Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 9, 2006

Simon & Schuster: Register for Fall Preview!

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao


Big e-Book on Campus: MBS Program Expands

Effective this semester, MBS Textbook Exchange's pilot program selling digital textbooks from four publishers in 10 college stores (Shelf Awareness, August 10) has grown to include nearly 400 titles and more than 30 college bookstores, numbers that are slightly less than hoped for in the fall (Shelf Awareness, November 1) but still a considerable expansion.

As reported, the program's e-texts amounted to 5.7% of print textbook sales in the courses. MBS found, too, that the e-texts represented almost 3% of enrollment for the particular courses. (Not every student buys a text.)

All the Universal Digital Textbooks are available as cards, which are displayed on store shelves next to new and used print versions of the same textbook. Students buying the e-book give the card to a cashier who authorizes it. Students then download the e-books at

Participating publishers include McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Thomson Learning, Houghton Mifflin and SAGE Publications. The most popular subjects for e-text sales were history, law and technology.

The received wisdom is that students are highly likely to adopt e-textbooks, so to speak, because of their tech savvy and the high cost of print textbooks (assuming the e-texts are competitively priced). But apparently the case has yet to be fully made.

During December polled some 5,000 U.S. students about textbooks. The online marketplace for new and used books, including textbooks, found:

  • 49% are not prepared to use digital textbooks.
  • 28% would used them.
  • 23% are undecided.

The results are not as positive as MBS's poll last fall that found 60% of students would try a digital textbook. Still, the college years are supposed to be all about education and being open to new experiences. . .

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Notes: Da Vinci Code Millions; Thunderbird to Close

Random House will publish more than five million copies of the paperback edition of the Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code beginning March 28, which the New York Times confidently wrote "signals that the publisher is confident that a huge audience remains for a book that has been near the top of the hardcover bestseller lists for almost three years." Random will also publish two versions of the screenplay for the movie when the flick makes its debut on May 19. The hardcover version of the book has some 12 million copies in print in North America.


Angry about books and reporting that have discussed such charming practices as the CIA's secret prison network abroad and National Security Agency spying here without warrants, CIA director Porter Goss is trying to put a lid on current and retired employees writing about or talking with writers about the agency, according to Time magazine. He's particularly incensed about State of War by New York Times reporter James Risen (see Media Heat, below) and Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander by Gary Berntsen.


Thunderbird Bookshop, Carmel, Calif., is closing at the end of February, owner May Waldroup announced in a letter to reps. She said the decision was taken "with a great deal of sadness. . . perhaps the saddest part is that we will be losing contact with the community we have served since 1961 and with YOU! You have been our mentors, our go-betweens with the publishers, our advisors and our best of friends. We treasure you and the friendships we have forged."


Check out the bestselling titles of 2005 as measured by Nielsen BookScan and reported by the Book Standard. Among highlights: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold 4.1 million copies its first day of issue; Oprah's recommendation more than resuscitated James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, which has had sales of nearly 1.8 million since September.


Paula Fox, owner of two Annie's Book Swaps in Northboro and Marlboro, Mass., is buying an Annie's Book Stop in West Boylston. (Once a franchise operation, Annie's stores are now owned by their owners who have an association with which all Annie's owners must sign a license agreement.)

Sales at many of the used bookstores have gone down from "what they were seven or eight years ago," Fox reported. But the used and exchange niche is still strong and makes the stores viable. Although most Annie's sell some new titles and sidelines, the holiday season is not "our biggest time of the year," Fox added. "It's actually rather nice not to have to depend so much on one month and not to have to work those many hours per week at a time of year when there are so many other things to do."


Yesterday, as it began running several manga strips in its comics pages, the Charlotte Observer explored manga mania. It noted that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library, which first began carrying manga and graphic novels a little over three years ago, now has a total of 4,855 volumes at all 24 sites.

And one manga-loving student home for break has been working at a local Borders in part for the employee discount, which he is applying to manga.


Is this really a surprise? The Hartford Courant pondered why most books about relationships are written for women and read by women. As Alison Lawrence, co-author of BitterGirl: Getting Over Getting Dumped, explained: "There's this cultural thing. Women talk and they share. . . . That's just what we do. For guys, it's more: suffer in silence, stiff upper lip, and you just get on with it."

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

Thalberg, Owner of Explore Booksellers, Dies at 70

Katherine Thalberg, owner of Explore Booksellers in Aspen, Colo., died last Friday at the age of 70 after a two-year battle with cancer, the Aspen Times [registration required] reported.

Thalberg was a Thalberg. The daughter of Hollywood mogul Irving Thalberg and actress Norma Shearer, she was born in Santa Monica, educated in the U.S., France and Switzerland, and graduated from UCLA. She moved to Aspen in 1973 and set up her store in 1975. She was a lifelong reader and lover of literature.

Her husband, Bill Stirling, a former mayor of Aspen, commented: "The most incredible accomplishment of her life was to create a bookstore that has become an institution in our town and has become world renowned." She was also what he called "a trailblazing restaurateur," having created the resort town's first vegan restaurant, the Explore Bistro.

Explore Booksellers will continue in business.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

The Pannell Awards: Call for Nominations

The Women's National Book Association is calling for nominations for the Lucile Micheels Pannell Awards. The awards go to a U.S. general bookstore and a children's bookstore that "excel at creatively bringing books and children together and inspiring children's interest in books and reading." Each winner receives $1,000 and a framed original artwork by a children's book illustrator. The awards will be presented at BEA in May.

