Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Workman Publishing: What a Blast!: Fart Games, Fart Puzzles, Fart Pranks, and More Farts! by Julie Winterbottom, illustrated by Clau Souza

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

St. Martin's Press: Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover by Graham Boynton

Bloomsbury Publishing: Girlhood by Melissa Febos

Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West


Koen Won't Ship New Harry Potter

In an unusual and disturbing move, Koen Book Distributors, one of the largest regional trade book wholesalers, is notifying bookstore accounts that it will not fulfill their orders for the hottest title of the year, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Instead, Baker & Taylor will handle those orders.

In a statement, president Bob Koen said that the company, which "is experiencing financial difficulties at this time," had made arrangements with Scholastic and HarperCollins "to make sure our customers got the new Harry Potter book. They decided to use Baker & Taylor for distribution. We felt this was the right thing to do in order for our loyal customers to have this book."

Adding to the uncertainty about Koen, at least one rep who calls on the Moorestown, N.J., company said that it had postponed his fall frontlist appointments with buyers.

Founded in 1972, Koen was owned until recently by Bob and Pat Koen, who are divorcing. Bob is reportedly retaining ownership of the company and buying out Pat's share.

Regional wholesalers have had a difficult time for the past 15 years as many publishers improved warehousing operations, chains built elaborate distribution systems of their own and independents closed or cut back on buys. Among the casualties in this business of terribly narrow margins: Pacific Pipeline, Gordon's and Golden-Lee. Late last year, the Booksource, St. Louis, Mo., whose roots were in trade book wholesaling, closed down that side of the business.

Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley

Oh, the Horror Awards

Winners of the 2004 Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, presented last weekend by the Horror Writers Association, include, for "superior" novel, In the Night Room by Peter Straub, and for "superior" first novel, two books that tied, Covenant by John Everson and Stained by Lee Thomas. For the full list of winners, go to

KidsBuzz for the Week of 05.16.22

Feliz Cumpleaños in San Antonio

The organization Books in the Barrio and others who fought for years to get a bookstore in San Antonio's South Side last week celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of a Waldenbooks in South Park Mall, according to the San Antonio Express. (See

Sales are up 21% over projection, a Borders district manager told the paper. To mark the occasion, the store put a thousand titles in its Spanish-language section on sale.

Blackstone Publishing: Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard

Booksellers Urged to Matriculate at Frankfurt

One of the best deals for American booksellers to learn about another culture's book world is the International Booksellers Seminar on the German Book Trade, a 10-day event held every other year that includes lectures and discussions by people in the industry, visits to publishers, a wholesaler and bookstores, a day working in a bookstore and camaraderie among fellow international booksellers—aided by excellent beers and wines.

Of course, much about Germany's book world is familiar, but much is different and thought provoking. One example: wholesalers have keys to most bookstores and make deliveries during the night.

The 13th of these meetings will be held Oct. 20-30, beginning during this year's Frankfurt Book Fair. The only cost to participants is getting to Frankfurt. All other costs are paid for by the hosts: the Fair and the German Foreign Office.

Applicants should be booksellers aged 20 to 40 dealing with or planning to deal with German books. The seminar will be held in English, but knowledge of German helps. Applications are due by July 15. For more information, go to

Ace Books: The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore

Villarosa Retires--Again

One of our favorite booksellers, feisty and direct Clara Villarosa, has retired. A former ABA board member, longtime owner of the Hue-Man Experience in Denver, Colo., and then, for the last three years, founder and co-owner of the Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem in New York City, Villarosa said that at 75, she had grown tired of 14-hour days and waking up at night thinking of all the things she had to do. Among recent highlights of her career: organizing the African American Booksellers Conferences at BEA and hosting a huge signing for Bill Clinton a year ago on the laydown date of My Life.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Two Lives of Sara
by Catherine Adel West

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel WestWhen Sara King arrives in Memphis in the 1960s, she's unmarried, pregnant and on the run from a harrowing past in Chicago. She finds respite at The Scarlet Poplar boarding house, where she'll help Mama Sugar cook mouthwatering Southern food and pursue a second chance for herself and her baby son. Laura Brown, senior editor at Park Row Books, recommends this to readers of Kaitlyn Greenidge's Libertie and Dawnie Walton's The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. "We're finally starting to see more historical fiction that doesn't center the white experience," Brown adds. Rich with research into segregation and the civil rights movement, this vibrant novel pairs a wrenching portrait of an unwed mother with a joyous celebration of African American culture in the South. --Rebecca Foster

(Park Row, $27.99 hardcover, 9780778333227, September 6, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

War of the Worlds Mobilizes

The marketing and publicity attack orchestrated by superior beings has begun. Its goal: to drive humanity to theaters beginning today to see Steven Spielberg's remake of War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise.

