Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 7, 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


Notes: Oz Government to Review Parallel Importation

An Australian government commission will review the country's laws governing the parallel importation of books, Bookseller & Publisher Online reported.

Under current law, in order to secure copyright in Australia on a new book published abroad, an Australian publisher must make the title available in Australia within 30 days of its publication. The law restricts bookseller sales of foreign editions of books during that period and once the book is published in the 30-day period.

The Australian Booksellers Association supports an open market, and critics of the current law argue that booksellers lose out in an era when readers can easily buy new titles from abroad online.


A group representing more than 20 independent bookstores in New York City held their second meeting on June 26. The booksellers have decided officially to call themselves the Independent Booksellers of New York City and have formed committees to work on a website, create a logo and develop a map that includes all independent bookstores in the city. Stores have agreed to make founding contributions to the association, which will provide seed money for those projects. Bookstores interested in more information and participating should contact


In May, Vincent Bugliosi, former Los Angeles County prosecutor and author of Helter Skelter, among other titles, published another book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (Vanguard Press), a title that has landed on the New York Times bestseller list despite being ignored by the mainstream media, the Times reported. ABC Radio did not run an ad, and neither MSNBC nor the Daily Show booked Bugliosi. Amusingly the Times's own Book Review still has the book "under consideration" for attention.

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
apparently has benefited from radio interviews, online interest and Internet ads. Vanguard publisher Roger Cooper told the Times, "Using the Internet has been an integral fact in the success of this book."

Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, said that the book might have not received the expected attention because "there's a kind of Bush-bashing fatigue out there." But he noted that its apparent success is "another sign that the traditional channels of commerce have been blown up. If a dedicated part of the Internet community wants to move something, it doesn't need a benediction from the mainstream media and might benefit from not having one."

And Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly, noted that if the book takes off, "the same people who didn't want to give [Bugliosi] publicity in advance would give him publicity after the fact."


Calling Asheville, N.C., "a book lover's paradise," the Citizen-Times profiled several local bookshops--the Captain's Bookshelf, Malaprop's, Once Upon a Time, Accent on Books, Barnes & Noble and the Reader’s Corner.

"We are lucky in Asheville," said Chan Gordon, co-owner of the Captain's Bookshelf. "We are an art destination and the prevalence of bookstores here goes hand in hand with the notable artists. When we opened [in 1976], there were tumbleweeds blowing down Haywood Street. We have become a destination simply because we've been around so long. In many ways, we are fueled by the book-minded tourist coming from Charlotte, Atlanta, Knoxville, even Washington, D.C."

"Asheville is unusual from what I hear from other booksellers across the Southeast," said Linda Barrett Knopp, general manager of Malaprop's Bookstore. "Our sales are up, and Asheville's local economy seems pretty healthy. People are very supportive of us."

Considering the number of independent bookstores located in the city, Stan Collins of Once Upon a Time bookstore suggested that "Asheville may be unique. People are really committed and dedicated readers have a tendency to patronize us independents. They know when they come into an independent store, that the people there really know the books."


Lawrence, Mass. (birthplace of Shelf Awareness's editor-in-chief), will soon have its first general English-language bookstore in years, according to the Boston Globe. Got Books Inc. is moving its warehouse and used bookstore to South Lawrence from North Reading. The city of 72,000, which is 70% Hispanic, has a small community college bookstore and a Spanish-language bookstore. Got Books, known for its pick-up vans and some 275 drop-off locations, donates many titles to libraries and schools. In the new facility, it will stock some 60,000 books.


"Owners of local bookstores and galleries have noticed a decline in artistic indulgences," the Whittier, Calif., Daily News reported in a piece on the current economic slowdown.

"It's had a serious effect on sales," said Little Old Bookshop owner Bret Brezniak, who cited the decline in arts education as another factor. "There's always been a shortage of funds on the educational level, which is really where it starts. Kids don't appreciate good music and literature. They sort of live in a disposable pop world.

"People vote with their money every day," Brezniak continued. "People are shooting themselves in the foot . . . by not going to local shops. If you sustain the small businessman, that builds up the economy."


