Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scholastic Press: Beastly Beauty by Jennifer Donnelly

St. Martin's Essentials: Build Like a Woman: The Blueprint for Creating a Business and Life You Love by Kathleen Griffith

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Bramble: Pen Pal Special Edition by J.T. Geissinger

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Soho Crime: Broiler by Eli Cranor

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

Quotation of the Day

Customer 'Was an Girl, but No More'

"Just had another fabulous in-store luncheon with Michael White and his novel Beautiful Assassin. And a customer who came made our day by sharing: 'I was an girl, but no more. I am now a real book person thanks to your lunches.' Wow--don't have to do anything else today but glow. Thank you Michael White and HarperCollins Publishers."

--Annie Philbrick, co-owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.


University of California Press: May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It by Alex Edmans


Amazon: Sales Up, Income Falls

In the first quarter ended March 31, net sales at rose 38%, to $9.9 billion, and net income fell 33%, to $201 million. The drop in net income was more than had been expected and resulted in a temporary plunge in share price after the market closed, but shares later recovered and were slightly above yesterday's close of $182.30.

By spending "ferociously to build more fulfillment centers and expand its technology offerings," Amazon is "the latest Web company to report rising costs as the Internet proves to be an expensive arena to do business," the Wall Street Journal commented. The company's expenses were also boosted by a 45% gain in employees in the past year to 37,900. Amazon may build even more fulfillment centers beyond the nine it has announced.

Among highlights of the quarter:

North American sales rose 45%, to $5.5 billion, faster than sales at the company's other operations around the world, which grew 31%, to $4.4 billion.

Worldwide Media sales grew 15%, to $3.96 billion.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is the first title to sell more than one million Kindle copies.

Amazon expects that in the second quarter net sales will grow 35%-47%, to between $8.85 billion and $9.65 billion, and operating income is expected to fall 9%-65%, to between $95 million and $245 million.


GLOW: becker&mayer! kids: The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate by Alliah L. Agostini and Taffy Elrod, illus. by Sawyer Cloud

Notes: Memphis Bookstore's Rescue; 'Joseph-Beth's Lesson'

A bookstore may yet be in business at the former Davis-Kidd location in East Memphis. The Commercial Appeal reported that a new group, including Joseph-Beth founder Neil Van Uum, reached a tentative agreement with liquidator Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and the debtors to keep the store open. According to a document filed yesterday in bankruptcy court, DK Booksellers "has agreed to purchase substantially all assets at the Memphis location from either the Debtors or GBRP, as applicable and to continue operations as a bookstore at the Memphis location."

The deal "still must weather possible twists and turns" of today's bankruptcy court hearing in Lexington, Ky., to approve last week's auction results, the Commercial Appeal noted, and the sale does not include trade names and trademarks, including rights to the name "Davis-Kidd," which was purchased last week by Booksellers Enterprises with the three Joseph-Beth locations in Lexington, Cleveland and Cincinnati (Shelf Awareness, April 21, 2011).

The document also does not specify whether Van Uum's group includes Tom Prewitt, president and an owner of Laurelwood Shopping Center, where Davis-Kidd was located. Prewitt was part of Van Uum's bidding group at the bankruptcy auction last week.

Earlier yesterday, the Commercial Appeal had reported that negotiations between Booksellers Enterprises and Laurelwood Shopping Center ended without a deal Monday. "We had indicated what our proposal would be through Mr. Prewitt's agent and we received a response there'd be no need for a conference call," said Gary Barr, Booksellers Enterprises lawyer. "And the successful purchaser of the Joseph-Beth locations and the Davis-Kidd name do not appear to be likely tenants at the Laurelwood mall."


"Joseph-Beth's lesson" was the headline for a Lexington Herald-Leader editorial that expressed sadness the bookstore "that became an institution in Lexington, that somehow helped us maintain our faith in reading, that was our own, would no longer be owned and operated by the man behind that improbable story," but also relief because "the bookstore would survive, and with it the unique retail ecosystem at Lexington Green."

Most of the Lexington Green Mall stores are either local or independent. Michael Stutland, owner of two Artique shops, said he couldn't imagine life without the mall's anchor bookstore. "I don't even want to try to guess what that picture might be like. What Joseph-Beth brings to this community is a signature local business that is special and vital."

The editorial concluded that "if Lexington's downtown is ever to be a thriving retail center again, it will be built largely around locally owned businesses. Economic development is always hard, and certainly more so now. Achieving it by encouraging and sustaining a host of local businesses is even harder. But in the end, locally driven development will be more enduring, and more defining. Bookstores are about knowledge, so let's remember at least that one lesson from the auction of Joseph-Beth."


