Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 31, 2005


Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Quotation of the Day

Teaching Power of One Book

"He helped me understand the human roots of the Arab world's political violence. He had seen that world before it was changed forever by the discovery of oil, and he conveyed the pitilessness of the Arab tribesmen he traveled with, their fierce familial pride, their wild generosity. Above all, Thesiger made me see more in Iraq than a blasted slaughterhouse."--Robert F. Worth, the New York Times correspondent in Baghdad, writing of Wilfred Thesiger's work, particularly Arabian Sands (Penguin, $14.95, 0140095144), in yesterday's New York Times Book Review.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Roswell Johnson Saves the World! (Roswell Johnson #1) by Chris Colfer


News

The Long Tail Keeps Wagging

TheStreet.com downloads the significance of an IPO filed by Digital Music Group, "essentially a digital music wholesaler to online music stores." To make a long tale short, it's apparently the first IPO of a company whose business model relies on the long tail concept expounded by Christopher Anderson a year ago on Wired and the subject of a book he is writing. (As Anderson's article's subtitle put it: "Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.") His blog offers updates.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman


Notes: Cool Capote; Transition's Problems

Darlings, anyone who has any interest in Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, Harper Lee, the beginning of fictional nonfiction, an amazing performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman, to name just a few of many reasons, should see the film Capote, which is slowly appearing in more theaters after its initial limited release. Capote may be one of the best movies made about writing--and that's just one aspect of it.

Capote
is based, of course, on Gerald Clarke's biography. According to USA Today, Carroll & Graf has 30,000 copies of the tie-in edition in print. And Vintage has gone to press three times for the tie-in edition of In Cold Blood.

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The Chicago Sun-Times investigates the unhealthy state of two Chicago New Age retailers, including Transitions Bookplace, which filed for Chapter 11 last month. Founded in 1994, Transitions is "asking its customers to forgo the lure of a discount and instead put their book-buying dollars to work in their store." The major problem for the store is a combined monthly rent of $23,000 on the store space and its Learning Center. Transitions also spent $150,000 rehabbing space in Unity Church, but has not attracted as many people there as it hoped.

Howard Mandel, who owns the store with his wife, Gayle Seminara Mandel, told the paper that "vendors have been asking, 'Why didn't you tell us?' Unexpected doors have opened for them, and some vendors are providing special financing to help stock for Christmas."

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We want to wish Larry Kirshbaum well and congratulate David Young and Maureen Egen as Kirshbaum officially hands over the reins tomorrow at Time Warner Book Group. Young becomes chairman and CEO, and Egen is now deputy chairman and publisher. Kirshbaum will be a consultant and maintain an office at Time Warner until Thanksgiving.

Kirshbaum has been a creative, energetic and enthusiastic publisher who valued all bookselling channels and had many supportive, interesting ideas for getting books to readers. We wish him well in his new career as a literary agent.

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Peter Osnos, founder and editor-at-large at PublicAffairs, has met with ABA staff to discuss his plans to investigate ways of improving book distribution (Shelf Awareness, August 19). For more, see Bookselling This Week's coverage, which notes that the project will be based at the University of North Carolina Press and include Yale University Press and several other not-for-profit publishers.

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The Newark Star-Ledger sizes up the new $35 million College of New Jersey library in Ewing, N.J., which exemplifies the "library as place." This place features nooks and lounges that can seat 1,200; couches and armchairs with ottomans; 25 group study rooms with marker boards; two computer labs and a 105-person auditorium with grand piano. A Starbucks will open in the lobby next semester.

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Customers of the Chapter 11 in Norcross, Ga., are taking the store's closing particularly hard, perhaps harder than customers at the other five Chapter 11 outlets that are closing, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. The Norcross store was the one that, after public demand, replaced a closed Waldenbooks two years ago.

"This is my neighborhood. I feel very strongly about having a neighborhood bookstore here," assistant manager George Scott told the paper. "These customers have enriched my life. How many places can you work where every customer knows your name?" Scott has been offered a job at another Chapter 11 but doesn't know if he will accept it.

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An appearance by Joel Osteen, the televangelist and author of Your Best Life Now, at a Borders in Auburn Hills, Mich., drew more customers and energy than any other author or event--even Harry Potter--general manager Todd Allen told the Detroit News. "It was almost like he was a pop star, not a minister," Allen continued. The crowd was "crying, hyperventilating. They got a glimpse of him and went crazy. That part was really unexpected."

