Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 19, 2012
Quotation of the Day
Indie Booksellers Are 'Badass Ninjas'
"Badass ninjas survive. I think independent booksellers will survive and if you don't want to help them, then that's fine. I will. And a lot of other badass people will, too. But in case you're an author and you never realized just how important they are... or in case you have one in your town and you never really realized that they were helping your community by just being there and having the gonads to operate, then I hope this post helped you see that."
Penguin Parent Buys Self-Publishing Company
Pearson, parent of Penguin Group, is buying self-publishing company Author Solutions from Bertram Capital for $116 million. Founded in 2007, Author Solutions has helped, it says, 150,000 authors to publish, market and distribute books and had sales of $100 million last year.
Quoting Bowker, Pearson said self-publishing titles increased by 60% in 2011 over 2010 and noted that "the self-publishing sector has also become an important source of talent and content for the publishing industry, producing several bestselling authors including Lisa Genova, John Locke, Darcie Chan, Amanda Hocking, Bronnie Ware and E.L. James."
The companies said that Penguin will gain access to Author Solutions' "expertise in online marketing, consumer analytics, professional services and user-generated content" while Author Solutions will benefit from Penguin's "design, editorial and sales skills, and its strong international presence as it looks to expand outside the U.S."
Penguin CEO John Makinson commented: "Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry over the past three years. It has provided new outlets for professional writers, a huge increase in the range of books available to readers and an exciting source of content for publishers such as Penguin. No one has captured this opportunity as successfully as Author Solutions, which has rapidly built a position of world leadership on a platform of outstanding customer support and tailor-made publishing services. This acquisition will allow Penguin to participate fully in perhaps the fastest-growing area of the publishing economy and gain skills in customer acquisition and data analytics that will be vital to our future."
McCarthy Is New President at Perseus Distribution
As a result of the departure of Clare Peeters for another position, Perseus Distribution is making several major changes, effective August 1:
Sabrina McCarthy is being promoted to the new position of president, Perseus Distribution Client Services, and is taking on executive leadership of Argo Navis. For the past six years, she has been v-p, Perseus Distribution. She was one of the first employees to join the Perseus Books group when it was established in 1997 and since then has worked in publicity, marketing, sales, operations and business management--and earned an MBA from New York University.
Greg Anastas is being promoted to the new position of v-p, supply chain and sales operations. He joined the company in 2006 as v-p, sales operations.
After eight years at Perseus Books, Peeters, who has been v-p, corporate strategy and business development, is leaving the company to become v-p and managing director at Alex Johnson, a private investment firm.
Rainy Faye Closing in Bridgeport, Conn.
Rainy Faye Bookstore, Bridgeport, Conn., is closing August 1, according to the Connecticut Post. Owner Georgia Day, a former assistant academic v-p at Fairfield University, told the paper that the Great Recession curtailed business and forced her to close mornings during the week and let go her full-time staffer.
In addition, she said, the store suffered from competition from online retailers and e-books and a lack of support of small businesses from the city government.
BAM Stock Slides 21.1% After Takeover Bid Is WithdrawnBooks-A-Million stock fell 21.1%, to $2.50 a share, yesterday after the Anderson family announced it is withdrawing its $22.9 million bid to take over the 47% of the company that it doesn't already own. That bid, objected to by some shareholders, had valued the bookseller at $3.05 a share. When the bid was made public earlier this year, BAM stock rose as high as $3.79.
Many Ex-Borders HQ Staff Make Soft Landing
In two stories this week (the first and second), AnnArbor.com profiles the experiences of some of the former employees at Borders headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., "most, but not all," of whom have found new positions since the company's collapse last year. Several striking notes: none of the new jobs involves bookselling, and the group of ex-Borders staffers who stayed to the bitter end has stuck together, both formally and informally.
One 20-year Walden and Borders vet has done regular part-time freelance work but is looking for a full-time position. A former store manager is now manager of corporate relationships for Habitat for Humanity. A senior buyer for children's and preteen fiction has become the camping buyer for Dunham's, the outdoors and sports chain. A married couple--he was a music buyer and she worked in finance--have taken different tacks: she found work immediately, while he has gone back to school to become a teacher.
Image of the Day: Cool Pool Party
On Tuesday, a launch party was held for Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back by Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli (Free Press) at La Piscine, the rooftop bar of the Hotel Americano in New York City. At the end of his speech on the sweltering evening, Zolli dove elegantly into the pool still wearing his suit.
Beehive Books Celebrating Fifth Birthday
Congratulations to Beehive Books, Delaware, Ohio, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary later this year. ThisWeek Community News profiled the bookstore, owned Linda Diamond and managed by Richard Brulotte.
"We're good right now," Diamond said. "We're excellent--better than we've been in a long, long time.... I think customer service is a huge, huge plus for us. When you're in a small town, an independent store has to do all these things."
Brulotte added: "This is truly a gathering spot for all different people in the community."
Cool Bookstore Video of the Day: 'Joy of Reading' in Montrose
KABC in Los Angeles featured a story on Jessica Palacios, who "loves books" and "wants to share the joy of reading with others." Jessica's family owns Once Upon a Time Bookstore, Montrose, Calif., which--as is noted on the shop's website--was founded in 1966 and has been "a magical place for thousands of children and adults alike throughout the years. In April 2003, the Palacios family, by way of our then 9-year old daughter Jessica's letter-to–the-editor, bought the business from founder Jane Humphrey."