Amazon has asked a federal judge in San Francisco to throw out Apple's trademark suit accusing Amazon of unfair use of the "App Store" trademark (Shelf Awareness, March 23, 2011), "calling the phrase 'app store' generic and not something that Apple can claim for its exclusive use," GeekWire reported.

In Monday's filing, Amazon cited comments by Steve Jobs last fall during Apple's quarterly conference call, contending he "referred repeatedly to 'app stores' in a generic sense: while criticizing the fragmentation of Google's Android platform," GeekWire noted, adding that since "filing the lawsuit against Amazon, Apple has asked the court to move on an accelerated schedule to impose a preliminary injunction barring Amazon from using the Appstore name. The court has yet to rule on that request, which Amazon opposes."


In a development that could be filed under "when it rains it pours," Borders Group is investigating whether customers' personal data was exposed on a website that apparently contained information about its Borders Rewards loyalty program, which has 41 million members. reported that the website "was apparently set up by a marketing firm called Brierley & Partners, which helped Borders design and implement Borders Rewards.... The blog run by Borders workers and ex-employees published a post Saturday about the website that may have contained the Borders Rewards information."

Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis confirmed the website was taken offline and is "no longer accessible externally. We take the security of our members' information very seriously and are currently investigating the situation." 


"Is stodgy old Barnes and Noble cooler than Amazon?" asked Michael Humphrey in a Forbes piece that also wondered: "How did this happen? How did a stodgy company that started selling paper books in 1917 seize the excitement factor in e-books over a company that is 16 years old? That's like your great grandpa out-shredding you on his vintage Gibson. It's like Cher stealing Russell Brand from Katy Perry. No wait, it's like Phyllis Diller stealing Brand... she was born in 1917.

"Maybe the answer is that e-readers just don't need to be cool. With the iPad, et al. absorbing much of the cool factor--e-books being an afterthought for them--Kindle doesn't need to be any more than a book of many books. But I wonder if the Nook would have ever found a niche in the e-book market if Amazon locked it down with some innovative bells and whistles."


An alliance of bricks-and-mortar book retailers, including state-owned Xinhua bookstores, criticized Chinese online retailer's decision to celebrate its fourth birthday with a 65%-off book sales promotion. was accused of dumping books at artificially low prices, Penn Olson reported, adding that "the formation of such an alliance--which the retailers are describing as an 'anti-dumping union'--suggests that litigation might be in the pipeline, since the dumping of goods in a market in this way is in breach of anti-unfair competition laws."


Daniel Radcliffe had a say in whether an eighth book in the Harry Potter series would be written. According to USA Today, Radcliffe "frantically" fired off a late-night text to J.K. Rowling when he heard rumors about a new Potter book.

Radcliffe admitted he "was worried!... I said, 'Look, is this true? Are you writing another book?!' She wrote back that she was so pleased with my performance in Harry Potter 7: Part 1 that as a reward, she promised to never write another book about Harry."


Monday's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show featured some helpful non-reading suggestions from Fallon's "Do Not Read List" of real books "you should stay far, far away from," including Teach Your Wife How to Be a Widow.


Although National Poetry Month is almost over, it's still not too late to get in better poetic shape, according to the Smart Set's Kristen Hoggatt, who offered some poetry-themed exercise regimens, including: "Speed walk with a backpack carrying Norton’s Anthology, any edition published after 1992. Do this for 30 minutes."


Boing Boing was understandably impressed with's "wonderful rabbit hole of a 'Timeline of Science Fiction Ideas, Technology and Inventions,' sorted by publication date, rife with excerpts from the fiction, and linked to info about similar tech and inventors in the real world."


Flavorwire showcased "ten of our favorite retold stories. Some of the following plots are lifted from ancient myths, while others come from relatively new novels. All have put a new spin on familiar tales, but have been able to make them their own."


Revenge at last! While spending the last years of his life on the Samoan island of Upolu, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a series of fairytales and fables he wanted to be published as a set. But Sidney Colvin, his literary agent, "asked Cassell to publish two of the fairy stories--'The Bottle Imp' and 'The Isle of Voices'--in a volume alongside a naturalistic short story of a completely different type," the Guardian reported. The stories will finally be published as originally intended in a volume of Fables and Fairy Tales due in 2013, as part of the New Edinburgh edition of Stevenson's works.


This week's international reports about the demise of the world's last typewriter manufacturer (Shelf Awareness, April 26, 2011) have, apparently, been greatly exaggerated. Gawker reported that the original story in India's Business Standard, about the closure of Godrej & Boyce in Mumbai "somehow came to mean that Godrej & Boyce was the last existing typewriter manufacturer in the world.... But rest easy, annoyingly hirsute hipster Luddites loitering at local cafes: The typewriter is alive and well."

