Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 2, 2008


Random House Graphic: Bug Boys by Laura Knetzger

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

Wednesday Books: The Mall by Megan McCafferty

Houghton Mifflin: The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

Editors' Note

Welcome Back

Like many of you, we've just returned home--it feels more like washing ashore--from BookExpo America in Los Angeles, which ended yesterday. Smaller than last year's BEA in New York, the show was nonetheless a busy, highly focused event marked by informative panels and presentations, lots of shop talk, the usual mix of planned and serendipitous meetings and business deals--and some seriously excellent parties, always a highlight when the show is in Los Angeles. (Rumors are that Prince is still playing at the late-night party for his book.) Over the next two weeks we'll offer coverage of some of the many informative panels and presentations as well as highlights and scenes from the floor. Our first report today focuses on the ABA's new IndieBound program. (See below.)

 


GLOW: Other Press: Serenade for Nadia by Zülfü Livaneli, translated by Brendan Freely


News

Notes: Cully Promoted at B&T; More Kindle Titles from S&S

David Cully has been promoted to president, retail markets, at Baker & Taylor. He joined the company in January as executive v-p of merchandising and Baker & Taylor Marketing Services and now adds domestic and international retail book and entertainment sales to his responsibilities. The company said that in his time at B&T, Cully "has re-engineered the company's approach to merchandise buying and supply chain management and worked closely with both customers and vendors."

Before joining B&T, Cully was co-founder and CEO of Blue Tulip Corporation and was president of Barnes & Noble Distribution. He has also worked at Simon Schuster, Waldenbooks and Putnam/Berkley.

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Simon & Schuster is making available 5,000 more titles to Amazon Kindle, which combined with the S&S titles already on Kindle, represents a majority of the publisher's catalogue.

In a statement, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos said that of the 125,000 titles available both as traditional books or Kindle books, Kindle books account for more than 6% of units sold.

And S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy stated that besides new and bestselling books, among the titles selling on Kindle and asked for by customers are "books that are older or hard to find."

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Like Amazon, Overstock.com has filed a suit challenging New York State's new law requiring online retailers with affiliates in New York to collect sales tax on purchases made by people in the state.

According to Reuters, Overstock said that "on May 15 it told more than 3,400 New York-based affiliate advertisers that as of June 1 they could not provide advertising for Overstock.com because of the new law, which comes into effect at that time."

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Today's New York Times examines the "broader cultural makeover" underway at Bertelsmann since Hartmut Ostrowski took the helm, including the appointment of Markus Dohle as chief executive of Random House. 

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With the media speculating recently on the future of Barnes & Noble and Borders, the Arizona Republic chose to get an independent bookseller's perspective from Gayle Shanks, owner of Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., and new president of the American Booksellers Association.

"Consumers are really thinking about their discretionary income," she said. "If it costs a lot of money to fill up your gas tank, you don't have a lot of extra money for a book."

Shanks expressed optimism about the next generation of booksellers: "The emerging leaders and the young booksellers who I've interacted with over the past few years have an energy and passion for bookselling that touches my heart. They need mentoring but also are teaching me new technologies, new ways of reaching young readers, marketing, doing events, and managing staff."

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In its profile of Murder by the Book Mystery Bookstore, Portland, Ore., the Oregonian noted that the bookshop "is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, and founder Jill Hinckley doesn't have to follow an elaborate series of clues to find the secret of its success."

"Loyal customers," Hinckley said. "We have a very loyal following. People come from across town and buy books from us that they could get cheaper at one of the chains. We've had customers that have been with us since day one. Their kids have been born and grown up and they've gone to retirement homes, some of them. They've stayed with us."

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"Two books and a beach towel" was the theme of special feature in the Rutland Herald's Vermont Sunday Magazine, which imagined "sending your local librarian or bookseller off alone to a deserted island this summer," with the catch that "each person is allowed to take only two books: one old favorite to reread, and one not yet read."

Among the booksellers interviewed were Sandy Scott, Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick; Stan Hynds and Erik Barnum, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center; Dennis and Marsene Pryor, Annie's Book Stop, Rutland; Lynne and Bill Reed, Misty Valley Books, Chester; and Claire Benedict, Bear Pond Books and Rivendell Books, Montpelier. 

