Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 8, 2010

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


Notes: Macmillan and Amazon Find an E-Way

For anyone who was in a coma this past weekend, last Friday, Amazon and Macmillan came to an agreement about sales terms for e-books. Late in the day, Amazon began activating most buy buttons for Macmillan titles, a week after suddenly disappearing them and five days after saying that "ultimately" it would acquiesce to the publisher's request to sell e-books to it on an agency model.

The Times speculated that "Amazon demanded that no other e-book vendors, like Apple, get preferential access to new titles, or any kind of pricing advantages. Amazon may also have negotiated terms into its agreement with the publisher that would allow users of Kindles or Kindle software to lend e-books to each other."

The Wall Street Journal said that "Amazon's new prices are expected to go into effect when [Apple's] iPad goes on sale in March."

Check out the Onion's coverage of the end of the week-long drama.


Amazon and other online retailers are asking Congress to override aspects of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling in Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS that "gave manufacturers considerably more leeway to dictate retail prices, once considered a violation of antitrust law, and it set a high legal hurdle for retailers to prove that this is bad for consumers," according to the New York Times. "Ever since that decision, retailers say manufacturers have become increasingly aggressive with one tool in particular: forbidding retailers from advertising their products for anything less than a certain price."

At the end of the story, which mentions a range of products and companies, the Times quoted Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, which helps retailers sell online, saying that with the agency plan made famous by Macmillan last week, book publishers "are using a different set of levers, and a different vocabulary, to get what they want. But it's the same outcome. Manufacturers are effectively controlling the price that the consumer sees on the Web."


FT Press's new FT Press Delivers imprint has been selling short e-titles for "professionals who want quick snippets of advice for $2.99 or less," according to the New York Times. The Elements line, priced by Pearson's FT at $1.99, are 1,000- to 2,000-word versions of published books, while Shorts, priced at $2.99, are original essays that are about 5,000 words long. Some 242 titles are in e-print.

"It's a good idea to be able to provide people with shorter, more expedient, more time-sensitive" content, FT Press publisher Timothy C. Moore, told the Times.

Despite the Leegin ruling, discounting continues: Amazon has priced Elements titles at $1.59 and Shorts at $2.39. So far, B& has kept publisher pricing.

One author said FT Press is not paying advances for the offerings and is giving royalties equivalent to 20% of the publisher's net proceeds from each sale.


Two used bookstores in southern California are shuttering.

Equator Books, Venice, Calif., closed yesterday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Opened five and a half years ago, the store featured first editions, signed copies and art books, "the kinds of things that feel a little like luxuries." The store had added a cafe and records.

Wahrenbrock's Book House, San Diego, Calif., founded in 1935, will close at the end of the week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The store once stocked more than 250,000 volumes and was owned for many years by Chuck Valverde. He died in 2008, and his family decided to close the store last year.


You might call it an ingenious new twist on a sign of the times. Vaughn Baber, owner of the Bicentennial Bookshop, Kalamazoo, Mich., placed a large "Going Out For Business" sign in front of his store that "has generated the best foot traffic in its 35-year history," the Gazette reported.

"All I want is to get them in here," he said, adding that the sign "is bringing people in who have never been in here and once they come in and see what we have, we can usually sell them something."


Independent bookstores "are still hanging in there--and even finding a new generation of aficionados," according to

"You get these really brilliant, sensitive kids in," said Christine Jordan-Ballis, co-owner of Echo Vintage Books and Vinyl, Fort Myers, Fla. "You see the ones who come in who don't want to read The Catcher in the Rye online. They want to hold it. We're seeing a burst of young collectors."

Don Poole, co-owner of One for the Books, Cape Coral, observed that people still want to shop at indies. "They miss the experience of walking into the bookstore. And we have people every day thank us for being there."


This October HCI Books launches Vows, a series in what the company calls "a brand new genre," reality-based romance, a phrase HCI has trademarked. Each Vows title is a true romance, "based on personal interviews with real couples whose love stories read like the best in romantic fiction."

