Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 16, 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

Quotation of the Day

Readers' Survey: 'Brains Contribute to Sex Appeal Too'

"Reading is a brilliant tool for self-expression. I love the fact that every generation seems to know that it can help us all increase our potential appeal in the search for love and romance. It's not just romantic poetry and the classics that can help us on the road to romance either: websites, song lyrics and current affairs titles are just as important. Who'd have thought it? For all the talk of our superficial obsession with beauty, it looks like underneath it all we know that brains contribute to sex appeal too!"--Honor Wilson-Fletcher, director of the National Year of Reading campaign, quoted in the Telegraph about a recent survey that found the top 10 reads to impress a woman or man.


Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors


Borders Will Buy HarperStudio Nonreturnable

Borders Group will buy all books from HarperStudio on a nonreturnable basis with a higher-than-usual discount, the Wall Street Journal reported. Borders will receive discounts of 58%-63% instead of the usual 48%, the paper noted, and likely will sell "unsold" stock in-store.

"The idea of taking inventory and then shipping it back isn't a good idea for anybody," Robert Gruen, Borders executive v-p of merchandising and marketing, told the paper. "We're open to all publishers to discuss alternatives to the traditional return model."

Founded earlier this year by Bob Miller with a mission to operate in untraditional ways, HarperStudio begins shipping books this spring (Shelf Awareness, September 11, 2008). Since introducing the imprint, which aims to be distinctive in other ways, too, Miller has talked about instituting terms that are unusual for the large New York houses, both with authors--who will receive smaller than usual advances but share more in the book's revenue--and with retail accounts.

The current economic climate makes such approaches all the more appealing--in the case of selling books on a nonreturnable basis, a firm sale is indeed a firm sale and avoids the costs of processing and shipping titles back and forth and back forth. And it's not as though publishers don't have experience selling nonreturnable: most sell books on a nonreturnable basis to nonbookstore accounts and some offer nonreturnable options to booksellers. At least one mainstream publisher experimented selling exclusively nonreturnable to bookstore accounts: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich nearly 30 years ago.

If selling nonreturnable spreads and everyone isn't too exhausted by the effort, perhaps the industry will then re-examine another of its "quirks": the manufacturer's suggested retail price printed on the book.


BINC - Double Your Impact

Notes: Other Shoe Drops at Macmillan; Gotham Book Mart's Home

Another publisher cuts back: Macmillan, the Holtzbrinck subsidiary that owns Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martin's Press, Holt, Picador and others, is laying off 46 people, about 4% of its staff, and various children's imprints will be consolidated into one company-wide children's division, to be called the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, the New York Times reported.

"Book sales are markedly slower this Christmas than they were last Christmas," Macmillan CEO John Sargent told the paper. "This is a recognition of the times that we are in this Christmas and the times that we will be in at least through the first half of next year."


Kaldi's Coffeehouse & Bookstore, Cincinnati, Ohio, will close its current location at the end of this month. The bookshop's blog noted that while owner "Jeremy Thompson has been searching for a new location for some time, it has not yet been decided where the concept might reopen."


Cape Cod Today details the difficulties faced by the Bookstore Restaurant, Wellfleet, Mass., which has been operating this year without a town business license because its septic system has not been upgraded. Among other things, the lack of a business license can affect the store's ability to get insurance and maintain its liquor license.


More than a year after New York's landmark Gotham Book Mart closed, its collection of "some 200,000 items" has found a home at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, MarketWatch reported, adding that the collection "includes many first editions, books from small presses, experimental literary magazines, outsider literature published by Black Sparrow Press, poetry published by St. Mark's Church, books from the personal libraries of Truman Capote and Anais Nin, proofs, advance copies, pamphlets, photographs, posters, reference works and catalogs, broadsides, prints, postcards, and items signed by Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Robinson Jeffers, Woody Allen, Wallace Stevens, and John Updike."


Dave Steidel received a holiday gift pass from ESPN, which included his Remember the AFL: The Ultimate Fan's Guide to the American Football League (Clerisy Press, $29.95, 9781578603237/1578603234) in its online gift guide, writing, "Expect to see lots of throwback uniforms and historical retrospectives next fall because the NFL will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of its one-time rival and merger partner, the AFL. But you don't have to wait until then because Dave Steidel's new book, Remember the AFL, offers more than 400 pages of old-school AFL goodness. Smartly written, gorgeously designed, and packed with archival photos, it's an ideal primer for AFL novices and a great trip down memory lane for fans old enough to remember the most successful upstart league in sports history."