Kim Hunt and Ken Wytsma opened Kilns Bookstore, Bend, Ore., over the Fourth of July weekend. The Bend Bulletin called Kilns "a nonprofit bookstore, no double-entendre intended. It will be run entirely by volunteers, and the money will go right back into the store and toward the causes it supports."

"Nobody takes a profit on it, so we're not driven by the same market forces as, say, Barnes & Noble," said Wytsma. "So we can get a more eclectic mix of books."


Book Bank USA, Largo, Fla., "swims against tide," according to the St. Petersburg Times, which profiled owner Amy Schmaedeke and her efforts garner "more support from area readers to stay afloat."

"I want to tell the community to buy locally,'' she said, noting that her average customer is over 50 years old and her most loyal customers are to be found in the used book section. "It is sad that people have lost the idea of going into a neighborhood bookstore.''

A customer who seemed at first supportive of the store, then less so, was city mayor Pat Gerard, who said, "I've bought paperbacks there. I see where Book Bank has a niche, particularly with its used books."

But Gerard also suggested that she would like to see a larger bookstore at the Largo Town Center, which is to be built in 2010. "Personally, I'd like to see a big store like a Borders or a Books a Million in Largo Town Center. Certainly with the bigger store there's advantages. It would be great to see bookstores at both ends of Largo."


Under the possibly sacrilegious headline, "What Would Jesus Read?" the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune featured a beach reader's "guide to what's hot at religious bookstores."



Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors

Bunch of Grapes Badly Damaged in Fourth of July Fire

Very sad news from Martha's Vineyard, Mass.: a fire that started in a cafe next door severely damaged Bunch of Grapes bookstore. Fire, smoke and water apparently destroyed most of the inventory and caused structural damage to the store, especially to the wall that the cafe and bookstore share. The store is closed indefinitely, and owner Ann Nelson was quoted by a town selectman as saying, "It's all gone."

The fire was first notice at about 9 a.m. on the Fourth of July. The Martha's Vineyard Times has extensive coverage as well as many pictures: click here and here

The fire comes at an especially bad time for Bunch of Grapes: the summer season is the store's equivalent of Christmas, and it has its highest inventory now, as the season swings into high gear. At the Tisbury Street Fair, held on Saturday, crowds were encouraged to contribute money to help the affected businesses. Also a box for donations has been set up near Bunch of Grapes and the cafe.

Nelson founded Bunch of Grapes in 1975. In 2003, it won Publishers Weekly's Bookseller of the Year award. (See a thorough feature by yours truly on PW's website.)

We offer Ann Nelson and the staff our best wishes and deepest sympathy in this difficult time.--John Mutter


BINC - Double Your Impact

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ghosts Among Us

Today on Regis & Kelly: Oscar de la Hoya, author of American Son: My Story (HarperEntertainment, $25.95, 9780061573101/0061573108).


Today on Talk of the Nation: Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart (Houghton Mifflin, $25, 9780618689354/0618689354).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Michael Dobbs, author of One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War (Knopf, $28.95, 9781400043583/1400043581).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: David Maraniss, author of Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World (S&S, $26.95, 9781416534075/1416534075).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Tony Dungy, author of You Can Do It! (Little Simon Inspirations, $16.99, 9781416954613/1416954619).


Tomorrow on Oprah, in a repeat: Jessica Seinfeld, author of Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food (Collins, $24.95, 9780061251344/0061251348).


Tomorrow on the View: James Van Praagh, author of Ghosts Among Us: Uncovering the Truth About the Other Side (HarperOne, $24.95, 9780061553394/0061553395).


Tomorrow on the Colbert Report, in a repeat: Paul Goldberger, author of Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York (Random House, $14.95, 9780812967951/081296795X).


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

Books & Authors

Awards: And the Winner . . . Isn't

Culture Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas incorrectly identified the winner of the £10,000 (US$19,822) Wales Book of the Year at an award ceremony last week before correcting himself and announcing that Dannie Abse's The Presence had earned the prize.

BBC News reported that Tom Bullough, author of shortlisted novel The Claude Glass, was already walking toward the stage to receive his prize "when it was announced that a mistake had been made, and that the actual winner was the veteran poet."

