Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 28, 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


Book Oasis's Fertile Ideas

More on shining during tough times: Dan and Debbie Sullivan, owners of the Book Oasis, Stoneham, Mass., write:

The Book Oasis is doing quite well. Like Beach Books in Oregon, we also beat our Deathly Hallows month this summer. We are still experiencing growth and have heard the same thing from most of the other stores in our area. We believe the economy, the price of gas and the cost of eating out have made used books a low cost form of entertainment.

We do have the benefit of being the only used/new bookstore in a 10-town radius, and we are getting customers from all the New England states regularly. Unfortunately, the area recently lost two Annie's used bookstores and the Sundial Bookstore in Lexington, making our store name feel more and more like a prophecy made just five years ago.
The biggest key to our success this summer was the huge amount of early preparation we did for the school summer reading programs. We have developed good relationships with the librarians and English departments of more than 15 schools. By the time the kids got their lists, we had already created an 8' by 7' high summer reading section. Each school had its own shelf with books organized by grade. This made it easy for the parents to find their school and get in and out, and made it much easier for our two-person staff to assist the crowd without having to run all over the store. Happy parents are a good thing.
Second, we took a page from another local bookstore and decided to offer The Tales of Beedle the Bard at full cover price and then donate $3 from each book to the local food pantry. If customers bring in a non-perishable item when they purchase their books, we are giving them another $1 off. The pre-Christmas timing made the food pantry a logical choice, and they couldn't be more excited. Our customers are thrilled with the idea. This has kept our August sales strong.
In addition, we have developed give-and-take relationships with a few of the other used bookstores in the area. Each of our stores has different strengths and our clienteles have different desires. We fill inventory holes by exchanging excess or unwanted books. One of us thrives on science fiction, another on romance and we like nonfiction. We get to make our customers happy and save money by not ordering new books unless it's necessary.

Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors


Notes: Store Changes; Homes for Katrina Families

Anne Fitzgerald, owner of the Book Exchange in Port Clinton, Ohio, has opened a second store under the same name in Fremont. According to the News-Messenger, Fitzgerald, who has more than 10 years experience as a bookseller, "is optimistic about her two locations. She said that since January, the Port Clinton shop has been steadily picking up business."

"This is definitely long-term," she said. "In the future, we'd like to buy a building for both stores."


In September 2009, Barnes & Noble plans to open a store in Eatontown, N.J., at the Monmouth Mall at Route 35, Route 36 and Wyckoff Road. The day before the store opens, B&N will close the existing store at Consumer Center at 310 Route 36 in West Long Branch, N.J.


Sadly StoryBook Lane Book Shoppe, San Carlos, Calif., is closing. Owner Karen Elmore, who founded the children's bookstore two years ago (Shelf Awareness, November 7, 2006), wrote that business had been a struggle since opening but was "moving in an upward direction until this current economy hit us hard. I have tried everything, but I think it's time to face the music and get out before I get in even more debt."


On the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Project Home Again, an organization created by B&N chairman Len Riggio and his wife to provide new homes for displaced families, has selected the first 20 families who will receive new homes. The homes are currently under construction in New Orleans's Gentilly neighborhoood.

Riggio said that the organization "invested a significant amount of time to ensure that they are absolutely the right choice for this project and have truly been moved by their invincible spirit and heartbreaking stories."   


Effective next February 1, Candlewick Press will be distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada. The company had been distributed in Canada for six years by Penguin Canada. Random House of Canada will handle sales and marketing while Random House Publisher Services will handle all back-office services, including warehousing, shipping, invoicing and collecting.

In the U.S., Candlewick's back-office services have been handled by Random House Publisher Services since 2005. Candlewick has its own sales and marketing operations in the U.S.

Jeanne Emanuel, Candlewick's v-p of sales, U.S. and Canada, commented, "From the start of our conversations, Random House of Canada has been able to look at the big picture of Candlewick's Canadian business in an open and creative way, and with their partnership we aim to develop our sales beyond our very strong current position. We are excited to work with them on exploring new and inventive growth opportunities both with the independents and the national accounts."


