Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Penguin Press: Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 by Ryan H. Walsh

Scribner Book Company: The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

St. Martin's Press: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

News

Quiet Partner for Indie Presses: Hanover Publisher Services

The agreement by which Random House Publisher Services (RHPS) will begin distributing Archipelago Books on June 1 marked another milestone for Hanover Publisher Services, which now has five publishers for which it acts as a kind of middleman between those independent presses and RHPS. The other four are Steerforth Press, For Beginners Books, Campfire Graphic Novels and New Europe Books.

As Chip Fleischer, president of Hanover Publisher Services and publisher and co-founder of Steerforth Press, recounted, under president Jeff Abraham (a former executive director of the Book Industry Study Group who joined Random in 2006), RHPS expanded its distribution offerings but was hesitant about taking on too many clients and taking on many small clients. Steerforth, an RHPS client since Random began its current distribution unit in 2003, proposed that it create a company that, from RHPS's operational perspective, would be a single entity. That company would "enable Steerforth to leverage its good working relationship with RHPS and its good understanding of RHPS's complex operating systems," as Fleischer put it.

Launched in 2010, Hanover Publisher Services has proceeded slowly. Its clients sign with Hanover and are vetted by the RHPS sales team. Hanover presents clients' lists at sales conference and interacts with RHPS sales marketing, warehouse and IT departments. From RHPS's perspective, Fleischer noted, "it's the same as having a single publisher client with multiple imprints."

Before Abraham's arrival at what was earlier called Random House Distribution Services, Fleischer had tried to set up something similar to Hanover with RHDS involving four publishers. At the time, however, RHDS didn't handle sales, which meant that Fleischer's company had to have a national accounts rep and work with independent reps. The idea foundered because, as Fleischer said, "I ended up spending a lot of time playing traffic cop." Still, RHDS "discovered there were lots of Steerforth fans on the sales force, and they also discovered that post-merger (BDD and RH), the Random House sales force had been ideally reconfigured to handle sales for outside clients as well as core imprints. Once Random House started offering the services of its blue-chip sales teams to distribution clients, the world beat a path to their door, and I felt very fortunate to have already established a relationship with them."


GLOW: Grove Atlantic: The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop


Roberta Rubin Finds Local Buyer for the Book Stall

Roberta Rubin, owner of the Book Stall in Winnetka, Ill., is selling store to Winnetka resident Stephanie Hochschild, effective June 1.

Rubin

In March of last year, Rubin decided that it was a "good moment" to retire--in part because she won PW's Bookstore of the Year Award--and began receiving inquiries over the next two months. By the fall of 2012, five different people were looking to purchase the store. The number reduced itself to three in December, and in January Rubin received bids. Last week, she signed the letter of intent with Hochschild.

"I was looking for somebody who wanted to see the store stay as it is--a part of the community," Rubin explained. "I wanted to have someone hands on, someone who loves the store, loves the town and really feels the community's impact." Rubin has owned the store since 1982.

Although Hochschild has no previous experience in the book industry, she did work at the Book Stall for three months to get acquainted with staff and store. The Book Stall's staff responded to Hochschild very well, Rubin said, and she also attended Winter Institute 8 in Kansas City, Mo., as a guest of ABA CEO Oren Teicher. Rubin plans to work three-quarters time for the first three or four months after the transition, in order to help make sure everything goes smoothly.

When asked about her plans once Hochschild is completely settled in, she said, "I don't want to make any plans at this point. I want to write, to be closer to my grandchildren. I want an open slate." --Alex Mutter


Clarion Books: The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth Durst


Galaxy Bookshop Considering Sale of Store

Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt., which recently celebrated its 24th anniversary, is considering a sale of the store. In its e-newsletter yesterday, the bookstore noted that for owner and founder Linda Ramsdell, the birthday celebration also "represents half a lifetime of working hard to establish and nurture a book store that has become a cornerstone of our community.

"With her 50th birthday ahead--just one year from this March 10th--Linda's goal in the coming months is to transfer ownership of the Galaxy to another party. The 'how,' 'who,' and 'exactly when' are questions that Linda and Sandy [Scott] are currently working to find answers for."

