Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Fresh Air: Ken Auletta on E-Books and Publishing
Today on NPR's Fresh Air, Ken Auletta, author of "Publish or Perish: Can the iPad topple the Kindle, and save the book business?" in last week's New Yorker, talks about "how the transition from paper to screen is changing the way we choose, buy and read books, and what it all means for publishers as well as authors."
For more on the iPad, see Deeper Understanding below.
Notes: Nook Boost; Brad Parsons to Join HachetteNook carves out niche.
Last month, shipments of Barnes & Noble's nook from manufacturers accounted for 53% of all e-book readers shipped to U.S., easily surpassing Amazon's Kindle, Digitimes Research said.
Digitimes Research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo attributed this "partly to consumers' interest in new products, as Amazon's Kindle has already been on the market for some time" and to B&N's "extra competitiveness" in having retail outlets across the country.
Digitimes said e-book reader shipments worldwide were 1.43 million units in the January, February and March and will grow to 2.02 million units in the second quarter. For the year, global shipments should reach 11.4 million units, up from 3.82 million last year.
Christine Myskowski, owner of Salt & Pepper Books, Occoquan, Va., was interviewed by the Washington Post in a "Where We Shop" piece on the Riverwalk Shops, "a quaint, cottage-like shopping center that fits naturally on the banks of the Occoquan River."
"It's not easy, to be sure; no one's getting rich down here," she said. "But, for a lot of the store owners, this is their second career; they've been in business for 15, 20 years. They are retiring, and it's difficult to sell a business right now."
Contributing to her success have been a good landlord and the Occoquan Merchants Association, which "is really trying to do more advertising and more events to get people in town," said Myskowski. She also likes the small-town atmosphere. "It's a trade-off. I think a small bookstore does well in a small historic town, and I'm not really sure I'd want to be in a strip mall."
What title would you have chosen for former President George W. Bush's upcoming book, Decision Points, due out November 9 from Crown? The Huffington Post offered readers a chance to send in their own photoshopped cover suggestions.
Effective May 24, Brad Parsons joins Hachette Book Group as associate director of online marketing. His focus will be on fiction, and he will work on web publicity campaigns, digital media opportunities for books and authors as well as new release strategies for the adult publishing groups and imprints.
Parsons was most recently senior editor for books at Amazon.com, which he joined in 1999. During his tenure at Amazon, Parsons was involved in the creation of e-mail merchandising initiatives, author stores, seasonal previews, videos, podcasts and blogs and more. Before joining Amazon, he was a community relations coordinator for Borders.
Image of the Day: Tropical Dreams
Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash., had this winning display in the Fodor's 80 Degrees Contest, which required entrants to feature six Fodor's tropical destination guides and promote them for several weeks. Sweet victory: two Auntie's staffers will be traveling to a luxury resort on Barbados for a week.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: The Council of Dads
This morning on the Today Show: Candace Bushnell, author of The Carrie Diaries (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780061728914/0061728918). She is also on Extra! today.
Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Bruce Feiler, author of The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me (Morrow, $22.99, 9780061778766/0061778761).
Also on Today tomorrow Teresa Giudice, author of Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too! (Hyperion, $19.99, 9781401310356/1401310354).
Tomorrow morning on Fox and Friends: Travis Stork, author of The Doctor Is In: A 7-Step Prescription for Optimal Wellness (Gallery, $24.99, 9781439167403/1439167400).
Tomorrow on Oprah: Todd Bridges, author of Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted (Touchstone, $26, 9781439148983/1439148988).
Tomorrow night on Charlie Rose: Roger Rosenblatt, author of Making Toast (Ecco, $21.99, 9780061825934/006182593X).
Tomorrow night the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Chelsea Handler, author of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang (Grand Central, $25.99, 9780446552448/0446552445).
Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Craig Robinson, author of A Game of Character: A Family Journey from Chicago's Southside to the Ivy League and Beyond (Gotham, $26, 9781592405480/1592405487).
Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Ken Blackwell, author of The Blueprint (Lyons Press, $22.95, 9780762761340/0762761342).
Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Gregg Easterbrook, author of Sonic Boom: Globalization at Mach Speed (Random House, $26, 9781400063956/1400063957).
Also on Colbert: Michael J. Fox, author of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (Hyperion, $17.99, 9781401323868/1401323863).
Television: Stephen King Series Gets Director
Adam Kane (The Mentalist; Heroes) will direct the pilot episode of Stephen King's Haven, a supernatural series for the Syfy Channel. "Production has started with Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, standing in for the fictitious Maine town of Haven, where Emily Rose (ER) plays an FBI agent solving the murder of a local ex-con," the Hollywood Reporter wrote. The cast also includes Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour, Richard Donat and John Dunsworth.
