Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012: Maximum Shelf: Gone Girl
Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Quotation of the Day
Opening a New Indie Bookstore Is 'Bold,' Not 'Crazy'
"I prefer 'bold' to 'crazy'.... The key for this new, second location is that we are blending a book store with a new community space, the Under One Roof social innovation hub. So part of our business going forward is based on partnerships with social-mission organizations and developing new, creative projects that expand what an independent bookstore is about.
"Octopus has always been about connecting to community--so independents have to take their business forward in new, creative ways that build their community--online and in the real world."
NewCo News: B&N-Microsoft Followup
Not surprisingly, NewCo, the partnership between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft announced Monday morning, has received lots of press. Among noteworthy points that came out after the initial announcement:
Besides the $300 million investment in the new joint venture, Microsoft is guaranteeing to pay another $305 million. As TechCrunch noted about B&N's 8K filing with the SEC Monday: "Microsoft will be paying the Barnes & Noble subsidiary $180 million in connection with revenue sharing on the Nook app that B&N will make for the Windows 8 platform. This is nonrefundable, the filing notes. Microsoft is also paying $125 million (equal to $25 million over five years) 'for purposes of assisting NewCo in acquiring local digital reading content and technology development.' This, too, looks to be nonrefundable."
The partnership is not exclusive, meaning B&N can create alliances with other companies.
In its financial reporting, B&N will begin to break out Nook results from the rest of the business.
B&N CEO William Lynch told the New York Times that the digital business will remain closely linked to B&N's bricks-and-mortar stores. (The company has 691 trade stores and 641 college stores.) "We're not changing the base number of the stores materially," he said. "We're looking to play a little offense with the bookstores." In a possible hint to opening stores, Lynch noted, as the Times described it, that there are "many cities with high-income residents that no longer have a bookstore after the liquidation of Borders last year."
Many observers said that beyond helping the partners compete with Amazon, Apple and Google, the move is part of an international push by B&N, which does not have an international presence, in marked contrast to Amazon.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Lynch as saying, "We're going to use the proceeds for an aggressive expansion program to take the Nook international."
And if anyone had doubts about the view of investors who want B&N to spin off its digital operations, B&N closed Monday up 52%, to $20.75, its highest price since 2010. Yesterday B&N closed down slightly, at $19.49.
In an interview with Fortune, Lynch was asked whether he considered the share price jump "a vindication of the resources" B&N has invested in Nook. "Vindication is a strong word," he replied. "We understood when we were making these investments that the growth area was going to be in the sale of digital content. We knew that if we built a technology platform with reading technologies, application software, cloud management--and then really the most valuable part is a vast digital content repository that we've built with our relationships with now hundreds of thousands of publishers--that was going to be something extremely valuable as the world's top content goes digital."
Lynch also revealed an upcoming tool to help achieve the stated goal of "creating a Nook experience in our stores to really improve the overall consumer experience.... We're going to start embedding NFC chips into our Nooks. We can work with the publishers so they would ship a copy of each hardcover with an NFC chip embedded with all the editorial reviews they can get on BN.com. And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience. That's coming, and we could lead in that area."
The Digital Reader observed that a Windows 8 Nook does not appear to be on the horizon, noting "the 'MetroNook' conjured up by so many tech bloggers was not based on anything said by B&N; the Nook uses open source software and Mr. Lynch was pretty clear that no future hardware plans have been released. 'Currently, we've not communicated anything related to the roadmap about any hardware collaboration on Nook. Nook, as you know, uses open sourcing. Microsoft is obviously very entrenched in Windows.' "
BISG Survey: Tablet Preference 'Accelerating Rapidly'
Dedicated e-reading devices continue to lose ground to tablets in the battle for e-book readers, according to the Book Industry Study Group's Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey, conducted by Bowker Market Research.
Over a six-month period, the study found that consumers' "first choice" preference for dedicated e-readers declined from 72% to 58%, with tablet devices becoming the preferred reading device for more than 24% of e-book buyers, up from less than 13% in August 2011. Apple's iPad rose by just over 1%, while non-Apple tablets--primarily from Amazon and Barnes & Noble--increased substantially, from 5% to 14%.
Nearly 30% of respondents reported an increase in dollars spent on books in all formats after they began acquiring e-books, while nearly 50% reported an overall increase in the volume of titles purchased in any format. More than 62% reported an increase in dollars spent on e-books, and more than 72% said they increased the volume of e-titles they are purchasing.