Part of that process will involve attending "Planning Your Bookstore's Next Chapter," a March 12 workshop sponsored by the New England Independent Booksellers Association.

While this is all still in the preliminary stage, Galaxy Bookshop offered two promises: "One, that we will keep all of you informed as we know more; and two, that foremost in our minds is the desire to keep the Galaxy Bookshop alive and well right here in Hardwick."


Oxford University Press: Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship by Nadine Strossen


WI8: Tracking Turns to Maximize Profitability

Shame was what got Andrea Avantaggio, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo., to tackle returns as part of her business, she told Winter Institute attendees at the "Turns" breakout session. Specifically, it was a visit to her store by Gayle Shanks from Changing Hands, Tempe, Ariz., that pushed her to change from someone who hated to pull returns to someone committed to doing returns as a way of improving her business.

Avantaggio

"Gayle said, 'Your store's great, but you need to do returns,' " shared Avantaggio. Up to that point, Avantaggio said, she had been sitting for five years in ABA sessions like the one she was speaking at but didn't do returns. Once convinced, she enlisted the help of manager Joe Foster for the task. Foster, who shared the panel with his former boss, became so proficient at doing returns--especially at using Above the Treeline tools to help--that he now works for Above the Treeline.

Foster outlined the case for regularly returning books: it cleans up inventory and cash to allow booksellers to stock and sell more of the books that are selling. "Turns is the number-one thing you can think about to help you have a little more money in the bank for payroll and other things," Foster emphasized.

According to the ABA, a hardcover book should turn three to five times a year. The easiest way to calculate turns is to divide sales by inventory--making sure to calculate in all retail or all wholesale numbers.

Both panelists agreed that decreasing inventory that is not turning by returning those titles is the key to increasing turn rates. "What got me," said Avantaggio, "is when someone at one of these sessions said to picture every book on my shelf as a $20 bill."

Attending booksellers asked: But what about that extra 4% discount booksellers get for ordering frontlist from publishers? What about the cost of shipping returns? What about books you want to have on your shelf, no matter what?

Foster

Foster tackled the question of inventory you want to keep, regardless of how often it turns. "Do these books stay on the shelves and not pay rent, when the book next to it pays double?" he asked.

As for the frontlist discount and cost of returns, both panelists said that such savings get "gobbled up" very quickly by other things--like rent and payroll.

Avantaggio suggested that booksellers keep their target turn rate in mind when they do frontlist buys and reorders. And, she said, once the store gets in the habit of returning regularly, you will be amazed how sales in a "cleaned out" section go up. "A customer will say, 'I didn't even know you had this,' when you've had it for six months," she said.

There is no absolute "formula," Avantaggio continued, but between nine and 12 months after pub date, Maria's evaluates the turn of a book to decide whether to reorder or return it. The staff goes section by section, using Above the Treeline, and does returns for the entire store three times a year.

Once a store's inventory is clean and moving, Avantaggio added, booksellers can chose a few titles they just have to have, despite their low turn rates. --Bridget Kinsella


Notes

Ann Patchett: Author, Bookseller, Meme

Sunday's episode of HBO's hit Girls included a shout-out to author and bookseller Ann Patchett, according to Salon. This happened when "the mother of Lena Dunham's character announces that she's having a wonderful time at an academic conference in New York," Salon wrote. " 'It has been such an awesome conference,' says Becky Ann Baker's character, a prim middle-aged, upper-middle-class woman. 'I never thought I'd meet so many other women who feel the same way I do about Ann Patchett.' The joke here, perhaps, is that Patchett is the sort of tasteful, excellent, high-mid-brow author for whom women like Hannah's mother would, near-universally, feel a strong affinity."

Patchett, who has said she doesn't watch TV, commented yesterday to Salon: "I heard about the reference this morning from an old boyfriend who called me a 'meme,' and then I had to ask him what a 'meme' was. It's very nice to think that someone at the show would take the trouble to put me in the cultural loop when clearly I am so far out of it."


B&N WiFi Backup for WikiLeaks Leaker

The book world has a tenuous connection with the WikiLeaks case of Private Bradley Manning, whose trial is currently taking place. Last week, Manning revealed that he used a broadband connection at a Rockville, Md., Barnes & Noble to upload information to the WikiLeaks site, according to the Potomac Patch.

