Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 27, 2011

William Morrow & Company: The List by Yomi Adegoke

St. Martin's Press: The Last Outlaws: The Desperate Final Days of the Dalton Gang by Tom Clavin

Page Street Kids: Payden's Pronoun Party by Blue Jaryn, illustrated by Xochitl Cornejo

Annick Press: Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell

Flatiron Books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias

Peachtree Publishers: Buddy and Bea series by Jan Carr, illustrated by Kris Mukai

Tor Teen: The Hunting Moon (The Luminaries #2) by Susan Dennard


Image of the Day: Six to One, a Dozen to the Other

To celebrate the Indie Booksellers Choice Awards win by Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr (Akashic Books), Consortium asked independent booksellers who were promoting the five winners to send photos of their best displays. Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., took first prize in the display contest for its cutout of Brett, the dog from the novel (see photo). The store wins a six pack of author Revoyr's favorite Wisconsin beer, Lakefront Cream City Pale Ale. Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla., won second place and a 12-pack of Leinenkugel's. The novel is set in the Badger State.

Spiderline: An Ordinary Violence by Adriana Chartrand

Notes: 'Early' Paperbacks; BAM Takes a Walden Site

The New York Times noted that because of e-book growth, "publishers are moving against convention by pushing paperbacks into publication earlier than usual, sometimes less than six months after they appeared in hardcover."

Among recent examples of such titles: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and Those Guys Have All the Fun by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.

"The idea that someone would wait for a year is an assumption that we should no longer make," Jane von Mehren, publisher of trade paperbacks at Random House, said. "So we're looking at shortening the window."

Carrie Kania, who is soon departing HarperCollins to become an agent in London, commented, "I really do think that e-books are part of the reason for this trend of hurrying up that paperback. You don't have to wait for a lower-priced version of that book now."

Still, at least one old rule applies: paperback editions of hardcovers that are selling strongly continue to be delayed past the usual year.


Books-A-Million is nabbing another location soon to be vacated by bankrupt Borders. The company will open this year in the Mall of Monroe, Monroe, Mich., in a 2,290-sq.-ft. site currently occupied by Waldenbooks, according to the Monroe News.


Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich., is buying the University Bookstore, a privately owned store, the university said. WMU will pay $980,000 for the business and $1 million for the building and land, which is surrounded by the WMU campus. The university said that it has long had a policy of buying property contiguous to the campus when possible.

University Bookstore owner Robert Warner will operate the store through October. The university, which has its own bookstore, WMU Bookstore, will operate University Bookstore through the fall semester and possibly longer. University Bookstore's online operations, which WMU described as "thriving," will continue in business.

WMU said that negotiations with Warner began a year ago, when he expressed interest in retiring. University Bookstore has been at its present location since 1958.


Book trailer of the day: Children of Paranoia by Trevor Shane (Dutton), the first of a trilogy, which goes on sale September 8.


Cool offshore bookselling job of the day: Books & Books is looking for a manager for its Cayman Islands store, which opened in 2007. Current manager Holly Smith is moving back to the U.S. to be closer to her family.

The company seeks someone with three years of retail management experience, preferably in bookselling, with strong written, verbal, supervisory, results-driven skills and advanced knowledge of Wordstock, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The manager has a range of responsibilities, including overseeing day-to-day operation of the store, maintaining a strong community presence and establishing relationships with wholesalers and distributors. Salary is between $60,000-$80,000.

Anyone interested should contact Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan at or Sally Young in the Caymans at by August 12.


Even a good niche for an indie can be a little scary. Eerie Books & Collectibles, Wylie, Tex., is the place to go "if you're looking for a place specializing in what's spooky," NBC-DFW reported.  

"I've always been a reader, and I thought it's going to be really hard to compete because Barnes & Noble will just obliterate me," said owner Randy Ray, who opened the store in 2008. "So, why not pick a niche? And there is only one other all horror bookstore in the country. It's called Dark Delicacies and it's in Burbank, Calif., and I thought they were far enough away that they wouldn't be much competition."

