Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 28, 2008

Sharjah International Book Fair: Your Chance to Get Your Book in Front of 1 Million Readers - Oct. 30th - Nov. 9th, 2019 - Learn More!

Other Press: Nvk by Temple Drake

Quirk Books: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Magination Press: Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L Moss

St. Martin's Press: A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones

Grand Central Publishing: PostScript by Cecelia Ahern

Quotation of the Day

Austin Indie Bookshops are 'Artistic Havens for Individuals'

"Books emanate romanticism and possess the ability to create a stronger social community. Local bookstores are breeding grounds of positivity, thought and creativity. In Austin, we can frequent BookPeople, Austin Books or Monkeywrench Books . . . to get away from the everyday stresses of life, either to sit down with the latest Grisham novel or to chill with a cup of coffee and listen to a new beat. Bookstores are artistic havens for individuals to outsource their creative energy. Digital books just can't provide this same type of community outreach, and if more people continue to replace books with convenient digital versions, small community bookstores may suffer or eventually die off."--Amanda Patterson in the Daily Texan.


Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors


Notes: Amazon's Print on Demand Demand

Amazon has notified publishers who print books on demand that they will have to use Amazon's POD facilities if they want to sell their books directly on, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"The move signals that Amazon is intent on using its position as the premier online bookseller to strengthen its presence in other phases of bookselling and manufacturing," the Journal continued. Amazon "has evolved into a fully vertical book publishing and retail operation. Most recently, Amazon acquired audiobook seller Audible Inc. Amazon also sells its own ebook reader called the Kindle."

Publishers will have to use Amazon's BookSurge POD subsidiary. Among competitors are Ingram's Lightning Source and


Assuming all went well, last night, Peter Carey did a reading at an Ottawa bookstore--from New York City, where he lives, CBC News reported. The Collected Works bookstore hosted Carey via webcam and the Internet; Carey was to read from His Illegal Self.

Collected Works co-owner Craig Poile said that he wanted to draw more customers with what he calls a "Giant Talking Head" event.


Bookselling This Week
profiles BookSmart, Morgan Hill, Calif., south of San Jose, which stocks some 50,000 titles in a 7,500-sq.-ft. space that looks like an old barn. Owners Brad Jones and Cinda Meister founded the store 14 years ago after they left longtime careers in the restaurant business. Book sales are divided about evenly between children's and adult titles, with fiction and self-help leading adult sales. A cafe and free wi-fi are a major draw.

The store devotes about 2,000 square feet of space to toys--bestsellers are Playmobiles, science and craft sets and wooden toys from Melissa & Doug. The store also has a popular monthly arts-and-crafts event called BookSmart Art.


On Saturday, Alton Shelton, 24, opens Reader's Square Bookstore in Courthouse Square in Crown Point, Ind., the Gary Post-Tribune reported. Shelton, who has been a Subway store general manager, said he has wanted to open a bookstore since he was in college.

He called the 230-sq.-ft. space "perfect for a bookstore."


Congratulations to Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, Ga., which re-opens at its new location in the old Sun Trust Bank building on Decatur Square today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showcased one particularly entertaining aspect of the move:

"Back in the '80s, various Marvel Comics supervillains were sentenced to a specially designed prison called The Vault. . . .  Zach Steele, owner of Wordsmiths Books in Decatur, did not know this colorful bit of geek trivia when he hit upon the idea of turning a former bank vault into his store's new comic book room. And not just comics, but science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels and the popular Japanese genres anime and manga--they're all inside the cool little room with the massive slab of metal for a door."


Books-A-Million has signed a lease to open a store in Palm Coast, Fla., near Daytona Beach, in the Palm Coast Landing development, between Interstate 95 and U.S. 1. It will be BAM's 38th store in Florida.

BAM is also opening a store in Martinsburg, W.V., in the Commons, a development near Interstate 81. The store will be the company's third in West Virginia.


The Los Angeles Times charts the frenzied buying by publishers to find "the next 'big book' that reflects a more sobering view of the economy and offers solutions to help Americans survive the current fiscal woes." Some publishers are lucky enough to have pertinent titles in the pipeline, but others don't and are reissuing some pertinent works. [See item below about George Soros's new e-book on the credit crisis.]

The story's lead puts the issue in perspective: "About a year ago, one of America's bestselling business books was Michael Corbett's Find It, Fix It, Flip It!: Make Millions in Real Estate--One House at a Time. Today, one of the hot finance titles picked up for publication is Stephen Leeb's Game Over: How the Collapsing Economy Will Shrink Your Wealth by 50% Unless You Know What to Do."


What should indie booksellers worry about today? Time magazine's cover story hailed "10 Ideas that are changing the world," and number two happened to be "the end of Customer Service. With self-serve technology, you'll never have to see a clerk again." Since talented booksellers hate to be called clerks anyway, perhaps this world-changing idea just doesn't apply.



