Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 24, 2014


Flatiron Books: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Bloomsbury: Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Soho Crime: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Shadow Mountain: Christmas Jars Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoet

Katherine Tegen Books: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

News

Hastings's Full Year: Sales Down, Net Loss Up

In the fourth quarter ending January 31, revenues at Hastings Entertainment fell 3.7%, to $136.4 million, and net income rose 91.7%, to $2.3 million. For the full year, revenues fell 5.7%, to $436 million, and the net loss increased 9.7%, to $10.2 million.

Last week, Hastings announced that it hopes to be bought for $3 a share and merge with subsidiaries of National Entertainment Collectibles Association, all of which are controlled by Joel Weinshanker. In this morning's quarterly and annual report, the company didn't mention the deal.

During the quarter, sales of books at stores open at least a year fell 8.2%, mainly, the company said, because of "a weaker release schedule for new books and a decrease in trade paperback sales, as compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which included higher sales from the Fifty Shades trilogy. Sales of digital hardware also decreased for the quarter as compared to the same period in the prior year."

The story was similar for the full year. Hastings said that sales of books at stores open at least a year fell 10.7% for the year, mainly because of "a weaker release schedule for new books and a decrease in trade paperback and hardback sales, as compared to fiscal 2012, which included strong sales from the Fifty Shades and Hunger Games trilogies. In addition, sales of digital hardware decreased significantly for fiscal 2013 as compared to fiscal 2012."

CEO and chairman John H. Marmaduke commented on the company's performance, in part: "As we have previously disclosed, one of our strategic initiatives is the introduction of new product categories which include consumer electronics, music electronics and accessories, vinyl, hobby, recreation and lifestyle and tablets." Most of those products are in the electronics and trends categories, which had sales gains in the fourth quarter of 5.2% and 25.1%, respectively.

On the other hand, Marmaduke noted, revenues for music, books and rental were all down and "continue to be impacted by the popularity of digital delivery, rental kiosks and subscription based services."


Siglio Press: The Stampographer by Vincent Sardon


Books & Brews Opens in Castleton, Ind.

With the tagline "read, drink, converse," Books & Brews has opened in Castleton, Ind., the Indianapolis Star reported.

For owner Jason Wuerfel, 33, a graduate of the University of Michigan and English major, "the bookstore was always the dream. And then, when the market collapsed, there was no viability in a bookstore. How do you make your margins in order to survive?" Beer was the answer.

Wuerfel was inspired by Spotty Dog Books & Ale, Hudson, N.Y., and much of his financing came from crowdsourcing: more than 150 backers pledged $17,264. Wuerfel also handmade "every table, chair, barstool, bookshelf, and even the 7-foot bar in the back half of the store," the paper said, and he brews all beers onsite. (People who pledged $500 or more to the store can "help design a brew, name it, make it and put it on tap.")

Books & Brews is located at 9402 Uptown Dr., Suite 1400, Castleton, Ind. 46256; 317-288-5136.


PuddleDancer Press: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg


Nielsen Report: Fifty Shades Effect for U.K. Sales in 2013

Consumers in the United Kingdom spent £2.2 billion (about US$3.7 billion) to purchase 323 million books in 2013, with both volume and value of purchases down 4% from the previous year (though 2012 was a difficult year for comparison because of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy sales spike), according to statistics released during Nielsen's Books & Consumers Conference in London this week. The decrease in 2013 came despite a 20% increase in e-book purchases, with U.K. consumers spending an estimated £300 million (about $495 million) on 80 million e-books last year.

Highlights from the Nielsen Book study involving U.K. booksellers:

  • While bookshops lost share of book purchases in 2013 overall, they did gain share in the declining print market, and remained ahead of Internet retailers in that sector.
  • With e-books making most impact in the adult fiction sector, Internet retailers accounted for three in five purchases in that category in 2013, compared to fewer than half of adult nonfiction books, and only a third of children’s books. Children's books continued to be bought from the most diverse range of shops, with bookshops maintaining a 38% share in this sector in 2013.
  • Convenience, atmosphere, happenstance, selection and service were the most common reasons why buyers shopped for their books in chain and independent bookshops in 2013, with independents increasingly benefiting from a desire to support local shops.

Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Michael Taeckens Moving to N.C., Setting Up Own Business

Michael Taeckens, marketing director at Graywolf Press, is moving back to North Carolina from Minnesota in May to run his own marketing and publicity business, working with authors, publishers and arts organizations. He will also continue to work with Graywolf on select projects on a freelance basis.

