Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 7, 2015


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

Indigo's Reisman: Ambition to Expand into U.S.

Indigo Books and Music, which has some 220 stores across Canada, plans to expand into the U.S., BloombergBusiness said. In an interview, CEO Heather Reisman told Bloomberg, "I want the stock back up at 20 [dollars] and beyond, that's my ambition: make this thrive and then take it outside the country."

Reisman gave few details about when and where the foray abroad might happen, although she said that growth would "more likely be organic than through acquisitions," Bloomberg wrote.

Selling under the Indigo, Chapters and Coles names, the company has expanded its non-book offerings, and "lifestyle products" now make up 30% of sales. More than half of those products are designed in-house, including at an Indigo design studio in New York. For some time, the company has reported substantial sales gains in lifestyle, paper, toys and electronics. It also has three American Girl specialty boutiques.

Heather Reisman

As part of this trend, Indigo has developed a "cultural department store" model, which includes "home decorating, dining ware and personal technology." This will make its debut next year. Another initiative is an online tool that lets customers "try out different wall art combinations and then customize prints from Indigo's bank of Getty Images photographs," Bloomberg said.

After several years of closing stores, including three large ones in Toronto last year, Indigo plans to open new stores in Toronto and Vancouver and will double warehouse space for online sales.

Reisman founded Indigo in 1996. In 2001, Indigo bought Chapters, its main Canadian competition. Indigo also worked early on to develop an online bookselling site, which became Kobo. It spun off Kobo in 2009. Rakuten bought Kobo in 2011.

Reisman and her husband, private equity fund owner Gerry Schwartz, own about 60% of Indigo.


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


E.U. Plans for Unified Market, Crackdown on U.S. Tech Giants

The European Union has unveiled "a plan to unify Europe's fragmented digital market and crack down on potential abuses of market power by U.S. Web giants," the Wall Street Journal wrote. "At the heart of the project is Europe's battle against the dominance of U.S.-based Web companies. The plan calls for several major inquiries into possible abuses by U.S. companies, including a 'comprehensive analysis' of the role of online platforms such as search engines and price-comparison websites, as well as a previously signaled investigation by antitrust regulators into whether e-commerce companies such as Amazon are restricting cross-border trade."

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said the plan would "lay the groundwork for Europe's digital future," adding, "I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders, and a wave of innovative European startups."

Earlier this year, the E.U. called Amazon's important 2003 tax deal with Luxembourg likely "unfair state aid." That investigation continues.

In the Bookseller, Tim Godfray, CEO of the Booksellers Association, said about the new plan, "We hope the enquiry will review the market for e-books across the E.C. and issues around accessibility, interoperability and market dominance in particular."

An Amazon spokesperson told the Bookseller the company "agreed with the vision of Europe as a single market" and looked forward to working with the Commission. "Amazon has approached Europe as a single market since we launched here more than 15 years ago," the spokesperson said.

Blackwell's digital director Kieron Smith illustrated the difficulties of the current system, citing "the patchwork of VAT"; limited cross-border access to books in some other countries; and fixed prices in some countries.


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


ABA Forum: Booksellers Explore New Markets

The ABA's Exploring New Markets forum was held in Washington, D.C., on April 28, at Busboys & Poets on 5th Street (Politics & Prose co-owner Bradley Graham told the group about a recent partnership between Busboys' locations and P&P). ABA CEO Oren Teicher and senior strategy officer Dan Cullen provided some valuable information.

Increasing sales to existing customers was the first discussion item--six out of every 10 book purchases your customer makes are not in your store. If you can retain even one or two copies of that loss, your business will grow. Also, think about customers' needs and wants. To retain and increase business, some stores have sent birthday cards to customers with coupons; offered "secret password" sales (where a word is e-mailed or tweeted and those who come to the store and say that word receive discounts or prizes); let customers know they can ship to their homes just like Amazon (Ingram offers help with this); started frequent buyer plans; and hosted annual parties/personal shopping hours for bookstore members.

It's important to understand customers by age/generation. For Millennials (25% of population and growing), social responsibility is important. Ideas for tapping those 20-somethings: hosting book clubs with a leader in that age group, hosting events in hip venues where adult beverages are available, keeping social media fresh and shipping directly to homes or workplaces. Generation Xers (defined as those born mid 1960s-1980s) say loyalty is important to them, so tap into that purchasing trend. Most Gen Xers are web savvy, so keep social media updated and be sure to posted in-store signs reminding customers about accessing your website and ordering books online. Why We Buy by Paco Underhill is a book every store should take to heart--especially regarding looking at your store from a customer viewpoint rather than as an owner, to help spot things that are missing or might be out of place. As for Baby Boomers (born before 1965), they are said to be nostalgic. To reach this group, some stores had had success selling vinyl records, CDs and record players (no mention of eight-track tapes!). One can also cater to Baby Boomers by offering shipping to snowbirds in Florida, gift-wrapping service, grandchildren gift programs, first edition book clubs and tours (like those Politics & Prose offers to Fallingwater and Paris).