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Linden Tree Children's Recordings and Books, Los Altos, Calif., was named Small Business of the Year by state senator Joe Simitian (D.-Palo Alto), according to the Palo Alto Daily News.

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"It helps to be a bit of a dilettante throughout your life," Scott Sailor, owner of Bruised Apple Books & Music, Peekskill, N.Y. told the Journal News in describing his eclectic stock, which is categorized under 250 different subject headings.  

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Heather Lyon, owner, manager and buyer of Lyon Books and Learning Center, Chico, Calif., has asked us how one should pronounce the last name of Andre Dubus III, saying, "It would help with bookselling if I were sure about this."

We recommend do-boose, rhyming with moose.

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We're very sorry to note that Leda Liounis, director of inventory management and special projects at Sterling Publishing, died last Monday, May 26. She worked in the industry for 25 years at Wiley, Pocket Books, Golden Books and Random House in addition to Sterling.

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Effective today, Leslie Graham Jobson has joined PGW as a field sales coordinator and will work in the company's Berkeley, Calif., office. For the past two years, Jobson was a buyer at Diesel: A Bookstore in Oakland and bought for Bookshop West Portal, the relatively new store in San Francisco opened by Neal Sofman. For 15 years, Jobson had been a manager and buyer at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books. She may be reached at lgjobson22@yahoo.com or 510-685-7857.

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A "Talk of the Town" piece in the New Yorker magazine featured Michael Seidenberg's Brazen Head Books bookstore, which  was "originally situated in Brooklyn and, later, on East Eighty-fourth Street in Manhattan, [and] has just reëmerged (after a decade-long retirement) as a by-appointment-only concern, housed in an apartment whose address Seidenberg would just as soon keep secret."

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Looking for a new twist to promote your books "on-air?" Tung Desem Waringin, an Indonesian businessman and author of Marketing Revolution, "dropped 100 million rupiah, or about $10,700, from an aircraft Sunday to promote his new book," CNN reported.


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


BEA in Los Angeles: IndieBound UnVeiled

The biggest event for the American Booksellers Association at BEA was the introduction of IndieBound, which replaces and expands on Book Sense, the 10-year-old marketing program.

In addition to promoting independent booksellers as Book Sense did, IndieBound aims to include independent retailers of all kinds as well as to capitalize on the general trend toward buying local. IndieBound also intends to have a higher profile among book readers than Book Sense, which was much more readily recognized by publishers and booksellers than by store customers.

IndieBound is not so much an updated marketing or branding campaign as "a movement, a manifesto," said ABA chief marketing office Meg Smith, who gave Shelf Awareness a sneak peek at the program two weeks ago. "We say this is a revolution consumers brought to us. We're giving it language."

At the Celebration of Bookselling on Thursday, where IndieBound was officially unveiled, ABA CEO Avin Domnitz added that until recently independent bookstores had been in "an environment that didn't favor them . . . People thought bigger was better, national stores were cheaper and having all the books in the world was selection."

But now, he continued, the national mood has changed. "People are struggling to take back control of their lives and their communities. The big store on the highway doesn't do it anymore. What people want is good advice from people they trust. They want to stay closer to home and they're turning to people from their community. They want a local sustainable economy. And they are rediscovering what's important in their lives: local stores."

This movement is "represented by independent booksellers," he went on. "The revolution is with us. The revolution has reached the tipping point."

Among changes made because of IndieBound:
  • The bestseller list is now called the Indie Bestseller List.
  • The Book Sense Picks will be known as the Indie Next List, and the nomination process by booksellers remains the same.
  • A new site called IndieBound.org is the program's online gateway, geared to consumers and has, among other things, a bookstore location guide, the Next and bestseller lists and a section on which people can sign IndieBound's Declaration of Independence.
  • BookSense.com will not be a part of IndieBound; it will be called ABA's E-Commerce Solution and will be largely unaffected by the changes.
  • The Book Sense Gift Card program will become the ABA Gift Card Program.
  • The White Box, Red Box and children's mailings continue. All stores selling some new books will receive the Red Box, which will contain IndieBound material and information.
  • Backlist promotions will now be called Indiessentials Revisited and Rediscovered.
The IndieBound program has a range of designs for window decals, banners, buttons, book plates and more, all of which can be made and modified from templates online. The material is very book centric, but can be used by retailers of other products, uses bright graphics (red is the key color) and has a fun, light, hip approach. Among these items are T-shirts intended to be worn by staff; one reads "This is the part where I save the day." Four palms cards carry different messages and images. Rally cards can be used as bag stuffers. Posters include the slogan "Eat, Sleep, Read." "Spirit lines" for this and other material include "independents together," "unchained," "predictability sucks," "linked by passion," "indie forward," "read for yourself" and "think outside the books."

