Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 4, 2014


Little Brown and Company: The Balcony by Jane Delury

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

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

Katherine Tegen Books: Another Quest for Celeste (Nest for Celeste #2) by Henry Cole

News

Oregon's Third Street Books on the Move

Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore., is moving two doors from its current spot next month. On Facebook on Friday, the store announced: "Hey all--big news. We will be moving the store two doors to the west of our current location! The current plan is to move in September, so watch this space for more specific info. Anyway, we are looking for someone to take over our current location. So if you or someone you know is interested in having a shop on Third Street, in a GREAT location, please send them our way!"


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


'I Love You': Indies Celebrate Esther Day

Yesterday was Esther Day, named for Esther Earl, the teenager who died in 2010 at age 16 of thyroid cancer. She was an early "nerdfighter" who became friends with John Green and his brother, Hank, and was the inspiration for the character of Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars (which Green dedicated to Esther). Although yesterday was not the first Esther Day--that began in 2010, when the Green brothers honored Esther's request that her birthday become a holiday on which people express love for friends and family to whom they may not otherwise say the words--it could become the first unofficial holiday to be inspired by literature and spread by independent booksellers.

The bookseller part began at BookPeople in Austin, Tex., in January upon Dutton's publication of This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl, a collection of Esther's blog posts, writings and pictures and those of people she loved, which fulfilled her dream of becoming an author. BookPeople's children's book buyer Meghan Dietsche Goel said she brainstormed with store YA specialist Ta'necia Cannon over a way to create an interactive display that "captured the spirit of the book." Working closely with BookPeople's Teen Press Corps (a group of special teen customers who share their reading experiences, expertise and energy as BookPeople advisers), the staff culled a series of probing questions from Esther's work and invited readers to supply their answers on paper stars that were then hung from the ceiling in the YA section.

"The stars are still hanging today because they are so affirmative," said Goel.

Crediting BookPeople with the inspiration, Lisa Kelly, director of marketing of middle grade and YA at Penguin Young Readers Group, said the publisher created kits with an easel, poster and stars for customers to inscribe their messages of love, which it distributed to booksellers around the country for their own Esther Day celebrations on Esther's birthday on August 3.

"We just ran with it," said Michael Barnard, owner of Rakestraw Books in Danville, Calif. Since creating its Esther Day display, Barnard has been following readers' posts from around the country on Instagram and Twitter (#EstherDay) and started snapping pictures of his customers who have filled out stars to display at Rakestraw.

At Andover Bookstore in Andover, Mass., Julie Chaisson said she had not heard about the Instagram campaign but said the store was eager to do its own interactive front-window display when it received the Esther Day kit from Penguin.

BookPeople display for Esther Day

In a USA Today article about Esther Day last week, John Green said, "It's the only day of the year in which Hank and I say 'I love you' to each other--before the first Esther Day, we hadn't said it in years--and it's become a hugely important holiday." John and Hank's Esther Day videos are on YouTube.

And on top of all that, it seemed fitting that Esther Earl, the girl who asked such bold questions and whose life influenced Green's The Fault in Our Stars, was the key clue in Final Jeopardy last week during its Teen Tournament. The spirit of Esther--who was called Star--continues to shine bright with a little help from readers, booksellers, social media--and even Alex Trebek. --Bridget Kinsella


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


Indies Experiment with Bundling Some HarperCollins Titles

Some 11 independent bookstores around the country are part of a pilot program to test bundling of selected HarperCollins titles, allowing readers who purchase the print copy of a book to buy a digital version of the same book for "a small charge" on the BookShout platform. The program is facilitated by Ingram.

BookShout bundling display at Greenlight 

Calling the pilot "a good first step in getting our bestselling content into reader's hands in a way that increases choices for them," HarperCollins chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi said, "The effort was tailor made for the indie buyer, from the books chosen to the in-store marketing, and we look forward to learning and expanding the program in the near future, as data and feedback become available."

The first round of the program includes Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist, Richard Ford's Canada, Erika Johansen's The Queen of the Tearling, Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins and Jacqueline Winspear's The Care and Management of Lies.

The participating stores, which are featuring the titles with displays, are: Village Books, Bellingham, Wash.; Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.; Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan.; Anderson's, Naperville, Ill.; McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.; Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.; Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.; Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.; Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, Neb.; Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa; and Book People, Austin, Texas.

