Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Penguin Books: The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

Sourcebooks Fire: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Tarcherperigee: Men & Dogs by Alice Chaygneaud-Dupuy and Marie-Eva Chopin / Rescued by Peter Zheutlin

Random House: An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan

Chicago Review Press: The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History by Joseph A. Williams

Park Row Books: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades

News

Random House Opts for Agency Model for E-Books

Effective today, Random House is adopting the agency model for e-book sales in the U.S., joining the other large publishers in setting the retail prices for its e-books and giving a commission to retailers. In current e-book practice, publishers keep 70% of the e-book's price while the retailer keeps 30%.

"The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms," the company said. "We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships."

The agency model for e-books was developed in connection with Apple's iBookstore and the launch of the iPad and was applied to all e-book sellers, notably--and under protest--Amazon.com. Amazon has preferred the wholesaling model under which it can price books at any level it wants, which usually means at a major loss-leader discount. The agency model was the main issue when a year ago, Amazon stopped selling any Macmillan titles on its site.

The ABA quickly welcomed Random House's change in policy, saying that it "establishes a level playing field for all resellers."

"We have believed from the beginning that the agency model is in the best interest of not only the book industry, but the consuming public as well," ABA CEO Oren Teicher said. "We appreciate the careful and thoughtful deliberation Random House has brought to this issue, and applaud their decision to adopt agency pricing."

ABA members selling Google eBooks online had found that heavy discounting of Random House e-titles by Amazon, B&N.com and even Google itself--often below cost--had made competing with them very difficult.

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones


Notes: AT&T Stores Upload Kindles; Rock 'n' Read Marathon


AT&T will sell Amazon's Kindle 3G in its company-owned retail stores beginning March 6. Customers will be able to test drive the e-reader, which connects over wi-fi as well as AT&T's mobile broadband network.

"As the first dedicated e-reader offered in our stores, we are confident the Kindle will be an attractive addition to our in store connected devices lineup," said Glenn Lurie, president, emerging devices, AT&T.

"Unlike with smart phones or tablet computers, people can buy the Kindle from AT&T without having to commit to a monthly data subscription," BusinessWeek reported. "Once people buy the Kindle, they can surf the Web and download books as much as they want, with Amazon swallowing the cost of monthly data fees."

Cnet News noted that AT&T's decision "makes for a rather interesting dynamic in its stores. Soon, the Kindle will be sitting next to the iBooks-equipped iPad in AT&T stores, enabling those looking for an e-reader to try out both devices before they make their choice."

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Baker & Taylor and De Marque, a distributor of e-books from Quebec and Francophone Canada, are teaming up to distribute French-language Canadian e-books around the world on Blio, the e-reader app.

"We are very pleased to work with De Marque, a highly regarded digital asset manager and distributor, to increase the supply of e-books to international markets," Linda Gagnon, senior v-p of B&T's Digital Media Group, said. "Our partnership allows De Marque to open up access to new outlets for French Canadian publishers."

"Blio offers an unparalleled digital e-reader solution for preserving the original page layouts of illustrated publications, which had been ignored by manufacturers of e-book devices and e-readers," Marc Boutet, president of De Marque, said. "This software is especially interesting, because it is available for free on the computers that most people already have."

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Cool idea of the day: Edmonds Bookshop, Edmonds, Wash., is hosting the Rock 'n' Read Marathon, a 55-hour reading marathon that starts this Friday and is sponsored by a local high school, according to the Edmonds Patch.

Students at two high schools are signing up "to read books, magazines and, in a nod to the digital age, the Kindle, for 30-minute intervals in the store's window," the Patch wrote. "Using the store's rocking chair is optional."

The event is part of National Education Association's Read Across America Month, which helps promote the love of reading and also celebrates Dr. Seuss. Tomorrow, Theodor Geisel's birthday, is Read Across America Day.

The event includes a children's book drive: students are collecting used and new books for the food bank at Edmonds United Methodist Church.

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Book trailer of the day: Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press), "a classroom in a book" that includes 15 lessons on the art of cartooning.

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Micawber's Books, St. Paul, Minn., celebrates National Pig Day with an event tonight featuring Low Down and Coming On: A Feast of Delicious and Dangerous Poems About Pigs (Red Dragonfly Press). James P. Lenfestey, who edited the anthology, and contributors Naomi Cohn, Susan Thurston and Cary Waterman will be on hand to ham it up a bit.

