Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 5, 2006
Notes: General Retail Jumps; New VNU Bid; New StoreA late Easter and warm weather overcame rising gasoline prices: general retail sales in April rose 6.7% or 6.5% over the same period a year ago--the highest monthly gain since March 2004 or May 2004--depending on whether you're sold on a Goldman Sachs report quoted by the New York Times or a Lazard Capital Markets index quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
Sales at stores open at least a year rose 13.4% at Kohl's, 10.4% at Target, 7.3% at Nordstrom, 7.3% at Wal-Mart and 7% at Costco.
Still, some observers doubted the trend would continue. Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers, said in a report mentioned by the Times that "the sharp rise in energy prices in recent weeks is likely to catch up" with consumers.
Britt Beemer of America's Research Group, a retail consultant, suggested that the price rise was already taking its toll. He told the Journal: "Shoppers have been a little more cautious during the past few weeks, and that could continue through the summer."
Valcon Acquisition, the private equity consortium seeking to buy VNU, which owns Nielsen BookScan, the Book Standard, Kirkus Reviews, the Bookseller and Watson-Guptill, has raised its offer to 29.50 euros a share from 28.75 euros and lowered the amount of shares needed for the plan to become effective to 80% from 95%, the Wall Street Journal reported. The initial bid expired today and was expected to fail. Valcon says several of the Dutch media giants major shareholders have agreed to the deal.
Cool idea of the day: To celebrate its 13th birthday, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, Calif., is holding a Book Mitzvah on Saturday, May 13, with five authors--and will donate a percentage of sales through the year to five local charities. Read the full story in Bookselling This Week.
The first chapter of the Last Chapter Bookstore and Coffee House, Arcadia, Fla., begins tomorrow, according to the Charlotte Sun-Herald. The coffee shop part of the store will open in time for the town's Watermelon Festival; the bookstore will open soon.
Owned by Chuck and Martha Craven, who also own Wheeler's Café, the Last Chapter will be run by Martha Craven and her daughter Kelli.
The bookstore will carry "a range of popular fiction and non-fiction books, classics, magazines and a selection of local and out-of-town newspapers," the paper said. The store is also consulting with teachers about summer reading programs and will offer book signings and readings.
Last Chapter Bookstore and Coffee House is located at 15B W. Oak St., Arcadia, Fla. 34266.
Laughing Horse Books, the Portland, Ore., "progressive bookstore concerned with social justice issues," as co-founder Tim Calvert put it, is apparently being evicted from its 1,300-sq.-ft. space, its home since 1993, according to the Oregonian. So far, it has not found a suitable replacement space.
Last July, Kelley Webb bought the building, which has two storefronts and five apartments, and has been renovating it. She told the paper she wanted to keep the store as a tenant but doubted Laughing Horse could pay its $1,000-a-month rent and expenses, including electricity, gas, water and sewer, of another $1,359 a month, particularly after recent reports that Laughing Horse is having financial difficulties. "They couldn't provide us with any financial statement that showed that they were going to be viable in the long term," Webb says.
Malaprop's Bookstore/Café gets some nice ink in the current issue of Delta Sky magazine, distributed on Delta flights and available on the Web. In a story about shopping in Asheville, N.C., the magazine calls the store "an excellent last stop. With a relaxed atmosphere you just can't get at a chain store, this independent bookstore is the kind of place to sit amid the shelves and browse through everything from children's picture books to local poetry."
[Thanks to Jim Barkley for the eagle eye!]
BEA on the Horizon: Comics DemystifiedEven though comics and graphic novels continue to grow in popularity, a lot of retailers remain wary of them. One of the many intriguing panels scheduled at BEA may help: Demystifying the Comics Distribution Playing Field aims to make it easier for booksellers, comics shops and librarians to understand the market, suppliers and trends. Moderated by Judith Rosen of Publishers Weekly, the panel consists of Michael Martens, v-p of business development, Dark Horse Comics; John Shebleski, managing editor, Graphic Novels Newsletter; Kuo-Yu Liang, v-p, sales and marketing, Diamond Book Distributors; and John Davis, director of popular culture markets at Bookazine.