BookShout calls itself "the market leader for special market and premium e-book sales. Powering most major publishers, the BookShout! Premium platform provides an elegant solution for publishers to sell bulk and custom e-books, gather data, create branded campaign pages and more."

The company is also involved in a pilot program with the five Barbara's Bookstores (operated in association with Hudson Booksellers) at O'Hare Airport. Under the program, which began last month and lasts for six months, purchasers of the printed edition of certain titles can obtain the digital version for free from BookShout, downloadable to "the device of your choice," whether smartphone, tablet or computer.

These titles include Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (TalentSmart), Ask More, Get More by Michael Alden (Emerald Book Company), Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine (Greenleaf), Against the Grain by Bill Courtney with Michael Arkush (Weinstein Books), The Blonde by Anna Godbersen (Weinstein Books), The Final Cut by Michael Dobbs (Sourcebooks Landmark) and To Play the King by Michael Dobbs (Sourcebooks Landmark).


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


News Corp. Completes Purchase of Harlequin Enterprises

News Corp. has completed its acquisition of Harlequin Enterprises from Torstar Corp. and is making it a division of HarperCollins. Harlequin headquarters will stay in Toronto.

The purchase price was C$455 million in cash (about US$416.7 million). The transaction was approved by regulatory authorities and Torstar shareholders.

News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson commented: "We are pleased to formally welcome Harlequin and its employees to the new News. The addition of such an iconic brand with a loyal audience, robust global expertise and digital depth is a proud and purposeful moment for our company. Onward to the next chapter."

HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray added: "We are happy to welcome Harlequin staff and authors into the HarperCollins family and excited to work together to expand the breadth of our publishing activities into more than 30 languages."


Kensington-Amazon Negotiations Lasted 18 Months

In an illustration of how long the Amazon-Hachette dispute might last, Kensington Publishing negotiated for 18 months with Amazon for a new deal that began last month--and will last only a year--the Wall Street Journal reported.

Kensington's Steven Zacharius
Kensington's Steven Zacharius

Kensington president and CEO Steven Zacharius told the Journal that negotiations lasted so long partly because "each person got entrenched and didn't want to budge. But at a certain point there has to be compromise." Both sides gradually made concessions, leading to an agreement. He was unable to give details about the terms.

Although Amazon didn't punish Kensington in all the ways it has Hachette, Kensington e-books were "excluded from promotions on Amazon, such as inclusion in Amazon's Kindle Daily Deals that offer readers sharp discounts on selected e-book titles," the paper wrote. As a result, during 2013, Amazon accounted for 52% of Kensington digital sales, while Zacharius expects that number to climb to about 65% during the next year.

The Journal noted that another publishing executive said that his e-book contract with Amazon has been extended "numerous times" while talks continue.


Amazon vs. Hachette: Some Indie Sales Up, Awareness Way Up

As the very public dispute between Amazon.com and Hachette Book Group enters its fourth month, Shelf Awareness spoke with a range of booksellers around the country about how the stalemate has affected customers, affected them and affected sales. At some stores, sales of titles from Hachette--and others--are up significantly; at all stores we spoke to, many customers are showing a new awareness of Amazon and the issues brought up by the dispute.

Kerry Slattery
Kerry Slattery

"I do think that usually the public isn't that aware of publishers," said Kerry Slattery, general manager and co-owner of Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Calif. "Internal publishing negotiations are not something most people on the street are normally aware of, but it's different right now."

She continued: "There does seems to be much more awareness of independent bookstores and buying local. People are used to the convenience that they've developed with Amazon. I think a lot of them didn't realize that there are other options for books, and maybe now some of those people are investigating other options."

Slattery didn't think there had been a significant increase in sales of Hachette titles since the start of the dispute, but she reported that sales have been up generally during that same period. She noted, however, that Edan Lepucki's debut novel, California, which Sherman Alexie turned into a pre-publication bestseller by plugging it on the Colbert Report, has been huge.

"In addition to the national publicity, Edan used to work in our bookstore," Slattery explained. "We did the book launch for it; we talk about her as our staff member."

Robert Sindelar
Robert Sindelar

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Seattle, Wash., also reported very brisk sales of California, selling nearly 60 copies. "For a normal debut novel, selling five copies in that same amount of time would be considered successful," he said.

