Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 18, 2011

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley


B&N's Lynch: E-Designing for Women Customers

In a speech during Liberty Media's annual investor meeting yesterday, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said the company "expects the size of the print book market to decrease by a third by 2015, while the e-book market grows by 700%," reported.

He also contended that the Nook Tablet is not competing with the iPad: "We're designing for a much different consumer. If you look at the customer we've been accumulating with Nook, it's mostly women. It's the same in our stores. Sixty percent of books and magazines are bought by women. When we design these products, we're talking about portability--men, too, of course, but women who can take these products in purses and bring them around."

As he has before, Lynch stressed the importance of in-store support for B&N's devices, noting that physical bookstores "are our biggest competitive advantage" and "no one has the reach we do to service these customers. This will only become more important as you cross the chasm from early adopters into early majority and the mass market."

He said B&N expects to sell $1.8 billion of digital content in fiscal year 2012, "with particular growth coming from self-publishing service PubIt!--now the fastest-growing area of the company’s digital business--and Nook Newsstand," wrote.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Amazon Calling: Kindle Smartphone Next Year?

Citigroup analysts Mark Mahaney and Kevin Chang cited their "supply chain channel checks in Asia" to predict that Amazon is planning to release a mid-range smartphone next year that will cost between $150 to $170 to manufacture, but retail at cost or below, reported.  

"With the clear success of the Kindle e-Reader over the past three years, and Kindle Fire possibly succeeding in the low-priced Tablet market, we view [a smartphone] as the next logical step for Amazon," Mahaney wrote.  
Business Insider's Matt Rosoff noted that while the idea "seems totally crazy," Amazon "does have one thing that no other smartphone maker has: a huge store of information about customer buying habits.... If you're an Amazon customer, it knows what you buy, when you bought it, who you bought it for, and how often you return. It also has a bunch of other customer buying habits which it could use to predict what you might be interested in.

"So imagine Amazon rolls out (with partners) an entire system--mobile phones with NFC chips built into them, kiosks or terminals that let you pay with your phone, and a sophisticated daily deals service (maybe based on Living Social, which it owns a big stake in) that actually knows what you what you might want to buy.... Jeff Bezos is no bozo. This would be his way of leveraging Amazon's huge online commerce business into the real world, where more than 95% of transactions still happen."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

ABA Winter Institute: Wi8 Location; Wi7 Scholarship Winners

The American Booksellers Association's eighth Winter Institute will be held in Kansas City, Mo., February 23-25, 2013. Bookselling This Week reported that attendance at Wi8 will again be capped "in order to ensure a dynamic and intimate event."

"We’re very excited to be going to Kansas City in 2013," said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. "Since launching the first Winter Institute, ABA has worked to move the location to various cities nationwide in order to help member stores in different regions attend. Kansas City offers a wide range of resources that we believe will help ensure a very productive and enjoyable institute for both booksellers and publishers."

He noted that the location choice will allow the ABA to coordinate schedules with the National Association of College Store’s Campus Market Expo (CAMEX), which will also be held in Kansas City over the same period. Teicher called the schedule coordination a "one-time experiment," which would be carefully evaluated after the event.
The ABA also named 37 booksellers as winners of publisher-sponsored scholarships to Wi7 in New Orleans this coming January. Scholarships cover the cost of up to a four-night stay at the host hotel, transportation costs up to $350, and the Wi7 meal fee.

"Thanks to the generosity of our Winter Institute sponsors, today we are announcing a record-breaking number of bookseller scholarship recipients," said ABA development officer Mark Nichols. "We encourage all ABA members to join in thanking our sponsors for their continuing support of independent booksellers."

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Reader's Feast Returns Down Under

Reader's Feast, the highly regarded Melbourne, Australia, bookstore that closed earlier this year in the REDGroup Retail debacle (Shelf Awareness, July 1, 2011), is reopening before the end of the year.

The store, which will be located in the iconic Georges Building, will be headed by Mary Dalmau, who opened and managed the original Reader's Feast for 20 years. She is also a former president of the Australian Booksellers Association.

Dalmau said: "I am a passionate, vocational bookseller, who believes a city of Melbourne's cultural stature is capable of embracing and supporting an independent bookstore that has as its hallmarks an enormous range, a dedicated and knowledgeable team of booksellers, and a beautiful and engaging physical space."

