Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 21, 2008

Thank You Booksellers For Making Our Award-Winning Books a Success!

St. Martin's Press: Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Franz

Walker Books: The Good Hawk (Shadow Skye, Book One) by Joseph Elliott

Tor Books: Deal with the Devil: A Mercenary Librarians Novel by Kit Rocha

Quotation of the Day

'Best Author Tour Advice'

"The best advice on touring I ever got came from the publisher of my children's mystery books, the Echo Falls series. Very simple advice. She said, 'Use the minibar.' "--Peter Abrahams in an article on author tours in the Cape Cod Times.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle


Notes: Books As Life Forms; Lonely Planet Guide

For a long-range perspective on the question of the future of the book, check out Steve Leveen's Well-Read Life blog, where he is currently writing a series called "Why we're entering the Golden Age of Books."

A couple intriguing paragraphs from the current entry:

"Since books are ideas before they are things, they seem to morph into whatever technology is available. Like life forms, they evolve to fill newly available habitats.

"A hundred years ago, this morphing began to accelerate, most significantly into movies, then television, and, in the last quarter of the 20th century, into audiobooks. These new art forms may not be called books, but they contain the same kinds of ideas as books and can result in similar benefits. Then can teach and entertain and fill one with dread or inspiration. They, like traditional printed books, are art. And in some cases, the new art can eclipse our traditional printed form of a book."

[Many thanks to Mim Harrison, editor at Levenger Press, for steering us to the e-pages of this blog.] 


Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum, the brains and boys behind Unshelved, have just finished the first of three rounds of BookExpo America giveaways to librarians and educators. Prizes include an appearance in the Unshelved comic strip, coffee at BEA with Bill and Gene, tickets to the Lewis Black benefit on Saturday night, tickets to book & author breakfasts and more. To be eligible for prizes, register for BEA through

Also on the site, details about some of Unshelved's library-oriented programming at BEA, including the Publisher Book Slam, a kind of speed-dating event between librarians and publishers; Library Confessions; and Bill and Gene drawing a comic strip live, with audience suggestions. Also don't miss the pair's 14-page comic book, What Would Dewey Do @ BEA?, downloadable at the site.


To help accommodate a growth in sales of overstock DVDs, Daedalus Books and Music, Columbia, Md., has added a DVD section to its online store.

Since adding movies to its mix of books and CDs in 2005, Daedalus has done well "across a wide range of genres, from studio blockbusters and independent art house films to the hottest network and cable TV programming," the company said.


In the Telegraph, Jolyon Attwooll came to the defense of Lonely Planet as well as her former colleague, Thomas Kohnstamm, who created a furor last week (Shelf Awareness, April 15, 2008) when he seemed to suggest that some of the details in travel guides he contributed to were "made up."

"This question mark over guidebook integrity affects me directly," Attwooll wrote, "as I co-authored the current Lonely Planet edition of Chile with Thomas. If the recent media hype is right, I must have been on a pretty good gig. Surely I spent my time drinking free champagne at boutique hotels and canoodling with Lonely Planet groupies? Sadly, no."

Ultimately, Attwooll wrote, "guidebooks are not--as they are sometimes dubbed--bibles. They are simply guides."


A man walks into a bookstore to buy a "woman's book . . ." NPR's Bryant Park Project listener Seth Bate talks about his strange experience purchasing a copy of Aryn Kyle's The God of Animals.


"Women in business are looking for something that speaks to their own experience," Will Weisser, associate publisher of Portfolio, Penguin's business imprint, told Time magazine in an article featuring a selection of new books published specifically for women.


Yvette Romero has joined Bloomberg Press as director of marketing and sales. She has held various marketing and publicity positions at Kaplan Publishing, Prentice Hall Press, Random House Value, Scholastic and Monteiro & Co.


Running Press: Thank You! Now on Instagram!

Shelfwiz: Shelftalker 'Upgrade'

As Gary Frank, former owner of the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif., says, "It's hard for a long-time bookseller to stay out of the business entirely."

Since selling the store last June, Frank is unveiling a project that has been two years in the making: creating Shelfwiz, a holder for shelf talkers that is "easy to read and easily moveable, while still allowing customers to remove and replace books on shelves." The idea is to present shelf talkers neatly and avoid a kind of messy post-it look while capitalizing on the merchandising value of shelf talkers. "They just needed a bit of an upgrade," he adds.

The result is a sign holder that has a Plexiglas area measuring 5 1/8" x 2 1/2" to display the shelf talker. The holder attaches onto the shelf with a simple aluminum clip. There are two clip sizes available--for 3/4" and 1" shelves. The clip is thin so that it doesn't disturb the books above it, and the sign itself flips up and down easily so it doesn't block access to books on shelves below it.

Shelfwiz provides paper to fit the sign size and has formatted some shelf talkers for Book Sense picks. Booksellers can create and print their own shelf talkers on Shelfwiz's website and download them in PDF or Word form. Booksellers can also continue writing their recommendations by hand.