Ideas to help nurture the children's/YA business included writing clubs, book talks, teen advisory panels, offering internships, crafting programs, hosting birthday and/or tea parties, inviting parents to "happier hour" where bonding activities are offered, and tying into community events like First Friday/Second Saturday or local parades.

The final subjects were online shopping and diverse books (including the NAIBA diversity in children's literature workshop to be held in Philadelphia on May 12). Tapping into diverse books and those in your community who might read them is important in part because, by the year 2050, the white population will be a minority in the U.S. What type of displays are you putting up for ethnic, special needs or other differing readers in your area? Cultural festivals are a way to learn more and potentially create partnerships to grow the customer base.

As for online, 35% of sales are e-books; making sure customers know how to order e-books from booksellers is one way to increase sales in this area. Webrooming (looking online to decide what to buy at retail) is a growing trend, so booksellers should once again make sure their websites and other social media are fresh.

Co-op, and how to make it easier to understand, came up during the q&a portion. This is really an issue stores know they need to deal with and get better at. Some attendees practically begged for help from the ABA and publishers.

Finally, 400 stores are using the IndieBound e-commerce platform. A recent posting of an NPR story received 300,000 clicks--that is powerful stuff and music to publisher's rep's ears. --Tim Hepp, Simon & Schuster rep


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


Obituary Note: Marcia Brown

Marcia Brown, the children's book illustrator and three-time Caldecott Medal winner, died on April 28. She was 96. The New York Times said "she employed a diverse range of styles and media, including woodcuts, collage, pen-and-ink drawings, watercolors and gouache."

Brown won Caldecotts in 1955 for Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper, which she also translated from the French; in 1962 for Once a Mouse, her version of the fable from India; and in 1983 for Shadow, which she also translated and adapted from a Blaise Cendrars poem. In addition, she illustrated six Caldecott Honor Books and won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for contributions to children's literature.


Notes

'How to Support Indie Bookstores Year-Round'

Looking back on last Saturday's inaugural Authors for Indies Day in Canada, BookNet Canada noted that it "was a day truly unlike any other, and one that won't be soon forgotten." To help "keep the spirit alive," the organization offered readers five "(fun and easy!)" ways to support indie bookstores year-round:

  1. Buy books locally.
  2. Get the word out about other "shop local" initiatives.
  3. Understand the economic argument.
  4. Partner with your local indie.
  5. Bookstores are more than just bookstores.

Pennie Picks Orphan Train

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow, $14.99, 9780061950728) as her pick of the month for May. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"My mother and I had an especially close bond. The relationship we had, and the knowledge that not all children are as lucky as I was, make this month's book buyer's pick, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, all the more moving.

"Inspired by the real trains that transported orphaned or homeless children from crowded Eastern cities to points farther west more than 100 years ago, this is the fictional tale of Molly, who is about to be aged out of the foster-care system, and the elderly Vivian. While helping Vivian sort through her possessions, the two realize they're not so different after all.

"I cannot stress enough how warm and uplifting this book is. Plus, it inspired me to learn more about the orphan trains, a bit of history I'd known nothing about until picking up this book."


Personnel Changes at Skyhorse Publishing, HarperCollins

At Skyhorse Publishing, Sam Caggiula has been promoted to director of publicity. He joined the company last year as senior publicity manager and earlier was publicity manager at Rowman & Littlefield and director of publicity at Running Press.

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Ruchir Pandya has joined HarperCollins as senior pricing analyst. He formerly was a revenue management analyst at JetBlue Airways and earlier was a management consulting analyst for Infosys Ltd. 


Media and Movies

Media Heat; Melissa Rivers Talks About Joan

Tomorrow on CNN's the Lead with Jake Tapper: Nicolle Wallace, author of Madam President: A Novel (Emily Bestler/Atria, $25, 9781476756899).

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Tomorrow on the Talk: Melissa Rivers, author of The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation (Crown Archetype, $26, 9781101903827).


Movies: The Prophet

The first U.S. trailer has been released for the animated adaptation of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King), Indiewire reported. The voice cast includes Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek, Quvenzhané Wallis, John Krasinski, Frank Langella and Alfred Molina; with music by Yo-Yo Ma, Damien Rice and Glen Hansard.


This Weekend on Book TV: Jon Krakauer

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, May 9
4:30 p.m. Brent Schlender, co-author of Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader (Crown Business, $30, 9780385347402). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m.)

