Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 11, 2008

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: The Night Is for Darkness by Jonathon Stutzman, illustrated by Joseph Kuefler and Greenwillow Books: Lone Wolf by Sarah Kurpiel

Forge: Lionhearts (Nottingham, 2) by Nathan Makaryk

Zonderkidz: Pugtato Finds a Thing by Sophie Corrigan

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Suicide House (A Rory Moore/Lane Phillips Novel #2) by Charlie Donlea

Del Rey Books: Malorie: A Bird Box Novel by Josh Malerman


Notes: Harper Gives Full Access; Shanks for President!

HarperCollins is expanding the availability of its titles online. Under the Full Access program it will make available the full text of some titles for a month but will not allow them to be downloaded, according to the New York Times. Viewers who want to buy the book are directed to a range of online retailers.

HarperCollins president and CEO Jane Friedman compared the program with "removing the shrink wrap from a book. The advantage of our digital warehouse is that we can securely, quickly and easily change what content is available, whether it is to meet an author's request, to preview a title before it is on sale, or to promote backlist books. And we believe it's the role of the publisher to develop tools to easily allow authors to promote their work to their communities online."

Among the titles to be fully available online will be Paulo Coelho's The Witch of Portobello, the beginning of a year-long promotion of his work. Each month another book by Coelho will be available in its entirety online.

Under the Sneak Peak program, HarperCollins already allows readers to preview 20% of some books two weeks before their publication. Its Browse Inside program allows readers to sample pages of many of its books.


Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., has been nominated to become the next president of the ABA, and Michael Tucker of Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif., has been nominated to be the next v-p/secretary of the ABA board, Bookselling This Week reported.

The ABA's nominating committee also nominated Dan Chartrand, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H., and Ken White, SFSU Bookstore in San Francisco, Calif., to join the board.

Current president Russ Lawrence, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, Mont., and Collette Morgan, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn., will leave the board.

Members will vote on the nominations in time for the ABA annual meeting at BEA in Los Angeles.


Hear ye, hear ye!

In honor of a visit and signing by Tim Dorsey for his new novel, Atomic Lobster, at Destinations Booksellers, New Albany, Ind., mayor Douglas B. England is declaring Tuesday, February 26, Tim Dorsey Day. (A nearby brewpub is hosting part of the festivities.)

England wrote that Dorsey "has provided countless hours of enjoyment to his readers, delivering a moral message within each of his 10 Serge Storms novels."


Style Weekly profiles Kelly Justice, new owner of the Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., saying memorably, "she reads at like a 19th-grade level."

The 19th-grader talks a bit about handselling, author appearances and more. 


A three-year $937,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is supporting a new project between the University of North Carolina Press and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill called "Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement." Through print and digital publications, the partners aim to "experiment with new ways of publishing scholarship and expand the understanding of the civil rights movement, with a focus on broad chronological, demographic, geographic, and thematic conceptions. This will widen the window of civil rights to include contemporary issues such as school resegregation, environmental and economic justice, and the women's and gay rights movements." 


"I'm lucky because I get to see the readers' reactions when they pick up one of our books. It's called 'hand-selling,' and that's the best part of this business," David Thompson told the Houston Chronicle.

His reasons for finding pleasure in the handselling process are twofold. Thompson is not only assistant manager at Murder by the Book, Houston, Tex., but also owner of Busted Flush Press, which he started in 2005 "to revive out-of-print mysteries and introduce them to a new generation of readers. . . . Thompson gets material for his books by inviting writers to create stories for the anthologies. With the reprints, he searches for some of his favorite authors who have done series, and if the earliest books are out of print, he goes after the reprint rights."

"I still made every mistake possible," Thompson said. "People tried to help me, but I had to figure it out for myself."


Andre and Carol Dumont, owners of Dumont Maps and Books, Santa Fe, N.M, were profiled in New Mexico Business Weekly, which noted that the shop's resident feline, Mr. Murphy, is "arguably the friendliest bookstore cat in the West" and that the Dumonts "began the business 20 years ago, turning Andre's collecting obsession into a commercial enterprise."