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Nook Color as car stereo option: Considerations for driver safety and B&N's original vision were put aside by one creative DIYer, whose Nook Color was "hacked, or 'rooted,' with custom firmware that opens up the tablet to run Android apps. What's interesting to note about the demo is that at one point you see Google Maps up on the screen, which has people theorizing that you could turn the Nook Color into a GPS navigation device if you could pair it via Bluetooth with a cell phone and share its GPS," Cnet News reported.

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In showcasing 12 of the best new novelists in the U.K., the Guardian's John Mullan wrote that he was asked by BBC2's The Culture Show to chair a panel of five judges "in an effort to identify promising debut novelists. Publishers submitted their outstanding first novels of the past couple of years, and we had to choose the 12 "best." What we got were examples of what we have come to call "literary fiction." We found our dozen, and in the course of reading 57 novels I got a picture of the state of British literary fiction."

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"You are not your grades," suggested the Daily What in response to an inspirational literary quote from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, found in an unexpected place--a high school hallway in Vancouver. Tyler Durden's sage advice: "The things that you own end up owning you."

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In 1995, Ralph Casperson, owner of used and rare bookstore A. Casperson Books, Niles, Mich., told his son Al that he wasn't worried about a new Barnes & Noble store opening locally because "I don't offer what they're going to offer. Barnes & Noble will be carrying my future inventory."

The South Bend Tribune reported that, likewise, "the upcoming closing of the Mishawaka Borders does not affect him. Competitors like Barnes & Noble don't keep him awake at night. Internet book sales, either. And e-readers?"

Ralph is still unfazed: "Maybe someone reads Treasure Island or another piece of literature on their e-reader and they really like the author or subject. They come to me, the old bookshop downtown. I think e-books will heighten people's curiosity. This is where I see the value for old, used and rare book shops."

 


KidsBuzz for the Week of 06.26.17


Obituary Note: Max Wilk

Max Wilk, who wrote 19 books and was a playwright, film and TV writer and music impresario, died February 19 at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 90.

Wilk's books included They're Playing Our Song: Conversations With America's Classic Songwriters, Schmucks with Underwoods: Conversations with America's Classic Screenwriters, The Golden Age of Television: Notes from the Survivors, OK!: The Story of Oklahoma! and The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood. Many of his novels were comedies set in suburbia. He also wrote the novelization of the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine.

During World War II, Wilk served in the Army Air Force Motion Picture Unit, whose captain was Ronald Reagan.

One of Wilk's children is David Wilk, who has been in the book business many years and is now head of Booktrix and Creative Management Partners.

WestportNow.com and Playbill have obituaries.


 


Geek & Sundry: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein


NACS-CAMEX, Part 2: Government Primer

A major focus for the National Association of College Stores-CAMEX meeting this past weekend in Houston, Tex., is how the current budget problems and budget-cutting fever in Washington and state capitals will affect members.

"Very few colleges and universities can exist without government funding," Richard Hershman, NACS's director of government relations, said at a session on the subject. For one, "student aid makes it possible for millions of students to go to college." The state budget problems are "driving more interest" in such matters as replacing teachers and labs with software, pushing for digital content and open source material, and reexamining student completion and dropout rates, he said. "Higher education is often the first place states look to save money." At the same time, in exchange for budget cuts, colleges and universities are "asking for more autonomy and less regulation."

State budget cuts already have strained school budgets, leading to, among other things, hiring freezes and buyouts. Some states are trying to ease the pain of higher tuition costs by exempting textbooks from sales tax. Some states with high sales tax on textbooks are pushing digital and open access course materials as "perceived savings"--and keeping the sales tax.

On the federal level there is mixed news. The House budget proposal passed last month includes a cut in Pell grants by 15%, for a total of $64 billion over 10 years. Some 1.5 million students would lose their eligibility for such grants and another nine million students would have amounts cut.

The House budget also eliminates or cuts funding for various campus-based aid programs, although it does continue with level funding for work study.

On the other hand, President Obama's budget proposal keeps funding at current levels for Pell grants by cutting $100 billion in other higher education areas and would repeal what are essentially Pell grants for summer school, as well as subsidies for loan interest for graduate school.

