Shelf Awareness for Friday, February 22, 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: PW for Sale; More on Cody's Books' Move

Reed Business Information, among whose many publications are Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and School Library Journal, is up for sale, parent company Reed Elsevier announced yesterday. Reed Elsevier said it wanted to move away from traditional advertising-driven business models, which CEO Crispin Davis called too "cyclical" for the company. Reed Exhibitions, which owns BookExpo America, BookExpo Canada and the London Book Fair, among other book events, is not included in the sale.

We're tempted to make a bid for PW, but since RBI's revenue last year was $1.7 billion, we're assuming the asking price is beyond our bank account. Realistic bidders will likely consist of private equity firms and competitors.

Speaking of PW competitors, the Book Standard appears to have shut down in the past week. The Nielsen Business Media book-publishing news website made its debut in 2004. Nielsen also owns Kirkus Reviews, Nielsen BookScan and the Bookseller.


More on Cody's move, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported that the store's landlord was seeking to nearly double the store's rent. The new location in downtown Berkeley, Calif., has about 7,000 square feet of space compared to 10,000 at the current Fourth Street location.

Cody's manager Melissa Mytinger told the Chronicle that some sections will be slimmed down: "Our huge focus on books for babies and toddlers will not be replicated at Shattuck. The computer book section won't exist. I doubt we'll sell as many pet books. Art and photography will decrease, but music and film and drama will increase."


Bookselling This Week profiles A Novel Idea, the 2,400-sq.-ft. general bookstore in Chattanooga, Tenn., that opened in 2000. The store, owned by Karen Poole and Pamela Harper, has an emphasis on regional titles, particularly on Civil War history. As Poole told BTW, "There was a big battle fought here in Chattanooga, and battles fought on Missionary Ridge."

A Novel Idea is in the North Shore area of Chattanooga, across the Tennessee River from downtown. "The North Shore is expanding rapidly," Poole said. "There's lots of development along the river, new condos, and new businesses. Our plans are to expand our book clubs and author, as well as authorless, events, and to get our website up and running. It feels like there's a real need--this area is the hottest spot in Chattanooga."


The ABA has unveiled its programming for the Day of Education, to be held on Thursday, May 29, at BookExpo America in Los Angeles. Panels will address green retailing, buy local and independence movements, the basics of selling gift items, print on demand, graphic novels, coop and more.


Books-A-Million will open its first bookstore in Nebraska in the L Street Marketplace Shopping Center in Omaha. BAM will be an anchor tenant.


You too can look as cute as Jessica. Well, maybe not . . .

Both to help fill her Future Bookstore Fund and allow booklovers to show Book Nerd pride stylishly, Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, bookseller and blogger, has begun selling online Book Nerd T-shirts--just like the one she models on her Written Nerd blog. Profits are going toward her dream of opening a bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Speaking of blogs, the prolific Karl Pohrt, owner of Shaman Drum Bookshop, Ann Arbor, Mich., is launching a blog "about books, the world of books and other things." He plans to post a new entry or book review weekly. The blog is called there is no gap, which he says "isn't an attack on the Gap clothes." Rather it refers to a line from Dogen Zenji's Treasury of the True Dharma Eye.


There will be book sales. According to USA Today, Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!, which inspired the award-winning film There Will Be Blood, is also striking it rich in bookstores: "Since December, Penguin has gone back to press five times for the movie tie-in paperback with 136,000 copies in print."


Rosie Milligan, publisher of Milligan Books and owner of Express Yourself Books, Los Angeles, Calif., "wants to see large publishing houses support more serious-minded literature by African-American authors," according to the Los Angeles Wave, which reported that "whether getting their work out through major publishing houses or small boutique publishers, L.A.'s black authors are determined to be seen by the book-buying public."

Milligan, who has published more than 50 books by African American authors, said, "We need to bridge the gap. Listen to the children, they have a lot to say, they can teach us something, then listen to the elders . . . and learn because they can tell you what this role has been like, climbing the hill. That’s been a market that was totally omitted from mainstream publishers because they didn't dare look at our seniors [or youth] and say 'Do they have a story?' 'What can they write about?' 'Do people want to read their stories?' The answer is yes."



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

In Memoriam: Mary Florey

Mary Florey, founder and longtime owner of Florey's Book Co., Pacifica, Calif., died on Thursday, February 14, after a long illness. She was 81.

The Pacifica Tide obituary noted that Florey "will be remembered by many of Pacifica's readers because she would always take the time to listen to everyone. Sometimes she'd offer advice, but mostly she just listened to people expressing all of life's joys and sorrows as they looked for the right book. She might sell them a book or send them to the library."

Florey founded the store in 1977 with her son Jon Florey. Her grandson Aaron Schlieve operates the store now.


