Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 16, 2013: Maximum Shelf: A Land More Kind Than Home

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DC Entertainment: Superman: Earth One Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

Hew Communications: Holiday Thank You Ad

Baen: Holiday Thank You Ad

St. Martin's: Saltwater Cowboy by Tim McBride

Delacorte Press: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Tarcher: Four Ways to Click by Amy Banks & Leigh Ann Hirschman

 

News

DBW: Children's Publishing Goes Digital

Who owns the stories children read? The author, the artist, the publisher, the reader? Who owns the market share? The school library, Amazon, the independent bookstore?

These were some of the questions debated yesterday by children's publishers, platform creators and data collectors at "Children's Publishing Goes Digital," a preconference to Digital Book World sponsored by Publishers Launch at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York City.

Carl Kulo of Bowker and Kristen McLean of Bookigee.

In "Sizing Up the Kid's Book Market," Carl Kulo of Bowker and Kristen McLean, CEO and founder of Bookigee, shared key findings from their November 2012 survey. Even as they noted a decline in bookstore and library influence, and friends and family now rank as the top influence, the bookstore and public library are still the best places for children and parents to discover books. Parental attitudes toward kids' e-books are still evolving. Parents show a preference toward print for their children, while parents surveyed are tracking at 42% e-book readership.

McLean said, "Teens' attitudes toward e-books are 'snapping back' to print in this survey." Though she's not sure if this will be a "continuing trend," she did point out that "Teen e-book adoption does not align with sales," a point that Kulo had emphasized at November's Publishing Perspectives conference and reiterated yesterday. "Only 16% of YA books are being purchased by teens," Kulo said. "62% of YA books are bought by 18- to 29-year-olds." Overall, the children's book market is "extremely stable," said McLean. But online purchasing for children's books is up, so McLean asks, "If we lose that opportunity for exploration, how do we replicate that?"

Some presenters suggested that we solve it through platforms. Kashif Zafar and Matt Warner of Barnes & Noble and Nook Kids said there's a move away from buying on BarnesandNoble.com and toward readers purchasing books directly through their Nooks. Lists became "the preferred method of on-device discovery," said Zafar. Deborah Forte, president of Scholastic Media, talked about Storia, a new platform for reading, as what she calls "the school-to-home connection" and as a means of discoverability. "No one has done that better than Amazon," Forte said. "How can we do that better?"

On the educational front, Neal Goff, of Egremont Associates, suggested publishers get involved with the Learning Resources Metadata Initiative, which offers guidelines to the right metadata so teachers can find trade books through Google and Bing. Teri Souter, a founder of Brain Hive, discussed a new model for providing an e-book library of 3,700 titles to schools. Membership is free; there's a $1 fee to use the library, "a brainhive buck" for every checkout, 14 days maximum. It's billed monthly based on circulation. Souter hopes other publishers will add their e-books on a shared-revenue basis.

Other publishers discussed new ways of engaging kids in story that they're exploring--Jess Braillier, whose Poptropica launched the Wimpy Kid franchise; Christian Dorffer of Magic Town; Asra Rasheed of RRKidz, the new Reading Rainbow app; and Dominique Raccah, who announced that Sesame Street Workshop has just signed on as a partner to her new program at Sourcebooks, Put Me in the Story, in which a child can place himself or herself in a book as a character.

Rethinking Intellectual Property: Jon Yaged, Eric Huang, Corinne Helman, Swanna MacNair

Eric Huang, director, new business and IP acquisitions at Penguin, Macmillan's Jon Yaged, Corinne Helman of HarperCollins and Swanna MacNair from Creative Conduit discussed the challenges of trying to take classic characters into different realms in "Rethinking Intellectual Property." Huang differentiated between the example of Peter Rabbit, for which Penguin is a co-development partner, and material he's originating, such as Edmund and Cecile, a fairy-tale brand that will launch as an app first. Yaged said that the decision to launch Macmillan's Priddy Books apps came largely because Macmillan owned the rights. "It's easier when you own everything, but my most successful examples are based on traditional license projects," Helman explained. "We buy 400 books a year, and we can't afford to buy transmedia rights for all of them. We make a book a success, and everyone else benefits."