The president's budget also would make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent and index it with inflation starting in 2013. In 2009, some 4.7 million students took advantage of the tax credit and refund on tuition and related expenses, including course materials.

In very positive news for sales tax fairness advocates, Hershman said that "the stars may be aligned for this" because of the poor health of state budgets, support from bricks-and-mortar retailers and federal aid cuts to states.

NACS has helped educate members about the textbook provisions of the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act, which went into effect last July 1. Most stores are in compliance, although some faculty members are not happy at having, in some cases, to choose course books six to seven months before classes begin (because of advanced registration at some schools). NACS has helped members apply for grants for textbook rental pilots included in the law.

Some states want to study the effectiveness of HEOA and state textbook laws. The GAO is beginning another study soon.

NACS supported the parts of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed last year, that will reform interchange fees charged to stores when consumers use credit cards and debit cards. According to Richard Hershman, the savings could be big for college stores.

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Also at the show, the first Collegiate Retailer of the Year Award, created and funded by Tommye and Keith Miller to honor a "truly great college store," went to the University of Dayton Bookstore, Dayton, Ohio. The store won based on six criteria as well as overall for "creating an exciting and inviting store environment in which to shop and to work," Tommye Miller said. University of Dayton Bookstore director Julie Banks accepted on behalf of the store and its staff. Tommye Miller is the retired director and general manager of Valdosta State University Stores, Valdosta, Ga., and a former NACS president, and Keith Miller is a former rep in the Southeast.

Another former NACS president, Debbie Harvie, who is director of the UBC Bookstore at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., won the Aspen Award, honoring a professional in the industry "who has made continuous, notable contributions to the education and professional development efforts of the association and helped advance the industry through learning endeavors."

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Keynote speaker Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of Toms Shoes, which donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes sold, said that he would donate a book to someone in need for every copy sold of his own book, Start Something That Matters, which Spiegel & Grau will publish in September. The NACS Foundation is donating $10,000 to the effort.--John Mutter

 


Counterpoint: Gangster Nation by Tod Goldberg


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joe Matthews on Bringing Adam Home

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Jill Zarin, Lisa Wexler and Gloria Kamen, authors of Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Real Advice, Real Stories, Real Love (NAL, $15, 9780451232670).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Joe Matthews, co-author of Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America (Ecco, $24.99, 9780061983900). He's also on Nightline tomorrow night.

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Dan Abrams, author of Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else (Abrams, $17.95, 9780810998292).

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Tomorrow on Fox & Friends: Andrew Ferguson, author of Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439101216).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Ron Rosenbaum, author of How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781416594215).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Meredith Baxter, author of Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering (Crown Archetype, $25, 9780307719300).

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Tomorrow on the Daily Show: Allison Stanger, author of One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy (Yale University, $18, 9780300168327).

 


Young Readers, Young Moviegoers

Fox 2000 signed a first-look deal with Paper Lantern Lit, a company co-founded by Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer that focuses on young readers and writers. The deal includes film rights to Oliver's second novel, Delirium, which was offered to Fox by Mazur/Kaplan Company, owned by producer Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, Miami, Fla. They will also produce Delirium, which is their second acquisition (after The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society).

Variety reported that Fox "has been more aggressive than its competitors recently in picking up rights to the high-profile young adult books on the market. Fox 2000 recently acquired rights to The Book Thief, a New York Times bestseller, and Incarceron, with Taylor Lautner attached to star.... Under the deal, Fox 2000 will have rights to develop and produce young adult work from both Oliver and Lantern's pool of authors. Last year, the shingle obtained rights to Oliver's flagship novel Before I Fall...."

Fox's president Elizabeth Gabler said, "We know there's a huge, really aggressive audience in young moviegoers. I think the trend right now is to look at things that are created for them."

 


Movies: The Adjustment Bureau; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The Adjustment Bureau, based on the short story "Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick, opens this Friday, March 4. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are a lovestruck duo whose attempts to be together are thwarted by mysterious figures determined to see a different destiny fufilled.

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Universal Pictures acquired the domestic distribution rights to the new film adaptation of John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, directed by Tomas Alfredson and starring Gary Oldman, Oscar-winner Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and Ciaran Hinds. A November or December release is expected for the movie, which Deadline.com described as "one of the hottest titles shopped in Berlin, where buyers watched several minutes of footage and read the script for Alfredson's follow-up to Let the Right One In." 