Ed Michael, general manager of sales at Swintec, said the typewriter is "far from dead.... We have manufacturers making typewriters for us in China, Japan, Indonesia. We have contracts with correctional facilities in 43 states to supply clear typewriters for inmates so they can't hide contraband inside them."

Anyone still have a bottle of Liquid Paper?


Book trailer of the day: Abandon by Meg Cabot (Point).


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart

Obituary Note: Kim Ricketts

Kim Ricketts, who "parlayed her passion for books into a career as a literary 'matchmaker' " with her business Kim Ricketts Book Events, died Monday, She was 53. Originally inspired by helping businesses host authors when she worked for University Book Store, Seattle, Wash., Ricketts and her company "organized cocktail parties and events on corporate campuses, from Starbucks to Microsoft, where authors could connect with a wider audience. Her popular 'Cooks and Books' series brought celebrity chefs and authors to local restaurants, where they shared dishes and insights with fans," the Seattle Times reported.

"She could ask intelligent questions about pretty much any topic," said Susie Hino, a friend and business partner. "We would be at Microsoft Research, and it would all be over my head, but Kim knew what they were talking about."

The Puget Sound Business Journal noted that, in a letter to members yesterday, Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Phil Bussey wrote: "Our community has lost an incredible leader who translated her passion for books and food into a thriving business. Kim opened new horizons for us, connected us to innovators, policymakers and trend setters at her author events. We are tremendously grateful for all she has done and will miss her deeply."

Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson praised her for "bringing books to life and introducing them to everyone from her three children to a cast of thousands. Kim Ricketts' passing Monday, after battling a tough cancer diagnosis, drew tears from Seattle's food community. It also brought words of warmth from the broad circle of fans who appreciated Kim's kindnesses, her intellect and her humor. Among them, chefs and cookbook authors from near and far who came together to host the 'Cooks & Books' dinner events dreamed up and facilitated by the woman who knew how to think big and make the wide world of books a very personal place for each of us."

photo: Kim Ricketts with Mario Batali, by Leslie Kelly.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

San Francisco Indies: We’re Still Here!

About six weeks ago, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association took out a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle that reminded consumers that while Borders is closing stores, independent booksellers--some 400 of them in NorCal alone--are thriving and serving their communities better than ever. Now a group of indies in San Francisco pooled resources to send a similar message to city residents with a full-page ad in the Bay Guardian. The ad will be posted on later today.

Pete Mulvihill, co-owner of Green Apple Books, was so inspired by the NCIBA ad that he thought about doing a full-page just for Green Apple in the weekly Bay Guardian. But the $2,000 cost (he said he'd have to make back $10,000 to cover such an investment) was prohibitive. And while the NCIBA could not help pay for an ad that would benefit only a portion of its members, Mulvihill said the organization's executive director, Hut Landon, spread the word and corralled 15 booksellers in the city to chip in $140 (plus $25 for each additional address listed) to share the cost of the ad.

Joining Green Apple in the ad are City Lights, Book Passage, Books Inc. and Bookshop West Portal, and a few specialty shops, including SFMOMA Museum Store and Arkipelago, the Filipino Bookstore. Even Mulvihill didn't know there was a Filipino bookstore in the city.

"It serves as a little reminder of the diversity of bookselling," said Landon. He noted that the earlier NCIBA ad was extremely successful in communicating to consumers that independent bookstores remain strong in serving their communities, and it also proved to be a "shot in the arm" for member stores. Even though the NCIBA ad was not budgeted for, Landon said, the organization quickly approved the idea when Landon negotiated a $2,500 price with the Chronicle.

Landon said that booksellers in the East Bay are considering a similar ad in the East Bay Express. "I don't see why they wouldn't," said Mulvihill. Booksellers across the country are welcome to copy such a strategy where they see fit.--Bridget Kinsella


Big Easy Bookselling, Part 2

This is the second part of Shannon McKenna Schmidt's report about her Big Easy bookstore visits.

A ride on the St. Charles Avenue street car brought me to the Maple Street Book Shops, two brightly hued, side-by-side cottages. The stores, one of which stocks new books and the other used, are located in a lively area with coffee shops and cafés near Tulane and Loyola universities.

