Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 18, 2007


Harper: Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

Mira Books: Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

Little Brown and Company: The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook

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

News

Notes: Vroman's 'No Plans'; Full Cast's Fulfillment

First of all, we misread a roundabout sentence in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, which seemed to indicate that Vroman's of Pasadena, Calif., was opening a branch in a development being built by Craig T. Munger (who is merely offering space to Vroman's). Allison Hill of Vroman's tells us that "there are no plans at this time for Vroman's to open a branch store in Munger's building." Our apologies. 

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Effective this April, Harcourt Children's Books will distribute Full Cast Audio's recorded books.

Full Cast, which has a backlist of 40 titles, was founded by children's author Bruce Coville in 2001 to create unabridged, full-cast recordings for "family listening." It has recorded books by authors such as Paula Danziger, James Howe, Sid Fleischman, Tamora Pierce and Geraldine McCaughrean.

Harcourt will stock Full Cast titles at its Troy, Mo., warehouse. Orders can be placed through a Harcourt sales representative or by contacting the Harcourt Trade Customer Service department at 1-800-543-1918 in April.

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After more than 40 years in business, Irish Books and Media, Minneapolis, Minn., a major source of books from Ireland and about Irish subjects, is closing. Ethna McKierman, whose father, Dr. Eoin McKierman, founded the company as part of his Irish American Cultural Institute, blamed "the declining dollar and an uphill battle against the tripling of freight costs" as well as "pressure from corporate giants swallowing up smaller publishers or raising order minimums to 100 copies. The trend has made our slim margin in wholesaling even slimmer, forcing us to carry larger inventories than we could afford or to order at too low a discount for resale purposes." 

 


Sourcebooks Jabberwocky: The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julia Patton


AAP Sales: November Up 3.2%

Net book sales in November rose 3.2% to $795.3 million, according to the Association of American Publishers. For the year to date, net book sales of $8.623 billion were exactly even with the first 11 months of 2005.

Among the strong categories, as reported by 81 member publishers:
  • Audiobooks were up 24.7% to $19.6 million, with year-to-date sales off 11.7%.
  • Adult hardcovers rose 16.8% to $206.7 million and were up 3% for the year.
  • Children's/YA hardcovers were up 8.1% to $53.8 million but have fallen 30.1% for the year.
  • University press hardcovers, with sales of $6.6 million, were even with the previous year; sales were up 3.8% for the year.
Weaker categories:
  • Religious books were down 2.2% to $47.9 million and were off 9.5% for the year.
  • Adult mass market dropped 6.3% to $73.2 million but was up 6.1% for the year.
  • Children's/YA paperbacks fell 8.3% to $37.7 million, and sales were up 0.3% for the year.
  • E-books dropped 9.2% to $1.9 million but have risen 22.4% for the year.
  • Adult paperbacks were down 9.7% to $99.4 million but were up 11.6% for the year.
  • University press paperbacks were down 14.1% to $5.1 million but have risen 4.6% for the year.


Siglio Press: The Stampographer by Vincent Sardon


Rizzoli Bookstore Illustrates Happy Holidays

Rizzoli Bookstore on W. 57th St. in New York City had its best year since 2000, the company happily announced. Sales in the fourth quarter were up 18% and for the year rose 6.3%.

Top sellers during the holidays were One Special Summer by Lee Radziwill and Jacqueline Bouvier and In Vogue, both published by Rizzoli New York, The Double RL Ranch by Ricky Lauren (Assouline) and Annie Leibovitz's A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005 (Random House). The Force of Reason and The Rage and the Pride by Oriana Fallaci, who died last September, were also bestsellers at the store.

Manager Gary McElroy attributed the store's holiday cheer to a range of special events, sales and promotions that started in September and averaged four signings a week by photographers, artists, fashion designers and others, including Isabella Rosselini and Ricky Lauren. The store also held a fashion show, Italian language classes and wine tastings.

Rizzoli publisher Charles Miers said the season showed "the strength of illustrated books," adding that "there will always be a market for illustrated books," both as gifts and for "people of taste and means" who want to build their own libraries.