Searching for Beirut on parchment pages. In the Independent on Sunday, Robert Fisk confessed to being seduced by the power of historic books about his adopted city: "There is nothing to match the smell of old books. 'Musty' is the cliché that comes to mind but there is something more attractive, more refined about the perfume of ancient volumes. It's the same kind of smell you find in Anglo-Saxon churches, the smell of wood pulp, of trees."

At one of Fisk's favorite biblio-destinations, Khayat's Bookshop, owner Habib Aboujaudeh told him, "Sometimes I sell a book and I regret selling it. The person who loves a book--I sometimes sell it to him at half price. If I don't like him, I don't sell it to him for any price."


Mediashift's Jennifer Woodard Maderazo offered "The Case for Ink: 5 Reasons I Won't Give Up Books:"

  1. I hate e-books.
  2. I can't curl up with a gadget.
  3. Sensory stuff.
  4. Emotional connection.


Donald E. Melinsky has joined National Book Network as v-p, business management. He was most recently v-p, financial planning, at Voyager Learning (formerly ProQuest). Before that, he was CFO of Delmar Publishers and South-Western Educational Publishing and also worked in business management, finance and planning at Simon & Schuster and Maxwell Macmillan.


At Tor Books:

  • Patty Garcia has been promoted to associate director of publicity.
  • Alexis Saarela has been promoted to publicity manager.
  • Dot Lin has been promoted to publicity manager.
  • Kyle Avery moved from the sales department and has become a publicist.


Atheneum Books: Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata, illustrated by Marianna Raskin

Image of the Day: Snow in Woodstock

Last week's big Midwest storm filled the cracks in front of Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock, Ill., which was "open during the storm and had customers," owner Arlene Lynes wrote. The store (far r.) did close early on Wednesday--at 4 p.m. This picture was taken Thursday morning as the cleanup began.




University of Minnesota Press: Listening: Interviews, 1970-1989 by Jonathon Cott

Book Buddies Swarm Over Sparta

Last Thursday, a dozen booksellers and other people in the book business--including Shelf Awareness--spent about four hours talking with new bookseller Donna Fell, who bought Sparta Books, Sparta, N.J., in late November and wanted advice about the store. Organized by wholesaler Bookazine and the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, the Book Buddies visit will likely be the first of many such consultations.

Bookazine sales manager Ron Rice, who has worked extensively with Fell, said booksellers tend to help each other "as business owners" and he hoped the Book Buddies program will help booksellers feel ever more "comfortable calling up each other and asking questions."

When Carol Viall owned Sparta Books from 1985 to 2006, the store had done well. But it suffered under its next owner and was in danger of closing when Fell stepped in, buying the store "for the community," she said. Fell added the store still has some residual goodwill from the Viall era and that demographics in the area are good: a onetime summer town, Sparta now has a year-round population of about 17,000, a substantial number of whom commute to New York City, and there are many upper-middle income families with young children.

After a baptism by fire--taking over the store just as the holiday season started--Fell focused in January on reconciling and building inventory. Now she said, she's ready to do more.

The visitors immediately suggested that the store, located in a shopping center, needs some esthetic changes. As Margot Sage-El of Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., put it: "You should add your personality." One quick fix the group recommended: Fells could decorate and fill the space above bookcases around the 2,400-sq.-ft. store with publishers' posters of authors and book covers or artwork by local artists (who would come and bring friends) or even artwork by students in local schools (who would also visit).

The store could also be distinguished by its sections as well. As Tom Williams of Mendham Books, Mendham, N.J., noted, "You could have a big poetry section that doesn't earn out but could be an important part of your image."

The booksellers recommended Fell set up a website soon and that instead of sending out newsletters via snail mail, which she has been planning, she ought to use Constant Contact or another service to send e-mail newsletters, which are much less expensive, faster and more effective.

The group also recommended Fell join the ABA and NAIBA and begin attending events and meeting other booksellers.

Fell was holding the first meeting of her book club that night, and booksellers suggested that Fell hold many more events--even if they don't draw many people--because customers like to sense that something's happening at bookstores.

The group promoted authorless events, and Tom Williams of Mendham Books counseled that "when asking for authors, be relentless, and never rest on your laurels. At an event you could sells three times as many books as a Barnes & Noble down the road, but the next time the publisher is setting up an author event, it will go to a B&N down the road."