The panel will be held on Saturday, May 20, 4-5 p.m. in Room 202B.
RLG-OCLC Merger-AbsorptionIn a move Library Journal called "more like an absorption" of RLG into OCLC, the boards of RLG and OCLC have recommended that the two organizations merge as of July 1. If approved by RLG member institutions, RLG's online products and services would be integrated with OCLC's and RLG's program initiatives would become a new division of OCLC Programs and Research called RLG Programs and remain a membership-based organization.
RLG consists of more than 150 research libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions. OCLC Online Computer Library Center provides cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation services and research to 54,000 libraries in 109 countries.
Two-thirds of RLG member institutions need to vote in favor of the measure for it to agree. RLG-Programs would maintain an office in Mountain View, Calif. James Michalko, who currently leads RLG, would serve as v-p of RLG-Programs Development. Other staff decisions will be made in the near future.
"The last few years have instilled in us all an urgent need to find innovative, cost-effective and compelling ways to bring research collections into the heart of the online environment and into the hands of those who can benefit from them," James Neal, v-p for information aervices and University Librarian at Columbia University and chair of the RLG board of directors, said in a statement. "It is time that RLG and OCLC take united action if we are to realize our long-held and long-shared mutual goal of providing information to people when and where they need it."
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Trillin Quizzes Teacher ManThis morning the Today Show talks moms with Carol Evans, whose new book is This Is How We Do It: The Working Mothers' Manifesto (Hudson Street, $23.95, 1594630305), and Christiane Northrup, author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link Between Mothers, Daughters, and Health (Bantam Dell, $18, 0553380125).
This morning the Early Show tees off with Rick Reilly, author of Shanks For Nothing (Doubleday, $24.95, 0385501110).
Today on Good Morning America: Terri Jentz, author of Strange Piece of Fiction (FSG, $27, 0374134987). She's also on ABC's Primetime Live tonight.
Talk about off-hours work. This morning the Ellen DeGeneres Show turns the tables on Late, Late Show host Craig Ferguson, whose new novel is Between the Bridge and the River (Chronicle, $24.95, 0811853756).
Today Oprah takes on a smart guy, A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World (S&S, $14, 0743250621).
Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Gilbert Tuhabonye, author of This Voice in My Heart: A Genocide Survivor's Story of Escape, Faith, and Forgiveness (Amistad, $23.95, 0060817518).
This should be entertaining: tonight on the Charlie Rose Show, guest host Calvin Trillin talks with Frank McCourt, whose latest book is Teacher Man (Scribner, $26, 0743243773).
Tomorrow on Larry King Live: President Reagan's daughter Nancy Davis, whose new book is Lean on Me: Ten Powerful Steps to Moving Beyond Your Diagnosis and Taking Back Your Life (Fireside, $22.95, 074327640X).
On Sunday, 60 Minutes gets the straight talk from John Daly, author of My Life in and out of the Rough: The Truth Behind All the Bull****You Think You Know About Me (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0061120626).
Summer Reading Lists: 'The Thinnest Book, Mom!'Sarah Pishko, owner of Prince Books, Norfolk, Va., and a member of the of the ABA's Booksellers Advisory Council, wrote the following piece as a letter to the editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. It was picked up by Knight Ridder and published in newspapers around the world:
It's a sad but true June ritual: many students walk into bookstores groaning about their summer reading assignments. "Find the thinnest book, Mom!" Must our youth visit bookstores with their heart full of unnecessary dread? Can revising middle and high school summer reading assignments help reduce the declining level of active readership among young people?
As a parent and bookseller, I fully support school-required summer reading for public and private school students, as it is an integral part of the reading curriculum. The point of summer reading assignments is to develop the lifelong habit of reading for pleasure while helping students retain literacy skills while out of the classroom.