Rizzoli New York publishing also had a strong year. Sales in 2006 rose 25% over 2005.


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


Regan Books Name Is History, Too

Effective immediately, HarperCollins is no longer using the Regan Books name. On all books published through the summer, an interim log, HC, will appear on what were to be Regan Books titles. In September, the HC logo will disappear, too, and books will be assigned to various HarperCollins imprints.

Effective March 1, HarperCollins is closing its Regan Books office in Los Angeles. Cal Morgan and several senior members of that office, including Cassie Jones, executive managing editor/senior editor, Gregg Sullivan, marketing director, and Richard Ljoenes, senior art director, will return to HarperCollins's New York office and join the current Big Apple staff, which remains as is. Suzanne Wickham will stay on as publicity director in Los Angeles. According to today's New York Times, some 10 people in the Los Angeles office are being let go.

"We feel our authors will be best served by being integrated into HarperCollins," Michael Morrison, president and group publisher Harper/Morrow, said in a statement. "Our talented, dedicated staff will work hard to ensure a seamless transition."

Judith Regan, former head of Regan Books, was abruptly dismissed in mid-December. You know why.


Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Flake and Boritt

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 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 Web site.

Saturday, January 20

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in 1999, the Reverend Floyd Flake talked about his book The Way of the Bootstrapper: Nine Action Steps for Achieving Your Dreams (HarperSanFrancisco, $14, 9780062515964). Flake is a former congressman, senior pastor of Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, president of Wilberforce University in Ohio and co-founder of the Allen Christian School.

9 p.m. After Words. James Swanson, Heritage Foundation senior legal scholar and author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, interviews Gabor Boritt, a professor and director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, about his latest book about Lincoln, The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows (S&S, $28, 9780743288200). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)


Media Heat: The Lay of Richard Ford's Land

Today on NPR's On Point: Kevin Young, author of the poetry collection For the Confederate Dead (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307264350).

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Today on KCRW's Bookworm: Richard Ford, whose new book is The Lay of the Land (Knopf, $26.95, 9780679454687). As the show described the segment: "This is Richard Ford's third novel about Frank Bascomb, his sportswriter-turned-realtor. Does Ford inhabit the character? Does the character inhabit him? Neither, it turns out. Ford explains how Bascomb is just a tool--one for exploring the present and revealing the problems of aging in the 'now.' "

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Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: Harry Shearer whose new novel is Not Enough Indians (Justin, Charles & Co., $19.95, 9781932112467).


Movies: Blood and Chocolate

Delicious.

Directed by Katja von Garnier and starring Olivier Martinez, Agnes Bruckner, Hugh Dancy, Katja Riemann and Bryan Dick, Blood and Chocolate opens on Friday, January 26. The movie is based on the novel by Annette Curtis Klause (Laurel Leaf, $6.50, 9780440226680/0440226686). The studio describes Blood and Chocolate this way: "A teen werewolf, grieving for her father and bored with her pack mates, falls for a human."

 


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out This Week and Next

Several new books on sale today:

Traveler by Ron McLarty (Viking, $24.95, 9780670034741). The second novel by the author of The Memory of Running, which Stephen King famously called "the best book you can't read."

Thomas Hardy by Claire Tomalin (Penguin Press, $35, 9781594201189). Whitbread Award winner Tomalin's biography of the enigmatic novelist and poet.


Selected titles with a pub date of next Tuesday, January 23:

The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer (Random House, $27.95, 9780394536491). In his first major work of fiction in more than a decade, Mailer recreates the childhood and youth of Adolf Hitler.

Lords of the North
by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins, $25.95, 9780060888626). The latest installment in the Saxon Chronicles.

White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399153730). A paranormal-themed romantic suspense novel, the latest in Krentz's Arcane Society series.

Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Crown, $19.95, 9780307382382). Tracing Oprah Winfrey's roots gives readers a roadmap for exploring their own heritage.

Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court and America's Future by Jan Crawford Greenburg (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594201011). An ABC News legal correspondent offers an explosive account of a watershed in recent American history.

What a Party!: My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals by Terry McAuliffe with Steve Kettmann (Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95, 9780312357870). From wrestling an alligator to running the Democratic National Committee, McAuliffe recalls his years at the epicenter of American politics.


Out in paperback on Tuesday, January 23:

Death Dance by Linda Fairstein (Pocket, $9.99, 9780743482288).

The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais (Pocket Star, $7.99, 9781416514961).



Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: KOMENAR Publishing and Community, Part 2

Charlotte Cook portrays her efforts to launch and sustain KOMENAR Publishing as "my ironwoman experience," drawing upon "a huge catalogue of experience and expectations." She is also inspired by her favorite bookseller, husband Richard, owner of Sunrise Bookshop & Metaphysical Center in Berkeley, Calif. She describes him as a "cosmic bartender . . . people come in and tell him stories about their life, then instead of a drink he gives them a book. Sounds like a community bookseller to me."

Perhaps we're all in the cosmic bartender game, but how can one new, small publisher translate her particular experience, vision, and desire for community into national success?

It ain't easy.

"The book industry is an injured enterprise," says Charlotte. "Just the fact that so much is consignment business startles me. The bolstering cry that 'you can always return it' means that product choices can be only for the moment. And of course discounts to readers mean little room to cover costs and therefore stay in business . . . and suggest that a book's content or long-term value isn't worth full price."

Concerned that she will sound like "another whiny publisher," Charlotte insists that she is just "trying to figure this out. The alternative or small publisher is held suspect. I don't know why. I can say that our experience has led to the following joke: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from a small publisher. Now when you laugh--and it isn't an 'if,' is it?--it's because you identify with the chicken. But I don't. That reaction doesn't make sense to me."

Charlotte cites her experience with My Half of the Sky by Jan McBurney-Lin, which garnered an August 2006 Book Sense Pick, as symptomatic. "We rejoiced at our good fortune, then everything sort of stopped there. Instead of books going onto shelves and through the hands of booksellers into the grip of readers, we saw digital images of the art work show up as if books were within reach of a reader. But the title was only available by special order. The outcome: an increase of maybe 800 books with a quick set of sales. Nice, but booksellers within the Book Sense community were more passive than active, leaving us with a profound sense of disappointment, not only in sales but for all the work we have done to be part of the non-chain bookseller renaissance."

What had her expectations been? "We thought each Book Sense bookseller would carry a copy or two of the title and place the book in a prominent display. We thought that each bookseller would at least acquaint him- or herself with the title and why it received attention. We thought that books getting Book Sense attention would give us a bit of buzz. We thought more booksellers from outside the regional areas we targeted at trade shows would discover our book(s). Our smallest expectation also met with disappointment--that we had ended the need to prove we were not a subsidy publisher."

Building credibility one bookshop at a time is a hard road. One strategy KOMENAR employs is a Starter Kit, sending at least one complimentary copy of each title to booksellers. According to Charlotte, "The string attached is that, when those books sell, the bookseller places an order to replace them. We use the honor system, and it's a great deal for all. We've had good performance from this."

Charlotte believes that community building for small publishers must be multi-tiered. She calls the work of ABA and Book Sense "valuable and necessary," and is quick to point out "how grateful we are to these wonderful people," but stresses the absolutely critical role of regional associations, which "tackle issues of community all the time. They push and shove--in the nicest ways--issues of business practices, relationship, and competition out into the open. KOMENAR's staff has been critiqued and introduced, teased and soothed, and much more by some of those people and always with an eye for this publishing house and that bookseller to do better. We have never felt injured or patronized."

According to Charlotte, KOMENAR's strategy is to "push ahead, focusing on people who share our passion: reading compelling fiction." Following that path, she will continue to look the industry in the eye: "I question what I see. What I choose to question and how has often been taken as hard opinion. Not so. People who know me know that my expressions of frustration are me on my way to a solution or some humor." The stuff, perhaps, of dreams and community.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)



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