Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Penguin Press: Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Graphix: Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

News

North Carolina to Collect Online Sales Tax

Amazon confirmed it will begin charging sales tax February 1 on purchases by North Carolina customers. WRAL-5 reported that the move comes even though the online retailer has no offices or warehouses in North Carolina and isn't required to collect sales tax on purchases.

Amazon, which did not offer a reason for the decision, said the amount of tax charged "will depend on factors such as the identity of the seller, the type of item purchased and the destination of the shipment."

In 2011, the state's Revenue Department settled a lawsuit filed by Amazon and seven North Carolina residents represented by the ACLU after the department audited whether the retailer was properly collecting sales taxes owed on online purchases.


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Land Beyond by Leon McCarron


Amazon Delivers: 'Anticipatory Shipping' in U.S.; Sundays in U.K.

Amazon has acquired an "anticipatory shipping" patent for a system that allows the online retailer "to send items to shipping hubs in areas where it believes said item will sell well," the Verge reported. Amazon could theoretically draw upon its vast network of customer data--previous searches and purchases, wish lists or even how long a user's cursor hovers over an item online--and ship items "it thinks you'll like before you click the purchase button." The patented system strangely echoes a video spoof from 2012 titled "Amazon Yesterday Shipping."

Although it is not clear when or whether the initiative might launch, "the patent's ambition does jibe with [Amazon's] other efforts to cut down delivery time--such as delivering packages on Sunday and even the drone concept it's currently developing," the Verge wrote.

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Amazon U.K began offering Sunday delivery service for Prime members yesterday in seven cities after a short trial in London before Christmas. The Bookseller reported that the service will be provided by Amazon Logistics, which works with regional delivery companies and operates a number of delivery stations that act as hubs in local areas.

Jamie Stephenson, U.K. director for Amazon Logistics, said, "We know customers really appreciated the immediacy of Sunday deliveries during the Christmas period and we were able to deliver thousands more parcels in this way in those four weeks."


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


St. Louis Area Bookstores: One Saved, Another to Close

Although Vicki Erwin, co-owner of Main Street Books, St. Charles, Mo., announced plans last month to close Jan. 31, she now has a potential buyer. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that an offer has been made and negotiations are still underway, but Erwin "hopes to know by next week whether the sale will go through." If it does, she added that there should be minimal disruption in store hours during the transition.

On a sadder note, All on the Same Page Bookstore in Creve Coeur will close at the end of January after two years in business "if it doesn't have an infusion of cash," the Post-Dispatch reported.

"Do you keep going or stop the bleeding?" asked owner Robin Tidwell, who has been seeking community support through a new membership program. She needs to raise at least $10,000, but is also willing to sell the business for $35,000. Tidwell has set a decision deadline of January 26.


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Toronto's Book City Flagship Store Closing

Book City, Toronto's independent mini-chain, will close its flagship location in the Annex this spring after 38 years in business, but its three remaining stores will stay open. Quillblog reported. General manager Ian Donker said the company's other stores "have been strong and maintained their sales, and sadly the Annex is one that slipped." He added that they have not ruled out the possibility of opening another location in the city if the right opportunity arises.

"The lease was up and we agonized over the decision, but sadly it didn't make much economic sense to continue," Donker said. "You name it and it has chipped away at the Annex location. It's an evolving, changing neighborhood like every other neighborhood in Toronto. Rent goes up every single year. Sales have slipped for a number of years, through no fault of the staff or our efforts."


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


Survey: 'Hardcore' E-Book Readers Prefer Kobo, Amazon

Kobo and Amazon "are basically tied as being the online bookstore of choice for hardcore readers," according to a recent Good E-Reader research project that polled 250 "hardcore" e-book readers--those who buy 50-100 books a year and often have more than one e-reader in the household--regarding their favorite online bookseller. Amazon and Kobo tied with 35.34% each of the overall votes, with Barnes & Noble trailing at 10.04%. Good E-Reader is based in Vancouver, B.C.


Books & Books Adds Antiquarian, Rare Books to Its Online Store

Books & Books, with four locations in southern Florida and stores in the Cayman Islands and Westhampton Beach, N.Y., has partnered with Buddenbrooks Rare Books and Manuscripts of Boston, Mass., to offer a selection of antiquarian and rare books through its online store.

The first 12-book selection, announced in mid-December, includes rare copies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, William Styron's Sophie's Choice, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, among others. The books range in price from $225 for a signed, limited-edition copy of Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect by Robert Burns to $6,500 for a signed, first edition copy of Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne.

"We've talked for years about ways to present highly curated books to our customers," said Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books owner. He has known Martin Winkle, his counterpart at Buddenbrooks, for many years. "Martin is one of the great antiquarian booksellers," he said. "When you're buying particularly rare and antiquarian stuff, you want to make sure you're dealing with someone reputable. And Martin is one of the most reputable dealers around."