Ray added that he "wanted to make it into a place that was cool enough and carried enough cool stuff that people would be willing to make the trip to see what we have, and it’s worked out really well for us because we've had people from Oklahoma just to see us."


"Even the computers at Borders have given up," noted the Consumerist in featuring a reader's photo of "her local Borders, where printed-out notes taped to monitors tell of the in-store computers' doom: 'Does Not Work, Ever Again... Any of Them.' "


Is there a future for author readings?
At Quillblog, Iain Reid, author of One Bird's Choice, made a case for the traditional form, observing that "as a writer and reader, I selfishly can't bring myself to pronounce the unadorned, bare-bones reading dead. Not yet. When I stand back, and tilt my head, the defamed, plain old reading doesn't look all that inadequate. It may look a little out of shape, in need of a makeover, but generally healthy. It's not because every reading I've given has been a categorical success. More that each has been bizarrely satisfying...."

"It's the presence of fellow writers, curious readers, book enthusiasts and the engagement with each that I've developed a real taste for. It's the chatting before and after. I've happily met more authors, and festival volunteers and café operators and bookstore owners/fruit shoppers this year than in all my other years combined."


The most recent episode of the Web series Put This On featured a report on "that most bookish of fabrics" at the annual meeting of the Corduroy Appreciation Club, as well as an interview with "one of the world's most elegant men," author Gay Talese.


Flavorwire's literary mixtape for Tolkien’s master wizard, Gandalf the Grey, included "something to listen to on the long road to Lórien. Here's what we think he would advise Frodo, gallop on Shadowfax, and send the Balrog back to the abyss to."


Brian Gurewitz has joined OverDrive as director of content sales. He was formerly president of library sales for Books on Tape, a division of Random House.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Hike by Lucy Clarke

Amazon's Second Quarter: Sales Up 51%, Net Income Falls

In the second quarter ended June 30, net sales at rose 51%, to $9.9 billion, and net income fell 8%, to $191 million. The drop in net income--because Amazon has been adding warehouses and digital devices--was lower than expected, however. Wall Street liked the news: the company's stock rose nearly 6% to about $227 a share in after-hours trading.

In a conference call with analysts, Thomas Szkutak, Amazon's CFO and senior v-p, said that the company was opening even more fulfillment centers worldwide than the nine announced three months ago. The figure is up to at least 15. Last year the company added 13 fulfillment centers and today has about 50.

Tidbits from the typically insufferable Amazon earnings announcement:

  • Amazon has more than 950,000 books available for Kindle owners in the U.S., 800,000 of which are priced at $9.99 or less. The company also has millions of free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books.
  • North American sales rose 51%, to $5.4 billion.
  • International sales also rose 51%, to $4.5 billion, but excluding currency fluctuations--mainly the weak U.S. dollar--sales grew 36%.
  • Sales worldwide of media, which includes books, rose 27% to $3.7 billion. Excluding currency fluctuations, sales grew 20%.


The Wall Street Journal's Ahead of the Tape column argued yesterday that there is a strong business reason for to stop fighting states over sales tax collection: the company could then open warehouses where customers are, rather than doing things like putting its main warehouse for California in Nevada. "The result: potentially lower shipping time and costs. That is important for a company that had operating margins of just 3.3% in the year's first quarter. It may also allow the company to pursue other opportunities, like a textbook-rental-by-mail service."

The reason for Amazon's current scorched-earth policy on sales tax is apparent. The Journal said that analysts' consensus is that not collecting sales tax gives Amazon as much as a 10% price advantage in states with high sales tax and Credit Suisse has estimated Amazon would lose 2.7% of North American sales (about $486 million in 2010) if Congress passed federal online sales tax collection legislation.

But one report from William Blair & Co. found that Amazon's prices, even with sales tax added, are lower than other major retailers on 48% of its items.