Yet, it is important to remember that with the end of the school year and its many assignments, summer is the time to read with pleasure and without vexation. Therefore, if we first focus on the goal of developing lifelong reading habits, retaining literacy skills will necessarily follow. In light of these goals, I believe that some required summer reading lists deserve to be re-examined.
To be sure, there will always be some students who happily tackle the tough summer reading that some teachers assign. But what about the large median of achieving students who think they don't like to read? These are the students whom we need to capture as readers!
I informally polled some parents and grandparents about summer reading assignments. All readily volunteered that the goal of infusing the love of summer reading regretfully can sometimes takes second place to merely assigning summer homework.
A few examples: several years ago, my son, who has always been a constant reader, was assigned Mrs. Dalloway for the summer before his 12th grade AP English course. Yes, it was AP English, but yes, it was summer reading. I stumbled upon his journal: "Why am I reading about a woman looking at herself in her dresser mirror?" Why indeed is a 17-year-old-boy reading Virginia Woolf during the summer? One friend told me that her rising ninth-grade grandson handed her his book and asked her to please figure out "what happened." One class of rising 12th graders was required to read two books over the summer: The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy and An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen. These are great works of literature, but dare I say that I was one unhappy bookseller when the kids and parent purchased these books? The last thing we want is for our high school and college graduates to look at the shelves of the library and the bookstore and tell themselves, "been there, done that."
I see many bright spots in the various summer reading lists. Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, published in 1979, and set during the Vietnam War, is frequently assigned, and is a popular choice. Still, it is 2006 and a lot of good books have been published in the 25 years since The Things They Carried was published. In light of the September 11 attacks and the revelation of the plight of the people of Afghanistan, the bestselling book The Kite Runner is a good choice. Sudanese refugee Francis Bok's memoir, Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America (2003) is an enlightening portrait of the crisis in Sudan. These titles are just a few of the excellent books published every year that are relevant to the world of our youth
Assign good books that grab them and keep them as readers. Better yet, give students an array of choices. Reading is often very personal: one's favorite novel is another's cast-off. Supply brief summaries with the books on the list. A brief summary is helpful in order to dissuade students from using the measuring stick as the only parameter (remember, the thinnest book, Dad!).
This is my gentle reminder to teachers and administrators: persuade your students that reading can be fun. There are indeed extraordinary works of literature that many students will discover they love, but are best left to the school year with the daily presence and passion of a teacher. Then there is summer reading, when a book easily grabs a reader and holds their attention until the end, when, maybe, our middle and high school students will ask themselves, "What would I like to read next?"
The Book Sense/Heartland ListThe following were the bestselling titles at Great Lakes Booksellers Association and Midwest Booksellers Association stores during the week ended Sunday, April 30, as reported to Book Sense:
1. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $21.95, 0375422722)
2. Promise Me by Harlan Coben(Dutton, $26.95, 0525949496)
3. We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg (Random House, $22.95, 140006161X)
4. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (Atria, $26, 0743496701)
5. Everyman by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 061873516X)
6. Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson (Morrow, $24.95, 0060527315)
7. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (Knopf, $25, 1400044731)
8. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (Ballantine, $24.95, 0345476158)
9. Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark (S&S, $25.95, 0743264908)
10. Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein (Knopf, $23.95, 1400042313)
11. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant (Random House, $23.95, 1400063817)
12. How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan (Little, Brown, $21.95, 0316059889)
13. Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Warner Books, $24.95, 0446578754)
14. Gone by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $26.95, 0345452615)
15. The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (Morrow, $23.95, 0060825308)
1. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Morrow, $21.95, 0060817089)
2. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (FSG, $30, 0374292795)
3. Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier (Harmony, $24.95, 0307337332)
4. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (Penguin Press, $26.95, 1594200823)
5. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme (Knopf, $25.95, 1400043468)