The selections are available only online. The rare books reside in Boston with Buddenbrooks, and after an order is placed, Buddenbrooks sends the titles to Books & Books. As part of the partnership, signed copies of new books are available online to Buddenbrooks customers. Every two to three weeks, Kaplan will highlight a new selection of rare titles via e-mail. Although there are no concrete plans yet, he is open to doing thematic selections.

"Martin has hundreds of thousands of books; we'll see what the response is and then play it by ear," said Kaplan. "We might do modern firsts, some real antiquarian books, that sort of thing. It's a very nice beginning to a partnership." --Alex Mutter


Notes

Image of the Day: The Art of the Road Trip

Last week R.J. Julia, Madison, Conn., sponsored a Goldfinch-themed trip to the Frick Collection in New York City, where the titular painting is currently on display. Guests traveled by bus to Manhattan, heard a presentation on Dutch art by an art professor, had lunch with Scribner editor-in-chief Nan Graham and Michelle Aielli, director of publicity for Little, Brown, and visited the Frick to see the painting.


A Literary Agency with a Mission

Ayanna Coleman has wanted to be a literary agent since high school. Now she's made her dream come true--in an innovative way--with Quill Shift Literary Agency. Her unorthodox approach asks readers to vote on a manuscript before it's published, and it evolved from her work as the associate manager of events and programs (as well as librarian) at the Children's Book Council.

Coleman

One of Coleman's many responsibilities at the CBC--where she continues as a full-time staff member--includes serving as liaison with publishers on the Diversity Committee. "There's this pervasive myth in the industry that diverse books are great and needed, but they don't sell well," Coleman said. Last month, she opened her website for submissions, and started an Indiegogo campaign to gain support for Quill Shift, where a main mission will be to encourage diverse creators of books for young people.

Although she only reached about 20% of her $15,000 target on Indiegogo, Coleman said that she still met her main goal: she established that her mission is serious, and also the means by which readers will crowdfund their favorite manuscripts going forward. "It was a way to get the audience accustomed to the platform for crowdfunding, and to support authors and artists as they create their projects," Coleman explained.

"What is unique about my agency is that it includes the readers in the process long before the book is out on the bookshelves," said Coleman. "The readers--librarians, teachers, parents and finally kids--will actually get to read large parts of the manuscripts submitted and decide whether Quill Shift should send the book to a publishing house."

Coleman knows first-hand how difficult it is to break into publishing on the editorial/marketing/sales side, too. When she graduated with a marketing degree in 2009 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she couldn't find a job in publishing, so she stayed to get her Master's in Library and Information Science, and worked with Deborah Stevenson at the university's Center for Children's Books. After graduating in 2011, Coleman interned for the CBC, then was hired full-time. She met Regina Brooks, owner of Serendipity Literary Agency, through the CBC, and worked with Brooks for about five months (in her free time).

Having observed the shift toward self-publishing and digital, Coleman noted in particular a Digital Book World interview with author Sylvia Day: "Publishers never ask readers what they want to read and when you ask editors and publishers why, they say, 'It's because they don’t know until you give it to them.' " Given her marketing background, Coleman is always curious about how people connect with things. "The fact that publishers don't ask readers what they want did not compute with me," she said. Quill Shift's platform allows readers to join as "shifters": read 10% of a manuscript featured on the Quill Shift site, give feedback on it, and support the manuscripts they believe in by helping to fund the projects. "If people put money behind something, they're more likely to support it down the road and tell somebody else about it, too," Coleman explained. She'll be able to demonstrate to publishers that there's an audience for the book.

From her work with the CBC's Diversity Committee, Coleman believes that publishers understand they need to bring more diverse books to children, yet they also say diverse books don't sell. "I created Quill Shift so I could market books for authors, and provide what publishers need to say, 'These books do sell.' " Coleman said. "Hopefully I'll help publishers as much as I'm helping authors." --Jennifer M. Brown


Cool Idea of the Day: Long Man-Inspired Party Menu

Southern Living magazine's Sip & Flip Book Club advised readers to "dig into this month's book club pick with a menu inspired by Long Man," the new novel by Amy Greene.

"While this set-in-the-South novel takes place during the Great Depression, it seems the small town of Yuneetah is well accustomed to just-getting-by. From the apple trees and corn fields, to Annie Clyde's fried chicken--this novel-inspired menu will transport you and your book club to the East Tennessee town," Southern Living wrote. Recipes include Basil-Lemon Moonshine, Mama's Fried Chicken and Tee's Corn Pudding.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: George Kotsiopoulos on the Today Show

This morning on the Today Show: George Kotsiopoulos, author of Glamorous by George: The Key to Creating Movie Star Style (Abrams, $19.95, 9781419708794). He will also be Bethenny tomorrow.

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Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: E.L. Doctorow, author of Andrew's Brain (Random House, $26, 9781400068814).