She added, "I and my colleagues enjoyed being part of the cultural heartbeat of our city--many of us for over 30 years--and this home in the Georges building is perfect for our kind of store--welcoming, interesting and so much more than just a retail shopfront."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Schiffrin Awarded French Legion of Honor

Earlier this week, André Schiffrin, founding director and editor-at-large of the New Press, was inducted into the French National Order of the Legion of Honor, which was created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and is the highest decoration bestowed by France.

Schiffrin founded the New Press in 1990 to fill a niche in the noncommercial, public-interest publishing sector. The not-for-profit publishing house is supported by foundations and individual donors, and is committed to publishing--in innovative ways--works of educational, cultural, and community value. Its books are distributed to the trade by Perseus.

Libya's Book 'Unbanning' Ceremony

Earlier this week, Libya held a "ceremonial unbanning of books" in the country's "most storied public library," the Toronto Star reported, noting that "many of Libya's emerging political hopefuls joined militia leaders and returning expat exiles at the Italianate Royal Palace for a sunset event that was equal parts a celebration of free thought and bitter lament for its cost."

On Twitter, Salman Rushdie wrote: "Good news, a positive indicator for the future of the new Libya: many books unbanned (incl mine)."

In the palace, which had been converted to a library and museum under the harsh regime of the late Moammar Gadhafi, participants viewed tables heaped with books deemed unreadable by the dictator.


Image of the Day: 'Elementary' & More at Powell's

Washington Post book critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Dirda was at Powell's in Portland, Ore., Wednesday night promoting his new book, On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling (Princeton University Press). Here, Renee James, event coordinator at Powell's, and Dirda are flanked by fans Rob Nero and Jon Lauderbaugh.

photo: Bob Prokop

Talking Pictures

At the Society of Illustrators on Monday morning in Manhattan, Cecilia Yung, art director and v-p at Penguin Books for Young Readers, declared that although we live in a word-centered society, "our first language is a visual language." During the course of the morning's program, which Yung organized with Brooklyn Public Library's Judy Zuckerman and Anelle Miller, director of the Society of Illustrators, Yung and three esteemed illustrators set out to prove it--and succeeded.

Judy Zuckerman (Brooklyn Public Library), Cecilia Yung (Penguin Books for Young Readers) with illustrators Stephen Savage, Marla Frazee and Paul O. Zelinsky. Photo by Lisa Cinelli.

For young children learning about the world, Yung said, "what they see determines how they act, react and interact. By the time they hit kindergarten, they begin to miss the details. Knowledge crowds out the innocent eye."

Paul Zelinsky echoed Yung's beliefs in his presentation. "The way you should try to see art is by pretending you are a Martian," Zelinsky said, showing an image of a Swiss landscape. Experienced viewers would see this and perhaps think about a trip to Switzerland, whereas a Martian might see "an area of color, point point point, overlap underlap, sweep, zigzag," he said. Zelinsky then used a series of sketches that led up to final paintings--a sketch from Dust Devil in which he adjusted the relationship of foreground to background, a sketch from Rapunzel in which he felt there was "too much dress" and "everything was happening at the top [of the composition] and nothing at the bottom"--to demonstrate how he uses "my Martian eye."

Focusing on her newest book, Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, Marla Frazee talked about the importance of play and experimentation in finding her way into a manuscript. "When I read a book to consider illustrating, I don't want to fully understand it. I want to puzzle it out," she said. "I almost want to be afraid of it." She spent a lot of time sketching and figuring out where the page turns would be, "the visual pauses," and showed an example of a sketch that featured a character by herself on a swing set in the corner of the page, to reinforce the feeing of being alone. Next, she did hundreds of washes of watercolor with a tiny brush. Frazee joked that a friend once said of her, "If I were told to empty a swimming pool I'd probably do it with a spoon. Each painting took weeks."

With his wordless book, Where's Walrus?, Stephen Savage used only visual language, and he made the most of it. He invited the audience to point out the things that help us identify a place (the Central Park Zoo: skyscrapers, elephant gates) and what defines a walrus (tusks, a tail) and explained how he pares back his compositions to those essential elements, with nothing else to distract the eye. He said that creating the storyboard is one of the most important processes in the book's creation, to make sure "the book works as a single image."

But most of all, the three creators talked about the importance of storytelling, and that the artwork must further the story. Savage felt that his art skills had to "catch up" with his interest in storytelling. It was the opposite for Frazee, who said she had the art-school background but had to develop her storytelling skills. Zelinsky said, "What I know is the feeling I want the image to give you, but how do I get there?" --Jennifer M. Brown

Note: The trio's artwork is part of "The Original Art: Celebrating the Fine Art of Children"s Book Illustration," on display at the Society of Illustrators through December 29, 2011.


