Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grove Atlantic: The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom

Feiwel & Friends: A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus

New Directions: Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet

Workman Publishing: Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation (Second Edition, Revised) by Sharon Salzberg

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Jim Rugg

Clarion Books: The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford


Notes: Kindle Sale Numbers Bubbling Up; Kaffeeklatsch

After an analyst for Citigroup doubled his estimates of Kindle sales yesterday, the e-tailer's stock jumped 9.4% to $88.09, according to Market Watch. Mark Mahaney said that Amazon could sell as many as 380,000 Kindles this year, predicting that e-book reader "is becoming the iPod of the book world."

Earlier Mahaney had predicted sales of 190,000 units this year. He revised his estimate in part because of TechCrunch's report that "240,000 Kindles have been shipped since November" (Shelf Awareness, August 4, 2008).

To date, despite all the numbers floating about, Amazon itself has not said how many Kindles have been sold. 


On October 15, Barnes & Noble plans to open a store in the Augusta Mall at 3540 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta, Ga. The day before the opening, B&N will close its existing store at 1336 Augusta West Parkway.


Here's a different kind of Starbucks book promotion, one that will take place September 17-October 7 in selected Starbucks in Germany, as reported by the Schweizer Buchhandel (Swiss Bookselling) newsletter.

In cooperation with Zurich's Diogenes publishing house (think Knopf or Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Starbucks is putting on a Mystery Festival Coffee & Crime program that consists of 11 readings in nine cities featuring six mystery authors and an audiobook narrator (reading Georges Simenon books). Another 125 German Starbucks will feature a "reference library" of works by the authors and information about the readings. Another display offers excerpts and advises customers that books by the authors are available in bookstores. At the readings, book sales will be handled by local bookstores; Starbucks is not selling any of the Diogenes titles.

The partners are also putting on a lottery in all German Starbucks--prizes consist of books and coffee.


Ingram: Congratulations 2019 National Book Award Winners - Learn More>

Kallman Wins NAIBA's Hellmuth Award

Congratulations to Trudy Kallman of the Penguin Group, who has won the William Helmuth Award, sponsored by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association to honor "an exceptional salesperson who serves booksellers in the highest manner of professionalism" and who "best embodies the dedication, book knowledge and heart shown by the late William Helmuth of BookTravelers fame."

Mark LaFramboise of Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., praised Kallman for going out of her way to help stores. "Whether she's working within her own company, Penguin, to help her accounts, or making sure we are knowledgeable of strong titles and good deals, her efforts are always appreciated.  Her book knowledge and knowledge of the industry have proven indispensable time and again."

And Susan Weis of breathe books, Baltimore, Md., called Kallman "the independent bookstore's best friend. Her mission is for you to succeed and she will do anything to make it happen. Author requests, business-to-business contacts, advanced readers, quick responses and unbridled support--exactly the kind of friend you want to have on the other side. If Penguin wanted to add a new book to its Idiot's line, they could have Trudy write the Idiot's Guide to Being a Publisher's Rep."

Kallman will receive the Helmuth Award at the opening reception of the NAIBA Fall Conference, September 21, in Cherry Hill, N.J.


Soho Press: The Seep by Chana Porter

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Out of Mao's Shadow

Today on Talk of the Nation: Thomas Quasthoff, author of The Voice: A Memoir (Pantheon, $24.95, 9780375424069/0375424067).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Mary Ellen Geist, author of Measure of the Heart: A Father's Alzheimer's, A Daughter's Return (Springboard Press, $23.99, 9780446580922/0446580929).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Philip Pan, author of Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China (S&S, $28, 9781416537052/1416537058).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Dick Meyer, author of Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium (Crown, $24.95, 9780307406620/0307406628).


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry

Books & Authors

Awards: Aussie Prime Minister's; Midwest Booksellers' Choice

Clive James, Germaine Greer, David Malouf and Thomas Keneally are among the authors shortlisted for the inaugural A$100,000 (US$88,930) Australian Prime Minister's Literary Awards, which will be judged by Aussie PM Kevin Rudd.

Fiction shortlist:

  • Burning In by Mireille Juchau
  • El Dorado by Dorothy Porter
  • Jamaica: A Novel by Malcolm Knox
  • Sorry by Gail Jones
  • The Complete Stories by David Malouf
  • The Widow and Her Hero by Thomas Keneally
  • The Zookeeper's War by Steven Conte

Non-fiction shortlist: 

  • A History of Queensland by Raymond Evans
  • Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time by Clive James
  • My Life as a Traitor by Zarah Ghahramani with Robert Hillman
  • Napoleon: The Path to Power, 1769-1799 by Philip Dwyer
  • Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers by Philip Jones
  • Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer
  • Vietnam: The Australian War by Paul Ham


The winners of the 2008 Midwest Booksellers' Choice Awards, which honor authors from the Midwest Booksellers Association region and books about the region:


  • Fiction: Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan (Ballantine)
  • Nonfiction: Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (Bantam)
  • Poetry: Valentines: Poems by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Robert Hanna (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Children's Picture Book: Agate: What Good Is a Moose? by Joe Morgan Dey and Nikki Johnson (Lake Superior Port Cities)
  • Children's Literature: Little Klein by Anne Ylvisaker (Candlewick Press)

Honor Books

  • Fiction (tie): So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger (Atlantic Monthly Press) and Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen (Penguin)
  • Nonfiction: The Florist's Daughter: A Memoir by Patricia Hampl (Harcourt)
  • Poetry: Willow Room, Green Door: New and Selected Poems by Deborah Keenan (Milkweed Editions)
  • Children's Picture Book: Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Bagram Ilbatoulline (Candlewick Press)
  • Children's Literature: The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson (Greenwillow Books)

The Midwest Booksellers' Choice Awards will be presented on September 25 during the MBA annual trade show in St. Paul, Minn.



Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles being published next Tuesday, August 19:

Rough Justice by Jack Higgins (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399155130/0399155139) is the 15th thriller in the Sean Dillon series.

Being Elizabeth by Barbara Taylor Bradford (St. Martin's, $27.95, 9780312354633/0312354630) follows a young woman in charge of a powerful international company.

First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader (Forge, $25.95, 9780765321701/076532170X) chronicles the abduction of a president's daughter one month before the inauguration ceremony.

Death's Half Acre by Margaret Maron (Grand Central, $24.99, 9780446196109/044619610X) is the 14th novel featuring Judge Deborah Knott.

Hard Driving: The Wendell Scott Story: An American Odyssey of NASCAR's First Black Driver by Brian Donovan (Steerforth, $25.95, 9781586421441/1586421441) is a biography of the man who broke the color barrier in stock car racing in the early 1950s by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has also raced.

Now in paperback

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, $13.99, 9780446698337/0446698334).


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Bookshops & Politics--What Do Customers Want?

Cue the authoritative TV voiceover: "Previously on . . ."

A few weeks ago, we began a conversation about politics and independent bookstores (for the summer reruns, go here, here and here). It was sparked by a bookseller's reaction to the announcement that Countdown to President Obama Hope Clocks, a sequel of sorts to the George Bush Countdown Clocks, were being sold by Bookshop Santa Cruz.

The response from Diane Van Tassell of Bay Books generated a great discussion, and this week we wrap things up by looking at the last of three questions I originally posed to Diane and Bookshop Santa Cruz's Casey Coonerty Protti:

What do you think your customers expect from you? Do you worry that some will feel excluded?

"I believe that customers expect me to have a wide range of books on various topics without any personal biases of the book buyer," Diane concludes. "Often people will want to read about different points of view and differing philosophies than their own. It would be foolish of the bookstore to select only books that would appeal to only one segment of the population and exclude others.   
"To sum up: A bookstore should be a place that welcomes every person who walks in the door. No one should feel unwelcome because of their beliefs. Whether liberal or conservative, gay or straight, Christian or Muslim, every person should be able to find books that are appealing to them. A particular agenda of the bookstore or book buyer should never be evident to the customers."
According to Casey, "Our customers expect us to raise political issues and to be involved in community issues. We are in a unique position in that my father, Neal Coonerty, now serves as Santa Cruz County Supervisor and my brother, Ryan Coonerty, who worked at the store until this year, is currently serving as Mayor of the City of Santa Cruz. The bookstore is associated with politics and for good reason. This involvement in larger political stands has allowed us to play important roles in local political issues like big box retailing and think local campaigns. It has only strengthened our voice.
"We have heard from some customers that when we take a side, we are not representing them or that it is too much 'in their face'--however, for the entire time we have sold over 64,000 Bush Countdown Clocks, we have only received a handful of negative reactions so we feel as though we have served our community well. As a retailer, creating one item that brings in over $500,000 in sales is smart business as well as smart politics."
In response to this question, Jessica Stockton Bagnulo of McNally Jackson Books, New York, N.Y., cites one of her "bookselling mentors"--Jill Dunbar, founder of Greenwich Village's Three Lives & Co.--who "said something that has always comforted and inspired me. When someone hated a book that she loved or vice versa, she'd respond 'Well, that's why there are so many books in the world: so not everyone has to like the same ones.' That gets a little heavier when political and ethical issues are the content of those books, but from a retail perspective, I think the concept is solid."

Russ Lawrence, owner of Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton Mont., observes that his shop's staff "are well-known as liberals, and in fact one of our conservative customers refers to us as 'the flamers.' But he comes back in, because as a place of business we make him feel welcome. We also bill ourselves, not jokingly at all, as 'Hamilton's non-judgmental bookstore.' We have conservatives buying liberal books, and the converse as well--probably under the 'know your enemies' rubric. We don't comment, we don't judge--people have their own reasons for buying what they buy, and that extends to literary fluff, health books, and other sensitive areas--sometimes including 'humor!' To exclude conservative books is to exclude liberal customers who are curious or otherwise motivated to read such viewpoints, and vice versa."

Jessica sums it all up nicely: "Bookselling at its best is a mind-opening experience. When someone asks for and buys an Ann Coulter book, we can look at them and see that they're as human as we are, and looking for answers to the world's troubles just as we are. My dream is to someday host a 'salon' in my store, with discussion leaders and supporting books from both sides, and make a space for customers to talk about the issues that divide and unite us. Maybe we'll sell some books while we're at it. Now that would be the best kind of political bookstore."--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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