7 p.m. Ann Dunwoody, author of A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General (Da Capo, $25.99, 9780738217796). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

8 p.m. Ghostwriter David Ritz, co-author, most recently, of Willie Nelson's autobiography It's a Long Story: My Life (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316403559). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:45 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts, authors of The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy (Basic Books, $29.99, 9780465030002). (Re-airs Monday at 1:45 a.m.)

10 p.m. Jon Krakauer, author of Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385538732). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Masha Gessen, author of The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594632648). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:45 p.m.)


Sunday, May 10
1 p.m. Kathryn Edin, co-author of Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City (University of California Press, $29.95, 9780520274068). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

3:45 p.m. Andrew Burstein, author of Democracy's Muse: How Thomas Jefferson Became an FDR Liberal, a Reagan Republican, and a Tea Party Fanatic, All the While Being Dead (University of Virginia Press, $29.95, 9780813937229).

6:45 p.m. Jack Ross, author of The Socialist Party of America: A Complete History (Potomac Books, $50, 9781612344904).

10 p.m. Steven Weinberg, author of To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science (Harper, $28.99, 9780062346650), at BookPeople in Austin, Tex.



Books & Authors

Awards: Goncourt; Arabic Fiction; Ruth Lilly, Arthur C. Clarke

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud has won the Académie Goncourt's prize for best first novel. The book is "a retelling of Albert Camus's 1942 classic The Stranger from the perspective of the brother of the Arab man killed by that novel's protagonist, Meursault," the New York Times wrote. Other Press is publishing the book, translated by John Cullen, on June 2.

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The Italian by Shukri Mabkhout has won the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, an award that includes a $50,000 prize and a translation into English. Mabkhout is president of Manouba University in Tunis, Tunisia, and the book, published by Dar Tanweer Tunis, is his first novel.

IPAF described the book this way: "Set in Tunis, The Italian tells the story of Abdel Nasser, nicknamed 'the Italian' due to his good looks. Against the backdrop of the protagonist's political and amatory exploits, the book sheds light on Tunisia's recent complex history, in particular the troubled transition from the Bourguiba era to the government of Ben Ali in the late 1980s."

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Alice Notley has won the 2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which recognizes "the outstanding lifetime achievement of a living U.S. poet." The prize carries an award of $100,000 and is sponsored and administered by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine.

Poetry editor Don Share commented: "In the true American vein, Alice Notley's work has created and nourished a line of deeply democratic work in poetry and prose that is as extensive as it is uncategorizable. Her writing is fresh year after year in a career spanning four decades. Like Whitman, she is simultaneously one of a kind and a poet for each of us: an exemplary, humane, and ultimately essential writer."

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Emily St. John Mandel's novel Station Eleven won the £2,015 (about $3,070) Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction, the Guardian reported. Chair of the judges Andrew M. Butler commented: "While many post-apocalypse novels focus on the survival of humanity, Station Eleven focuses instead on the survival of our culture, with the novel becoming an elegy for the hyper-globalized present."


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Orhan's Inheritance: A Novel by Aline Ohanesian (Algonquin, $25.95, 9781616203740). "Debut author Ohanesian's historical novel relives the nearly forgotten tragedy of the Armenian Genocide during and after World War I. Through deportations, massacres, and executions of Christian and Jewish Armenians, the Ottoman Empire and its successors eliminated 1.5 million citizens. Ohanesian's beautifully written book shares a tale of passionate love, unspeakable horror, incredible strength, and the hidden stories that haunt a family. Highly recommended." --Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga.

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas (Scribner, $24, 9781476785059). "Like an honest talk with your wittiest friend, Thomas' new memoir will have you both laughing out loud and on the verge of tears. Examining a life that has changed dramatically over the years and the friendship that has endured it all, What Comes Next and How to Like It reveals simple truths we can all recognize in our own lives. Thomas' gentle humor is evident in every passage as she writes of struggling with aging, loyalty, and drinking after the death of her loving husband. What makes this all the more brilliant are the sparkling moments of insight, full of depth and emotion, that Thomas so beautifully shares with the reader." --Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