The booksellers seemed to approve of Fell's approach to discounting and her loyalty program. The store discounts hardcover bestsellers 10%, and Fell did away with a loyalty program with its own card and now gives out a $5 coupon on computer on purchases of $100.

Fell expressed some frustration with the advertising she has run in a local paper, but booksellers encouraged her to continue, and Margot Sage-EL suggested she submit information to the paper and get to know staff at the paper.

The booksellers encouraged Fell, who taught in the local school system for many years, in her efforts to develop school and educational business, with special events for teachers and book fairs. At Moravian Book Shop, Bethlehem, Pa., "schools keep you going during the slow months," Stephanie Anderson said. Fell already offers teachers 10% off on book purchases.

With just a couple of part-time people helping her, Fell said she felt that she did and had to do most everything in the store, which is open seven days a week. Rita Maggio, who opened BookTowne, Manasquan, N.J., just last year, sympathized, noting that she has two people who work 20 and 10 hours a week, respectively, but has them doing all that she does except ordering.

Sage-EL, who has owned Watchung Booksellers for 12 years, said that it took a while to grow to a staff of five nearly full-timers and various part-time help. "You do everything at first, and you do it a lot longer than you want," she said. As for the type of staff to hire, NAIBA's Eileen Dengler put it succinctly: "Hire the smile; train the skill."

The group also gave Fell tips on returns, keeping track of inventory and the importance of doing regular stock checks in various sections on a rotating basis, something that Harvey Finkel of Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, N.J., called "a good downtime project." Bookazine's Ron Rice added that the store should "let the community determine a store's inventory. Don't buy what you think the community wants." At Watchung Booksellers, the staff writes down in a book the titles people ask for that the store doesn't have. "We don't necessarily order those titles right away," Margot Sage-EL said. "But we keep track of them."

Stephanie Anderson of the Moravian Book Shop said that after six months, decisions about buying and returns will become "intuitive" for Fell.

Many of the attendees had been at the ABA's Winter Institute two weeks ago and mentioned presentations there. Restaurateur Danny Meyer was quoted several times, particularly concerning trying to create a place that has "the incredibly rare combination of feeling like a place where you are going out and coming home at the same time," as he stated it in Louisville. (Harvey Finkel of Clinton Book Shop said that he was so impressed with Meyer's book on hospitality, Setting the Table, that he is requiring his staff to read and digest it.)

Margot Sage-EL noted that "all a customer wants is for a book to be validated," which is easy to do with staff pick cards, reviews and even reviews and recommendations by customers. Eileen Dengler said that she and others like to buy what book clubs buy.

Stephanie Anderson of the Moravian Book Shop suggested that Fell could draw more younger people by publicizing that there is wi-fi in the store. She recommended making it a free service--"I carry a laptop with me all the time and love places that have free wi-fi," she said--but create a password that would change monthly. "Make customers ask for the password at the main desk," she commented. "Then they're much more likely to buy a book."

Anderson also suggested creating a store profile on FaceBook, which has become much more popular than MySpace.

At the end of the visit, Fell said that she had picked up a range of tips she wanted to put into effect. Perhaps most important, she felt that "she wasn't in this alone."--John Mutter

Sparta Books is located at 41 Theatre Center, Sparta, N.J. 07871; 973-729-6200.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.01.20

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Lucifer Effect

This morning on the Today Show: Tony Dean, author of The F.A.S.T. Diet (Harmony, $23.95, 9780307396334/0307396339).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Laton McCartney, author of The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country (Random House, $27, 9781400063161/1400063167).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Scott Bittle, author of Where Does the Money Go?: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis (Collins, $16.95, 9780061241871/0061241873).


Today on NPR's On Point: Patrick J. Murphy, author of Taking the Hill: From Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress (Holt, $25, 9780805086959/0805086951).


Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Ti Adelaide Martin, author of In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks (Morrow Cookbooks, $19.95, 9780061119866/0061119865).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Philip Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (Random House, $18, 9780812974447/0812974441).