The first title is Hard to Hold by Julie Leto, about a lobbyist in Albany, N.Y., who falls for a reporter who lives in his apartment building. "After all, Anne's hot, his dog likes her, and she's catnip to the senses after she picks a lock faster than Sydney Bristow can disarm a nuke."


The American Booksellers Association is hosting a Booksellers Forum Friday, March 12, in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the National Association of College Stores annual meeting and Campus Market Expo trade show and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

On the agenda: ABA CEO Oren Teicher will lead an open forum and discussion of industry issues and COO Len Vlahos will present the education session "Reaching Customers in the 21st Century: A Demo of ABA's IndieCommerce,, and IndieBound DIY."

To learn more about the Booksellers Forum, check out Bookselling This Week's story. For more about CAMEX, go to


With the theme "Unleashing Your Publishing Potential," PubWest 2010 is scheduled for November 4-6 in Santa Fe, N.M. Sponsor Publishers Association of the West is seeking proposals for sessions and speakers from industry professionals. Go to or contact executive director Kent Watson at


 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Wi5: Better Than Ever

The ABA's Winter Institute in San Jose, Calif., ended officially last Friday evening, but judging from the energy that ran through most of the 500 booksellers in attendance, the spirit of the show will continue for quite some time. Arguably the best of the five annual Winter Institutes, this one had an emphasis on e-books and digital matters but also offered panels on trends and nuts-and-bolts issues and provided many opportunities for booksellers to hear about and talk about hot books appearing this spring and summer.

After the first day of sessions on technological trends, many booksellers felt overwhelmed and feared an e-future that would bypass bookstores. But the next morning, the mood changed, beginning with a presentation by Jack McKeown of a consumer survey that, among other things, indicated that nearly half of avid readers prefer bookstores over other places to buy books; that people who own e-readers are still buying printed books; that older avid readers represent a huge market; and that there is no near-term tipping point for e-readers (Shelf Awareness, February 5, 2010). While not dismissing e-books, booksellers began to feel that they have options, which include adding value to e-books the way booksellers do for printed books.

At the least, booksellers began to see even more how to use digital means to do their work better. For example, Carla Jimenez, co-owner of Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla., said that while she has worried that the store is not doing enough on Facebook and Twitter, after a social networking panel, she gained more confidence about what to do and is starting to have fun with it. "And that's the whole point," she said.

Booksellers seemed reconciled to the difficult economy and competitive pressures. A common comment was along the lines of "we're down 5%, but we're still here." And yet the Winter Institute attendees seemed especially hopeful and positive. ABA CEO Oren Teicher spoke for many of them when he said, "Despite what the cynics and naysayers might say, independent bookselling is alive and well in the United States of America."

The battle between Amazon and Macmillan played out during the Winter Institute and was mentioned frequently. (Teicher joked that the ABA had planned on the battle taking place last week when it made arrangements for the Winter Institute a year and a half ago.) At the opening breakfast, the crowd gave a standing ovation when ABA president Michael Tucker called for a special thanks to Macmillan. The following morning the crowd loved it when Jack McKeown displayed Holt's full-page ad in the New York Times for Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto, which included the line, "Available at booksellers everywhere except Amazon." Most booksellers thought that the dispute between their largest online competitor and Macmillan served to remind publishers of the importance and fairness of the independent bookselling channel.

The galley room and author reception were popular, and speed dating–style rep pick events gave some publishers sore throats. But they did their job: booksellers were buzzing about titles and raved in particular about The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall (Norton), The Passage by Justin Cronin (Ballantine) and Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly Press).

Although there have always been younger booksellers at Winter Institutes, perhaps because of Twitter, their presence on some major panels and their endless enthusiasm for books and bookselling, the younger attendees in San Jose seemed even more visible, heartening many of the older folk, who at past gatherings had worried about future bookselling generations.

As always, booksellers went home with all kinds of ideas, large and small. Jason Smith, co-owner of the Book Table, Oak Park, Ill., noted that he had heard some great ideas, many of which were too expensive to implement, but was especially thrilled to learn about several simple things that, "even after 19 years in bookselling," surprised him with their simplicity and potential effectiveness. For example, someone had recommended adding the store's URL to its voice message to emphasize that that the store is open 24 hours a day. Smith had already called his wife and co-owner to have her re-record Book Table's voicemail message.