 



Books & Authors

Awards: Montana Book Winner

Bound Like Grass: A Memoir from the Western High Plains by Ruth McLaughlin (University of Oklahoma Press) has won the 2010 Montana Book Award, which honors "literary and/or artistic excellence in a book written or illustrated by someone who lives in Montana, is set in Montana, or deals with Montana themes or issues."

The judges described the book as "an honest, beautifully written memoir of McLaughlin's own and her family's struggle to survive on their isolated wheat and cattle farm. With acute observation, she explores her roots as a descendant of Swedish American grandparents who settled in Montana at the turn of the twentieth century with high ambitions, and of parents who barely managed to eke out a living on their own neighboring farm."

Honor winners are:

Everything by Kevin Canty (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)
Goodbye Wifes and Daughters by Susan Resnick (University of Nebraska Press)
The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)
Visions of the Big Sky: Painting and Photographing the Northern Rocky Mountain West by Dan Flores (University of Oklahoma Press)

 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 8:

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports by Kostya Kennedy (Sports Illustrated, $26.95, 9781603201773) recounts the Yankee Clipper's improbable 56-game hitting streak in 1941.

The Money Class: Learn to Create Your New American Dream by Suze Orman (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 9781400069736) gives tips on achieving a financially secure future.

The Jungle by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399157042) is the eighth Oregon Files action-adventure novel.

Love You More: A Novel by Lisa Gardner (Bantam, $26, 9780553807257) is Boston detective D.D. Warren's fifth investigation, this time into a shooting committed by a state trooper.

Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan by Jeff Greenfield (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399157066) speculates the aftermath of various fictional yet plausible political events.


Now in paperback:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Broadway, $16, 9781400052189).

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell, translated by Laurie Thompson (Vintage, $15, 9780307472847).

 


Book Review

Book Review: Inconceivable

Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift by Carolyn Savage (HarperOne, $26.99 Hardcover, 9780062004635, February 2011)

Although the overly chatty subtitle of this co-authored memoir leaches some its tension before the cover is even opened, Carolyn and Sean Savage's story--by turns horrifying, frustrating and heartbreaking--remains both compelling and disturbing on several levels. As outrageous as their experience seems, it is likely to be repeated in various ways as reproductive technology continues to advance and questions of what defines parenthood become ever more complicated.

Bonded in part by their shared Catholic faith and commitment to the Church, Carolyn and Sean, who were married in 1993, had hoped for a large family. Despite her endometriosis, Carolyn had a relatively easy first pregnancy and gave birth to their son soon after they married. More fertility and pregnancy problems arose, however, and Carolyn nearly died giving birth to their second son about two years later. The Savages temporarily gave up the dream of more children for several years but then decided to try in vitro fertilization; a decision that came with some soul-searching since the Church does not approve of IVF. After another very difficult pregnancy, Carolyn gave birth to a daughter. By this time, Carolyn was close to 40 years old. The Savages were advised by their doctor that if they wanted to attempt another pregnancy with their remaining embryos, they couldn't afford to waste any time, so they didn't. The IVF was again successful but almost immediately afterward, the fertility clinic called Sean Savage to tell him that there had been a mistake--Carolyn had been implanted with an embryo belonging to another couple.

The Savages never considered terminating the pregnancy, nor did they entertain the idea of pursuing custody of the child once born. Yet both Sean and Carolyn also felt strongly that the baby belonged to them as well. Alternating points of view, the book details the excruciating months of Carolyn's pregnancy, during which the Savages established a tentative relationship with the baby's genetic parents, went through the daunting task of informing their family and friends of their situation and, inevitably, assembled a team of lawyers and media specialists. In the middle of it all, they attempted another (ultimately unsuccessful) pregnancy with a surrogate using their remaining embryos.

Readers will respond to this story in ways as personal as the story itself. All of those responses will be wrong--and all of them will be right. This very conundrum is what makes Inconceivable such an important and timely book. The Savages' story raises many more questions than it can possibly answer about, among other things, science, faith, motherhood and the law. But it is critical that we give these questions serious thought. Through their own experience, Sean and Carolyn Savage allow us to do just that.--Debra Ginsberg

Shelf Talker: A startling and unsettling memoir by a couple who were implanted with the wrong embryo at a fertility clinic.

 


Disney-Hyperion: Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Serafina # 3) by Robert Beatty
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