Donna Allen's career path changed from teacher to bookstore owner as a result of Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, enrollment dropped and funding was scarce at Loyola University, where she was a history professor. Eventually the department in which she worked was shut down. Allen had been employed at the Maple Street Book Shop for only a few weeks when then-owner Rhoda Faust mentioned she wanted to sell the store. "When she told me that I said, 'Don't tell anyone else. I'll buy it from you,' " recalled Allen, who took ownership in 2007.

About a year and a half ago, Allen made some major changes. When a separately operated children's bookstore next door to the Maple Street Book Shop closed, she took over the larger space. That same week, a bookstore in another part of the city also went out of business. Allen purchased its inventory and moved it into the original Maple Street Book Shop site, dedicating the space to used and rare tomes. The former owner of the children's bookshop, Cindy Dike, now works full-time at the Maple Street Book Shop.

Since the opening of the Maple Street Used and Rare Book Shop, sales have increased by approximately 25%. "The used shop is quickly becoming very popular amongst students and locals, and we have a good sized group of 'regular' customers that utilize its services," said Allen.

The consistent top-selling title at the Maple Street Book Shop is the late John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and set in New Orleans. (The main character was briefly a Lucky Dog vendor, and the hot dog-shaped carts are in abundance in the French Quarter.) Other steady sellers are The Moviegoer and other books by Walker Percy, a former Loyola professor who had a hand in getting A Confederacy of Dunces published after Toole's suicide. "The local stuff is what keeps us going," noted Allen.

Popular, too, are Dave Eggers's biography Zeitoun, about a Syrian-American businessman who rode out Hurricane Katrina to protect his property and help others only to be accused of being a terrorist, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which is "selling like hot cakes."

Tourists make up a substantial portion of Maple Street's clientele, although some area residents have crossed the threshold since the store ran three promotions through Groupon ($10 for $20 worth of books). Each one drew a successively larger response, growing from less than 200 the first time to more than 460. "There were people who came in and said they had lived here a long time but didn't know about the store," said Veronica Brooks-Sigler, a bookseller and social media coordinator at Maple Street.

A recent transplant from New Hampshire, Sigler is the personality behind the Maple Street Book Shops' Twitter presence, @fightthestupids, a handle based on the longtime slogan that's emblazoned on tote bags, bumper stickers and other store-branded merchandise. She is currently shopping around a children's book inspired by real-life happenings on Maple Street. After rare books and other items were stolen earlier this year, the stray cats that live nearby unwittingly helped recover the missing items.--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

More New Orleans bookstore adventures follow in upcoming issues of Shelf Awareness. Shannon is traveling the U.S. by RV for several years. Books are stashed in every available space, edging out other necessities like dishes and shoes.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Marjorie Garber on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Carolyn Evans, author of Forty Beads: The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage (Running Press, $14, 9780762439287).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Rob Lowe, author of Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography (Henry Holt, $26, 9780805093292).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Eric Felten, author of Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439176863).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Marjorie Garber, author of The Use and Abuse of Literature (Pantheon, $28.95, 9780375424342). As the show put it: "The Bookworm locks horns with Harvard's literary theorist and Shakespeare scholar Marjorie Garber. They disagree about nearly everything: how literature should be read, how it should be taught. But they do agree about one thing--they are deep lovers of literature. By the time they've finished bucking and snarling, they've provided one of the most diverting literary debates you're ever likely to hear on radio."


Tomorrow on the Daily Show: William Cohan, author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World (Doubleday, $30.50, 9780385523844).


Tomorrow on the Colbert Report: Wade Graham, author of American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to Our Backyards (Harper, $35, 9780061583421).


Tomorrow on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Ice-T, author of Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption--from South Central to Hollywood (One World/Ballantine, $25, 9780345523280).


Movies: The Devil's Double Trailer

A new trailer has been released for The Devil's Double, adapted from the novel by Latif Yahia. reported that the movie, directed by Lee Tamahori, "was one of the most buzzed about films at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by Lionsgate. Dominic Cooper plays Saddam Hussein's brutal son Uday, as well as the man pressed to be his lookalike."


Books & Authors

Awards: Orwell Prize Shortlist

Finalists for the £3,000 (US$4,953) Orwell book prize for political writing were announced yesterday. The winner will be named May 17. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham
Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus by Oliver Bullough
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
Death to the Dictator! by Afsaneh Moqadam
Supermac: The Life of Harold Macmillan by D.R. Thorpe


Book Brahmin: Isaac Marion

Isaac Marion was born in northwestern Washington in 1981 and has lived in and around Seattle his whole life and worked installing heating ducts, guarding power plants, delivering beds to hospice patients and supervising parental visits for foster children. He is not married, has no children and did not go to college or win any prizes. Warm Bodies (Atria, April 26, 2011) is his first novel.