In early 2012, he joined Graywolf after working for 11 years at Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, N.C., first as publicity director, then as online and paperback marketing director.

He can be reached at michaeltaeckens@gmail.com.


Other Press: Bookselling Without Borders Scholarship


Notes

Image of the Day: The Power of the Sword

Super-fan Val Alston (right) traveled from Mexico to attend Brandon Sanderson's signing for Words of Radiance (Tor) at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Ariz. (which drew 250 people and sold nearly 200 copies), and presented him with this amazing homemade sword. No word on how he got it through security.


Happy 40th Birthday, Chapter One Book Store!

Congratulations to Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, Mont., which is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a party on Friday, April 4, 5-8 p.m., and sales of "our own quirky choosing" that day and Saturday, April 5. The store also promises "snacks and a dash of nostalgia!"

Chapter One is owned by Shawn Wathen and Mara Lynn Luther. Previous owners (in partnership with Wathen) were Russ and Jean Lawrence, who joined the Peace Corps in 2009. (Russ is a former ABA president.)


City Lights Has 'the True Beat of San Francisco'

Calling City Lights "one of the spiritual centers of San Francisco--a perfect microcosm of the city of evergreen revolutions" and the "grand old daddy of eternal youth," the Los Angeles Times profiled the legendary bookseller "that has for decades embodied and transformed the very notion of that endangered species, the independent bookshop....

"Shocks, transformations, even workers who take you aback more than once in a single evening are what makes City Lights as great a sight, as well as a call to new thinking, as the constantly shifting metropolis around it. San Francisco can be hard to take in all at once; its epicenter and symbol--City Lights--can be the perfect way to imbibe the local spirit in a single evening. At the entrance to the fiction room, some wise soul has scribbled, perfectly, 'Abandon All Despair, Ye Who Enter Here.' "


Media and Movies

Theater with Dinner: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, Giulia Melucci's 2009 memoir/cookbook of romance and food, has been adapted into a play by Jacques Lamarre that's running through April 6 at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J. In the one-woman play, Antoinette LaVecchia stars as Melucci, who used to work in the publicity departments of Viking, Dutton and Scribner and is now v-p of public relations at Harper's magazine. In the production, LaVecchia recounts stories of life and love--all while preparing a three-course Italian meal, which is served to a few audience members seated on stage.

Tickets, beginning at $20, are available through the George Street Playhouse Box Office at 732-246-7717 or online at GSPonline.org. A limited number of on stage seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis from $74-$102 (price varies based on performance); on-stage seating includes the three-course meal (antipasto, pasta and dessert) and wine.


Media Heat: Bob Mankoff on Fresh Air

This morning on Good Morning America: Alex Morgan, Olympic Gold Medalist and author of Win or Lose: The Kicks, Book 3 (Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 9781442485808).

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This morning on Morning Joe: Jimmy Carter, author of A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476773957). He will also appear today on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Show and the Late Show with David Letterman and tomorrow on the Colbert Report and Al Jazeera America's Consider This.

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Today on Fresh Air: New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, author of How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons (Holt, $32.50, 9780805095906).

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Today on the Queen Latifah Show: Russell Simmons, co-author of Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple (Gotham, $20, 9781592408658). He will also appear on Salem Radio Network's Michael Medved Show.

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Today on Dr. Oz: Joel Fuhrman, author of The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780062249326).

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Today on Tavis Smiley: Bruce Jones, author of Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension Between Rivalry and Restraint (Brookings Institution Press, $21, 9780815725978).

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Tonight on the Daily Show: Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder (Harmony, $26, 9780804140843). She will also be on Late Night with Seth Meyers tomorrow night.

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Michael Mosley, author of FastExercise: The Simple Secret of High-Intensity Training (Atria, $24, 9781476759975).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Teju Cole, author of Every Day Is for the Thief (Random House, $23, 9780812995787).

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Tomorrow on Al Jazeera America's Consider This: Murray Carpenter, author of Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us (Hudson Street, $25.95, 9781594631382).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Amy Yates Wuelfing, co-author of No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes (DiWulf Publishing, $29, 9780991344703).

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Tomorrow night on Late Night with Seth Meyers: Hoda Kotb, author of Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives (Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 9781451656046).


George R.R. Martin: Multiple Game of Thrones Movies Possible?