Green Apple's Holiday Shopping Video

The staff at Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., is fully prepared to "help hone your holiday shopping list, to spur you to get started, or tempt you into our store." In their latest video (described in the bookshop's e-newsletter as "the depths to which Green Apple will sink to keep your business"), they feature "19 Great Gift Ideas." The e-newsletter also offered some helpful Christmas morning e-advice:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Unwrap your e-reader.
  3. Buy your e-books at


Ask a Bookseller

The Guardian began a four-part series about independent bookstores in the U.K. with Tamara Macfarlane, owner of London's Tales on Moon Lane children's bookshop. Today Macfarlane is taking part in a live online discussion with readers about the future of indies "and all things book-related."

"Opening a children's bookshop was an idea that had been forming long before I became a parent. I grew up in Oxford, near Blackwell's children's bookshop--an amazing space to be in and a lovely refuge where staff were passionate about children's books and you never felt intimidated," she said. "When my daughter was born nine years ago, I felt even more strongly about it. I wanted to recreate the magic of Blackwell's bookshop for all the children in the area. They needed a space of their own, dedicated to the pleasure of reading, to genuinely inspire them, with the same kind of appeal as a toy--or sweet shop."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Barron's Dog Training Bible

Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Andrea Arden, author of Barron's Dog Training Bible (Barron's Educational Series, $18.99, 9780764164330).


Tomorrow on Hardball with Chris Matthews: Darrell Hammond, author of God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked: Tales of Stand-Up, Saturday Night Live, and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem (Harper, $25.99, 9780062064554).


Tomorrow on Lifetime: a movie adaptation of Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square Press, $16, 9780743418713).

TV: Wolf Hall; House of Lies Trailer; Masters of Sex

HBO and BBC are developing Hilary Mantel's award-winning novel Wolf Hall as a four-part miniseries, adapted by Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy co-writer). reported that  the project is being produced by U.K. indie Company Pictures (Shameless) and Playground Entertainment in the U.S.


A new trailer has been released for Showtime's upcoming series House of Lies, starring Don Cheadle, wrote. The project, which premieres January 8, is based on the book House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn.

British actor Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind; Margin Call) "is in negotiations" to star in the Showtime drama pilot Masters of Sex, an adaptation of Thomas Maier's book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love, reported.

Movies: We Bought A Zoo 'Sneaks'; Tim Burton & Miss Peregrine?

Cameron Crowe’s We Bought A Zoo will get sneak preview screenings ahead of its official December 23 release date. reported that "20th Century Fox must be excited" about the film adaptation of Benjamin Mee's book because the "nationwide sneaks of the holiday picture will take place on Saturday, November 26, during Thanksgiving Weekend, one of the busiest moviegoing times of the year, as well as Christmas when there’s a lot of releases all at once."  

"Once in a while, we’re lucky enough to have a picture to which audiences of all kinds and all ages respond so strongly, that it demands a big and unexpected event," said Oren Aviv and Tony Sellain a statement. "We Bought A Zoo is that kind of picture--and Thanksgiving is a great time to share it via this special very early preview."

Crowe added that he is "really excited about these sneaks. Holding previews so far ahead of our opening is a bold move--but that’s one of the many reasons I like it." We Bought A Zoo stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, and Thomas Haden Church.


Calling it "a match that seems ideal," reported that Tim Burton "is in early talks" with 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment to direct a film version of the novel Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Burton would "develop the book as a potential directing project, and he would be involved in setting a writer to adapt the tale."

Books & Authors

Awards: Costa Finalists

Finalists have been named for this year's Costa Book Awards, which recognize the most enjoyable books in five categories--first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children's book--published during the past year by writers living in the U.K. and Ireland. Category winners will be announced January 4, 2012, with the 2011 Costa Book of the Year named January 24 at an awards ceremony in London. The complete Costa Book Awards shortlist is available at the Telegraph.

Book Brahmin: Dennis Cooper

Dennis Cooper grew up in Southern California. In 1976, he founded the punk magazine and publishing house Little Caesar, which he ran until 1982. His novels include the five-book George Miles Cycle, My Loose Thread, The Sluts (winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Book of Men's Fiction for 2005) and God Jr. His newest novel is The Marbled Swarm (Harper Perennial, November 1, 2011), the story of a man who secretly influences his son to commit a grisly act. Cooper divides his time between Los Angeles and Paris.


