The scam works this way: a man impersonating an author who has an event scheduled soon at a bookstore calls the store and tells of having his car impounded and needing to have money wired to him immediately to get it back. Last year (Shelf Awareness, December 8, 2007), John Evans of Diesel: A Bookstore, with shops in Oakland and Malibu, Calif., outlined his brush with being conned. Today the Los Angeles Times calls in an update, finding that the hoax has been attempted--ultimately unsuccessfully--at Vroman's Books, Pasadena, and Skylight Books, Los Angeles, too.
Skylight's Kerry Slattery commented: "They're like con men. They draw you in, and later you just feel so foolish."
In other news from the area, we're happy to note that Lise Friedman, longtime promotional director of Dutton's Brentwood, which is near closing, and president of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association for eight years, will become a sales rep for Macmillan, replacing Marshall Presnick. She starts officially on May 12.
Yesterday's New York Times offered a lot of facts about a little-known part of Barnes & Noble, Quamut.com, "the go to how to" website that offers free information as well as downloadable documents for a fee.
"For instance," the Times wrote, "users who want to know how to make sushi can browse through 15 pages of information, like 'how to make sushi rice,' or can copy and print the information themselves. But Quamut sells a more polished version in a six-page color document for about $3. The document, in PDF, is without ads 'and all the junk on the sides,' said Daniel Weiss, Quamut's publisher and managing director."
Quamut has about 1,000 such documents, some of which are sold in stores, in laminated form, for about $6.
Here's an interesting fact: one of Quamut's major competitor's is the Times's own About.com. (That information comes to you free.)
Effective June 1, Hampton Roads Publishing Company will be the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Witches' Almanac, Ltd., whose main title, The Witches' Almanac, has sold two million copies since its founding in 1971 by Elizabeth Pepper.
The annual is, Hampton Roads said, "a compendium of ancient lore and legend the indispensable guide and delightful companion for adept occultists, witch and mortal alike. The almanac contains herbal secrets, advice about animals, mystic incantations, sacred rituals and many curious tales of good and evil!"
The Witches' Almanac backlist brew includes Magic Charms from A to Z, Moon Lore, Celtic Tree Magic, Magical Creatures, Magic Spells and Incantations, Witches All and Greek Gods in Love.
Effective May 19, Liz Perl is joining Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing as senior v-p, marketing. Since 2005, she has been v-p and publisher of Rodale Books and Rodale International and director of Rodale DVD. Before that, she worked at Penguin Group 11 years, originally as executive director of publicity for several imprints, then as v-p, director of marketing and associate publisher Riverhead, Perigee and HP Books. Earlier she was director of publicity for Avon Books and publicity manager at HarperCollins.
Her new boss, Michael Selleck, executive v-p of sales and marketing, said that Perl's "ability to think big-picture and create marketing campaigns that build brands through nontraditional means will be invaluable as we seek new ways to generate consumer awareness and sales for our books."