The New York Times noted he went to B&N because his aunt's house had lost its Internet connection during a snowstorm.


History of Librarian Exercise Videos: 1987 Edition

Under the headline "Where Van Halen Meets Librarians: The Weirdest Thing You will See Today," video archeologists at the AbeBooks blog unveiled their latest find: the "Betty Glover Library Workout Tape Ad" spoof, made in 1987 by an Arizona State University student. The video "claims to offer librarians a way to fight slack muscles and flab while in their element, with such exercises as the vertical drawer pull, and horizontal drawer pull, and rapid-fire stapling."


Personnel Changes at becker & mayer

Stephanie Swane has been promoted to director of sales and licensing, a newly created position at becker & mayer, and will be responsible for global sales and licensing. She started at becker & mayer two years ago as a juvenile sales manager and was promoted several times. She was previously manager, custom driven publishing, at Simon & Schuster.

Barney Duly has joined becker & mayer as international sales manager, a new position based in the U.K. He will work with publishers in Europe and Latin America and focus on co-editions, creating books targeted for consumers outside North America and maintaining and building current publisher and licensor partnerships. He was formerly head of foreign rights at Carlton Books.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Former Justice O'Connor on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Sandra Day O'Connor, author of Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court (Random House, $26, 9780812993929).

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Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451686579). He will also appear on Fox Radio's Kilmeade and Friends.

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Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Mohsin Hamid, author of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel (Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594487293).

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Tomorrow morning on Live with Kelly and Michael: Tom Coughlin, co-author of Earn the Right to Win: How Success in Any Field Starts with Superior Preparation (Portfolio, $25.95, 9781591846123). He will also appear on Fox & Friends.

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Lucy Cooke, author of A Little Book of Sloth (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $16.99, 9781442445574).

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Tomorrow on the Mancow Muller Show: Tom Folsom, author of Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream (It, $26.99, 9780062206947).

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Tomorrow on Katie: Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061778735).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Al Sharpton: Charlie LeDuff, author of Detroit: An American Autopsy (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594205347).

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Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Jackie Collins, author of The Power Trip (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9780312567477).


On Stage: Fortress of Solitude the Musical

The Fortress of Solitude, a musical adapted from Jonathan Lethem's 2003 novel, will have its world premiere at the Dallas Theater Center March 7, 2014, and subsequently be part of the 2014-15 season at New York City's Public Theater, the New York Times reported. 

The show, which composer Michael Friedman has described as "a history of soul music on a particular block in Brooklyn," is conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin (4000 Miles), with a book by Itamar Moses (Completeness) and music and lyrics by Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).


TV Networks 'Going Hard & Heavy After Book Adaptations'

Thanks to the success of programs like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, book-to-television adaptations are a hot ticket as the networks prepare for a new pilot season.

"Here is an anecdote a producer shared with me during the pitch portion of this development season," wrote Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com. "He'd taken a writer to a network meeting. The writer poured his heart out pitching a show based on his life, but the network executive appeared uninterested, barely paying attention. As they were heading out, the producer mentioned he also had the rights to a book. Upon hearing the title, the executive's eyes immediately lit up. 'I'll buy that show,' the exec exclaimed before even hearing what the book was about. This has been the case over and over this season, with the networks going hard and heavy after book adaptations and remakes of TV shows and movies, betting on underlying material as well as the familiar or catchy titles that come with it."

Included among the upcoming "slew of literary adaptations" are:
CBS: Backstrom, based on the books by Leif G.W. Persson; Anatomy of Violence (Adrian Raine's The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime); Intelligence (unpublished book by John Dixon); Under the Dome (Stephen King's novel)
Fox: Delirium (Lauren Oliver's trilogy); I Suck at Girls (Justin Halpern's book)
NBC: Girlfriend in a Coma (Douglas Coupland's novel), Undateable (Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do that Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or Having Sex by Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle), The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives (Josie Brown's novel); To My Future Assistant (blog and upcoming book by Lydia Whitlock)
CW: The Hundred (based on the books by Kass Morgan); The Selection (novel by Keira Cass)
ABC: The Returned (upcoming novel by Jason Mott)
FX: The Strain (Guillermo del Toro's vampire novel trilogy)

In addition, there are several "contemporary takes on the literary classics" in the works, including Fox drama pilot Sleepy Hollow (Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), NBC's Wonderland (Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) and ABC's Venice (Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet).