Paperback
Mind of Winter: A Novel by Laura Kasischke (Harper Perennial, $14.99, 9780062284402). "On a snowy Christmas morning in a Detroit suburb, Holly Judge asks her daughter Tatiana to help her prepare dinner for their guests while her husband drives to the airport to get his parents. Holly reflects on the circumstances of Tatiana's adoption but her recollections become more and more confusing as the day progresses and she feels that 'something has followed them from Russia.' Kasischke has accomplished a remarkable feat in writing a highly suspenseful novel with very little action and whose heart-wrenching conclusion will haunt you long after you finish reading." --Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Middle Grade Readers
The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield (Holt, 9780805099980, $16.99). "Danny wakes up after a storm to find his parents gone. An old tree was hit by lightning during the night and it is there Danny finds the taro that grants the power to speak with nature, both animals and plants. Danny must find his parents, but he has no idea of the powers of darkness and death that are set against him. With the help of a cat, Danny seeks the Book of Storms in a thrilling, fast-paced read, perfect for fans of Percy Jackson!" --Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 9781481411097). "Born with a disfigured hand and abandoned at birth, Kara has only known life with her adopted American mother in the Chinese city of Tianjin. When a random emergency throws their life into disarray and authorities no longer allow Kara to live with her mother, she is left at an orphanage. Influenced by Sonnichsen's own time living and working in China, this novel in verse triumphs by showing that a family is made up of the people you love, and home is wherever in the world they might be." --Clara Martin, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, Miss.

Children's Illustrated
Cat & Bunny by Mary Lundquist (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062287809). "This sweet, soft, and snuggly tale carries a gentle message about kindness with two cozy characters that kids will want to visit again and again. Bunny, Cat, and friends are all illustrated in a charming way in this great bedtime book for ages three and up." --Jessilyn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 12:

How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544411630) follows three female friends united by an incident in college.

Grow Your Value: Living and Working to Your Full Potential by Mika Brzezinski (Weinstein Books, $26, 9781602862685) gives work-life balance advice for women from the co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe.

The Guest Cottage: A Novel by Nancy Thayer (Ballantine, $27, 9780345545510) takes place on Nantucket, where two recently single 30-somethings accidentally rent the same house.

Girl at War: A Novel by Sara Novic (Random House, $26, 9780812996340) follows a Croatian girl during the Yugoslavian civil war and 10 years later in New York City.

By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission by Charles Murray (Crown Forum, $27, 9780385346511) advocates libertarianism.


Now in paperback:

The Three Heavens: Angels, Demons and What Lies Ahead by John Hagee (Worthy Publishing, $15.99, 9781617953699).

The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May by Mark Z. Danielewski (Pantheon, $25, 9780375714948).


Book Review

Review: The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio

The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare S First Folio by Andrea Mays (Simon & Schuster, $27 hardcover, 9781439118238, May 12, 2015)

In 1889, an oil refinery clerk who loved the works of Shakespeare went into a Manhattan auction house and purchased a Fourth Folio of the bard's plays, printed in 1685, for $107.50. Thus begins Andrea Mays's captivating The Millionaire and the Bard, a chronicle of the buyer, Henry Folger, and his lifelong pursuit of First Folios--a First being the "most valuable English-language book in the world."

To begin, Mays unfolds in fascinating detail the story of how the book miraculously came about. While Shakespeare lived, copies of his plays were "ephemeral amusements not serious literature." Seven years after he died in 1616, two actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell--the "two most unsung heroes in the history of English literature"--decided to collect their friend's plays and publish them on durable rag paper folded only once. At this time only 18 had been published (in quarto form), 18 had not--these included Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night and Macbeth. They gathered theatrical prompt books and quartos, picked other actors' memories and used "possibly, tantalizingly, some of Shakespeare's own manuscripts." If they hadn't been able to round up copies of these plays, who would be saying "Out, damn'd spot!" and other priceless lines?

Printing the First Folio involved different compositors, so there were numerous textual variants from one copy to another. The actors sold the First for £1; buyers had to bind it themselves. They sold out of the approximately 750 copies by 1632, so they ordered a reprint (with more variants). Mays notes that Henry Folger bought his first First, a poor copy, around 1893, and then another in 1896, for $4,500. He bought the last of his 82 folios in 1928 for $68,750, the most he ever paid for one. How could he afford this?

That is the other fascinating aspect of Mays's story. Folger was "kind, humorous and unpretentious," the president and later the chairman of Standard Oil, one of the Gilded Age's richest men. Born to wealth, he was a nephew to the founder of Folger's Coffee, maintained many good connections and endeared himself to John D. Rockefeller when Folger was still a clerk--a relationship that eventually launched him to the top of the company. He loved books in general, but he was obsessed with Shakespeare. Mays chronicles Folger's lifelong fervor to own Shakespeare materials; his library includes the only 1594 quarto of Titus Andronicus known to the world. He often competed with other wealthy collectors and libraries, and he had quite a spat with his "nemesis and lifelong literary irritant," the Shakespeare bibliographer Sidney Lee. He eventually built the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., to house his library and voluminous collection; it opened April 23, 1932--Shakespeare's 368th birthday, nearly two years after Folger's death. This is a great story, wonderfully told, that book lovers, readers and collectors will savor. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: The intriguing story of a book, the man who wrote it, the eccentric millionaire who coveted it and the library he built to house it.


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