Lorraine Shanley, Market Partners; Barbara Marcus, Random House; Karen Lotz, Candlewick; Kate Wilson, Nosy Crow.

In a closing panel, "The Future of Children's Publishing in the Digital Age," Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House, noted, "The consumer is king in digital." Gone are the restrictions of "YA" versus "adult" physical book sections. Kate Wilson, managing director of Nosy Crow, an app and book developer in the U.K. and the U.S., expressed concerns about the fate of bookstores: "They cannot live by children's books alone," Wilson said. "And in a context when adult books are shifting more rapidly [to e-books], that has important implications for all of us." Candlewick's Karen Lotz articulated the role of the publisher in this brave new world, "What goes first are the deals with the highly recognized properties. What is our role as publisher in figuring out how to be financial stewards of the properties we have?" --Jennifer M. Brown

Abrams: Holiday Thank You Ad

Bookstore Sales Up 3.3% in November

November bookstore sales rose 3.3%, to $965 million, compared to November 2011, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have fallen 1%, to $13.5 billion.

In January, bookstore sales were even with the same period in the previous year, while in February and March bookstore sales dropped 4% and 3.8%, respectively, then rebounded in April by 3.8%, in May by 5.7%, in June by 3.8% and in July by 1.2%. In August, sales fell by 0.8%, the first drop in bookstore sales since March, and fell 8.3% in September (which was a boom month in bookstore sales in 2011 because of the Borders liquidation sales). In October, bookstore sales rose again, by 4.6%.

Total retail sales in November rose 5.1%, to $415.9 billion, compared to November 2011. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 4.5%, to $4,420.6 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."

Akashic Books: Holiday Thank You Ad

National Book Awards: New Longlist & Expanded Judging Pool

In an effort to "broaden the reach and impact" of its awards program, the National Book Foundation is tweaking its National Book Awards review and selection process by adding a longlist and expanding the judging pool to include booksellers and librarians, among others. The decision comes after a year of discussion and a study by an independent consulting firm, which included soliciting input from hundreds of members of the book community, according to the NBF.

"Our mission is to increase the impact of great writing on American culture and these changes are concrete steps to further that mission," said David Steinberger, chairman of the NBF's board of directors and CEO of the Perseus Books Group.

The number of honored books will increase by selecting a 10-title longlist in each of the four genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature), to be announced five weeks before the finalists are named. This year, the longlists will be released September 12 and the shortlists October 15, with the four winners named November 20.

"Every year many worthy titles don't make it all the way to becoming finalists. The longlist will allow us to recognize more good books and broaden the conversation," said Morgan Entrekin, vice-chairman of the foundation's board and publisher/CEO of Grove Atlantic.

In another significant change, judges comprising the four genre panels will no longer be limited to writers, but now may also include other "experts in the field," including literary critics, librarians and booksellers. The number of judges for each panel will remain at five.

"In the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, such prominent critics as Malcolm Cowley, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin and Helen Vendler served as National Book Award judges, bringing a breadth of knowledge and expertise to the panel discussions." said Harold Augenbraum, NBF executive director. "By enlarging the judging pool, new and exciting voices will again deepen and enrich the process."

Shelf Awareness: Amber Benson

Written Words Bookstore Finds New Space

A week after co-owners Dorothy Sim-Broder and David Broder said Written Words Bookstore, Shelton, Conn., was struggling to find a new location, the Shelton Patch reported the bookshop will stay in town and move to a shopping center on River Road next month.

"The place we're going to is smaller so we can probably fit about half of what we have now," Sim-Broder said. "In a way that's good because we can be a little bit more concise. After being in the area for a while, we know now what sells and what doesn't so this is a great time to purge and condense sections."