Kathy Dawson, who was most recently the editorial director of fiction at Harcourt Children's Books, will return to Penguin in the newly created position of associate publisher of Dial Books for Young Readers.

While Dawson was at Putnam, she edited the Newbery Honor-winners Getting Near to Baby by Audrey Couloumbis and Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. At Harcourt, Dawson edited Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. In a statement (which reflects her literary acumen), Dawson said, "I keep thinking of T. S. Eliot's The Four Quartets: 'And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.' "


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

Image of the Day: The Aristotle Quest

At Booked for Murder, Madison, Wis.: (l.) bookstore owner Sara Barnes with Sharon Kaye, whose day jobs are philosophy professor and academic writer. Kaye has just published her first novel, The Aristotle Quest: Black Market Truth (Parmenides Publishing), a philosophical thriller and the beginning of a trilogy.




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

Omnivore Books on Food, a San Francisco Treat

In these economic times, it might seem scary or daring to open a small independent bookstore devoted solely to new, antiquarian and collectible cookbooks, but don't tell that to Celia Sack, who just opened Omnivore Books on Food in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.

She probably wouldn't listen anyway.

Ten years ago Sack opened a pet store with her business and life partner, Paula Harris, just as PetCo and Petsmart superstores and websites began to dominate that retail niche. "We bucked a trend a long time ago," said Sack. They succeeded by creating a distinctive neighborhood atmosphere and providing quality, personal service that rivaled that of chains and online retailers. Sack expects to do the same in the new bookshop.

Sack and Harris continue to own and operate the pet store on the corner of Church and Cesar Chavez streets. Several years ago, when the space next door opened up, they jumped at a chance to rent it and used the 600-sq.-ft. space for storage. But Sack (who has a background in antiquarian book auctions) wanted to make her private passion for collecting cookbooks into a retail reality--Omnivore Books on Food opened just over a month.

Collectors tend to be quirky, and Sack is no exception: her personal cookbook collection contains lots of titles on setting up an English bakery. In fact, Omnivore feels a little like an old English bakery: the space was once a butcher shop and the ancient freezer door and working scales remain next to an antique wooden counter that came from a general store in Ohio dating to the late 1800s. (The pet store and the bookstore are now connected in the back through what was once the walk-in refrigerator.) The bookstore walls are painted a soft, light, creamy mustard color that complements Omnivore's country-brown-egg colored logo. Built-in white bookcases line the walls, and books are displayed on antique tables. The display table in the window came from a flower store that closed down the street a couple of years ago, and appropriately, "it's built out of old boards from a bakery that was on Church Street at the turn of the century," Sack added.

Omnivore seems to have the ingredients for bookselling success: a solid niche, a supportive neighborhood, affordable rent and a landlord who likes to see independent businesses thrive.

Since Omnivore opened, it has attracted many authors--local and national--for events, usually several a week, sometimes during the day and also in the evening. For example, chef Eric Ripert, author of On the Line: Inside the World of Le Bernadin (Artisan), did an event early this month, and Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen is scheduled to discuss and sign copies of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors (Ten Speed) tomorrow. About 20 people attended a recent event featuring Niloufer King, author of My Bombay Kitchen (University of California Press). There are no cooking facilities on the premises, but authors usually bring samples of food from their books.

Aside from providing recipes, Sack said she thinks cookbooks also connect generations as dishes are handed down over time and across time zones, providing regional and cultural histories through food. That is one reason many non-cooks still like cookbooks.

When it comes to cookbooks, Sack said she has learned through her auction experience and her own collecting that there are cookers or lookers. Some, like Sack, are both cookers and lookers. All kinds are welcome at Omnivore.--Bridget Kinsella


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Meryl Gordon Does Not Regret

This morning on the Early Show: Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316017923/0316017922).


Today on Oprah, in a repeat: John Quinones, author of Heroes Among Us: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Choices (Harper, $24.95, 9780061733604/0061733601).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Meryl Gordon, author of Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach (Houghton Mifflin, $28, 9780618893737/0618893733).


Tomorrow on the View: Peter Greenberg, author of Don't Go There!: The Travel Detective's Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World (Rodale, $17.95, 9781605299945/1605299944).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Patricia McConnell, author of Tales of Two Species: Essays on Loving and Living With Dogs (Dogwise Publishing, $12.95, 9781929242610/1929242611).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Don Rickles, author of Rickles' Letters (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416596639/1416596631).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Richard Haass, author of The Opportunity (PublicAffairs, $14, 9781586484538/1586484532).