On your nightstand now:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Varied constantly, but maybe the Redwall series?

Your top five authors:

I might be able to pick top five books but never authors. I rarely read more than one or two books by the same author, so I can't really vouch for any author's entire catalogue.

Book you've faked reading:

I've never actually told someone I've read a book that I haven't, but I have lots of classic novels on my shelf that I "haven't gotten to yet." Mainly because they're old leathery editions and they just look cool. Call it decorative literature.

Book you're an evangelist for:

At the moment, Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Any Chuck Palahniuk book.

Book that changed your life:

Life change is a lot to attribute to any one book, but Everything Matters! did cause me to rethink some pretty big issues.

Favorite line from a book:

The last line in The Road by Cormac McCarthy: "In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery."

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.


Shelf Starter: Lobster

Lobster: A Global History by Elisabeth Townsend (Reaktion Books/Univ. of Chicago Press, $15.95 hardcover, 9781861897947, April 2011)


Opening lines from a book we want to read, one of the latest in The Edible Series:


The world's love affair with lobster began out of necessity. It wasn't a mutual affection though: it was as lopsided as unrequited love. Humans needed to eat and the crustacean was often within easy reach by hand, spear, long hook, baskets and later nets and traps. But the shellfish eventually became more than just grub--its status shifted from vital protein to pauper's food to cultural icon.

This relationship has always been complex. When lobsters were abundant many coastal dwellers disdained them. But their popularity with wealthy urban diners drove innovations that nearly annihilated the stocks. It was through these innovations and mass marketing that lobster ended up on dinner plates in Tokyo, Japan, and Dubuque, Iowa. Clearly, this affaire d'amour isn't a tawdry fling. It's a long-term relationship. --selected by Marilyn Dahl


Book Review

Children's Review: Horton Halfpott

Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger (Amulet/Abrams, $14.95 hardcover with 50 b&w illustrations, 224p., ages 8-12, 9780810997158, May 2011)

Taking a completely different tack from his novel-comics hybrid, The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger masterminds a Victorian-era farce along the lines of Dickens, but with a broad humor more akin to Thackeray. The subtitle offers a hint to the comedy herein: "Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor, Or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset." Everyone in Horton Halfpott's world knows his or her place, including Horton, who's at the bottom of the pyramid, and M'Lady Luggertuck, who's at the top. M'Lady Luggertuck long ago elbowed aside her father-in-law, "kindly" Old Lord Emberly Luggertuck, relegating him to the gameskeeper's cottage in the woods (where, he later confesses to Horton, he's been "much happier"). M'Lday's insufferable son, Luther, is far worse than she. Nonetheless, the servants of Smugwick Manor must tolerate Luther's ruthless shenanigans because of his higher status.

One day, M'Lady loosens her corset just a bit, enough to ever-so-slightly lessen her iron grip on the estate. She says yes to her sister's request to have her nephew, Montgomery Crimcramper, stay for a few weeks to court a young heiress, Miss Celia Sylvan-Smythe, who's staying near Smugwick Manor for the summer. M'Lady also decides to host a masquerade ball in the heiress's honor. Luther spies an opportunity to insert himself and win the hand of Miss Celia and her pots of money. While our hero, Horton the lowly dishwasher, delivers invitations to the guests, he encounters Miss Celia Sylvan-Smythe, who is taken with his kind ways. Chaos ensues.

Luther's plot to woo the heiress involves taking key items of value from Smugwick Manor, including his mother's favorite wig and the prized "Lump" of untold value, to the Luggertucks. The theft of the Lump ("possibly the world's largest diamond and certainly the ugliest") prompts M'Lady to hire "the great detective" Portnoy St. Pomfrey. The imminence of the masquerade ball and the investigation of the stolen items provide a cornucopia of opportunities for mistaken identity and runaway allegations. Angleberger's omniscient narrator makes plain his affection for characters like Horton, Celia, Lord Emberly and the stableboys (enlisted as assistants by Portnoy St. Pomfrey), while barely masking his disdain for the likes of Luther and the intolerant kitchen captain, Miss Neversly (who often hits Horton with a wooden spoon). However, Angleberger also proves that even "shipless pirates" (hired by Luther to help with his evil plot) have morals. The author reveals the workings of the Victorian class system ingeniously and comically, through props such as coveted candlesticks, the only source of light. M'Lady insists on new candles every night; the better servants get her rejects, and the lowliest (such as Horton) salvage the stubs. It may not surprise you that though these servants be bottom-dwellers, they are the most enlightened. Angleberger delivers many spoonfuls of sugar alongside the moral of this Victorian fable.--Jennifer M. Brown


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