Packages of samples of the material, explanations and the July Indie Next List will be sent to all ABA members this month. Called Literary Liberation Boxes, the packages are intended to act as "the seeds of the revolution," Smith said.

The ABA is talking with other retailers' associations and may cooperate officially on IndieBound projects with them. Because some associations have chain members, not all will participate.

All ABA members will be able to use and adapt any materials they want. As much as an other feature of the program, this aspect attracted booksellers at BEA, several of whom noted that Book Sense was a rigid program.

"We're giving booksellers a million options," Smith observed. "This will be organic and grow from booksellers. Booksellers will be the point in the community that starts this movement."

The ABA spent a year and a half creating IndieBound after deciding that the program needed updating. "Times have changed a lot since Book Sense was founded," Smith said. The creative work was done by Brains on Fire, Greenville, S.C., and quickly the project became more far-reaching than originally envisioned. Early on, research showed, Smith continued, that "consumer interest has changed. What resonated with consumers is the independent bookstore. This is a time in history that we could pinpoint: customers are responding to the sustainability and green movements. It's all part of a whole, and a place where the independent bookstore is really well positioned."--John Mutter


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Deep by Alma Katsu


Media and Movies

Media Heat: A Rare Breed of Love

This morning on Good Morning America: Jana Kohl, author of A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere (Fireside, $25.95, 9781416564034/1416564039).

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Today on Fox's Hannity & Colmes: Ben Jones, author of Redneck Boy in the Promised Land: The Confessions of 'Crazy Cooter' (Harmony, $23.95, 9780307395276/0307395278).

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: George Lakoff, author of The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain (Viking, $25.95, 9780670019274/0670019275.)

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Today on NPR's All Things Considered: Uwem Akpan, author of Say You're One of Them (Little, Brown, $23.99, 9780316113786/0316113786).

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Today on Fresh Air: Ahmed Rashid, author of Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia (Viking, $27.95, 9780670019700/0670019704).

Joe Nocera, author of Good Guys and Bad Guys: Behind the Scenes with the Saints and Scoundrels of American Business (Portfolio, $25.95, 9781591841623/1591841623), will also appear.

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Tonight on Nightline: Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (Viking, $24.95, 9780670020744/0670020745).

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Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Sir Lawrence Freedman, author of A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East (PublicAffairs, $29.95, 9781586485184/1586485180).

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Tonight on the Daily Show: Scott McClellan, author of What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485566/1586485563). The former Bush White House press secretary also appears today on Fresh Air, the O'Reilly Factor and CNN's American Morning.

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Tonight on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Chelsea Handler, author of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $24.95, 9781416954125/1416954120).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Kathy Freston, author of Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness (Weinstein Books, $23.95, 9781602860186/1602860181).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: David Iglesias, author of In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration (Wiley, $25.95, 9780470261972/0470261978).

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Tomorrow night on the Charlie Rose Show: Philip Bobbitt, author of Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century (Knopf, $35, 9781400042432/1400042437).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: David Sedaris, author of When You Are Engulfed in Flames (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316143479/0316143472).

 



Books & Authors

Awards: Red House Prize

Derek Landy, author of Skulduggery Pleasant, won the Red House children's book prize in the older readers category, according to the Guardian, which reported that "three years ago Landy was working on the [cauliflower] farm and writing low-budget Irish zombie movies when the character, a wise-cracking, sophisticated detective in the vein of Philip Marlowe, popped into his head out of the blue."

