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.
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 http://www.horror.org/stokers.htm#winners
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
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.
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 booksellersaided 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 http://www.gbo.org/gbo/en/index.php?content=/gbo/en/news/content/11526/content.html
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.
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
: 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 Buildingthe country's first commodities exchangewhich
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
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 BookSense.com Web site.