Movies: The Killer Elite
Clive Owen and Jason Statham will star in The Killer Elite, based on The Feather Men, a novel by Ranulph Fiennes. Variety reported that filming is set to begin next month in Australia, with Gary McKendry directing.
Books & Authors
Awards: PEN/Malamud Winners; Caine Prize Finalists
Edward P. Jones and Nam Le have won the 2010 PEN/Malamud Award, which recognizes "excellence in the art of the short story." The New York Times said Jones won for short story collections like Lost in the City and All Aunt Hagar's Children and Le won for The Boat. The authors share a prize of $5,000.
Finalists for the £10,000 (US$15,453) Caine Prize for African Writing--which honors a
short story by an African writer published in English--are:
"The Life of Worm" by Ken Barris (South Africa), from New Writing from Africa 2009
"How Shall We Kill the Bishop?" by Lily Mabura (Kenya), from Wasafiri No. 53, Spring 2008
"Muzungu" by Namwali Serpell (Zambia), from The Best American Short Stories 2009
"Soulmates" by Alex Smith (South Africa), from New Writing from Africa 2009
"Stickfighting Days" by Olufemi Terry (Sierra Leone), from Chimurenga, Vol. 12/13
The winner will be named July 5 and given the opportunity to take up a month's residence at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., as a writer-in-residence.
Attainment: New Titles Next Week
Selected new titles out this week and next:
Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush (Scribner, $30, 9781439155202/1439155208) chronicles the former first lady's stay in the White House.
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (Ace, $25.95, 9780441018642/0441018645) is the 10th paranormal novel with Sookie Stackhouse.
Innocent by Scott Turow (Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446562423/0446562424) is a legal thriller about a judge accused of murdering his wife, a sequel to Presumed Innocent.
Private Life by Jane Smiley (Knopf, $26.95, 9781400040605/1400040604) follows a troubled marriage between a woman from the Midwest and a peculiar scientist.
Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399156489/0399156488) is the latest western about gunslingers Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch from the late master.
The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose (Mira, $24.95, 9780778326755/0778326756) is the third title in the Reincarnationist series and stars Lucian Glass of the FBI's Art Crime Team.
Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385526357/0385526350) follows a stage and screen star's affair with a younger man.
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061624780/0061624780) is about a therapist whose mother killed herself.
Cars from a Marriage by Debra Galant (St. Martin's, $24.99, 9780312367275/0312367279) follows a 20-year marriage through the cars owned by the couple.
The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking, $30, 9780670021727/0670021725) explores the famous defeat of Custer by Sitting Bull.
Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, and the Miracle at Oakmont by Adam Lazarus and Steve Schlossman (NAL, $24.95, 9780451229878/0451229878) recalls the 1973 U.S. Open.
Shelf Starter: Red November
Red November: Inside the Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War by W. Craig Reed (Morrow, $27.99, 9780061806766/0061806765, May 4, 2010)
Opening lines of a book we'd like to read, because submarines are so very cool:
With orders to conduct a top-secret espionage mission, the USS Blenny (SS-324) sped toward danger on the last day of April 1952. A bright sun warmed the black deck of the World War II-vintage submarine as she cruised past a dozen colorful sailboats off the coast of San Diego. A cold wave crashed across the bow of the boat and dotted Lieutenant Junior Grade Paul Trejo's lips with the taste of salt. Still a freshman to the fraternity of underwater warriors, Trejo stood on the bridge and admired the beauty of his diesel-powered sub as she cantered across the water with the smooth gait of a stallion. In the white churn of her wake, dolphins played, and when guided beneath the waves, she became a silent assassin worthy of respect.--Selected by Marilyn Dahl
Book Review: To Win and Die in Dixie
To Win and Die in Dixie: The Birth of the Modern Golf Swing and the Mysterious Death of Its Creator by Steve Eubanks (ESPN Video, $26.00 Hardcover, 9780345510815, March 2010)
Near midnight on August 8, 1921, a man lay dying in a pool of blood on Atlanta's West Peachtree Street. That the victim was a prominent professional golfer and one of the first people on the scene was a young newspaper reporter provides the intriguing premise on which Steve Eubanks constructs this brisk account of the life and death of J. Douglas Edgar, the man he credits with creating the modern golf swing.
Born in the industrial town of Newcastle, England, Edgar shed his working class roots to become a golf professional (a less than reputable career in that day) at age 18. When Edgar lost his first club job because he had the temerity to drink with members in the clubhouse bar, he left his homeland and migrated to Atlanta, where he would spend the last two years of his life.