The study also found that more than 27% of Casual Buyers (those who purchase one or two books a month) now exclusively purchase e-books rather than print, compared to 30% of Power Buyers (who acquire e-books at least weekly). Casual Buyers are slightly more likely to play games (37% vs. 35%) or watch video content (23% vs. 21%) on their devices, but only half of Casual Buyers use a tablet regularly, compared to 83% of Power Buyers.
For more information, go to http://www.bisg.org/publications/product.php?p=19&c=437.
Restivo-Alessi Named Chief Digital Officer at HarperCollins
Chantal Restivo-Alessi has been appointed chief digital officer at HarperCollins, replacing Charlie Redmayne, who left the company late last year to become CEO of Pottermore.
Restivo-Alessi will report to HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray, and sit on the company's executive committee. She joins the publisher from ING Bank in London, where she was head of media corporate finance. Leslie Hulse, senior v-p, digital business development, will report to her.
"I am excited to welcome Chantal to HarperCollins," said Murray. "Her extensive expertise in strategy development and execution, as well as change management in the media space, makes her a perfect fit for HarperCollins as we look to expand the strategic partnerships required to grow in the future."
Gibson's Bookstore Planning Big Move
Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., will be moving from its 27 South Main St. location "to fill the entire first floor" as the major tenant of a new building at 43-45 South Main St., "where construction is scheduled to begin this summer following the demolition of the New Hampshire Bindery and an adjacent building," the Monitor reported, adding that the five-floor, nearly 70,000-square-foot building should be ready by next year.
Developer Steve Duprey said he is "particularly excited" to have the bookseller as a tenant in his new building and called owner Michael Herrmann's expansion plans "a huge commitment to replacing what was lost when Borders was closed. It is a remarkable commitment to the downtown, instead of a mall. And for an independent bookseller to do that, it's just a great move for this community. It will help anchor downtown."
Herrmann cited the demise of Borders bookstore last year and the "immediate and big jump" in sales at his store as the spark for his initial consideration of possible expansion. According to the Monitor, Gibson's Bookstore will lease nearly 14,000 square feet (12,000 "usable space") in the new building, with 2,000 square feet occupied by a café.
"We think about 10,000 square feet is the kind of robust independent bookstore that a city the size of Concord can support, and we hope people will support it, " said Herrmann, noting that the additional space will result in expanded hours, a larger children's section and other improvements. "This whole end of the street is becoming so much of an arts district. We're still going to be square in the middle of that."
In an e-mail newsletter sent to customers yesterday afternoon, Herrmann confirmed that the relocation is expected to occur a little over a year from now. "Why are we moving?" he wrote. "We love our current space, and we love our neighbors, but let's face it: many sections are groaning with overstock, our events become mob scenes when popular authors come to town, and there's so much we know we could do better if we just had the right space to do it in. We need a bigger space; we need a better space."
He also observed that their "primary job as booksellers in 2012 is to put up the best bookstore space we can--to provide the best argument we can for shopping for books in the real world. This new development has given us a way to do that.... All I know is that there was nowhere else in the downtown for Gibson's--Concord's oldest retailer, the oldest independent bookstore in New Hampshire, and, we hope, also worthy of preservation--to create the best version of itself, to write its own future. Because if we don't write it, it is certainly at risk. Thanks to Steve Duprey's new development, we'll have that opportunity."
Image of the Day: Culinary Mystery Writers
Last Friday, Salt & Pepper Books, Occoquan, Va., which specializes in cookbooks, food writing, culinary mysteries and kitchen gifts, hosted a book signing for a group of culinary mystery writers. From l.: Avery Aames, Sheila Connolly, Lucy Burdette and Krista Davis.
Cool Idea for May Day: Gather! Strike! Sing!
Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., celebrated May Day and "the importance of International Workers' Day" by "participating in the calls for action put out by the Occupy movement and others, through a full day of activities." The bookstore's participation included serving as "a rallying place--and also by going on strike (but in a nice, everyone-is-in-on-it way)," according to the bookstore's website, which extended an invitation to "Gather! Strike! Sing!"
Skylight served as "your labor hall for the day," hosting a number of activities, including an Occupy Meetup and a "strike"--Skylight closed from 2-5 p.m. "to provide time for all its staff to participate in the downtown convergence" and the May 1st Rally for Immigrants Rights. In the evening, "labor troubadour" Ross Altman performed.