Also, in his conference call with analysts yesterday, CFO Thomas Szkutak noted that Amazon already collects "sales tax or equivalent to more than half of our business or approximately half of our business across the world" and seemed to argue that Amazon was growing handily anyway. "In the end, customers really want... a great experience, they want--certainly they want low prices," he continued. "They want the selection that they're looking for. They want fast delivery." Customers' paying sales tax is not a deal breaker, he implied.


Riding in on "the second wave of e-commerce boom in India," Amazon is in discussions with several e-commerce companies, including, and, "and may enter the market as early as the first quarter of next year," the Times of India reported.

Hiring is currently underway in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. "A team of over 200 people is being built, though all of them might not end up in the core retail arm," according to a source. Amazon is also establishing a warehouse in Mumbai, "a standard step before entering the e-commerce space going by what Amazon has been doing globally," the Times of India noted.


In yet more Amazon news, the Irish Competition Authority has cleared Amazon's purchase of the Book Depository, according to the Bookseller. The Authority said that it had "formed the view that the acquisition will not lead to substantial lessening of competition in any markets for goods or services in the state."

The deal has yet to be approved in the U.K. by the Office of Fair Trading. The groups against the deal there include the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association, the Independent Publishers Guild, the Society of Authors and the Bookseller Group, owner of the Bookseller.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Peter Bergen and The Longest War

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Juan Williams, author of Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate (Crown, $24, 9780307952011).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda (Free Press, $16, 9780743278942).


Movie Casting: The Company You Keep

Nick Nolte is in negotiations to join a cast that already includes Shia LaBeouf and Robert Redford in The Company You Keep, based on the novel by Neil Gordon. Variety reported that the project, which Redford will also direct and co-produce, is about "a former militant [Redford] wanted by the FBI who must go on the run when his true identity is exposed by an ambitious young reporter [LaBeouf]."


Book vs. Film: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

"That's not how it was in the book!" some readers may be crying as they watch the most recent film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's  bestselling book series, so Entertaiment Weekly explored 20 changes--"from Gringotts to Epilogue"--in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and asked readers for their reactions.

Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker Longlist

The longlist for the £50,000 (US$81,473) Man Booker Prize for fiction was unveiled yesterday in London. Dame Stella Rimington, the chair of judges said, "We are delighted by the quality and breadth of our longlist, which emerged from an impassioned discussion. The list ranges from the Wild West to multi-ethnic London via post-Cold War Moscow and Bucharest, and includes four first novels."

The shortlist will be announced September 6, with the winner revealed October 18 during a dinner at London's Guildhall. This year's longlist:

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards
The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness
Snowdrops by A.D. Miller
Far to Go by Alison Pick
The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
Derby Day by D.J. Taylor

Book Brahmin: Sacha Z. Scoblic

Sacha Z. Scoblic, the author of Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety (Citadel, July 26, 2011), is a contributing editor at the New Republic and has written for a variety of publications, including Reader's Digest and the Guardian. She has written about everything from space camp to pulp fiction, and was a contributor to the New York Time's online series "Proof: Alcohol and American Life." Her sobriety date is June 15, 2005.


On your nightstand now:

Mockingjay by Susan Collins; I am obsessed with The Hunger Games trilogy. I also have Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, Room by Emma Donoghue and The Ask by Sam Lipsyte--all of which I really liked. But my true favorite on the nightstand right now is Faithful Place by Tana French, who creates incredible, complex relationships and dark plots. I'm a big fan. Of course, my nightstand also includes a raft of books I pretend I am going to read but never do--from An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki to The Time Paradox by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd. Also I have a journal on the nightstand that I don't write in nearly as often as I swear I am going to.

Favorite book when you were a child:

This is a no-brainer: Where the Wild Things Are. I also loved any book that started with the words "Choose Your Own Adventure," which in retrospect seems like an early indication of the alcoholic inside me.