The April Book Sense red box includes samples of Shelfwiz, and the company ran a promo in the SIBA newsletter requesting booksellers who wanted a sample to contact it. "We got a big response and sent out samples to bookstores all over the country," Frank says. "Many of those stores, after receiving the samples, placed orders." Reaction from booksellers in general has been "overwhelmingly very positive."

For now, Frank is marketing Shelfwiz mainly to booksellers and librarians but soon plans to approach wine stores, where shelf talkers have been a vintage part of merchandising for a long time.

For more information, go to


BINC: Double Your Donation with PRH

The Last Lecture 'Oversubscribed'

The Wall Street Journal notes that The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch--about a lecture that the professor gave as he was dying of pancreatic cancer--has been so popular that the book is sold out.  

The "problem" was unanticipated demand after Diane Sawyer hosted an hour-long special about Pausch on April 9, the day after official publication. "By day's end on April 10 we had back orders for 500,000, and by the end of April 11 we had back orders for 800,000," Ellen Archer, who was promoted to president and publisher of Hyperion earlier this month, told the Journal. "There is no way you can plan for this kind of phenomenon. Demand was simply meteoric."

"Demand has outstripped what we anticipated," Antoinette Ercolano, v-p of trade book buying for Barnes & Noble, told the paper. "We have some books in stock, but it's not across the board." A spokeswoman for Borders told the Journal that some stores "are out, but overall nationwide, we have a good in-stock rate."

After three printings, The Last Lecture had 550,000 copies in print before pub date, and now further printings will result in two million copies in print by mid-May.

Although the Journal speculates that Hyperion might have made a "costly miscalculation," B&N's Ercolano said that the shortage may help the book. "It makes others curious, and they come looking for it," she said.

On the day the Journal story ran, issued a release pointing out in essence that e-books don't have this availability problem--although it mentioned only its Kindle. As Steve Kessel, senior v-p, world wide digital media, said, "One of the advantages for readers is that Kindle titles never go out of stock. That's good for readers, and it's good for publishers too."

(Incidentally Hyperion is owned by Disney, which also owns ABC, which aired the Sawyer special. Also, The Last Lecture's co-author is Jeffrey Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal reporter. News Corp., which owns the Journal, has an interest in the book.)


G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Tender Thing by Emily Neuberger

Mayo/May: Latino Books Month

To help celebrate the fifth annual Latino Books Month this May, the Association of American Publishers's Task Force on Publishing Latino Voices for America has created a Latino Books Month Resource Kit, which will include:

  • A Latino books summer reading list that has recommended books for adults and children, in English and Spanish;
  • A Publishing Latino Voices brochure, which includes a sampling of titles by and for Latinos published by AAP members;
  • Get Caught Reading/¡Ajá, leyendo! posters featuring celebrities, including Gloria Estefan, Maya and Miguel, Jorge Ramos, Dora the Explorer, Jenna Bush and Mauricio Islas;
  • A "how-to" sheet on starting a Spanish-language reading group;
  • Contact information for booking Latino authors for appearances.

The kits are available to booksellers, librarians, educators and others. For copies and more information, e-mail the AAP's Katie Ly at or visit the AAP booth at BookExpo America (#4129).

In connection with the month, the AAP will also host two panels at BEA on Latino book themes. At 3:15 p.m., on Friday, May 30, several well-known authors will discuss their upcoming children's and YA books: Oscar Hijuelos, author of Dark Dude (S&S), Monica Brown, author of Pele, King of Soccer (Rayo/HarperCollins), and Cheech Marin, author of Captain Cheech (HarperCollins).
The other panel, which follows the first, features Gustavo Arellano, author of Orange County: I've Been Taking Notes (Scribner), Cecilia Samartin, author of Tarnished Beauty (Atria), and David Iglesias, author of In Justice (Wiley).

And as noted here earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, February 3, 2008), the AAP and the ALA's Association for Library Service to Children have created a recommended reading list of children's books in English and Spanish.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Today's Guest Host Tomorrow: Laura Bush

This morning on the Today Show: Howard Fineman, author of The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country (Random House, $25, 9781400065448/1400065445).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Martha Sherrill, author of Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594201240/1594201242).


Today on Oprah: Padma Lakshmi, author of Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day (Weinstein Books, $34.95, 9781602860063/1602860068).


Today on the View: Chelsea Handler, author of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (Simon Spotlight, $24.95, 9781416954125/1416954120).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: A.G. Lafley, co-author of The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation (Crown Business, $27.50, 9780307381736/0307381730).


Tonight on Nightline: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, author of Lidia's Italy: 140 Simple and Delicious Recipes from the Ten Places in Italy Lidia Loves Most (Knopf, $35, 9781400040360/1400040361).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show, First Lady Laura Bush will act as guest host, participating in several segments, offering a tour of the Bush Family ranch in Crawford, Tex.,--and, with her daughter Jenna, discussing their new children's book, Read All About It! (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780061560750/0061560758).