"Generally, bookstores maintain a neutral political stance, but Skylight is loudly declaring a strong, leftist ideology," Jacket Copy reported. "But it is still a bookseller: If you want Newt Gingrich's latest book, they'll be sure to get it for you."
Grand Opening: Face in a Book
Face in a Book bookstore, El Dorado Hills, Calif., will host its grand opening this weekend. The Sacramento Writing Examiner reported that owner Tina Ferguson "planned a store to attract buyers and hold their attention.... The feeling is more one of visiting a friend’s casually labeled library."
"I want people to know that we're here for them in the community," she said. "We want this to be their neighborhood store where they can find a new discovery of books. And if we don't have it here, we'll order it for you."
The bookstore's name was inspired by a conversation Ferguson had with a friend. As they were commiserating about another bookstore closure, "We wondered why people aren't reading books. I said, 'Well, I think people ought to get off of Facebook and put their face in a book.' " The rest is indie bookstore history.
Cash Mob of the Day: Idle Time Books
Idle Time Books, a 31-year-old used, rare and antiquarian bookshop in Washington, D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood, was the focus of a cash mob organized by Think Local First D.C., the Washington Post reported.
Grand Valley Books: Sometimes 'the Days Have Wings'
Congratulations to Grand Valley Books, Grand Junction, Colo., which celebrated its second anniversary Monday. "Sometimes it feels like we've lived a lifetime in those two years; other times it feels like the days have wings," co-owners Margie Wilson and Frank Cooley observed. "The patronage of our customers and the encouragement of our business neighbors have helped make our business grow. The jobs we've created and the opportunities to give back to the community have made us feel like more than just a commercial enterprise. In a time of fierce competition for independent bookstores in our country and in the world at large, we're humbled by the generosity of the Grand Junction community, and very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the local reading scene."
Book Trailer of the Day: Darth Vader and Son
Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle).
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Dan Rather on NPR's Diane Rehm Show
This morning on Imus in the Morning: Jose Rodriguez, co-author of Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781451663471).
Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Steve Coll, author of Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (Penguin, $36, 9781594203350).
Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Lisa Rinna and Ian Kerner, co-authors of The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book (Gallery, $26, 9781451661231).
Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Dan Rather, co-author of Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News (Grand Central, $27.99, 9781455502417).
Tomorrow on the Rosie Show: Zach Wahls, author of My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family (Gotham, $26, 9781592407132).
On CNN's Your Bottom Line: Lisa Bloom, author of Swagger: 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness, and Thug Culture (A Think Book/Vantage Point, $26.99, 9781936467693).
Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad (Crown, $26, 9780307955579).
Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Stephen Colbert, who will talk about his children's book, I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) (Grand Central, $15.99, 9781455523429).
Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Julie Andrews, co-author of The Very Fairy Princess (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780316040501).
TV: Corrections Pilot Canceled; Eyes of the Dragon
HBO has decided not to go forward with the pilot based on Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections. Deadline.com reported that the Noah Baumbach/Scott Rudin project "boasted one of most star-studded casts ever assembled on television: Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans and Greta Gerwig."
The attempt to bring Franzen's novel to the screen "was considered a big swing," Deadline.com wrote. "Word is HBO brass liked the performances but the decision came down to adapting the book's challenging narrative, which moves through time and cuts forwards and back. While that works in the novel, it proved difficult to sustain in a series and challenging for viewers to follow, hampering the potential show's accessibility."
Stephen King's 1987 fantasy novel The Eyes of the Dragon is being developed by the Syfy network "as a longform project," with Michael Taylor (Battlestar Galactica) and Jeff Vintar (I, Robot) writing the script, Entertainment Weekly reported, adding that Dragon "is a rarity among King's early works: A stand-alone novel that hasn't been previously adapted into a live-action feature."
Kipling & Gaiman: Variations on a Jungle Book Theme
Steve Kloves, who wrote the screenplays for the Harry Potter film series, "is making a deal to write, direct and produce The Jungle Book at Warner Bros.," Deadline.com reported, noting that the project will be a live-action adaptation.
Disney "made a high six-figure deal" for Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, the ghoulish riff on Kipling's Jungle Book, according to Deadline.com. Henry Selick (Coraline) will direct the project, which is "a priority for the studio."
Books & Authors
Awards: The Believer; Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor
The Believer announced this year's award winners. The seventh annual Believer Book Award went to Ben Lerner for Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House Press) and Heather Christle won the second annual Believer Poetry Award for her collection The Trees The Trees (Octopus Books). You can find the book shortlist here and poetry shortlist here.