BINC - Double Your Impact

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Burley Helps Consumers Get Unscrewed

This morning on the Today Show and tonight on NBC's Nightly News and Dateline: Don and Susie Van Ryn and Newell, Coleen and Whitney Cerak, authors with Mark Tabb of Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope (Howard Books, $21.99, 9781416567356/1416567356).


Today on NPR's Science: Jeffrey V. Wells, author of A Birder's Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds Most at Risk (Princeton University Press, $35, 9780691123233/0691123233).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Senator Chuck Hagel, whose new book is America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers (Ecco, $25.95, 9780061436963/0061436968).


Tomorrow on Good Morning America: Ron Burley, author of Unscrewed: The Consumer's Guide to Getting What You Paid For (Ten Speed Press, $14.95, 9781580087629/1580087620). 


This weekend on On the Media: John Gorenfeld, author of Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom (PoliPointPress, distributed by IPS, $24.95, 9780979482236/0979482232).


A week from today, Friday, April 4, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Stephen King, his wife, Tabitha, and son Owen will read and discuss their work with students from Cardozo High School, IDEA Public Charter School and McKinley Technology High School. The event is part of the PEN/Faulkner "Writers in Schools" program, held in conjunction with the Library's Center for the Book.

The reading and discussion takes place at 10:30 a.m. at the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks

Books & Authors

New Paradigm: Soros on the Credit Crisis on E-Books

In a kind of new paradigm for a book like this, George Soros, financier, philanthropist and author, has written a timely tome--about the credit crisis--and is releasing it only in e-book form. The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means (PublicAffairs, $22.95, 9781586486846) appears on Thursday, April 3, via Amazon's Kindle, the Sony Reader and a range of booksellers. More information, including e-availability and links, will be posted on and on pub date.

In The New Paradigm for Financial Markets, Soros calls the credit crisis "the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. . . . The United States is facing both a recession and a flight from the dollar. The decline in housing prices, the weight of accumulated household debt, and the losses and uncertainties in the banking system threaten to push the economy into a self-reinforcing decline. . . . Eventually, the U.S. government will have to use taxpayers' money to arrest the decline in house prices. . . . I foresee many policy turns and changes in market direction since current policies are inadequate. It will be difficult to stay ahead of the curve."

Soros predicts a slowdown in Europe and Japan but says "powerful expansionary forces are at work in other parts of the world" that may well counterbalance the U.S. recession.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

Book Brahmins: Joseph Wambaugh

Joseph Wambaugh, a former Los Angeles Police Department detective sergeant, is the bestselling author of 17 works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Choirboys and The Onion Field. In 2004, he was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. His new novel, Hollywood Crows, was published earlier this month by Little, Brown.


On your nightstand now:

The Overlook by Michael Connelly.
Favorite book when you were a child:

The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Your top five authors:

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Wolfe, Stephen King, Joseph Heller, Evelyn Waugh.

Book you've faked reading:

Everything of Henry James assigned by professors.
Book you are an evangelist for:

Moby-Dick, simply the greatest novel ever.
Book you've bought for the cover:

None, but I greatly admire the original cover of All Quiet on the Western Front with the haunted face of a German soldier.
Book that changed your life:

Catch-22, where I learned how tragedy and horror can be depicted though dark comedy, and In Cold Blood, where I learned how to write a "nonfiction novel."

Favorite line from a book:

Raymond Chandler on the nerve-wracking Santa Ana winds:  "Anything can happen; you can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."

Book you most want to re-read:

The Great Gatsby, a big story in few words.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Brideshead Revisited, for its poignancy.


Book Review

Mandahla: Betrayed

Betrayed by Jeanette Windle (Tyndale House Publishers, $13.99 Paperback, 9781414314747, February 2008)

Betrayed opens in the Guatemalan cloud forest, a remote, deep green paradise of white mist, the red flash of quetzal birds, coiling orchids and terror. After playing all day, three young children--two girls and a boy--head back to their village, hungrily drawn by the scent of cook fires. But when they step into the clearing, the smoke is wrong, as are the strange men stacking people like sacks of potatoes and the homes blazing like torches. The children are spared and taken away.

Twenty years later, Vicki Andrews arrives in Guatemala City. An anthropologist working for Children at Risk, she is to assess Casa de Esperanza for funding. The mission-run charity works with the basueros, who live, if it can be called that, in the city's garbage dump. While the situation is all too familiar to Vicki, she's still puzzled at her reluctance to visit the country; however, she's happy for the chance to see her younger sister Holly, who works in a wildlife rescue center in a nature reserve. Holly has something she wants to tell Vicki, but before she can, she's murdered. Holly's murder, exotic animals missing from the refuge, massacred villagers--Vicki is a damsel in a lot of distress. Throw in a handsome CIA agent and a handsome beach bum, a tough old curmudgeon and a gentle missionary, and you'd have a standard thriller, but J. M. Windle has a bit more on her mind than just a good read.