"Could Daenerys Targaryen's dragons be heading to a multiplex?" the Hollywood Reporter asked Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin last week following the season-four premiere of the HBO series in New York City.

"It all depends on how long the main series runs," Martin replied. "Do we run for seven years? Do we run for eight? Do we run for 10? The books get bigger and bigger (in scope). It might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100 million for two hours. Those dragons get real big, you know."

Another possibility being considered is a film adaptation of his Game of Thrones prequel novella series Tales of Dunk and Egg. "They could be the basis for [a film]," he said. "I have written these three stories, and I have about a dozen more." The prequel characters are the direct ancestors of some of Game of Thrones' players, but Martin wouldn't reveal how they relate, Hollywood Reporter wrote.


Movies: Segel as DFW; Book Adaptations at MoMA Film Fest

Now out: on-set images of Jason Segel playing the late David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour, a film adaptation of David Lipsky's Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. The A.V. Club observed that "longtime Wallace watchers have gotten so tired of seeing those pictures in which he was photographed wearing a do-rag--there being even more photos readily available in which he wasn't--that the sloppy headgear has become a dreaded symbol of  all the attempts to squeeze a complex figure into a marketable stereotype of '90s-style geek chic that's meant to be relatable to those who would rather bask in his image than read his work."

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This year's edition of New Directors/New Films festival, put on by the Museum of Modern Art and Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, features "a handful of book-related films among the program's twenty-seven features," Word & Film reported. The festival began last Wednesday and runs through March 30.



Books & Authors

Awards: Dilys Winner

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Atria) has won the 2014 Dilys Award, which honors the mystery that members of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association most enjoyed selling during the previous year. The announcement was made Thursday during the Left Coast Crime 2014 conference in Monterey, Calif.

Krueger said, "Because it comes from people who know and love books, the Dilys Award is one of the most meaningful awards in our business. I love Ordinary Grace, and it's such a joy to know that it's found a place in the hearts of mystery booksellers across the country. To all booksellers everywhere, a huge thank you for all that you do for those of us who write and publish, and, even more important, for those of us who read."


Book Review

Review: Hunting Season

Hunting Season by Andrea Camilleri, trans. by Stephen Sartarelli (Penguin, $15 trade paper, 9780143126539, March 25, 2014)

On New Year's Day in 1880, a steam-driven packet boat from Palermo delivers a mysterious stranger to the little village of Vigata, where everyone knows each other's secrets. His presence greatly upsets 90-year-old Don Filippo, whose body is soon found in the surf, an apparent suicide. Then Don Filippo's mentally challenged son is found poisoned by mushrooms--even though he was a mushroom expert. Is it just a coincidence that, long ago, the new arrival's father had his throat cut in Vigata, a crime that was never solved?

You also need to know that Vigata, the imaginary Sicilian port that's the setting for Hunting Season--a deftly lean, addictive mystery from 88-year-old Andrea Camilleri, Italian noir superstar--is the setting, too, of Camilleri's contemporary Inspector Montalbano series. At the center of it all is the young stranger, always at the right place at the right time, resisting the overtures of the lusty Signora Clelia while befriending everyone with his saving skills and advice. Secret love and filial vengeance keep this hotbed of a town simmering as the members of the Peluso family begin dying mysteriously, one by one.

Figuring out who the central characters are in this dark Sicilian comedy is half the fun, and Camilleri leads you down several false trails before the real plot begins to emerge. Characters you think are marginal will surprise you; ones you find offensive become endearing. Comments you originally thought funny turn out to be true. Far-fetched curses are fulfilled. Treachery, greed and true friendship are just a scratch beneath the surface. Teeming with dozens of earthy rural-types, crackling with hotheaded Italian insults, every combustible scene bubbles with emotions of every variety.

More of a darkly comic Italian revenge noir than an actual mystery, the fiendishly clever plot builds with a cool undercurrent of suspense as the two surviving possible masterminds both fall in love with the same person. Camilleri is a consummate artist, recently longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Prize, who has his craft down cold and effortlessly plays with it, toying with alternate choices, like a playful driver twisting the wheel this way and that way, swerving across the line, fooling his passengers into screams, repeatedly giving the reader that delicious, familiar chill of doubt. --Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: Camilleri places a darkly comic Sicilian tale of revenge in the same town as his popular Inspector Montalban mystery series--but more than a century in the past.


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