Earlier, Third Place Books did a widely publicized promotion for The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), offering to hand deliver copies on pub day to customers who ordered it in advance. (The New York Times even led with it in a story about Amazon and Hachette on the front page of the business section.) In part because of this, Sindelar and staff members have heard more comments from customers about the importance of shopping local and changing buying habits. Overall, though, he's seen a minimal change in Hachette sales compared to this time last year.

Anne Holman

Anne Holman, the co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, said the store has sold "dozens and dozens" of copies of California. Before it showed up on the Colbert Report, Holman admitted, the book hadn't even been on her radar.

"We're a small store in Salt Lake City; we didn't really think something like that would hit everywhere," she explained. But sales have been "surprising and delightful," and throughout the nearly three-month-long dispute, Holman and her co-workers have had frequent discussions with customers.

"This is the first time in my experience that customers are actually starting the conversation about what's wrong with Amazon," she said. "It's given us the opportunity to talk about Amazon without coming off as if we're complaining. It's more of an educational conversation. In my mind it's a positive."

Daniel Goldin

Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, Wis., said he has seen a bit of an uptick in Hachette sales. The store's top three bestselling hardcover fiction books last week were The Goldfinch, California and The Silkworm, and sales of Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath in the month of June were double those of April and May.

"We haven't been that aggressive about using the controversy for promotion, but we do have a table of Hachette books right up front as you enter the store," Goldin said. He has also tried to include at least one Hachette title in every new release blog and every e-mail newsletter roundup of recently published titles. "In the end, I think we've seen a pop, but we probably haven't worked it as hard as some stores."

Boswell Book Company hosted Edan Lepucki on Friday, and the event garnered an article beforehand in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Without the ongoing dispute, Goldin guessed, his store would probably not have received that coverage.

Lucy Kogler

Talking Leaves, Buffalo, N.Y., has seen steady sales of California, a title manager Lucy Kogler had not originally intended to order--before the Colbert bump. Otherwise, she has not seen much of a Hachette bump. Her staff has had some conversations with customers about the ongoing dispute, and she has mentioned it on the store's website, Facebook page and e-mail newsletter.

"We haven't done anything like what Robert Sindelar did with The Silkworm; we don't really have the population for something like that," she said. "But we do try to keep all of this stuff in front of our customers, in the sense that this is about the preservation of all sorts of things, not just whether Hachette will cave in or not."

Kris Kleindienst

Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., reported that business overall has been up in July--usually a flat month--and she's seen a better sell-through on California than any other debut novel she can remember. She said it seems that she's reordering Hachette titles more frequently, but acknowledged that she might just have that impression because she's paying more attention to Hachette books. For booksellers, she added, the whole dispute has been one big "teachable moment."

"It feels like the conversation has reached a whole new group of people," Kleindienst said. "It's tapped into folks who have never really thought about this."

Matt Norcross

"The awareness of our customer base has been really surprising and fun and exciting," said Matthew Norcross, co-owner of McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Mich. His store has put up a few Hachette displays, and he's discussed the issue with book clubs and other customers. "The fact that Hachette had someone like Colbert touting it makes a huge difference."

Although California has not been "a wave maker" at his store, Norcross reported large increases in sales of Hachette titles over the last few months. Hachette books were up 20% in May alone, and a huge 28% in June. Part of that, Norcross cautioned, is the result of several major events in May and June with popular Hachette authors, including children's authors Kate Hannigan and Peter Brown. But, he continued, those events also can't account for the entire increase on their own.

Mark LaFramboise

Mark LaFramboise, the head buyer at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., said he's seen more sales of Hachette titles, but he attributes that in large part to the store's prominent Hachette display. It includes frontlist titles as well as backlist, and quotations from authors who have spoken out about the issue. California has also been moving very well--Politics & Prose was one of the stores that Stephen Colbert mentioned on-air when urging viewers to pre-order the book from an indie bookstore. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and The Silkworm have also performed very well this summer.

Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics & Prose, wrote a column about the dispute when it first became public, but has not written another piece. "People seem very aware of the controversy without further help from us," he said. "Given all the national publicity about it, we haven't felt the need to say anything more about it unless asked."