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

Image of the Day: Valentine's Day in San Francisco

Love blooms at Cover to Cover: author-artist Maria van Lieshout (Bloom: A Little Book About Finding Love, Feiwel & Friends) celebrated Valentine's Day at her hometown bookstore, San Francisco's Cover to Cover, flanked by staffers Emily (l.) and Tracy (r.) in front of a heartfelt window display.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.01.20

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Billionaire Who Wasn't

Tomorrow on NPR's All Things Considered: Samantha Power, author of Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (Penguin Press, $32.95, 9781594201288/1594201285).


On CBS Sunday Morning: in a rare interview, Chuck Feeney, subject of the book The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing by Conor O'Clery (PublicAffairs, $26.95, 9781586483913/1586483919).


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

Movies: But Does Horton Hear Your City?

To promote the upcoming release of its "animated event movie," Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, Twentieth Century Fox has challenged communities across the U.S. "to raise their voices in one designated area and proclaim 'We Are Here!'--just as Who-ville's Whos do in the film's thrilling climax," according to the studio's contest website, which adds, "We’ll be listening for the loudest gatherings in each community." (To register and for more information, go to the site.)

On March 9, "decibel levels will be measured by special sound meters at each city's gathering." Fox and USA Today will announce the winner on March 12. The loudest "Who-ville" wins a special hometown screening of the movie, starring Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Carol Burnett.


This Weekend on Book TV: After Fidel

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 23

8 a.m. At an event hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Tim Harford, author of The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World (Random House, $25, 9781400066421/1400066425), talks about how he uses economic principles and research to explain the reasoning behind rational behavior, which he contends is based on incentives. (Re-airs Saturday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 7a.m.)
11 a.m. Brian Latell, author of After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba's Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, $14.95, 9781403975072/1403975078), discusses the future of Cuba.

6 p.m. Encore Book Notes. In a segment first aired in 1998, Dorothy Herrmann, author of Helen Keller: A Life (University of Chicago Press, $22, 9780226327631/0226327639), discussed her biography of Keller, who lost her sight and hearing when she was 19 months old yet lived a full and influential life.

7 p.m. Nina Hachigian and Mona Sutphen, authors of The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive As Other Powers Rise (S&S, $26, 9780743290999/0743290992), maintain that the U.S. can prosper by focusing upon solving its own problems while maintaining and creating partnerships abroad. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:45 p.m.)

8 p.m. John West, author of Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, $28, 9781933859323/1933859326), argues that the domination of science in American society has led to the corruption of our morals. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. First Amendment Center scholar Ronald Collins interviews Anthony Lewis, author of Freedom for the Thought We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment (Basic Books, $25, 9780465039173/0465039170), which recounts the different interpretations of the First Amendment over the years and profiles the people and controversies that have shaped today's understanding of it. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)


Books & Authors

Book Brahmins: Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson was born and raised in Yorkshire and lives now in the Beaches area of Toronto with his wife, Sheila Halladay, and occasionally teaches crime writing at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies. He has won the Anthony, Edgar and Le Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere awards. His Detective Banks novels have hit both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists, have been named a New York Times Notable Book and have been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The latest in the series, Friend of the Devil, published by Morrow, goes on sale next Tuesday, February 26. Here he answers questions we put to people in the book business:

On your nightstand now:

Old Boys by Charles McCarry.
Favorite book when you were a child:

The William series by Richmal Crompton.
Your top five authors:

Thomas Hardy, Graham Greene, Raymond Chandler, John Keats, Charlotte Bronte.
Book you've faked reading:

I wouldn't see the point in that, but I've always admitted the I've only ever got half-way through Bleak House. Twice!
Book you are an evangelist for:

Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
Book you've bought for the cover:

I can think of many books I've bought despite the cover, but none I have bought because of it!
Book that changed your life:

Kerouac's On the Road.
Favorite line from a book:

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."--L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between.
Book you have re-read:

James Joyce's Ulysses.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:

David Copperfield.


Book Review

Mandahla: The Last Beach Bungalow

The Last Beach Bungalow by Jennie Nash (Berkley Publishing Group, $14.00 Paperback, 9780425219270, February 2008)

April Newton, cancer-free for five years, has reason to celebrate when she reaches this joyous milestone, but feels just the opposite. She remembers five years earlier, when her life with her husband Rick had been filled with pathology reports and "the lurching rhythms of chemotherapy." They had been so close then, but now their lives seem sterile, on hold. "It was blasphemous to even form the thought, but I missed those days." She is restless and puzzled, longing for closeness with Rick, and despairing as the spectacular house he's building for her nears completion. She dreads moving into the place he designed after her diagnosis because that's what he thought she wanted, and he wanted to build it as a "fortress against an uncertain future."