Movies: The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux, based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo, opens this Friday, December 19. This animated story follows a princess (Emma Watson), a mouse (Matthew Broderick) and a rat (Dustin Hoffman) living together in a castle. The movie tie-in edition is from Candlewick ($18.99, 9780763640743/0763640743).


Books & Authors

Awards: 800-CEO-READ Business Books

The Best Business Book of the Year, the overall winner of the second annual 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards, sponsored by 800-CEO-READ, sister company to Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops in Milwaukee, Wis., has gone to Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin (Portfolio). Jack Covert, founder and president of 800-CEO-READ, called the book Godin's "most ambitious effort and potentially his most powerful, because when Seth talks about leadership, he skips the usual and goes right to the heart of it. More importantly, he is giving us a new way to talk about leadership."

The company received 280 award nominations, which were evaluated and critiqued by the company's editorial staff. Category winners:

  • Advertising/Marketing: Brand Bubble by John Gerzema (Jossey-Bass)
  • Biographies/Memoirs: The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire by Joe Jackson (Viking)
  • Entrepreneurship/Small Business: Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up by Bo Burlingham and Norm Brodsky (Portfolio)
  • Fables: Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Daniel H. Pink (Riverhead)
  • Finance/Economics: Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity by Michael Lewis (Norton)
  • Globalization: A Splendid Exchange by William J. Bernstein (Atlantic Monthly)
  • Human Resources/Organizational Development: Reward Systems by Steve Kerr (Harvard Business Press)
  • Industry Books: The Orange Code: How ING Direct Succeeded by Being a Rebel with a Cause by Arkadi Kuhlmann and Bruce Philp (Wiley)
  • Innovation/Creativity: Do You Matter?: How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company by Robert Brunner and Stewart Emery with Russ Hall (FT Press)
  • Leadership: Tribes by Seth Godin (Portfolio)
  • New Perspectives: The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow (Pantheon)
  • Personal Development: Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life by Stewart D. Friedman (Harvard Business Press)
  • Sales: The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (Big) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite by Michael Port and Elizabeth Marshall (Wiley)

By the way, a possible contender for next year's awards is The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You, which will be published by Portfolio in February. The authors are . . . 800-CEO-READ's own Jack Covert and v-p Todd Sattersten.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 23:

The Complete Beck Diet for Life: The Five-Stage Program for Permanent Weight Loss by Judith S. Beck (Oxmoor House, $24.95, 9780848732745/084873274X) emphasizes the importance of cognitive therapy combined with diet and exercise for successful weight loss.

The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson (Riverhead, $25.95, 9781594488528/1594488525) chronicles the life of Joseph Priestley, a protégé of Benjamin Franklin who helped discover oxygen and create ecosystem science.

Now in paperback:

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan (Voice, $14.95, 9781401340933/1401340938).


Book Review

Book Review: The Magician's Book

Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller (Little Brown and Company, $25.99 Hardcover, 9780316017633, December 2008)

At age seven, Miller encountered the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time when her second grade teacher handed her a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. "It was this book that made a reader out of me," she writes. "I had found a new world, which at the same time felt like a place I'd always known." But as a teenager Miller eventually discovered the Christian symbolism that's as much a part of the seven tales as are the stirring adventures of the Pevensie children. By then a skeptical Catholic, she confesses that "Christianity worked like a black hole, sucking all the beauty and wonder out of Narnia the moment the two came into imaginative contact."

In The Magician's Book, Miller overcomes that initial revulsion to offer a multifaceted portrait of the sources of Lewis's masterwork, as diverse as his disdain for the English class system and his fascination with Norse mythology. She explores in considerable depth the close friendship between Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (who converted Lewis from agnosticism to Christianity), in the process demonstrating the fundamental differences in the views of these men about life and literature and the way those differences shaped their legendary works. Miller enlivens her treatment by discoursing with authors like Jonathan Franzen, Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman, whose opinions of Lewis's creation are diverse and not always flattering.

The portions of Miller's book in which she recounts various plot elements no doubt will be more meaningful to those with a deep acquaintance with the Chronicles. But even readers whose familiarity with the texts is limited or nonexistent won't have difficulty understanding her references in context and may well feel the urge to revisit the books or encounter them for the first time.

"Narnia is the country of literature," Miller writes, "of books, and of reading, a territory so vast that it might as well be infinite." She's offered a mature portrait of C.S. Lewis's creation that still contains a spark of the childhood wonder that ignited her passion for literature. The books we love as children mark us for life, John Leonard might have said. From the evidence of Laura Miller's enduring enchantment with the world of Narnia, is there any question that's true?--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: A noted literary critic paints an insightful portrait of the enduring appeal of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia.


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