BINC - Double Your Impact

Cool Idea of the Day: Bookstore Memories in Just Six Words

Mary Gay Shipley, owner and founder of That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, Ark., is celebrating the store's 32nd birthday by inviting fellow booksellers, authors, and readers to write, e-mail or call in "their own unique TBIB experience in six words," Shipley said in an e-mail of more than six words. "The idea comes from Ernest Hemingway's six-word story, 'For sale: Baby shoes, Never worn.' So much is conveyed in those six words. Smith Magazine has collected thousands of six-word memoirs. If whole lives can be summed up in six words--well, it just seems that we are not asking too much. We plan to collect and publish your offerings. We even have another anniversary chair to put them on. So sharpen your pencils. Join in the celebration and let us hear from you. The party is September 6, but send your story whenever the final editing is complete."


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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Click on GMA, 20/20

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Michael J. Agovino, author of The Bookmaker: A Memoir of Money, Luck, and Family from the Utopian Outskirts of New York City (Harper, $24.95, 9780061151392/0061151394).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Bill Tancer, author of Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters (Hyperion, $25.95, 9781401323042/1401323049). He'll also be on 20/20 tomorrow night.


Saturday night on Larry King Live: Larry Winget, author of You're Broke Because You Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead (Gotham, $20, 9781592403349/1592403344).


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

This Weekend on Book TV: After Bush

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, August 30

9 a.m. Book TV accompanied Senator John McCain for two days in Chicago when he was promoting his book, Worth the Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him (Random House, $14.95, 9780812969740/081296974X). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and 10 p.m.)
12:45 p.m. At an event hosted by Full Circle Book Store, Oklahoma City, Okla., Kevin Hayes, author of The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780195307580/0195307585), recounts Jefferson's literary and academic interests. (Re-airs Saturday at 4:45 p.m.)

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. For a segment that first aired in 1995, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, author of To Renew America, explained how American civilization could be renewed and restored by making several key decisions.
8:30 p.m. Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam, authors of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream (Doubleday, $23.95, 9780385519434/0385519435), argue that Republicans need to adapt to the changing political landscape and rebuild a Republican majority by bringing in more working-class voters. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:45 p.m. and Monday at 6:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Gary Schmitt interviews Timothy Lynch, co-author of After Bush: The Case for Continuity in American Foreign Policy (Cambridge University Press, $28, 9780521880046/0521880041). Lynch argues that the basic tenets of President Bush's foreign policy will and should be adopted by his successor. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., and Sunday, September 7, at 11 a.m.)
11 p.m. Ben Wattenberg, author of Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism (Thomas Dunne, $26.95, 9780312382995/0312382995), explains his political shift from left to right, from Democrat to neo-conservative. (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)


Books & Authors

Children's Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, $17.99, 9780439023481/0439023483, 420 pp., ages 12-up, October 2008)

In a totalitarian state not far into the future, children are chosen by lottery to be "tributes" and sacrificed in the annual Hunger Games to keep citizens ever mindful that they are under the government's control. Through the intelligent, searching viewpoint of 16-year-old narrator Katniss Everdeen, this provocative novel demonstrates how one person can maintain her integrity under seemingly insurmountable pressures. The story opens on "the day of the reaping," when a boy and a girl from each of the 12 districts are chosen to compete in an extensive "arena," Coliseum-style, to the death. Only one victor can emerge. On this morning, Katniss sneaks through the fence that surrounds her District and enters the woods to meet her friend Gale ("the only person with whom I can be myself"). Over the four years since they first met while hunting, they have taught each other their skills--she with a bow and arrow, he with wire snares. With the animals she kills, Katniss has kept her mother and her 12-year-old sister, Prim, alive since her father's death five years ago in an explosion in a coal mine, the main industry of District 12. These skills become essential to her survival when Prim is chosen as a tribute, and Katniss volunteers to go in her place. Peeta Mellark, the baker's son, is the other tribute from District 12. He is Katniss's classmate and once saved her life ("I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people").