On his blog, in an entry titled "A Glimpse of Hell," Bullough later wrote, "I admire the ambition of the Academi, and they all seem very nice people, but if they are to fulfil that ambition they need to take their responsibility far, far more seriously. Their influence on people's lives is just too great. Frankly, last night was amateur, a national embarrassment, and I cannot be the only person to have thought so."


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

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:


Black Out by Lisa Unger (Shaye Areheart, $23, 9780307338488/0307338487). "Annie Powers has escaped a depraved childhood only to find herself in the clutches of a serial killer. Unger has written a gripping, fast-paced, and dark thriller about control and absolution."--Janet Bollum, The Muse Book Shop, DeLand, Fla.

Sway by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman (Doubleday, $21.95, 9780385524384/0385524382). "This is an absolutely fascinating look at the irrational way our supposedly rational minds work, especially our reluctance to stop digging when we find ourselves in a hole. An invaluable read!"--Donna Hawley, Howard's Bookstore, Bloomington, Ind.


Church of the Dog by Kaya McLaren (Penguin, $13, 9780143113423/0143113429). "Mara, an art teacher, takes up her new job in ranch country in Washington State, moves into a bunkhouse on Earl and Edith's property, and starts a magical relationship. This wonderful gem of a book is a story of bringing out the wonder and magic in all of us."--Sue Richardson, Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, Me.

For Teen Readers

The Joys of Love by Madeleine L'Engle (FSG, $16.95, 9780374338701/0374338701). "Written for her grandchildren, and published posthumously, Madeleine L'Engle has given us a young adult novel set in the 1940s. Twenty-year-old Elizabeth is working in a summer theater, where she faces the complexities of a first intense crush. Elizabeth is an absolutely endearing character and you just want everything to be the best for her."--Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Book Review: Previous Convictions

Previous Convictions: Assignments from Here and There by A Gill (Simon & Schuster, $15.00 Paperback, 9781416572497, June 2008)

Unless you're a regular reader of the Times of London, there's a good chance you're unfamiliar with the work of A.A. Gill, the paper's food critic and occasional travel writer. Happily for American readers, this diverse collection gives us an opportunity to savor the gifts of a pungent writer who's a cross between Bill Bryson and John McPhee, with the social conscience of Tracy Kidder thrown in for good measure.
The 32 pieces that comprise Previous Convictions are divided into two sections. The first, "Here," consists of 14 snapshots of life in Great Britain. From the Glastonbury Music Festival, to stag hunting in the Scottish Highlands, to the opening of the Royal Geographical Society to the public, Gill is a candid and often wickedly funny observer of the foibles of the British people. When it comes to his native land, examples of his wry observations abound, but they're best summed up in this comment on a 2005 exhibition of British landscape art: "Britain is a country that is best seen by drawing the curtains, opening a book and never leaving the room."
"There," the second section, offers an astonishingly varied assortment of pieces from five of the seven continents. Gill roams from the depths of a South African gold mine, where constant underground blasting "slaps the face of Hades; it teases and irritates the silent, blind rock, which twitches and shudders," to the bleak snowscape of Greenland, a "still vastness" offering "no margin for error, no wiggle room, no leeway between getting it right and dying." He's dazzled by the diversity of Brazil, "more like God's home improvement swatch: plenty of colors, they just don't all go together;" and equally depressed by a visit to Midland, Texas, a town so boring there's "nothing to do . . . or precious little that isn't solitary, embarrassing, fattening and, if not illegal, then immoral." Previous Convictions overflows with examples like these of the author's keen eye and caustic wit.
But Gill is much more than a globetrotting humorist. His searing pieces on the crushing poverty and random violence of Haiti or the horrors of life for refugees from Darfur and the genocide there are deeply affecting. Describing the Iridini camp, where 14,000 people live in a space designed to house 6,000, he writes, "It is humbling to see with what good grace the people with the least offer shelter and succor to those with nothing."
As gasoline prices continue to rise, many people are abandoning the traditional summer vacation. If that's your lot, then this lively book is a welcome companion for an afternoon spent relaxing in the backyard or by the pool.--Harvey Freedenberg

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