She sees the smoldering fires beneath the garbage dumps and compares them with fires beneath the surface of Guatemala itself, for all its theoretical peace. Over the last two generations of armed conflict and political assassinations, the Guatemalan Army was responsible for more than 90% of the atrocities. The legacy of the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita), a CIA-sponsored coup, populist uprisings and military reprisals and the joke of narcotics interdiction have damaged the people and the land irreparably. The usual sad, familiar story, but with a counterpoint: an old hymn, "This Is My Father's World," whose words work as both a clue and a theme. Who's to blame for this mess? If this is God's world, what does that mean? Yes, the author does have a few things to say within the framework of a thriller.

Betrayed is not only a good mystery, but a good primer on the current state of much of Latin America and the legacy of our involvement there. And for those readers and booksellers who might be put off by the Christian slant: on the one hand, it's gentle, like the hymn that runs through it. On the other hand, it's thought-provoking, also like the hymn, and gives the story a tension beyond the social and political.--Marilyn Dahl


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Baby Boomer Flies to SIBA Conversation

Thursday, March 27. Albany (N.Y.) Airport, 6 a.m.

I'm heading to Atlanta--with a connection through Philadelphia--for the Spring Book Show. The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance will host educational seminars tomorrow, and they've invited me to join them for one of the sessions. Here's what the event listing says:

2:45–4 p.m.Deeper Understanding Conversation with Robert Gray at Spring Book Show!
What Do Baby Boomers Want (to Read)?
Call it a conversation starter for 2008.
1. What are your thoughts about long-term marketing to Baby Boomers?
2. By the year 2018, will boomers still be shopping in bricks-and-mortar bookstores or primarily online?

So, why this boomer redux?

As the new year began, I explored the boomer issue in detail (Shelf Awareness, January 10, 18, 25 and 31). The idea for the columns, and now this conversation, about boomers as future bookstore customers was generated by the same simple, yet dangerously complex, thought. I wondered if we as booksellers were overlooking the fact that boomers will become very different, much more tech-savvy 60, 70, and 80 year olds than their predecessors were.

They (we) will still be reading for pleasure, but their comfort level with the online world and tech adaptation is likely to evolve dramatically. Will traditional books and booksellers be able to "hold their ground" with this generation, which has made a habit of rewriting the rules at every stage of its collective lifespan?

Reader response showed it was worth writing about. Tomorrow I suspect it will be worth talking about, too. I love a conversation that doesn't end.

This morning, I have plenty of time to observe boomer reading habits because the security lines in Albany are extraordinarily long, due perhaps to yesterday's cancellation of all those American Airlines flights.

As the line slowly moves forward, a CNN broadcaster on an overhead TV greets us with news that Delta will be today's problem air child, canceling many flights at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to re-inspect some of their older jets.

Since I'm flying USAir, I hold my breath and settle in to boomer watching just to draw my attention away from the "departures" board.

They're everywhere, of course. Boomer business people make calls, send text messages and e-mail to cancel or confirm meetings; vacationing boomer couples, already dressed for warmer climes, are on their cells, as are the boomer parents and/or grandparents who herd flocks of children through the crowds.  

Few people are reading; fewer, it seems, every time I fly.

The guy about to board ahead of me is a two-fisted, middle-aged techie boomer who is consulting his Palm handheld (Palm reading?) while punching in a number on his cell phone.

Philadelphia International Airport, 9 a.m.

There's a promotional sign at the entrance to the CNBC News shop: "Read Return. Buy it, read it, return it, to receive a 50% refund. "

I do not, as advised, ask the sales associate for additional information.

In Airport World--that other dimension we inhabit after we pass through security and until we emerge at baggage claim--technology seems to have replaced print as the time-passing recreation of choice. It's not that you don't see people reading books in terminals or on planes, but the numbers are dwindling.

Terminal reading.

The majority of book readers I see on this trip are in the boomer age range. While most carry "airport reads"--mass market paperback mysteries or romance novels--today I notice that the prevailing title is a trade paperback: Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.

Buy, read, return.

Hilton Atlanta, 3 p.m.

Because of the tornado that swept through downtown Atlanta recently, the Spring Book Show had to be moved to this hotel from the damaged Georgia World Congress Center, which has just reopened to host the International Window Coverings Expo.

I'm here, preparing for tomorrow afternoon, when I'll have a BBBB conversation--Booksellers on the Business of Baby Boomers.  

Where will we start? In Generation Ageless, authors J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman contend that boomers believe in three things:

  1. Youthfulness: A belief in an ageless engagement with life that is active, spirited and exuberant.
  2. Impact: A desire to have an enduring influence in making a difference.
  3. Possibility: A sense of personal development built upon empowerment and continuous progression.

How can booksellers capitalize on those ideas? Tomorrow we'll talk about it here in Atlanta, and next week I'll tell you how, and where, the conversation went.

One thing is certain, however. Baby boomers won't go away quietly, even if they've now traded acid flashbacks for acid reflux.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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