The Guardian added that the Red House awards, now in their 28th year, received more than 165,000 votes through the Federation of Children's Book Groups. Other category winners included Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chis Riddell (books for younger readers) and Penguin by Polly Dunbar (books for younger children).

 


Book Sense: May We Recommend

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

Hardcover

The Outlander by Gil Adamson (Ecco, $25.95, 9780061491252/006149125X). "The Outlander is a breathlessly told tale of a murderess widow who flees into the mountain wilderness, pursued by her vengeance-seeking brothers-in-law. As she makes her hapless way, she meets up with an entertainingly odd series of characters who propel her on her journey, their eccentricities mirroring her sometimes faltering mind. A marvelous adventure in the early 1900s North American West."--Kathleen Johnson, Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, Iowa

The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller (Penguin Press, $23.95, 9781594201837/1594201838). "Alexandra Fuller's new title is a vivid recounting of the raw and poignant life of a young oil-rig worker in the modern-day American West. Writing about what she knows gives Fuller the ability to develop an unparalleled truthfulness and depth to both her scenes and subjects."--Kathleen Thut, Inkwell Bookstore, Falmouth, Mass.

Paperback

Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe (Penguin, $14, 9780143113232/0143113232). "Laced with mouthwatering descriptions of divine food and the skills of its preparation, Chez Moi conveys the pure joy of existence. With the atmosphere of Paris as background and filled with nuggets of wisdom from great literature, Desarthe's novel of a restaurateur finding a new life has a message for all of us."--Jan Owens, Millrace Books, Farmington, Conn.

For Teen Readers

You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $15.99, 9780689878596/0689878591). "I really like this book. Miles, the 17-year-old main character, is pretty much lost when her cousin, who's more like a sister, commits suicide. Even though they were complete opposites, they were very close. Miles must battle her own addiction even as she struggles with grief. A moving tale."--Karly Everett, The Next Page Bookstore, Decatur, Ind.

[Many thanks to Book Sense, er, IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Book Review

Mandahla: Head Wounds

Head Wounds by Chris Knopf (Permanent Press (NY), $0.00 Hardcover, 9781579621650, January 2008)



Sam Acquillo--ex-boxer, ex-corporate executive--is now a carpenter living on Little Peconic Bay in the Hamptons. In fine traditional mystery fashion, he smokes, drinks Absolut as if a Swedish embargo is due tomorrow, drives a 1967 Grand Prix, reads Beckett and Camus (O.K., semi-traditional) and has a dog named Eddie Van Halen. "I didn't like to think of myself as a middle-aged guy who sat drinking alone in the dark, talking to his dog about his fears and uncertainties. But I'd been doing that since saving him from the pound, so he must have assumed listening to a bunch of worthless crap was part of his daily work product."

He also has a beautiful girlfriend with commitment issues, a couple of guys who want to beat him to a pulp and local cops who want to pin a nasty murder on him. Aside from preventing his arrest, Sam would like to prevent the beating, since he's on the verge of brain damage because of his boxing career (and a bit of extralegal activity). He doesn't remember why he got into boxing, but he stayed with it for the gyms, where he could "always find the comfort of anonymity and the solace of organized brutality." Violence has been a large part of his recent past, starting with a delicious revenge on his then-wife and her boyfriend involving a ski hideaway and a Caterpillar, moving on to Jack Daniels benders and an inconveniently dead body he wakes up to. But now he tries to avoid trouble and tends to sit on his porch at night with his tumbler of Absolut and a pack of cigarettes. "I turned out the light and smoked quietly, looking for signs of something more than indifference from the bay. Some justification for bearing endless witness to the moonstruck water, the black and smoldering sky."

Of course, trouble finds him, coupled with a convoluted story of money shenanigans and revenge. The mystery is solid, but the real pleasure is in the dialogue, the characters, the sharp prose and the sly, dry wit: "I never underestimate English majors. The allusions alone are enough to bring you to your knees." Or a mention of the NBA playoffs, a "yearly contest the New York Knicks seem committed to boycott . . . despite the gentle encouragement of their fan base." This is a fine book, enough so that if you haven't read the first two Sam Acquillo novels, The Last Refuge and Two Time, you will.--Marilyn Dahl

 


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