Disney-Hyperion: The Mirror Broken Wish (Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao

Books & Authors

Awards: Obama Beats a Clinton Again; Lincoln Prizes

At the Grammy awards last night, Senator Barack Obama won best spoken word album for his narration of his Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Random House Audio). He beat out two former presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, finalists for Giving and Sunday Mornings in Plains, respectively. Clinton and Carter have both won Grammys; Hillary Clinton has won one, too. This is Obama's second Grammy; the first was for Dreams From My Father.

And the best spoken word album for children was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, narrated by Jim Dale (Listening Library).


The winners of the 2008 Lincoln Prize for American History, according to the New York Times:

  • The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics by James Oakes (Norton)
  • Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor (Viking)


Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Book Sense Picks:


The Monsters of Templeton: A Novel by Lauren Groff (Hyperion, $24.95, 9781401322250/1401322255). "This inventive and ambitious novel, nestled in a town with its own Loch Ness monster, is a refreshing and smart contemporary work superimposed with snippets of historical fictions and a chorus of voices rising to tell their stories. Lauren Groff's main character is resilient, intelligent, and anything but self-deprecating."--Cindy Dach, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.

Hope's Boy by Andrew Bridge (Hyperion, $22.95, 9781401303228/1401303226). "I really like Andrew Bridge's memoir of growing up in the foster care system. Full of compelling characters, Hope's Boy is reminiscent of Angela's Ashes. I'd recommend it to all social workers."--Joyce Frohn, Apple Blossom Books, Oshkosh, Wis.


The Boys in the Trees: A Novel by Mary Swan (Holt, $14, 9780805086706/0805086706). "This is an extraordinary work of interlinked stories centering on the tragic fate of an apparently devoted and loving family living at the turn of the century in a small town. We see the incidents through the eyes of the family, the town doctor and his sensitive son, a teacher, and other residents whose lives overlap in unexpected ways. The writing is beautiful, the story painful and haunting, yet lovely."--Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.

For Children Up to Age 8

The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble, illustrated by Doris Ettlinger (Sleeping Bear Press, $16.95, 9781585362776/1585362778). "Delly walks to school barefoot. In class, she sits next to a girl who has lots of everything. Prejudice and cruelty are explored in this tale, but staying true to oneself wins out. An inspirational story for all ages."--Donna Bucholz, Mostly Books, Gig Harbor, Wash.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


Times Finds No Magic in Rowling's Copyright Arguments

In a Talking Business column in the business section of Saturday's New York Times, Joe Nocera sided with RDR Books, the defendant in a copyright suit brought by J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment over its planned book The Harry Potter Lexicon by Steven Vander Ark, based on information on his fan website of the same name. The book at issue includes essays about Potter, mistakes, explanation of Potter terminology, timelines and more--an "encyclopedia for obsessive fans."

There seemed to be no problem when the information was available on the Internet for free; Rowling roused herself to action apparently at the prospect of the material being published in book form and sold. She argues in part that The Harry Potter Lexicon would detract from a possible encyclopedia she would publish--with all proceeds to go to charity.

"But more than that, she is essentially claiming that the decision to publish--or even to allow--a Harry Potter encyclopedia is hers alone, since after all, the characters in her books came out of her head," Nocera writes. "They are her intellectual property. And in her view, no one else can use them without her permission."

He continues: "No one is saying that anyone can simply steal the work of others. But the law absolutely allows anyone to create something new based on someone else's art. This is something the Internet has made dramatically easier--which is part of the reason we're all so much more aware of copyright than we used to be. But it has long been true for writers, filmmakers and other artists. That's what 'fair use' means."

The author has gone far beyond the intent of copyright law, Nocera argues. "What Ms. Rowling is saying . . . is that her control of Harry Potter is so all-encompassing that only she gets to decide the terms under which a companion book is allowable. . . . This is really a power grab. RDR Books should not have to 'fall into line' to publish the Lexicon. Ms. Rowling is claiming a right that, if granted, will hurt us all."


AuthorBuzz: Revell: An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart
AuthorBuzz: Radius Book Group: The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen: Soul-Stirring Lessons in Gastrophilanthropy by Stephen Henderson
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