On your nightstand right now:

Actually, I'm reading five books at the same time at the moment. That's not my usual habit, but it just seems to have happened. I'm far enough into all of them to report that they're each quite wonderful. They are: Divorcer by Gary Lutz; Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia by Blake Butler; Daddy's by Lindsay Hunt; Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar by Viktor Shklovsky; and Green Girl by Kate Zambreno

Favorite book when you were a child:

L. Frank Baum's Tik-Tok of Oz. I loved the Oz books in general, but Tik-Tok was my favorite character, I think because his malady was so complicated. The Lion would get scared, and the Scarecrow could get ripped apart, but Tik-Tok was made of three distinct machines that controlled his movements, his speech and his intelligence. They could fail at any time in any combination, and so his problematic elements were more unpredictable and complex. 

Your top five authors:

Of all time: Maurice Blanchot, Arthur Rimbaud, Alain Robbe-Grillet, the Marquis de Sade, Raymond Roussel.

Contemporary: John Ashbery, David Foster Wallace, Pierre Guyotat, Steven Millhauser, Gary Lutz. 

Book you've faked reading:

Back when I was in school, I fake-read just about every book I was assigned. Let's say Homer's The Odyssey, which I think fake-read quite a number of times. 

Book you're an evangelist for:

Agota Kristof's novel trilogy The Notebook/TheProof/The Third Lie, which is sometimes known collectively as The Book of Lies. The trilogy is published by Grove Press in the U.S., and it's one of the greatest works of 20th-century literature, in my opinion. 

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Revolution of Little Girls by Blanche McCrary Boyd.

Book that changed your life:

It's almost a cliché of an answer but, as was the case for so many people I know, reading Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell when I was 15 changed the whole world for me. 

Favorite line from a book:

"When you're expecting bad news you have to be prepared for it a long time ahead so that when the telegram comes you can already pronounce the syllables in your mouth before opening it." --Robert Pinget in Mahu, or the Material

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

The Present and the Past by Ivy Compton-Burnett. I've been a sentence fetishist since I was young, and I never imagined sentences could be both crabbed and spectacular until I discovered Compton-Burnett via this book, which is still my favorite of hers. Her prose was a major discovery for me, and I wish I could relive that first rush of weird air.

Book Review

Dead Last

Dead Last by James W Hall (Minotaur Books, $25.99 hardcover, 9780312607326 , December 6, 2011)

James W. Hall (Magic City; Silencer), South Florida resident, Edgar Award winner and creator of Thorn, that Key Largo loner whose renegade style always gets results, has written another page-turner, this time with a surprising twist.

April Moss, obituary writer for the Miami Herald, has been on the job for some time, without incident. Sawyer, one of her twin sons, writes scripts for a cable TV series called Miami Ops and has been using the obits as part of his storyline. The other twin, Flynn, is the lead actor on the series.

In the show, a serial killer is using obits to select his victims. Suddenly, a copycat appears: a real-life serial killer using April's obits.

Thorn's wife, Rusty, has just died as the story begins. April writes an obit about Rusty, and a copy is found at the bedside of her Aunt Michaela, murdered by an unknown intruder. A young sheriff from Oklahoma is investigating the murder and travels to Key Largo to ask Thorn for help. Thorn is in the process of losing it--burning all his possessions, moving rocks around, spending days and nights in his hammock, refusing help offered by his P.I. friend, Sugarman. The sheriff, Buddha Hilton, arrives and talks him into helping her because, somehow, this murder is tied up with Rusty. Together, they go to Miami to begin tracking clues. Other murders take place, also with April's obituary notices left at the crime scene. Buddha sees a pattern in how the killer decides on the victim, the place and the weapon.

Meanwhile, the crime show gets a great boost in ratings from all the publicity. There are paparazzi everywhere--asking Thorn for information, knowing that he is always around when there is bad news; wondering what Buddha's doing there from Oklahoma; and asking April if she feels like an accomplice in the murders.

There are plenty of suspects to go around: Gus, the show's producer, had a career making porn films with his daughter, Dee Dee, the female lead in the show. This is his last shot; if the show tanks, he'll never work again. Dee Dee has a screw loose and is absolutely delighted that the show has a new life, even if people are dying. Sawyer wants his show to be renewed and Flynn enjoys being a leading man, even though he is too dyslexic to memorize lines. For good measure, a guy named Jeff, who is a critter exterminator extraordinaire, has his reasons to do a number on Sawyer.