Latino Books y Mas Closing After 'Bitter Eviction Fight'

After a "bitter eviction fight" that has lasted several months, Latino Books y Mas, Palm Springs, Calif., will be closing its doors in the wake of a Riverside County court ruling Monday, KMIR6 News reported. The shop had been battling an eviction notice it received in September from Wessmann Development "to vacate the property in order to make way for the Desert Fashion Plaza Project."

"I always believe that something good comes out of something bad and I know that something good will come out of this," said owner Luciano Ramirez.

Noting that recently sales had been doing well, he told Jacket Copy: "We carved out a niche.... We were doing well, paying all our bills on time." Looking to the future, Ramirez added that he is not planning to reopen in a new location soon. "Right now, no." he said. "We're going to take a little vacation. But next week we could change our mind."

BAM Shutters Ocala Store

The Gaitway Plaza Books-A-Million store in Ocala, Fla., will close Saturday, "not because of stagnant sales in the electronic age, but because of a failed lease negotiation," the Star-Banner reported, adding that BAM officials said the 17,000-square-foot store "has had good sales and could reopen one day if another location can be found in Ocala."

Personnel Changes: Jamie Raab, Andrea Cascardi

Jamie Raab has been promoted to president and publisher of Grand Central Publishing, where she has been senior v-p and publisher. CEO David Young commented: "In Jamie's two and a half decades with the company, she and her team have created a diverse publishing program that spans just about every genre--commercial fiction and literary novels, celebrity bios and serious politics, business, romance, humor, and lifestyle--putting real muscle behind the campaigns and making GCP a fixture on bestseller lists.... Jamie is a brave and brilliant publisher, a trusted leader in the company, and an impassioned champion of authors. Here superb instincts and her tenacity are widely known in our industry, and she is a true force in the world of publishing.  

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Andrea Cascardi has joined Egmont USA as managing director and publisher. She was formerly an agent at the Transatlantic Literary Agency and earlier was associate publishing director at Random House Children's Books for the Knopf and Crown imprints.

Obituary Note: Ralph G. Martin

Ralph G. Martin, a "bestselling author of political and celebrity biographies whose subjects included the Kennedys, Golda Meir and Winston Churchill's mother," died last week, the New York Times reported. He was 92. Martin's 30 books included the bestselling, two-volume biography Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill.

Notes

Image of the Day: Fans Celebrate A Memory of Light

Last Friday, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, Ky., hosted Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal, celebrating the publication of A Memory of Light (Tor Books), the 14th and final volume in the Wheel of Time series. (Robert Jordan began the series; McDougal, Jordan's wife and editor, picked Sanderson to complete the series after Jordan's death.) Here Sanderson and McDougal are surrounded by more than 700 fans.

Printed Matter Bookstore Storms Back

New York City bookstore Printed Matter, which specializes in artists' publications, "lost close to 10,000 books and sustained more than $200,000 in damages during Hurricane Sandy," NPR's All Things Considered reported, adding that the "day after the storm, volunteers were at the store to help--even though some didn't have power themselves."

NPR's Jon Kalish spoke with several people involved in the ongoing recovery effort, including James Jenkin, executive director of the nonprofit store, who said, "This was stuff that we had created with artists over the years and years and years. It's not something you can easily replace. And it was stuff that actually generates income for the organization."

Kalish noted that 20 boxes of books salvaged in the days following the storm "are now with a disaster restoration company called Polygon. First, they were frozen, then sent to the Boston area and placed inside a vacuum freeze dried chamber."