Congratulations to the ABA staff for putting on sterling event and, as always, to Mitch Kaplan, owner of Books & Books in Florida and the Cayman Islands and former ABA president, for having the idea that led to the creation of the Winter Institute.

Shelf Awareness will have more reporting on panels this week.

Next year's Winter Institute will be held in Washington, D.C., January 20-22.--John Mutter and Bridget Kinsella


Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Private Rites
by Julia Armfield
GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

In Private Rites, Julia Armfield (Our Wives Under the Sea; salt slow) offers an atmospheric meditation on sisterhood and loss at the end of the world. Living in a bleak, water-inundated city where the rain rarely stops, Isla, Irene, and Agnes are shocked at the abrupt death of their father, who has left his house to only one of them. As they grapple with his last manipulation, they must grapple, too, with what it means to have relationships with each other beyond his reach. As Flatiron Books executive editor Caroline Bleeke notes, Armfield's novel may be about "difficult things," yet it "manages to be so funny, so loving, so brilliant, and so beautifully, singularly written." Private Rites is a testament to the light that can be found in each other, even in the darkest of times. --Alice Martin

(Flatiron, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781250344311, December 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Food, Music, War & Jackie Collins

This morning on the Today Show: J. Alexander, author of Follow the Model: Miss J's Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise, and Power (Simon Spotlight, $22.99, 9781439149904/1439149909).

Also on Today: Annabel Karmel, author of Top 100 Finger Foods: 100 Recipes for a Healthy, Happy Child (Atria, $18, 9780743493710/0743493710).


This morning on Good Morning America: Jennifer Waldburger, author of The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5 (HCI, $14.95, 9780757305603/0757305601).


Today on the Book Studio: Judith Martin, author of Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding (Norton, $25, 9780393069143/0393069141).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Eamon Javers, author of Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage (HarperBusiness, $26.99, 9780061697203/0061697206).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: David Dow, author of The Autobiography of an Execution (Twelve, $24.99, 9780446562065/0446562068).


Today on NPR's World Café: Tommy James, author of Me, the Mob, and the Music (Scribner, $25, 9781439128657/1439128650).


Today on E!'s Chelsea Lately: Ozzy Osbourne, author of I Am Ozzy (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446569897/0446569895).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Jenny Sanford, author of Staying True (Ballantine, $25, 9780345522399/0345522397). She will also appear today on the View and Larry King Live.


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316069908/0316069906).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jackie Collins, author of Poor Little Bitch Girl (St. Martin's, $26.99, 9780312567453/0312567456).


Tomorrow on the View: Kevin and Hannah Salwen, authors of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 9780547248066/0547248067).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Basharat Peer, author of Curfewed Night: One Kashmiri Journalist's Frontline Account of Life, Love, and War in His Homeland (Scribner, $25, 9781439109106/1439109109).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Thomas Ricks, author of The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594201974/1594201978).


Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Shoshana Johnson, author of I'm Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen--My Journey Home (Touchstone, $23.99, 9781416567486/1416567488).


Tomorrow on the Book Studio: Erich Blehm, author of The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan (Harper, $26, 9780061661228/0061661228).


Tomorrow on the Martha Stewart radio show: Annabel Karmel, author of Top 100 Finger Foods: 100 Recipes for a Healthy, Happy Child (Atria, $18, 9780743493710/0743493710).


Tomorrow on MLB Network's Bob Costas Show: James R. Hirsch, author of Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend (Scribner, $30, 9781416547907/1416547908).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Newt Gingrich, author of To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom (Thomas Dunne, $26.99, 9780312591069/0312591063).

Movies: Dear John No. 1; The Lost City of Z

Dear John, the movie starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried and based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, was the No. 1 film in North America over the weekend, selling an estimated $32.4 million in tickets and knocking Avatar from the top of the charts. The tie-in edition is from Grand Central ($13.99, 9780446567329/0446567329).

"Successful countermarketing to women on Super Bowl weekend" played an important part in the movie's showing, according to the New York Times.


