruptive technology with new opportunities to distribute and redistribute media. The two don't line up initially." Ultimately, however, "in most cases new technologies have led to more distribution and greater profit for owners."

J. Kirby Best, president and CEO of Lightning Source, said that by the end of the year Ingram will be downloading about 100,000 e-books a month, but "there is no death of print."

Susan Driscoll, CEO of iUniverse, stressed that profitability can come in small packages, saying that "absolutely there is money to be made selling less than 1,000 copies of a book a year." In 10 years, she predicted, "a lot more books will be selling profitably" and "more publishers will focus on niches."

John Sargent, CEO of Holtzbrinck in the U.S., predicted that the market will get "more and more efficient" and that general e-books will grow in popularity as students become used to e-textbooks.

Phil Ollila, v-p of Ingram Publishing Services, called the supposed "attention problem of the consumer an excuse for not knowing the consumer." He qualified several participants' comments about a broken distribution system, saying that "the supply chain is broken at the top. Publishers go where the profit is," and miss alternative markets such as Web sites that sell two or three copies of a titles or retailers like Cracker Barrel that sell some books in their mix. The smart publishers, he continued, go to the museum store show or the national parks show.

Ollila added that e-books "will grow like so many things--insidiously. When you least expect it, they'll grab you."

Speaking of the consumer, Carol Fitzgerald, co-founder and president of the Book Report Network, who sells "one-to-one" to readers on seven Web sites, said she believes that people are reading the same amount as in the past but they're buying less. Sales are down because consumers are not making "the extra purchase," she said.

For more coverage of the Book Standard's Summit, go to the Book Standard Web site.

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