One amusing side effect of the very public dispute, LaFramboise added, was a significant bump for Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, another Hachette title. "We put it back out on the table, and that gave it a whole new life." --Alex Mutter


Notes

Image of the Day: Hay Says Nay to Kindles

Roger Doeren and Vivien Jennings, who own Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan., just finished a 12-day literary tour of England, along with 15 customers from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, visiting, among other places, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, Bath, Blenheim Palace, Salisbury Cathedral, and met many authors. While exploring the bookstores of Hay-on-Wye, they came across this "royal" decree: "Kindles Are Banned from the Kingdom of Hay" by Prince Derek Fitz-Pitt Booth Addyman." Doeren commented, "The United Kingdom is truly united in their disdain for Amazon, Kindles and Jeff Bezos."


Blue Marble Books: 'Still Going Strong After 35 Years'

Happy birthday to Blue Marble Books, Fort Thomas, Ky., which is celebrating its 35th year in business this summer. Calling the shop "a book lover's dream," the Cincinnati Enquirer profiled the shop where every room "is packed floor-to-ceiling with books, carefully arranged by theme and subject--and the eight-person staff of teachers and parents knows every title on the shelves."

"The emphasis has always been on providing service and professional expertise for our customers, and that's why we've stayed in business for so long," said co-owner Peter Moore, adding: "We're passionate about the business, and we're not going to let it slip away. The community has to decide where they're going to spend their dollars. We depend on that support, and people have to make a choice about where they're spending their money, just like they do at the grocery store and the farmers' market."


Wedding Bells--and Barks--at Parnassus

The happy couple

Bookstore wedding--with a twist. Or maybe a treat.

On Saturday, at Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., Tory Abel and Pamela Carter gave their dog Maggie, in "marriage" to Sparky, the shelter dog of bookstore owner Ann Patchett and her husband, Karl VanDevender, the Tennessean reported.

The bride and groom, longtime friends, "walked down a hastily-made aisle in the middle of the store, eager children lining it hoping to pet them," the paper wrote. "The bride wore a pink carnation bouquet and a matching harness. The groom went casual in his Hawaiian shirt."

Parnassus added, "A portion of our proceeds will be donated to the Nashville Humane Association. In lieu of gifts, Maggie and Sparky encourage guests to peruse their woof-istry, a wish list of items from the Nashville Humane Association."


Face in a Book's 2012 'Decision to Open Seems Canny'

Face in a Book bookstore interior"When she opened an independent bookstore in May 2012, Tina Ferguson, owner of Face in a Book Bookstore & Gifts, wrote on her website that she was called everything from courageous to crazy to enter a sector where even the giant Borders Group had failed," the Modesto Bee noted in its piece on the El Dorado Hills, Calif., indie bookstore. "Now, canny seems more apt."

Ferguson said sales have been up an average of 30% over last year, thanks to the store's expansion from 1,100 square feet to 1,800: "Our children's sections have expanded quite a bit because (kids) are voracious readers."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Buchanan and Dean on Colbert

This morning on the Today Show: Annabelle Gurwitch, author of I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 (Blue Rider, $25.95, 9780399166181).

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Today and tomorrow co-hosting on Live with Kelly and Michael: Maria Menounos, author of The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness: How I Lost 40 lbs and Kept It Off--and How You Can Too! (Zinc Ink, $22, 9780804177139).

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Today on PRI's the Takeaway: Euny Hong, author of The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture (Picador, $16, 9781250045119).

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Tonight on Late Night with Seth Meyers: Joan Rivers, author of Diary of a Mad Diva (Berkley, $26.95, 9780425269022).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Pat Buchanan, author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority (Crown Forum, $28, 9780553418637).

Also on Colbert: John W. Dean, author of The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It (Viking, $35, 9780670025367).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Tracy Strawberry and Darryl Strawberry, authors of The Imperfect Marriage: Help for Those Who Think It's Over (Howard Books, $24.99, 9781476738741). They will also appear on Hannity.

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Tomorrow on Fresh Air: Rick Perlstein, author of The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan (Simon & Schuster, $37.50, 9781476782416).

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Tomorrow on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live: Derek Hough, author of Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion (Morrow, $24.99, 9780062323194).