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Today on the View: Antoinette Tuff, author of Prepared for a Purpose: The Inspiring True Story of How One Woman Saved an Atlanta School Under Siege (Bethany House, $24.99, 9780764212635).

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Tonight on the Daily Show: Theresa Payton, co-author of Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family (Rowman & Littlefield, $35, 9781442225459).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Michael Chabon, author of Telegraph Avenue (Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780061493355).

Also on Colbert: Mariel Hemingway, co-author of Running with Nature: Stepping Into the Life You Were Meant to Live (Changing Lives Press, $21.99, 9780988247611).

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Tomorrow on Bethenny: Rev Run and Tyrese Gibson, authors of Manology: Secrets of Your Man's Mind Revealed (Touchstone, $15, 9781451681857).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show, readers review The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (Random House, $16, 9780812981605).


Movies: The Monuments Men

A clip and several featurettes for The Monuments Men, based on Robert M. Edsel's book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, were showcased by Indiewire. The film, directed by and starring George Clooney, features an all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin and Bob Balaban. The Monuments Men hits theaters February 7.



Books & Authors

Awards: DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

Cyrus Mistry won the $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer. Jury chair Antara Dev Sen praised the novel as "a deeply moving book, exquisitely drawn on a small, almost claustrophobic canvas. It takes a tiny slice of life, the life of the Khandhias or corpse bearers of the Parsi community, and weaves a powerful story about this downtrodden caste we know so little about. A fantastic storyteller, Mistry offers a beautiful novel rich in historical detail and existential angst, gently questioning the way we look at justice, custom, love, life and death."


GBO Picks Why We Took the Car

The German Book Office in New York has chosen Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf, translated by Tim Mohr (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $17.99, 9780545481809) as its January Book of the Month.

The publisher described Why We Took the Car as "a beautifully written, darkly funny coming-of-age story from an award-winning, bestselling German author making his American debut."

Herrndorf is the author of In Plüschgewittern (Storm of Plush) and won the Public's Prize in the 2004 Ingeborg Bachmann prize competition for a preliminary version of his story "Diesseits des Van-Allen-Gürtels" ("This Side of the Van Allen Belt").

Mohr is a translator, writer and editor living in New York. He has translated the German novels Guantanamo by Dorothea Dieckmann, Wetlands by Charlotte Roche as well as Broken Glass Park and The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, both by Alina Bronsky. Guantanamo was the recipient of the Three Percent award for best translation of 2007.


Book Review

Review: Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism

Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism by Thomas Brothers (W.W. Norton, $39.95 hardcover, 9780393065824, February 3, 2014)

When Louis Armstrong died in 1971, he was beloved across the world. In jazz circles, he was known as Satchmo; to the world at large, he was the big-smiling Pops, the man whose natural ease with people of all races and nationalities made him the Ambassador of Jazz.

Music historian Thomas Brothers focuses on the drive, discipline and ambition that lifted Armstrong from a young New Orleans hotshot cornet player in the early 1920s to a sophisticated master of modern jazz within two decades. If Terry Teachout's Pops is the definitive big picture biography, Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism is a comprehensive examination of the music and racial background that made Armstrong a paragon of jazz among both blacks and whites.

Brothers doesn't shy from Armstrong's checkered history, addressing his women (four wives and an unknown number of girlfriends), his lifelong marijuana use and his self-serving break from his early mentor Joe "King" Oliver. The focus, though, lies much more on the music in these early decades of his career. Brothers analyzes in depth the songs that defined Armstrong's professional growth--big hits like "Cornet Chop Suey," "Heebie Jeebies," "Big Butter and Egg Man" and "West End Blues" through which he developed a singing style ("full articulation, half articulation, blurred speech, and scat") to accompany his blistering horn solos.

With these breakthroughs, Armstrong became an entertainer who could move from the segregated black dance halls of Chicago's south side to the tony white clubs of its north shore (for which he would be regarded by many African-Americans as a sell-out). According to Brothers, Satchmo understood that "breaking into the white market meant heavy emphasis on popular tunes," a skill he mastered even after he blew out his lip and couldn't hit the high notes any more. His genius was "based on dialogue between a popular melody, well known and easily understood, and his inventive ragging--dynamic, unpredictable and thoroughly black--combined with scat, blues and eccentric patterning."

With archival photographs and extensive endnotes, bibliography and discography, Louise Armstrong: Master of Modernism provides a complete picture of the critical decades that created our Ambassador of Jazz. Armstrong's embrace of showmanship and pop music may have "put him on the wrong side of jazz authenticity," but Brothers provides an engaging contrary analysis of his jazz and cultural stature--the "tone, speed, high notes, comedy, precision, confidence, charisma and originality" that allowed his music to be heard by both races "as black, as modern, and as beautiful." --Bruce Jacobs

Shelf Talker: A thorough history of the music and racial environment of Louis Armstrong's formative years, both professionally and personally, in the 1920s and 1930s.


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