Jessica told KABC that she wants kids "to see that it's fun, that it's not something that is tedious, that you have to do. There's joy and imagination.... You know if you get to one kid, you know that they're going to be a reader forever. And that's always what you want. You want to be a reader, because you can't not read. It's so important to everything that you do."
Trio of New Board Members at IBPA
The Independent Book Publishers Association has added the following new board members for 2012-2014 terms:
Rana DiOrio of Little Pickle Press, Tiburon, Calif., which she founded in 2009 to publish high-quality, high-impact media for children. She has also been an investor, investment banker and lawyer.
Kelly Gallagher, v-p of publishing services at R.R. Bowker, where, among other duties, he manages the PubTrack consumer research panel. For the past year, he has led a Book Industry Study Group project to study consumer attitudes toward e-devices and digital content.
Deltina Hay, founder of Dalton Publishing, the literary press in Austin, Tex., and head of Social Media Power and PLUMB Web Solutions.
Book Trailer of the Day: The Auschwitz Volunteer
The Auschwitz Volunteer by Captain Witold Pilecki (Aquila Polonica Publishing), a video created by Hugo Award-winning screenwriter Morgan Gendel.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln
This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Stephen L. Carter, author of The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307272638).
This morning on Imus in the Morning: David Kirby, author of Death at Sea World: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250002020).
Tomorrow on CBS' the Talk: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, author of Gorilla Beach (Gallery, $25, 9781451657081).
This Weekend on Book TV: Harlem Book Fair
Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.
Saturday, July 21
12:30 p.m. Book TV features live coverage of the Harlem Book Fair from the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)
7:30 p.m. James Fallows, author of China Airborne (Pantheon, $25.95, 9780375422119), chronicles the rise of China's aerospace industry.
8:30 p.m. A panel of librarians from across the U.S. discuss "The Best of the Best of the University Presses."
10 p.m. After Words. New York Times columnist Judith Warner interviews Kaitlin Bell Barnett, author of Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up (Beacon, $25.95, 9780807001349). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. & 3 a.m.)
11 p.m. Jason Mattera presents his book Hollywood Hypocrites: The Devastating Truth About Obama's Biggest Backers (Threshold Editions, $25, 9781451625615). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)
Sunday, July 22
7:45 a.m. Ian Bremmer discusses his book Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World (Portfolio, $26.95, 9781591844686). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)
10:45 a.m. At an event hosted by Book Passage Bookstore, Corte Madera, Calif., former U.S. senator Bill Bradley presents his book We Can All Do Better (Vanguard Press, $24.99, 9781593157296). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)
8 p.m. For an event hosted by Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Robert Merry talks about his book Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians (S&S, $28, 9781451625400).
Books & Authors
Awards: Harper Lee Prize Winner
The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly has won the second annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, according to the ABA Journal (that ABA is the American Bar Association!).
The prize, created by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal and honoring the "work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society," will be presented at a ceremony and panel discussion on September 20 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the National Book Festival.
Ken Randall, dean of the University of Alabama School of Law, said that The Fifth Witness "effectively portrays the critical difference lawyers can make on their clients' lives and more generally on justice. Resourceful lawyers of different backgrounds, whether like Harper Lee's Atticus Finch, or Connelly's Mickey Haller, play a pivotal role in society."
Review: You & Me
You & Me by Padgett Powell (Ecco Press, $23.99 hardcover, 9780062126139, July 31, 2012)
Padgett Powell (Edisto) is back with another sui generis novel, You & Me--a nod in the direction of Vladimir and Estragon, those two great talkers in Waiting for Godot.
The two characters--and they really are characters--say regarding their whereabouts: "Geographically we have no idea. In the geography that has no place, that which obtains when the there is not there, can you dig it, we are between Jacksonville, Florida and Bakersfield, California." Call it absurdist, call it experimental fiction, postmodernist; whatever it is, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
They talk--oh, how they talk:
"Why do we talk
Why would we not?
I suspect that is why we talk: what would we do if we did not talk.
Precious little else, darlin'
Your point is that we do nothing but talk...
And that if we cease, we do nothing, are nothing.
Well, given how little we talk about, we are next to nothing already.
I dispute you not."
It is not true that they talk about nothing. They talk about the definitions of words they like: trepanning, furring strips, Craigiator, irrigable, wizened, pustulent; silly names like Studio Becalmed and Something Twice, Constant Rectitude and Inherent Muddle. These lofty concepts are clearly not nothing. They are heavy with Something; it remains for the reader to discern what exactly that is.
These two also talk, in hilariously ribald fashion, about sex and love, love and sex, body parts, girls and women lost and found and how they felt about them, yielding gems of insight and expression: "Those were the days in which hormones ran like gurgling brooks in our veins and melted our knees with need."
On yard sales and the presidency: "The poor kleptos go to yard sales, the rich run for president, out of the same impulse."
Then, inevitably, they begin to feel the horizon shortening and decide that they must "live every day of our lives as if it's the last day of our life. Let's see: that's LEDOOLAIITLDOOL. It sounds like a Mayan god." They think about that for a while and decide "there is a point after which the jokes stop and we have to figure out how to die." From there, one of them is moved to say, "I am too tired to any longer not be insensitive. It takes a lot of energy to be sensitive."
Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a trivial book. Stay with it and the payoffs are marvelous. --Valerie Ryan
Shelf Talker: A one-off from Padgett Powell, who gets deeper and funnier every time out.