Continuing his "quest to seize every major Canadian literary award," Patrick deWitt won the $15,000 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humor for his novel The Sisters Brothers, the National Post reported, wryly noting that the "author-turned-supervillain" previously took the Governor General's Literary Award and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and is rumored to have "his eyes on the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction; British authorities have been contacted."
Book Brahmin: Naveen Kishore
Naveen Kishore is a lighting designer, photographer and the publisher of Seagull Books.
On your nightstand now:
A combo. IQ84 by Haruki Marukami. Dorothy Sayers's Five Red Herrings and loads of delightful manuscripts, from Marc Auge to Dominique Edde. Oh, and Beckett's Letters, the first two volumes.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Books. Or rather, authors as favorites. Four at any given moment. So: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas; Alice in Wonderland, of course; and loads of Dickens, in particular Hard Times; and Chekhov's Three Sisters.
Your top five authors:
Changes over time. Right now, this moment: Ivan Vladislavic, Inka Parei, Urs Widmer, Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Alexander Kluge. Totally engrossed in the authors I publish. Plus one: Murakami! Oh, and yes, Thomas Bernhard. Always.
Book you've faked reading:
Not applicable I'm afraid. No faking-shaking! I persist with the books I take up. Even the boring ones.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Recently? Viktor Halfwit by Thomas Bernhard. And since two's company; Ivan Vladislavic's The Loss Library. Three? Most of Ursula le Guin. Past?... Most of Conrad.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Too many to list here! All desperately successful though. Never been disappointed. Discover loads of new writers that way. All of Seagull's own.
Book that changed your life:
The Oxford Book of Death by D.J. Enright. Also the most thumbed. Most quoted in print and in one's head. Yup, the OBD.
Favorite line from a book:
"Burn, baby, burn."
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Sculpting in Time by Tarkovsky. In fact, frequently. That and Brecht's Poems.
What do you love about books in translation?
The "edginess" of literature different from mine. The "getting-under-the-skin" quality. The sense of dislocation and being "torn asunder." And the intuitive recognition of humor across cultures!
What do you think is the future of the printed book?
Healthy. More beautifully crafted than ever before. Shine on, you crazy diamond!
Children's Review: Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always
Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu (Dial Books, $16.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 3-5, 9780803735651, June 28, 2012)
As with her marvelous Bunny Days, Tao Nyeu uses a limited palette of lime green, cornflower blue and cantaloupe to convey a light mood and a hint of nostalgia as she explores the many shades of friendship.
Squid, with his green polka dots, four pairs of arms and telltale arrow-like green tentacles, sports a wool hat with a pom-pom. His best friend is blue-spotted Octopus (also with four pairs of arms, but no arrow-like tentacles), wearing a plaid cap. A quartet of brief tales charts the mostly ups and a few downs in their friendship. In the first story, "The Quarrel," Squid knits Octopus eight socks, only to hear Octopus insist that he wears mittens--but they reach a peaceful compromise after seeking out (and ignoring) the advice of Wise Old Turtle. Each has his talents: while Squid knits, Octopus paints, sculpts and photographs. As one of their friends points out, Lobster serves as Octopus's muse.
After a dream in which he starred as "Super Squid," the fellow wakes up feeling ordinary--until Octopus reminds Squid of all the good things he does for his friends and makes him feel "super from head to tentacle." In a cutaway view (Squid's dream of having "X-ray vision") of the inside of a submarine, older readers will appreciate a few salty puns, such as a raccoon and platypus playing "go fish," and a white bear looking very much like the Wonder Bear and caretaker in Bunny Days reading Moby-Dick to some white rabbits.
Youngsters will enjoy knowing the true function of "The Hat" that "float[s] down from above," even as Octopus and his fellow sea creatures hazard erroneous guesses (hat, flowerpot and soup bowl, among them; our favorite: a fish calling a spur a "can opener" and "pizza cutter"). Fun side conversations at Yum Yum's soup stand come to fruition a few pages later. The closer, "The Fortune Cookie," affirms the duo's friendship, through good fortune and bad. Eagle-eyed fans will note Mr. and Mrs. Goat inside the submarine. There's plenty to pore over in these pages, and much fodder for discussion in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms about how to be a good friend. --Jennifer M. Brown
Shelf Talker: With a limited palette that looks good enough to eat and two eight-tentacled pals, Tao Nyeu portrays a boundless friendship.