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Tomorrow on a repeat of Tavis Smiley: Angelique Kidjo, author of Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music (Harper Design, $27.99, 9780062071798).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Helen Thorpe, author of Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War (Scribner, $28, 9781451668100).

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Tomorrow night on Conan: Todd Glass, co-author of The Todd Glass Situation: A Bunch of Lies About My Personal Life and a Bunch of True Stories About My 30-Year Career in Stand-Up Comedy (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781476714417).


Movies: The Martian; Testament of Youth

Fox has announced that "the previous mystery date of March 4, 2016 has now been moved ahead to November 25, 2015" for The Martian, adapted by Drew Goddard from the novel by Andy Weir, starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott," Indiewire reported.

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Calling it "an under-the-radar film we've been keeping an eye on," Indiewire featured the first trailer from Testament of Youth, based on Vera Brittain's World War I memoir. Directed by James Kent (Margaret, The Thirteenth Tale), the movie's cast includes Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Joanna Scanlan, Hayley Atwell, Jonathan Bailey, Alexandra Roach and Anna Chancellor. Testament of Youth opens in the U.K. January 2.



Books & Authors

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 'Paused' Until 2016

Booktrust and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate have "paused" the Roald Dahl Funny Prize until 2016 because the "overwhelming success of the prize warrants a review of future options," they said. The award was created in 2008 by the two entities and author Michael Rosen, who was children's laureate at the time.

Noting that she wants to "appraise the options so that we can secure a robust future for this unique celebration of funny books," Booktrust CEO Viv Bird said, "The 900 children involved in the judging process over the last three years have told us how much they love humorous books, so we'll be looking at how we might extend this participation to reach more children and young people, giving them a greater voice in choosing their favorite funny books in the future."

Last year's Roald Dahl Funny Prize winners were Monkey Nut by Simon Rickerty (six-and-under category) and I Am Still Not a Loser by Jim Smith (seven-to-fourteen category).


Book Review

Review: Lisette's List

Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland (Random House, $27 hardcover, 9781400068173, August 26, 2014)

In Lisette's List, Susan Vreeland (Clara and Mr. Tiffany; Girl in Hyacinth Blue) lovingly portrays Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modernist French art by way of a modest fictional character in Provence.

In 1937, newlyweds Andre and Lisette Roux move from France's vibrant capital to the pastoral southeastern town of Roussillon to care for his grandfather, Pascal, who has written that he is dying. A passionate Parisian, Lisette is at first miserable in the backwater town, and infuriated when Pascal turns out to be healthier than he let on: he simply wanted their company, and to share what he remembers about the famous French artists he has known.

But Lisette is as fervent about art as she is about Paris, and Andre has trained in his grandfather's trade of carving fine frames for fine paintings. She is captivated by Pascal's collection of seven paintings: by Cézanne and Pissarro, and one possibly by Picasso. As a miner in the nearby ochre mines and later a pigment salesman, Pascal made the most of his access to these men, and now shares his recollections with the rapt Lisette--as well as his wisdom about life and love.

By the time Pascal eventually dies, Lisette has made a home of sorts in Roussillon; her love for the paintings further compels her to stay in Provence when Andre hides them (for fear of their destruction or seizure by German troops), not telling even Lisette where they're stowed. Andre then enlists to fight for France, and Lisette is left alone, waiting for both the safe return of her husband and a reunion with the artwork.

Over the next decade and more, Lisette keeps a list of "Lisette's Hungers and Vows." Inspired by Pascal and his paintings, Andre's love and the quiet strength and beauty of the Provençal surroundings, she pledges to "learn what makes a painting great," "learn how to be self-sufficient" and "love without reservation." She meets Marc Chagall and his wife, Bella, who are hiding in a nearby town. Upon receiving a gift painted specially for her by Chagall, she begins her own art collection and narrative. But war necessarily brings tragedy as well as new beginnings. Lisette will experience love and loss, joy and deep pain; learn animal husbandry as well as art history; and parse the moral questions raised under Vichy French rule, as the years go by. She finds new friends, undertakes small favors and large sacrifices, all in times of war and recovery, amid the paintings she loves so. Readers will likely rush through the lovely Lisette's List, only to be bereaved when the final stroke is painted and the portrait is complete. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Like Vreeland's previous novels about women in history and art, Lisette's List is heartfelt, loving and lovely, and asks difficult questions beautifully.


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