Which, if any, of these leading suspects, is the right one? As if that weren't enough of a puzzle, Thorn gets the surprise of his life in the course of the investigation. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: Florida Keys loner Thorn joins an Oklahoma sheriff to try to sort out the motivation behind a series of copycat killings based on a TV show.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: An Indie Giving Back & Giving Thanks

You could write a book--a big book--about the many ways independent bookshops give back and give thanks to their communities. We don't have that kind of space here, so I'll just share a story about one bookseller in particular.

Pamela Grath, owner of Dog Ears Books, Northport, Mich., recently launched a partnership initiative with the Leelanau Foundation. On her Books in Northport blog, she recalled how the idea had occurred to her "when a local committee called 'Best for Kids' asked if I would participate again this year in their holiday bake sale and bazaar on the first Saturday in December."

In a conversation with Maggie Spratt-Moran of the Leelanau Children's Center, Grath discussed the possibilities, "emphasizing that local businesses and nonprofit organizations are inextricably intertwined, that community support therefore has to include support for local businesses, that creating and keeping jobs in our community strengthens the community for everyone, especially families with young children, and is therefore very much what’s 'best for kids,' and that--phew! finally!--therefore I wanted to propose a more comprehensive program."

And so, a partnership was born: "When anyone who wants to participate in the new partnership program orders new books not already in stock at Dog Ears Books, Dog Ears will give 10% of the retail price of those purchases to the Leelanau Foundation, earmarked for the early child development fund, and 100% of those donations will go to the Leelanau Children's Center," Grath wrote.

She is optimistic about the initiative "for a couple of reasons, the first being that more and more Americans are catching onto the idea of building relationships with small, independent, local businesses, with the people who are their neighbors. I'm also very happy to have the new program structured in conjunction with the Leelanau Township Foundation, a local nonprofit with a long history of helping our community."

Despite that optimism, Grath harbors no illusions the program will make her bookselling life easier: "I don't even expect getting the partnership off the ground to be easy. It is going to take a lot of patient, cheerful repetition to get the message out and to encourage response. But back in 1997, when I moved my bookstore from Traverse City back to Northport where I'd started out, I told my landlord, 'I'm in for the long haul.' I'm here, I chose to be here, this is what I do, and I value my connections."

For a bookstore in a tourist region, those connections have an added layer of complexity. "One thing I'm sure of is that 'community' is not just a certain number of people sleeping and paying taxes within a given geographical area," Grath said. "Those would be residents, but it takes more than that to make a community. In my blog post I loosely defined community as people 'working together, interdependently.' That can be expanded: working together, playing together, caring for one another, supporting one another. 'Coming together as one,' though, is never easy. We will never completely agree on everything. We will never have identical opinions or goals. So to me another part of what makes community is a willingness to stay in the conversation, even when it becomes argumentative. I guess this has been a big, gradual change for me--seeing that consensus will not always be reached, but that community can continue nevertheless. Is this different for a tourist region? I don't think so. In a nutshell? Continuing interdependence without complete agreement."

Whatever your feelings about the Thanksgiving holiday might be historically, politically, socially, culturally or... familially, it is still reassuring to honor the concept of a day for giving thanks and giving back. As Grath observed, "I'm thankful to be an independent bookseller, thankful for having survived over 18 years in this business, and thankful to have my bookshop in a place where friends are customers and customers are friends, whether they live here year-round or come up only once a year.

"Small towns, like indie bookstores, struggle to stay alive. Northport has an aging population (more and more retirees) but would like to keep young families in town and attract more young families. Anything that strengthens our business community makes the area a more feasible living choice for working people with kids. I would like to see this partnership as not only successful, but as a model for other businesses, a way to encourage local people to shop locally, all of us in turn contributing to our community."--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland and Milwaukee Last Week

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas during the week ended Sunday, November 13:

1. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
3. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
4. Blue Nights by Joan Didion
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
6. Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
7. That Used to Be Us by Thomas Friedman
8. Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright
9. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
10. Deliriously Happy by Larry Doyle

The reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites:

Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Book Cellar, Lincoln Square: Deliriously Happy by Larry Doyle
Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka
Book Table, Oak Park: A Natural History of the Piano by Stuart Isacoff
Books & Co., Oconomowoc: We the Animals by Justin Torres
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee: The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg
57th St. Books, Chicago: China in Ten Words by Yu Hua
Lake Forest Books: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Next Chapter, Mequon
Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock
Seminary Co-op: Music and Sentiment by Charles Rosen
Women and Children First, Chicago: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]

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