Notes: Bookshop Investors; Bratz Detractors
When the Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, Pa., was in danger of closing, owner Karen Fadzen, who is also a financial advisor, asked two of her clients if they might consider saving the landmark store. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bud and Janet McDanel answered the call and agreed to invest more than $1 million.
"It's totally a social investment," said Fadzen, who now serves as the store's director. She added that the McDanels, who are publicity shy, have had to adapt to the community's appreciation for their efforts.
"I told them when we started people are going to find out who you are," Fadzen said. "A year later, everybody in the community is patting them on the back when they see them. Now, they're like rock stars, and they're loving that."
Think your bookstore is space-challenged? The Shropshire Star reported that the Book Passage, "believed the narrowest in the country," has been put up for sale. The bookshop, "which is no more than six feet wide, is based in an alleyway of an old coaching inn which used to lead to the stables at the back of the building."
Bratz are out of fashion. According to the New York Times, Scholastic "will no longer include picture books based on the overtly sexy Bratz dolls in any of its school book clubs or fairs this year--and an advocacy group is taking credit for the decision."
"When schools send these book club fliers home with children, the message is that 'We think these are fine and are good for your child,'" said Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which had campaigned against the product line.
Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Book Clubs, said that while the company solicits opinions from editors, teachers and librarians, and had met with a representative of the campaign, "I can't be directed by anyone's special interest. That would almost be censorship.”
Harry Potter votes Labour! J.K. Rowling is donating £1 million (US$1.8 million) to the Labour Party "and accusing the rival Conservatives of discriminating against poor parents trying to work their way out of poverty," the Associated Press (via CNN) reported.
Anticipating that readers might be distracted by the presidential election campaign, the Seattle Times offered an alternative literary guide with its "list of 40 upcoming fiction and nonfiction books" for the autumn.
"Where's your humor section," he asked morosely. The New York Times went searching for bookstore humor sections and concluded that, "In general, the easiest way to locate the Humor section in any bookstore is to go through the front entrance of the bookstore and to the farthest point from the entrance."
Effective immediately, Molly Barton, publishing manager at Penguin Group, has taken on the additional, newly created position of associate publisher of eSpecials. The company published its first eSpecial, an electronic version of the prologue for the paperback version of The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan, earlier this month (Shelf Awareness, September 8, 2008).
Barton earlier was publishing coordinator, an assistant editor at Viking and held editorial and marketing positions at Oxford University Press, Chronicle Books, the United Way and the Sierra Club.
Clara Heyworth has joined Melville House, Brooklyn, N.Y., as head of the publicity department. She was formerly a publicity and marketing executive for Verso in the U.K. In a statement, co-publisher Dennis Johnson said, "Verso is one of the world's leading radical publishers, and Clara's experience contributing to that will prove invaluable to us, particularly for the political titles on our list."
Co-founder Valerie Merians added: "Clara's international contact list is just what we need as we widen our distribution internationally. And it's lovely to have a British accent in the office, out here in the land of fuggedaboutit."