Also on the Today Show: Chelsea Handler, author of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (Simon Spotlight, $24.95, 9781416954125/1416954120), and Scott Conant, author of Bold Italian (Broadway, $19.95, 9780767916837/0767916832).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Joanne Harris, author of The Girl with No Shadow (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061431623/0061431621).


Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: David Treuer, author of The Translation of Dr Apelles: A Love Story (Graywolf Press, $23, 9781555974510/1555974511).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Sophie Uliano, author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life (Collins, $16.95, 9780061575563/0061575569).


Tomorrow on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Ed Begley Jr., author of Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life (Clarkson Potter, $18, 9780307396433/0307396436).


Books & Authors

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 Outcast by Sadie Jones (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780061374036/0061374032). "Sadie Jones displays rare skills in her debut novel. The story of a troubled young man in post-WW II suburban London is heartbreaking and wonderful. The book evokes both the best emotions of Catcher in the Rye and the spirit of quiet rebellion of The Razor's Edge, with characters who are well written and real. I love this book."--Brooke Raby, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, Ky.

Twenty Chickens for a Saddle
by Robyn Scott (Penguin Press, $24.95, 9781594201592/1594201595). "An astonishingly written story of growing up in modern-day Africa with loving, eccentric, and adventure-loving parents. Every character in this book could fill a novel."--Lillian Kinsey, Bohannons' Books With A Past, Georgetown, Ky.


The Baum Plan for Financial Independence by John Kessel (Small Beer Press, $16, 9781931520508/193152050X). "John Kessel's writing exists at the edge of things, in the dark corner where the fiction section abuts the science fiction shelves, in the hyphen where magic meets realism. This is one of those too rare short story collections that you can recommend with confidence to both the literary snob and the hard-core computer geek."--Rich Rennicks, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, N.C.

For Middle Readers

How Does the Show Go On?
by Thomas Schumacher with Jeff Kurtti (Disney, $19.95, 9781423100881/1423100883). "This is a backstage pass to the theater for anyone who wants to learn the ins and outs of 'on stage' and behind the scenes. Using actual Broadway productions as examples, the authors explore every aspect of putting on a theatrical extravaganza."--Barbara Wilson, Butterfly Books, De Pere, Wis.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


Book Review

Mandahla: More Cookbooks (and More) for Mom

Tools & Techniques by Williams-Sonoma (Gold Street Press, $34.95 Hardcover, 9781934533031, July 2005)

If you're too nervous to cook for mom--how will give you confidence. A big cookbook from the food lifestyle giant, especially one that starts with--can it be?--equipment, is sure to elicit snickers of reverse snobbism. But it's a fine book, for both the novice cook who doesn't know what "julienne" means and for the more proficient cook who still needs photographs to figure out how to make a lattice crust. Sometimes when reading a recipe, or more often, in the midst of cooking, you end up begging for a picture of what the dish is supposed to look like. Here you are, plus techniques you didn't even know you weren't good at: flooding icing, roll-cutting carrots, tempering eggs. All this and tasty recipes, too.

Another "equipment" book comes from Marie Simmons and the folks at Sur la Table: Things Cooks Love: Implements, Ingredients, and Recipes (Andrews McMeel, $35, 9780740769764/0740769766, May 2008). They say that cooking is easier and more fun with the right tools, and they help you figure out what you need for your style, from basic essentials to global essentials (a Portuguese cataplana, a Moroccan couscoussière, a tortilla press.) Not everything is that exotic; the chapter on cast-iron skillets is excellent, explaining not only how to season them, but what they are good at, and what they are not. But the cookbook is not just a tool book, it has more than 300 pages of scrumptious recipes, like Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce, Sautéed Fish Fillets with Herb Butter and Mango, Fresh-Fruit Quesadillas. The only thing missing is dessert, but that leaves more room for Cornish Hens with Basil and Mint, and Pommes Anna.

Maybe mom could use a little spice in her life, a few laughs--who couldn't? Perhaps a book that cooks, so to speak, but doesn't involve a stove (although an apron is a possibility). Try Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (Norton, $24.95, 9780393064643/0393064646, April 2008). Written by Mary Roach, who brought us the memorable Stiff and Spook, this exploration into sex research is both informative and hilarious, right down to the clever chapter names with photographs: "Re-member Me," about implants and transplants, is heralded by pencils broken, straight, short and knotted. In explaining the "strange, brave career" of Dr. Ahmed Shafik, she writes, "[He] won my heart by publishing a paper in European Urology in which he investigated the effects of polyester on sexual activity. Ahmed Shafik dressed lab rats in polyester pants." Roach takes us into labs (including brothels and pig farms) and curious scientific minds studying things a bit difficult to describe, in our publication, anyway. Suffice it to say, she's witty ("The feminist in me, who is small and sleeps a lot but can be scrappy when provoked . . . ") and her subject is fascinating and often oddball, a delightful mix.--Marilyn Dahl


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