Your top five authors:

Margaret Atwood, for blending science fiction with top-flight literature; Stephen King, who is a master storyteller and under-respected by many (admittedly, in a prolific career, he has had his share of clunkers), but read Duma Key and tell me he doesn't write about pain, addiction and terror to perfection; Hunter S. Thompson, for exciting language that blows the top off American culture both humorously and profoundly and still manages to sound like a tone poem; S.E. Hinton, for treating teenagers with respect and urging every wayward kid out there to "stay gold"; Edgar Allan Poe, for every story and every poem written for those of us who aren't scared of the dark.

Book you've faked reading:

What to Expect When You're Expecting (after the first trimester, I gave up and just took a Darwinian approach to childbirth).

Book you're an evangelist for:

The two books I haven't stopped talking up the last couple years are: Beautiful Children by Charles Bock, which is a series of amazing portraits coming into a whole at the end--it's mesmerizing; and Home Land by Sam Lipsyte, which literally made me laugh out loud on every page, has the best recovery humor I've ever read, and has the greatest first-page line ever: "I did not pan out."

Book you've bought for the cover:

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. From the cover, with its techno font, I thought it might be a romance about computer nerds. It wasn't. But what a ride! The deviant and peculiar family in a traveling circus was way more up my alley anyway. 

Book that changed your life:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson made me want to be a writer. 

Favorite line from a book:

"Keep passing the open windows." --The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving; it's an incredible description of perseverance in the face of depression, and a great motto.

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

Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole and Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I am always jealous when I hear that someone is reading one of those gems for the first time.

Living writer I'd most like to be friends with:

David Sedaris, for many obvious reasons, one of which is this: "...I discovered both crystal methamphetamine and conceptual art. Either one of these things are dangerous, but in combination they have the potential to destroy entire civilizations." --from Me Talk Pretty One Day.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Flint Heart

The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson, John Paterson, illus. by John Rocco (Candlewick, $19.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 7-12, 9780763647124, September 27, 2011)

Husband-and-wife team Katherine and John Paterson (Consider the Lilies) adopt the humorous and confident voice of consummate storytellers in this refashioning of Eden Phillpotts's 1910 tale.

"Many years ago, oh, let's say five thousand, more or less, there lived in the south of England,... tribes of people who had never thought to make anything out of metal, much less plastic." With this opening, the authors transplant readers to the Stone Age, where chiefs reign rather than kings, and one man, Fum, serves many roles--Lord Chief Justice and Poet Laureate among them. Fum is also a craftsman, and the young warrior Phuttphutt ("Phutt" for short) arrives at his door to request a charm that will give him "a hard heart" that will help put him in charge. "If I make you such a charm," Fum advises, "there'll be no more peace in the tribe until you are chief." Phutt, forewarned, commissions the charm anyway, and events evolve precisely as Fum had predicted. When at last Phutt dies, Fum buries the Flint Heart with him. But that is not the end of the wicked charm.

The Patersons establish the notion of lasting legends and enduring magic as they fast forward to "the England of one hundred years ago," and the Flint Heart's influence on the Jago family. Charles, age 12, and his father happen upon the heart while digging for something else, and its effect on Mr. Jago is instantaneous. Charles's younger sister Unity suggests they consult the pixies. With the help of the fairies, Charles and Unity break the enchantment, and gain compassion for others who would become victims of the charm. The King of the fairies comes to think of them as advisers, and Zagabog, who "knows everything," recruits them to repair other Flint Heart–related disasters. The authors subtly draw a distinction between Phutt, who sought the effects of the Flint Heart, and others who fall under its spell by happenstance.

John Rocco, with an acclaimed film background, creates artwork with a three-dimensional depth. He breathes life into the wildly diverse characters, including the endearingly self-important fairy De Quincey; a German-made damaged hot water bottle that goes by the name of Bismarck; the charming good cop/bad cop combination of the fairy King and Queen; and the seemingly omniscient Zagabog. The especially memorable Zagabog demonstrates that even the Thunder Spirit (who put the hex on the Flint Heart) is not uniformly bad--it's all in one's Point of View. This book could quickly become the family read-aloud favorite. It's old-fashioned bookmaking and storytelling, with a cast of characters and message for modern times.--Jennifer M. Brown



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