Please provide the name of the store, address and phone number, a contact person at the store and e-mail address along with a brief reason why you believe they are worthy of the award. Please send your nomination to or to Pannell Award Nomination, 5200 South 6th Place, Arlington, Va. 22204.

Nominations for this year's awards must be received by a week from today, Monday, January 16.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Politics; Men, Women; New Year's Resolutions

It's a busy day today for authors in the public eye:


Richard Reeves, author of President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination (S&S, $30, 0743230221), makes the rounds today, speaking this morning on the Today Show, today on the View and tonight on Larry King Live.


For his part, former ambassador to Iraq L. Paul Bremer III, who wrote My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (S&S, $27, 0743273893) with Malcolm McConnell, appears today on the Today Show and tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air.


Sharon Rocha, mother of Laci Peterson and author of For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss and Justice (Crown, $25.95, 0307338282), has almost the same schedule as Richard Reeves, appearing this morning on the Today Show, the View and Larry King Live.


Good Morning America gets off to a bright start with  Star Jones, author of Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love (HarperResource, $24.95, 0060824182).


Also this morning on Good Morning America: Neil Chethik, author of Voicemale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework, and Commitment (S&S, $23, 074325872X).


If he remembers the date, this morning on the Early Show, Scott Hagwood, author of Memory Power: You Can Develop a Great Memory (Free Press, $22.95, 074327265X).


Today the Diane Rehm Show greets former Senator George McGovern, who discusses his new book, Social Security and the Golden Age: An Essay on the New American Demographic (Fulcrum, $9.95, 1555915892).


Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Trav S. D., does a little song and dance for his No Applause--Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous (Faber & Faber, $25, 0571211925).
  • John Tayman, talks about his The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai (Scribner, $27.50, 074323300X). (This title is recommended by Book Sense; see below.)
  • Bart D. Ehrman, quotes chapter and verse from his Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind who Changed the Bible and Why (HarperSanFrancisco, $24.95, 0060738170).


Today NPR's Talk of the Nation talks with John Sayles about his new novel, Union Dues (Nation Books, $15.95, 156025730X).


New York Times reporter James Risen, author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (Free Press, $26, 0743270665), appears this evening on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Charlie Rose Show.

Books & Authors

Congratulations: PNBA Book Award Winners

Six titles have won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's 40th annual Book Awards, which recognize "exceptional books written by Northwest authors." The association's award committee of independent booksellers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska selected the titles. The winners will be celebrated at a banquet Friday, March 17, at the PNBA's spring trade show in Seattle.

The Language of Baklava: A Memoir by Diana Abu-Jaber of Portland, Ore., and Miami, Fla. (Pantheon, $23, 0375423044)

Rogue River Journal: A Winter Alone by John Daniel of Elmira, Ore. (Shoemaker and Hoard/Avalon Publishing Group, $26, 1593760515)

The Highest Tide: A Novel by Jim Lynch of Olympia, Wash. (Bloomsbury, $23.95, 1582346054)

How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets: A Novel by Garth Stein of Seattle, Wash. (Soho Press, distributed by Consortium, $25, 1569473900)

William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award: Approximately Paradise by Floyd Skloot of Amity, Ore. (Tupelo Press, distributed by Consortium, $16.95, 1932195254)

Children's Book Award: Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Dark Water by Kurt Cyrus of Eugene, Ore. (Harcourt, $16, 0152167714)

Book Sense: May We Recommend

The following are last week's Book Sense "May We Recommend" selections. For the Book Sense bestseller lists, click here.


The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai by John Tayman (Scribner, $27.50, 074323300X). "I couldn't put down this fascinating, often disturbing history of the Molokai leper colony and those who were forced to live (and die) there. Fear of this misunderstood disease turned people against each other, tore families apart, and wiped out individual rights in the name of public health."--Barb Bassett, The Red Balloon Bookshop, Saint Paul, Minn.

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster (Holt, $24, 0805077146). "Nathan Glass, a lonely, retired insurance salesman moves to Brooklyn to live out the rest of his days. Throw in an under-achieving nephew, a fraudulent antiquarian bookseller, and a charming nine-year-old grandniece, and you have a funny, sad story that is impossible to put down."--Steve Eddy, Book King, Rutland, Vt.


Popco by Scarlett Thomas (Harvest Books, $14, 015603137X). "Alice Butler--employed by the toy company PopCo--is asked to work with other 'chosen' employees on a special project. As Alice reflects on her own childhood and adolescence and learns more about the 'chosen' people, we are taken through an excellently told story about what lies beneath logos and personal motivation. This is a fascinating read and just the book for anyone who has ever wanted to change the world."--Helen Sinoradzki, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, Ore.

For Children to Age 8

Here Comes Darrell by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Mary Azarian (Houghton Mifflin, $16, 0618416056). "A friendly neighbor reaches out in helpful ways through all seasons, and he is so happily busy aiding others that he misses out on fixing his own property. Soon, his neighbors begin helping with his repairs. The circle of giving is warmly and gently portrayed with vibrant woodcuts by Caldecott medalist, Mary Azarian."--Linda Trester, Butterfly Books, De Pere, Wis.

I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (FSG, $16, 0374335273). "Esther Morris, the first woman to hold public office in the United States, is a bundle of gumption. After reading this clever book, any girl will also feel like a bundle of gumption as well."--Emma Hulse, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, Ind.

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center
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