Books & Authors

Awards: Windham-Campbell; Tufts Poetry; Independent Foreign Fiction

Nine authors will each collect $150,000 as winners of the inaugural Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes, which "recognize emerging and established writers for outstanding achievement in fiction, nonfiction and drama." Yesterday, Yale University announced that this year's honorees are James Salter, Tom McCarthy and Zoë Wicomb (fiction); Adina Hoffman, Jonny Steinberg and Jeremy Scahill (nonfiction); and Naomi Wallace, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Tarell Alvin McCraney (drama). They will be honored September 10 at a ceremony in New Haven, Conn.

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Marianne Boruch won Claremont Graduate University's $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for her collection The Book of Hours (Copper Canyon Press). In addition, Heidy Steidlmayer won the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for Fowling Piece (Tri-Quarterly). Both writers will be honored at an awards ceremony April 18.

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A longlist has been released for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, which honors modern writing in translation with a £10,000 (US$15,071) award that is shared equally by the author and translator. The shortlisted books will be named April 11 and the overall winner will be announced in May. 


Book Review

Review: The Retrospective

The Retrospective by A.B. Yehoshua (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 hardcover, 9780547496962, March 5, 2013)

In The Retrospective, A.B. Yehoshua uses an aging Israeli film director, Yair Moses, as a fictional stand-in for himself and his writing (A Woman in Jerusalem, Mr. Mani et al.). Moses is invited to Santiago de Compostela for a retrospective of his films. He and his muse, Ruth, who is frequently in his films, agree to attend. The movies shown, many of them early efforts, are reminiscent of stories Yehoshua has written.

Watching the movies with Ruth, with the sound track dubbed in Spanish, he is confronted with the images alone because he can't understand the dialogue and doesn't remember it. Seeing his early films causes Moses to ponder his youthful choices. Were they his or were they strongly influenced by Shaul Trigano, his scriptwriter, or the cameraman, Toledano? In one of them he has cast his mother in a small part. Did he treat her well or humiliate her?

In their hotel room, Moses sees a picture, entitled Caritas Romana, that shows a young woman breastfeeding her father. He is instantly reminded of the rift between himself and Trigano, which ended their collaboration. Trigano wanted Ruth, playing a young woman who has just given her child up for adoption, to encounter a beggar on the street and breastfeed him. Ruth refused to play the scene, Moses supported her decision and Trigano quit. (The original Hebrew title of this novel translates as Spanish Charity, so the central image and its symbolism are clear.)

Now, seeing this picture, Moses understands Trigano was attempting to portray a time-honored, traditional artistic theme, combining the physical, psychological and esthetic realities of human connection. Realizing the richness of what Trigano was trying in the scene--with all its erotic overtones, including the taboo of father-daughter sexuality--Moses, upon returning to Israel, seeks out Trigano in the hope of reconciliation.

He meets the screenwriter in an Israeli outpost where he is teaching. Trigano is hostile and insulting, wanting nothing to do with Moses. Finally, he agrees to an uneasy truce, but first Moses must pay the price Trigano exacts. What follows is an exploration of memory, morality, friendship and creativity that brings Yair Moses to a fuller understanding of himself and his motivations--in sum, a retrospective not just of his work, but also his life. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: An aging Israeli film director goes to Spain for a retrospective of his work and finds there an examination of his life, his relationships and his artistic choices.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles on AbeBooks.com in February

The bestselling books on AbeBooks.com in February:

1. American Sniper by Chris Kyle
2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
6. Latin for the New Millennium by Milena Minkova
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
8. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
9. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
 
The bestselling signed books on AbeBooks.com in February:

1. American Sniper by Chris Kyle
2. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
3. Tenth of December by George Saunders
4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
5. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
6. Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
7. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
8. Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia
9. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
10. Who I Am by Pete Townshend

[Many thanks to AbeBooks.com!]


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