Summer Street, of Polygon's document recovery division, told Kalish that because Printed Matter's archive was frozen so soon after being soaked, "it has an excellent chance of being salvaged. This is costing thousands of dollars, but a couple of foundations have awarded grants for the archive restoration." A benefit art auction for Printed Matter will be held this spring at a Chelsea gallery space donated by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Skyhorse Adds Gary Null Publishing

Skyhorse Publishing has created Gary Null Publishing, which will feature books on health and wellness from author and nutrition and natural-living advocate Gary Null. The new imprint will publish at least 12 new titles over the next three years. The first four titles, to be released this fall, include books on reversing the brain's aging process and a natural approach to diabetes, cancer, and weight loss.

Null has written more than 70 books on nutrition, self-empowerment and public health issues that have sold millions of copies worldwide. He also has made documentary films and hosts a public radio show, Natural Living with Gary Null, as well as the Gary Null Show, which airs daily on the Progressive Radio Network.

Book Trailer of the Day: Truth in Advertising

Truth in Advertising by John Kenney (Touchstone), a fake focus group for the novel. In the New Yorker, Kenney recounts how the hilarious trailer and script, which he wrote, came about. The book was also the subject of a Shelf Awareness Maximum Shelf.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lawrence Wright on the Today Show

Tomorrow morning on the KTLA Morning Show: Robert Landau, author and photographer of Rock 'n' Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip (Angel City Press, $50, 9781883318390).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Lawrence Wright, author of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (Knopf, $28.95, 9780307700667).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Jennifer Ashton, author of Your Body Beautiful: Clockstopping Secrets to Staying Healthy, Strong, and Sexy in Your 30s, 40s, and Beyond (Avery, $16, 9781583335109).

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Tomorrow on the Dr. Oz Show: Dari Alexander, author of The Quick & Clean Diet: Lose the Weight, Feel Great, and Stay Lean for Life (Skirt/Globe Pequot, $24.95, 9780762781720).

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Tomorrow on CNN's Piers Morgan: Hoda Kotb, author of Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781451656039).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Amy Wilentz, author of Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451643978). As the show put it: "Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti is journalist Amy Wilentz's admiring and sober portrait of post-earthquake Haiti. All too aware of her own status as a foreigner, Wilentz is more interested in what it means for her to be an outsider than she is in fashioning herself a beneficent aid worker. As efforts to rebuild Haiti in the wake of the 2010 disaster are still underway, Wilentz talks about literary journalism, being a catastrophist, and the perils of good-hearted impulses."

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Tomorrow on Katie: 50 Cent, co-author of Formula 50: A 6-Week Workout and Nutrition Plan That Will Transform Your Life (Avery, $30, 9781583335024).

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Tomorrow on the Jeff Probst Show: Eben Alexander III, author of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Near-Death Experience and Journey into the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster, $21.99, 9781451695182).

Also on Jeff Probst: Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594487156).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Akhil Reed Amar, author of America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By (Basic, $29.99, 9780465029570).

Books & Authors

Awards: T.S. Eliot Prize; National Jewish Book Awards

Sharon Olds won the £15,000 (US$24,123) the Poetry Book Society's T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry for her collection Stag's Leap. Carol Ann Duffy, chair of a judging panel that included Michael Longley and David Morley, said they were "particularly impressed by the strong presence of women on the list" and called Stag's Leap "a tremendous book of grace and gallantry which crowns the career of a world-class poet."

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The winners of the Jewish Book Council's 2012 National Jewish Book Awards have been announced; winners and runners up in its many categories can be seen here. The winners will be honored on March 14 in New York City.

The Council's Lifetime Achievement Award went to Professor Eric R. Kandel, Nobel Prize-winning neuropsychiatrist and author of In Search of Memory (Norton) and The Age of Insight (Random House), among others.

The Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award was given to the three-volume City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York, With a Visual Essay by Diana L. Linden, edited by Deborah Dash Moore (New York University Press).

Book Brahmin: Ben Schrank

photo: Lauren Mechling

Ben Schrank is president and publisher of Razorbill, a Penguin imprint for children and young adults. Schrank is also the author of the novels Consent and Miracle Man and, now, Love Is a Canoe (Sarah Crichton/FSG, January 8, 2013). In the 1990s, he wrote "Ben's Life," a monthly column for Seventeen magazine. Schrank grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lives with his wife and son.