Collins, who invented a compelling parallel world in her Underland Chronicles, here imagines a chilling culture close to our own. As the two teens leave their poverty-stricken District for the first time, they become aware of the dramatic disparity between their life and the ostentation of the Capitol. The Hunger Games are televised in a kind of extreme reality show, where viewers witness the gory deaths the children inflict upon one another. Meanwhile, Katniss and Peeta's prep team advise them to play up a story of romance between them, not only to draw sponsorship dollars, which underwrite "gifts" that are delivered by small silver parachutes when they are most needed (food, crucial medicine, etc.), but as an act of rebellion against the Capitol. But things grow confusing for Katniss: Does Peeta have feelings for her? Is it just an act? Can gratitude be confused with love? Collins explores these themes while also filling this futuristic world with clever inventions: muttations ("genetically altered animals [the Capitol used] as weapons") such as "tracker jackers" (killer wasps that track nearby humans) and "mockingjays" (a government experiment gone wrong using "jabberjays," birds that acted as flying wiretaps, that mated with mockingbirds to create a new species); Katniss uses her wits to enlist the aid of these muttations during the Games. Unlikely allies and unanticipated betrayals surface all along the way, and split-second decisions help her stay alive. Collins wins a triathlon here: a vividly imagined world within the arena, the breakneck pace of the plot and fully realized characters--none of the tributes are wholly evil. Only the Capitol and its Gamemakers come off as pure villains. Collins leaves more pieces of the puzzle to be placed in later episodes (the cause of the initial "rebellion" that wiped out District 13, and what Katniss will face when she returns to District 12, for instance), but this volume stands complete on its own. Readers will clamor for its sequel.--Jennifer M. Brown


Deeper Understanding

BookTowne's Sunny Second Summer Down the Shore

BookTowne in Manasquan, N.J., on the Jersey Shore, celebrated its one-year anniversary over Memorial Day weekend. Owner Rita Maggio said she started the store's second summer "concerned because there were so many dire predictions about what would happen." But "sales were as good, maybe slightly better than last year," she continued. "It was an exciting summer."

BookTowne held author appearances on several Saturdays throughout the summer, including Manasquan residents Chuck and Debbie Robinson, authors of The Art of Shelling, and Lori Lee Corson, author of the children's books Everyone Is Different and Everyone Grows Old. Attracting attention at the latter signing was a friend of Corson, who donned a costume and showed up as the character Annie the Cow. Along with a party for Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn, BookTowne took part in a community-sponsored sidewalk sale and stayed open late during an evening arts festival, which attracted shoppers.

Traditional beach reads like James Patterson's Sail have been popular this summer at BookTowne along with more serious fare. "Politics are my passion," said Maggio, who has devoted a substantial section of the store to politics and current events. "It's been very active with people coming in looking for books on the candidates and about politics in general." A window display currently features books like What You Should Know About Politics . . . But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues, Madeleine Albright's Memo to the President Elect, and books by and about Senators Barack Obama and John McCain.

Staff suggestions at BookTowne are taken seriously by customers. "People are looking for recommendations," said Maggio, "and anything that we've read and put on the display table are big sellers." Benefiting from employee enthusiasm this summer are David Benioff's City of Thieves, The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney, The Savage Garden by Mark Mills and Patricia Wood's Lottery, which was the July pick for the store's book club. Also popular are beach-themed titles like Frank Finale's To the Shore Once More, a collection of essays, poems, and artwork, and his children's book A Gull's Story.

In addition to handselling and highlighting titles on the staff recommended reads table, an effective sales tool is the store's weekly e-mail newsletter. "Anything we feature people come in and express an interest about," remarked Maggio. A recent newsletter recommended the nonfiction tome Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders by William R. Drennan for readers who enjoyed Nancy Horan's novel Loving Frank, and both titles have sold well for the store this summer. "Even though I advertise regularly in the local paper, I think our newsletter is what brings people back on a regular basis," Maggio said.

BookTowne also has distributed brochures about the store at area inns and real estate agencies to familiarize employees with the store so they can mention it when out-of-towners ask for a nearby bookstore. The store regularly attracts residents and tourists from neighboring towns.

A sign that summer is at an end are the number of students stopping by to purchase titles on the Manasquan High School reading list before beginning classes next week. Teachers, too, are turning up for classroom essentials. Maggio, a former middle school principal, lent one teacher books about getting ready for kindergarten so that she had copies on hand to recommend to youngsters' parents during an orientation session held this week. Parents have since been streaming into the store looking for those titles.

Tourists and summer people will soon be leaving, but Maggio is looking forward to a busy fall--including re-starting a Friday wine and cheese soiree, which has been on hiatus for the summer. Maggio began the weekly event, an open discussion forum, earlier this year, and customers have been inquiring about when it will resume. And next year the summer season kicks off with a celebration of the store's second anniversary.--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

BookTowne is located at 171 Main St., Manasquan, N.J. 08736; 732-722-7255;

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