6. The Gospel of Judas edited by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer and Gregor Wurst (National Geographic, $22, 1426200420)
7. The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong (Knopf, $30, 0375413170)
8. American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips (Viking, $26.95, 067003486X)
9. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95, 006073132X)
10. The Jesus Papers by Michael Baigent (HarperSanFrancisco, $27.95, 0060827130)
11. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Knopf, $23.95, 140004314X)
12. Manhunt by James L. Swanson (Morrow, $26.95, 0060518499)
13. Giada's Family Dinners by Giada de Laurentiis (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 030723827X)
14. The Right Words at the Right Time (Volume 2) edited by Marlo Thomas (Atria, $25, 0743497430)
15. Teacher Man by Frank McCourt (Scribner, $26, 0743243773)
Trade Paperback Fiction
1. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0143036696)
2. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House, $13.95, 0812968069)
3. Saturday by Ian McEwan (Anchor, $14.95, 1400076196)
4. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square, $14, 0743454537)
5. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14, 031242440X)
6. March by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, $14, 0143036661)
7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $14.95, 0307277674)
8. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage, $14, 1400078776)
9. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
10. Wicked by Gregory Maguire (Regan Books, $16, 0060987103)
11. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Mariner, $13.95, 0618711651)
12. History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Norton, $13.95, 0393328627)
13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $12.95, 1400032717)
14. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square, $14, 0743454553)
15. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $12.95, 140007570X)
Trade Paperback Nonfiction
1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Scribner, $14, 074324754X)
2. Night by Elie Weisel (FSG, $9, 0374500010)
3. Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals by Rachael Ray (Clarkson Potter, $18.95, 1400082552)
4. Plan B by Anne Lamott (Riverhead, $14, 1594481571)
5. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Vintage, $14, 0679745580)
6. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage, $14.95, 0375725601)
7. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (Gotham, $11, 1592402038)
8. Collapse by Jared Diamond (Penguin, $17, 0143036556)
9. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624)
10. The End of Faith by Sam Harris (Norton, $13.95, 0393327655)
11. Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson (Harvest, $15, 0156031442)
12. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (Penguin, $15, 0143036610)
13. Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter by Allan Borushek (Family Health, $7.99, 1930448112)
14. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (Plume, $15, 0452287081)
15. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz (Workman, $18.95, 0761104844)
1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $7.99, 1400079179)
2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket, $9.99, 1416524797)
3. The Innocent by Harlan Coben (Signet, $9.99, 045121577X)
4. Deception Point by Dan Brown (Pocket, $9.99, 1416524800)
5. With No One as Witness by Elizabeth A. George (HarperTorch, $7.99, 0060545615)
6. The Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver (Pocket, $9.99, 0743491564)
7. A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber (Mira Books, $7.99, 0778322955)
8. Map of Bones by James Rollins (Avon, $7.99, 0060765240)
9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 9Warner, $6.99, 0316769487)
10. No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark (Pocket, $9.99, 0743497287)
Children's (Fiction and Illustrated)
1. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, $18.99, 0763625892)
2. Ark Angel by Anthony Horowitz (Philomel, $17.99, 0399241523)
3. The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett, illustrated by Brett Helquist (Scholastic, $16.99, 0439693675)
4. Only in Your Dreams (Gossip Girl #9) by Cecily Von Ziegesar (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316011827)
5. Lilly's Big Day by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, $16.99, 0060742364)
6. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, $7.99, 0763625299)
7. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0694003611)
8. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Yearling, $6.50, 0440421705)
9. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss (Random House, $17, 0679805273)
10. Night of the New Magicians (Magic Tree House #35) by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca (Random House, $11.95, 0375830359)
11. Charlie Bone and the Hidden King (Children of the Red King #5) by Jenny Nimmo (Orchard, $9.95, 0439545307)
12. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (children's movie tie-in edition) by C.S. Lewis (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0060765461)
13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf, $16.95, 0375831002)
14. Heat by Mike Lupica (Philomel, $16.99, 0399243011)
15. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt (Golden, $9.99, 0307120007)
[Thanks to GLBA, MBA and Book Sense!]