On your nightstand now:

I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons, Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins, At Last by Edward St. Aubyn (I read the others, I'm saving this one for a desperate evening), The Pale King by David Foster Wallace and The Odds by Stewart O'Nan.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. I had a crush on the woman in the arena who is half-concealed by her fan. I'm also big fan of Don Freeman. I loved Norman the Doorman. Later I obsessively read Edward Gorey's Amphigorey books.

Your top five authors:

Leonard Michaels, Philip Roth, Laurie Colwin, Alberto Moravia, William Trevor. That's five. I also think a lot about Alice Adams and Roxana Robinson and Donald Antrim and Isaac Babel and Alice Munro. That's five more....

Book you've faked reading:

I won't lie: Harry Potter. I understand that it's popular. I'm not averse to it. I just missed the moment. Then I missed it again.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Memorial by Bruce Wagner. Bruce Wagner is a great mad genius. I think he's as good a writer as William Faulkner. I believe he is the single least appreciated novelist of our time. It's not his fault that he lives in Los Angeles.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy and the rest of the New York Review of Books Classics.

Book that changed your life:

The Wanderers by Richard Price. I read it when I was far too young, when the teenagers in the stories seemed old and wise.

Favorite line from a book:

"And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another's interior workings and invisible aims?" --from American Pastoral by Philip Roth.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Graham Greene's The End of the Affair.

What's it like working as a children's book publisher while also writing novels for adults?

Work days in children's publishing are notoriously bunny-eat-bunny, so I get a lot of pleasure from pulling back from that intensity and spending time happily writing novels for adult readers.

Book Review

YA Review: Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (Little, Brown, $17.99 hardcover, 9780316190084, February 5, 2013)

If spunky Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey happened onto a steampunk set, she might look a lot like Sophronia Angelina Temminnick.

It's 1851, and Sophronia tumbles into Gail Carriger's (the Parasol Protectorate series) debut YA novel through a dumbwaiter she deems the ideal eavesdropping conveyance--until her tampering with the pulley system expels her onto precisely the scene for which she'd hoped to remain a fly on the wall. It's too late for Sophronia anyway: her mother, at wit's end, commits her 14-year-old daughter to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. While in transport, Sophronia must save herself and two others under Mademoiselle Geraldine's guardianship from a group of renegade flywaymen (highwaymen who travel by air). She realizes there's more to Mademoiselle--and the story--than is immediately apparent.

For one thing, Geraldine is actually Miss Monique de Pelouse, whose mission to collect Sophronia, plus a young woman named Dimity and her brother, Pillover, is part of Monique's final exam. For another, Sophronia suspects that Monique is up to no good, hiding a valuable prototype from the academy's authorities. As in her adult novels, Carriger peoples the book with enchanting werewolves and vampires, and the dynamics among the humans will keep the pages turning. There's Sidheag Maccon, a titled young woman raised by wolves--literally, albeit werewolves; and Preshea Buss, who speaks with "clipped elocution, as if each word were being prematurely assassinated." Lady Linette stands out as an especially entertaining instructor: "A lady always has her handkerchief on her person," says she. "Not only is it a communication device, but it can also be dropped as a distraction, scented with various perfumes and noxious gases for discombobulation, used to wipe the forehead of a gentleman or even bandage a wound."

The tale builds to a hilarious and eventful denouement at a coming-out ball hosted by the Temminnick family for Sophronia's younger sister, Petunia. It will take all of Sophronia's training and a fabulously appointed gown to attempt to procure and protect the prototype. Carriger delivers a grand mix of etiquette and espionage with a dash of humor and enough subterfuge to spring some surprises. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: The author of the Parasol Protectorate series makes a smooth transition to young adult novels in this funny and suspenseful steampunk tale of a teen sent off to an unusual finishing school.

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