If you're wondering (and we know you are) what is up with Brad Pitt's unusual goatee, the answer is a distinctly bookish one. USA Today reported that Pitt is growing the scraggly facial hair to play Percy Fawcett in a film version of The Lost City of Z by David Grann.

The paperback edition of the book was number three on USA Today's bestseller list last week. "I'd like to credit Brad's beard," said Sloane Crosley of Vintage Books, but she told the newspaper that "she believes sales have more to do with newly discovered evidence of ancient civilizations in the Amazon... and Borders' 'make book' program, in which the title is being aggressively sold to customers."


Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd (Morrow, $24.99, 9780061827013/0061827010). "Steve Vail, now a bricklayer, was once an FBI agent, until his attitude got him fired. But the FBI has come calling again because they need someone who can work outside the box and get results. Noah Boyd has written a smart, sexy, thrill-ride of a read."--Laura Lucy, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.
Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Town by Susan Hand Shetterly (Algonquin, $21.95, 9781565126183/1565126181). "Settled in the Wild is a delightful book about living in the woods, enjoying what's outside your window and finding pleasure in taking the time to notice the little things right in front of us. Shetterly provides a unique window into a world of wonder."--Sue Richardson, Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, Maine
A Common Pornography by Kevin Sampsell (Harper Perennial, $13.99, 9780061766107/0061766100). "This is a memoir written like no other--in snapshots of story and voice that come together to pay tribute to the ordinary, as well as squirmy homage to the dysfunctional. Sampsell's prose is spare, particular and so engaging that you'll spend all night telling yourself, just one more vignette and I'll get to bed."--Gigi Little, Powell's City of Books, Portland, Ore.
For Ages 9 to 12
The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins, $15.99, 9780061430954/0061430951). "When her space is invaded by an independent little American girl, things start to get shook up in Angel's small mountain town. The characters in The Unfinished Angel will make you laugh, warm your heart and show you the power of selfless understanding."--Sarah Dinwiddie, River Reader, Lexington, Mo.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]



Book Review

Book Review: Blackout

Blackout by Connie Willis (Spectra Books, $26.00 Hardcover, 9780553803198, February 2010)

The time-traveling historians from Willis's novella "Fire Watch" (1983) and Doomsday Book (1993) return here, but there's no need to have read the earlier tales. There's little science in this science fiction; just trust that time travel actually works as Hugo and Nebula winner Willis tells you it does. What's more important here than the time travel is the time period.

Three researchers are sent from Oxford in 2060 back to World War II London: Eileen focuses on children evacuated to the English countryside; Polly is a shopgirl in the city, observing how people behave during the Blitz; and Mike, who's supposed to study unsung heroes at Dover, ends up on a small boat in the midst of the Battle of Dunkirk, rescuing soldiers.

Willis's tale shines in her descriptions of everyday people caught up in the drama and terror of the war. From details of architecture, medical care and department store merchandise in the 1940s to the ways the Brits coped with shortages and entertained themselves in shelters during the bombings, Willis clearly has done her research and conveys all this information in a style both humorous and moving.

Willis catches you up on what you need to know as the story progresses--there are plenty of rules about time travel. One of them is that the historians can't change the past or affect the future. But when the travelers find themselves, one by one, unable to access the drop sites that allow them to return to 2060, they begin to wonder if the rules have been broken. Are they stranded? Will they find each other? Will they survive the war?

Unfortunately, readers will have to wait to find out: the final page of Blackout cuts off, midscene. Willis's All Clear will be published this fall.--Robin Lenz

Shelf Talker:
A memorable depiction of World War II England that will appeal to historical novel fans as well as SF readers.

The Bestsellers

Top Sellers on in January

The bestselling books on in January:

  1. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  2. Who Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
  3. Night by Elie Wiesel
  4. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
  5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  6. Real Estate Finance by William Brueggeman
  7. Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1 by Julia Child
  8. Life Span Development by John W. Santrock
  9. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  10. National Park Ranger by Charles R. Farabee

The bestselling signed books on in January:

  1. Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
  2. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  3. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  4. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
  5. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
  6. Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
  7. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  8. The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
  9. The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
  10. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem

[Many thanks to!]


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