Although Edgar never won any of the tournaments that comprise the modern Grand Slam, greats like Harry Vardon held him in high regard, and he paired frequently with a young Atlantan, Bobby Jones, in high stakes exhibitions (more common then than the weekly tournaments of today's pro tour). Edgar's astonishing 16-shot victory margin in the 1919 Canadian Open stands unmatched in any national golf championship to this day. But Eubanks locates Edgar's real significance in his discovery, after years of trial and error, of what he called "the Movement," a compact swing featuring a restricted hip turn that gave his ball-striking impressive power and consistency.
What should make Eubanks's account appealing to other than students of golf history is its exploration of the mystery surrounding Edgar's death (unsolved to this day) and its portrait of Atlanta's social and cultural milieu at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. For reasons that ranged from a desire to promote traffic safety in the early days of the automobile to the self-protectiveness of Atlanta's elite (rumors of affairs with prominent women swirled around Edgar) the city's establishment was determined that the death be ruled a hit-and-run accident. The considerable obstacles to the "accident" theory included physical evidence and the determination of Comer Howell, the young Atlanta Constitution reporter (and son of the paper's publisher) who came upon the dying Edgar. The account of the coroner's inquest where Howell testified offers a revealing look at one man's struggle with his conscience.
When Douglas Edgar died at age 36, there was no way to know whether he had any golfing glory ahead of him, but there's no doubt his swing theory has had a lasting impact on the game. Credit goes to Steve Eubanks for rescuing his story from undeserved obscurity.--Harvey Freedenberg
Shelf Talker: Fans of golf and students of Southern cultural history will enjoy this look at the colorful life and mysterious death of a prominent golf professional.
The Nitty Gritty: The iPad in Review
Mike Shatzkin of Idea Logical notes that while the screen is larger than the Kindle, the extra weight, the backlit screen and the frustrations of the iBooks store (too few books, poor organization, limited search functionality) make the iPad less than the ideal e-reader. However, he finds a silver lining: "The good news for publishers is that Apple will sell a lot of them as 'content machines': to people who aren't primarily book readers. We might pick up some new e-book readers from the large universe of people who hardly read books now as a result. That would expand the market to our benefit."
Kassia Kroszer of Booksquare agrees that the iPad will be, "at best, an ancillary device" for e-reading. The weight and size make it impractical for toting around (especially if you already have a Kindle and/or an iPhone), and she, too, is irritated with the iBooks store, albeit for different reasons: "There is an interesting prudishness in the Apple organization. As noted in this Boing Boing story, it extends to the use of the word "sperm" when referencing a specific type of whale (the screenshot shows "s***m"). We've heard stories about apps being rejected for content reasons. As a thinking adult, this bothers me."
Jane Litte likes the iPad a lot--but not as an e-reader. On Dear Author, she breaks down the areas where the iPad fails to deliver, citing the weight and backlit screen as big drawbacks. In addition, "the iBooks Store is sparsely populated and unbrowsable unless you only want to read and buy contemporary and historicals that Apple or the publisher have determined should meet your gaze."
And Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books not only agrees with all of the above, but answers the all-important question: Is it worth what it costs? "Depends on what you want. Do you want a device that will allow you to watch tv and movies via Netflix, use Twitter, send email, and maybe read something? Sure.... Do you want a dedicated digital book reader? Then this is not the best option. And I still don't know what the best option is, to be honest. I don't think it's here yet. And I await its arrival."
But then consider the opinions of two other bookfolk who have iPads and are enthusiastic about them.
Drew Goodman, trade books sales manager at the University of Utah Campus Store, says, "Overall, I've enjoyed using the iPad, [both] as an eReader and for many other things." Concerning the device's weight, "it's really no heavier than holding a hardcover book." While he agrees that iBooks has drawbacks, "I'm sure the iBookstore and iBook app will get better and evolve over time, giving a better buying and reading experience." He also says the eyestrain issue has been overblown. "To me, reading from the iPad isn't like reading from a backlit computer monitor. You have complete control over the brightness from within iBooks and the Kindle app."
Elizabeth Silvis, who over the years has worked for Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins and Ingram, likes her iPad so much that she sold her Kindle. "The best part about the iPad is that it doesn't restrict you to JUST using their product. You have books you downloaded from Goodreads? Add it! Kindle library? Add it! Your own Great American Novel? Add it! Heck, you could probably even write your book on the iPad." And she prefers the backlit screen: "Having to always bring/use a light source to read the Kindle was really annoying. I can (and have) played with the brightness settings endlessly.... Like anything new and shiny, you just have to get used to it." But, a true reader, she concluded, "The iPad or the Kindle will NEVER replace books for me. When I travel I bring my electronic device loaded to the gills, but I always bring a book or two as well."--Jenn Northington