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The Chattanoogan blesses the new building housing the Central Baptist Church in Hixson, Tenn., called Abba's House (Abba is Aramaic for father), which will include the Abba's House Bookstore and Cafe "offering a full-service Christian bookstore for the community and serving Greyfriar's coffee. Plans include the offering of essential Christian literature, gift items and inspiring worship CDs, and will open to the community in December with ongoing weekday store hours."

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Metro Santa Cruz sheds light on the Rolling Darkness Revue, a troupe that features authors Glen Hirshberg and Pete Atkins and tells ghost stories. On Friday, the pair was joined by several local writers and musicians in a performance at the Capitola Book Café in Capitola, Calif.

"The idea was always to go and light a metaphorical campfire at the neighborhood bookstore," Hirshberg told the paper, "and then using your voice and your words and some man-made fog if we could find some--see if we could cast this kind of spell."

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ken Follett on the Thriller

This morning the Today Show spends fewer than 60 minutes with Mike Wallace, author of Between You and Me: A Memoir (Hyperion, $26.95, 1401300294).

The Today Show also snuggles up with Kim Cattrall, author of Sexual Intelligence (Bulfinch, $30, 0821261754), which accompanies the HBO documentary.

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WAMU's Diane Rehm Show grills former National Security Adviser Richard Clarke, author of a new novel, The Scorpion's Gate (Putnam, $24.95, 0399152946).

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Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

Khaled Abou El Fadl, the author of The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists (HarperSanFrancisco, $21.95, 0060563397).
Ken Follett, whose Whiteout (Signet, $7.99, 0451215710) has just come out in paperback, on the thriller's place in history.
Alistair Horne, author of La Belle France: A Short History (Knopf, $30, 1400041406).

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Tonight on Charlie Rose: Senator John McCain, co-author of Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (Random House, $23.95, 1400064120).


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

The following titles are appearing next Tuesday, November 8:

Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide by Maureen Dowd (Putnam, $25.95, 0399153322). The New York Times columnist explores the mysteries and muddles of sexual combat in America.

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The Other Side of Me by Sidney Sheldon (Warner, $25.95, 0446532673). A memoir from the bestselling author, screenwriter and TV series creator.

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Light from Heaven by Jan Karon (Viking, $26.95, 0670034533). This is the final volume of the Mitford Years series.

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Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power by Mary Mapes (St. Martin's, $24.95, 031235195X). From the former CBS producer of the discredited 60 Minutes II segment on George Bush's National Guard service.

Deeper Understanding

Frugal Frigate: Fans Eat Up Unusual Event

One of the most imaginative bookstore events we've heard of took place last month at the Frugal Frigate, Redlands, Calif., a three-hour Sunday afternoon party that we wrote about while it was being planned (Shelf Awareness, August 23); now it's time for a followup.

Brad Hundman, who bought the children's bookstore last year with his wife, Jana, said he sent invitations to 150 adults, including customers, town government officials and various "circles of people"--essentially opinion makers in the community. Some 130, who paid nothing for the event, attended. On the Sunday of the party, they were directed to the store, where they saw the Frugal Frigate's "new paint job, new graphics, new lighting and new awning" as well as the increased inventory, Hundman said.

From there, the attendees walked half a block to the Farm, an artisanal restaurant, where the menu for the event included four types of wine, champagne, coffees from around the world, pasta, wheels of cheese, fresh bread and more. (Because the restaurant owner is a chocolatier the desserts were reportedly to die for.) Music by Tony Bennett and Mel Torme was played. For three hours, guests mingled with the stars of the show, three children's book authors--Nikki Grimes, Diane Adams and Maria Frazee--whose books were sold discreetly in a corner.

By a straight-forward method of reckoning, the event just about paid for itself. Between the invitations, postage, food and the staff's time, costs were almost $2,000. With 300 books sold, Hundman figured he was set back all of $17.

But from the beginning, Hundman had broader aims than selling a certain number of books. In August, he said, "You invest in clientele and have to have faith and trust that it will be returned to you. If you do it well and in the right form, it will come back." After the event, he said: "It was a thank you to the authors and our clientele and to remind them that we are here." And in this way, it was even more successful than he imagined. The authors were "very grateful," he said, and the community responded exceedingly well. It also was "a big plus" for the staff, particularly in showing how much support the store has. (Laughing, he said, "For $17, I'll do them all day long.")

The next such event will be held in February and will be much like the September party. Some people who hadn't been invited but wanted to come to the initial party will be invited. "It's not meant to be an exclusive event," Hundman said, adding that such parties are part of his effort to make provide customers with consistency. "We want people to know we'll be here and have wonderful stock and have books in before anyone else and have events with high quality."

In a sign that he will indeed remain in place for customers, Hundman noted that he just signed a five-year lease with two five-year options.

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