While waiting in her doctor's office, April muses that her chosen field--magazine freelance writer--shares some characteristics with the medical profession: she brings people monthly promises of better hair, a smaller waist, an effortlessly-run house; thus, like doctors, she operates "on a faith that just about anything can be made better." Later she happens upon Seaside Lane, a street in Redondo Beach previously filled with California Craftsman bungalows. Only one beach bungalow is left, surrounded by mansions and villas. April is captivated by it, the only authentic home left on the street. The owner, a recent widow, is selling the house via a contest, seeking a buyer with a heart who won't tear the house down. She is asking for a story and a promise, and April feels this could be the answer to making things better, with or without her husband and daughter. When she enters the house, she feels the peace she desires, a peace she doesn't feel with the new house. "[Rick and I] both had faith in wallboard and wood to transform a life, it was just that our faith took a different shape."

But does their faith in wood and wallboard change their lives? With twists that one doesn't expect, the bungalow and April's insistence on listening to her heart transform her and her family. If you can ignore the commercials in the book, most notably for Benjamin Moore paint (with whom the author is doing a clever promotion), a Redondo Beach lingerie store, and even a Redondo Beach energy healer, and the many insertions of product names, you will be rewarded with an appealing and poignant story of people finding moments of grace and a life of connection.--Marilyn Dahl

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: POD and the Bookstore of the Future

"It's a conspiracy, I know it! . . . I'm telling you something is going on here. . . . They're all pods, all of them!"--Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Sorry. I'm thinking about "pod." Those scifi movie pods were nurturing alien bodies, preparing to conquer the planet. Now, pods are everywhere among us. For example, this morning I can listen to a podcast on my iPod of Wednesday's public radio show, Vermont Edition, which featured a report on the new Espresso Book Machine at the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, Vt.

POD--Print on Demand.

"I'm telling you something is going on here."

A few years ago, I stirred up the POD waters by writing a piece titled, "Are a Gazillion Books Too Many? Maybe Not." I had asked whether, as more and more books were digitized and POD technology improved, there would come a time when POD meant more than just a massive collection of self-published titles no bookstore wanted to stock. Reactions were emotional and opinionated. That was a good thing.

Since writing the article, I've discussed the issue with many people and had opportunities to observe the process from a closer perspective. In the fall of 2006, while working briefly for Susan Novotny's Market Block Books, Troy, N.Y., I had a firsthand look at the early days of Troy Book Makers, a POD company Susan co-owns with Eric Wilska of the Bookloft, Great Barrington, Mass.

This month, during my occasional bookselling shifts at the Northshire, I watched the Espresso Book Machine take shape and then spring into action.

POD evolution continues. Answers arrive. Questions remain. I asked Chris Morrow, Northshire's general manager, to get our conversation started:

What are your short and long term goals for Northshire's POD experiment?

My short term goals are to just learn a lot about POD and its implications and implementation. This year we will focus on self-publishing clients and public domain titles. Longer term, I would like to be able to print any book that has ever been published. There is no reason that I can't offer my customers virtually unlimited selection within a few years.

What kind of early feedback have you received from booksellers and publishers? 

Booksellers are intrigued but understandably wary. Publishers, especially small publishers, are surprisingly defensive. They see a threat. I try to shift the discussion to opportunity as this machine will allow me to have their entire backlist available to my customers. Think about how small a percentage of publishers' catalogs any given bookstore has in stock--all the rest of the titles are opportunities for sales . . . I do not see myself replacing small publishers at all--I see an expanding partnership."

Do you think POD in some form is destined to be an integral part of the bookstore business as the technology and resources continue to evolve? 

Absolutely. The potential downside of this is that bookstores can be bypassed altogether as this technology evolves. That is why I want to get in early to understand this business. For those that embrace this technology, I am confident that it will enhance the bookstore experience for customers and add revenue streams. This has the potential to be big.

Will the lines between author, publisher and bookseller begin to blur? What's good--and not so good--about that?

Well, authors will have more choices to self-publish, but I don't see the need for a good publisher diminishing. There will always be a need for editing, marketing, distribution, etc. We will be making a number of local interest books--which have been out of print--available, so in that realm we will be a publisher. But that is just adding value locally, not taking business from other publishers. It ain't about good or bad; it's about what is and what will be.

As you begin to deal with self-published authors in this new way, do you plan to stock their works in your bookstore? Is that a delicate line to walk? 

Ask me in six months and I'll probably have a different answer for you. Right now, we are planning on carrying their works in the store for a few months and online indefinitely.

What's your dream scenario for this experiment, if everything goes according to plan? 

Having limitless selection for my customers and taking Northshire public with the biggest bookstore IPO in the history of Vermont.

Ah, those dream scenarios. Now let me ask all of you a question: What is POD's role in your book world? --Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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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