First published in 1898, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells is, of course, in the public domain. As a result, there is a slew of editions, including mass market versions from Signet (with an afterword by Isaac Asimov), Scholastic Classics (with an introduction by Orson Scott Card), Bantam and Tor Classics.

One exceptional version was recently re-released by the New York Review of Books: it's the 1960 Looking Glass Library edition featuring illustrations by Edward Gorey ($16.95, ISBN 1590171586), whose style is eerily perfect for this title.

Another standout edition is a product of Sourcebooks Media Fusion, a line that packages books and CDs together. The company's Complete War of the Worlds ($39.95, ISBN 1570717141) includes the book, the text of 1938 radio play narrated by Orson Welles, an audio of that famous show as well as a foreword by Ray Bradbury, an afterword by Ben Bova and articles about both Wells and Welles.

War of the Worlds has also been great fodder over the years for comic books. Jack Lake Productions is reprinting the 50-year-old American Classics comic book edition done by Lou Cameron in both hardcover and paperback formats (1-894998-80-4 and 1-894998-81-2).

Another edition has reworked the story to accommodate more recent horrors and fears. Written by Stephen Stern and illustrated by Arne Starr, a graphic novel version of War of the Worlds from Best Sellers Illustrated sets Wells's story in post-Sept. 11 New York (0976475502).


Indie to Open July 5 on Independence Mall

Angela Roach's vision of her own bookstore goes back 25 years, several eons in bookselling history. Before the Internet, superstores, warehouse clubs and category killers, Roach worked at the former Village Green bookstore in Syracuse, N.Y., a "very progressive, neat place," she told Shelf Awareness, and decided she wanted to open a bookstore someday. Now, after spending much of the intervening time as a sales executive in television and most recently as a contractor for Books R Fun, operating corporate book fairs, she will open her store in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 5.

On Independence Mall a few steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, Voices & Visions: Books, Arts and Community is in the historic Bourse Building—the country's first commodities exchange—which now houses offices, shops and food outlets that draw 5,000 tourists a day. It's part of Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood, which has attracted many writers, filmmakers and artists and whose population continues to increase.

As Voices & Vision's full name implies, the 2,900-sq.-ft. store, an elegant yet highly functional space, will have an emphasis on the arts and the community, in part through its inventory but more so by creating a space "where people can come and exchange creative ideas," as Roach put it. Voices & Visions will offer weekly discussion groups and panel discussions and aims to act as a kind of clearinghouse for the arts, with information about film and acting workshops, dance studios and more.

In its arts titles, Roach will "try to carry what a typical bookstore does not." For example, for the theater people in the neighborhood, Voices & Visions will offer many actors' editions of plays, trade paperback plays, books on acting, theater and stagecraft techniques as well as CD-ROMs on how to speak with accents.

The rest of the store will have a "very broad range" of titles, including everything from home and hearth titles and fiction to parenting, children's books and romance. A regional room will offer work by local artists and local publishers and include titles of mid-Atlantic regional and travel interest.

Voices & Visions is in the lower level of the Bourse Building but has two huge display windows at the sidewalk level. The store will build inventory gradually, aiming for about 12,000-14,000 titles by the holiday season, and offer coffee, several desktop computers for customers and wi-fi for a fee. Besides the artwork by local artists, sidelines will include New Yorker covers on canvas, bookends, book lights, stationery and tote bags.

Incidentally anyone who finds fault with the mystery/true crime/SF/horror/fantasy section should blame Shelf Awareness's John Mutter, who went to the store last Saturday to take part in its shelving party. He unpacked, shelved and alphabetized those sections, expecting the process to take an hour or so. ("Hey, Angie, isn't Elfriede Jelinek more literature than horror or fantasy??") More than four hours later he was finally able to stand up, socialize and have a drink. Once again, just a little time working in a bookstore renews the feelings of awe and respect for the day-to-day challenges booksellers face.

Voices & Visions: Books, Arts and Community is located at 111 South Independence Mall East, Suite B106, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106; 215-625-4740. The store will venture online later in July, using a Web site.

KidsBuzz: Katherine Tegen Books: Case Closed #4: Danger on the Dig by Lauren Magaziner
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