Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 7, 2006

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

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

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Book Sales Rise 9.9% to $25 Billion; Thank You, Harry

Net sales for the U.S. publishing industry rose 9.9% in 2005 to $25.1 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers. Trade book sales had a healthy gain of 24.9% to $7.8 billion, but Harry Potter titles accounted for most of that increase. The children's hardcover category rose 59.6% to $3.6 billion while other trade categories had less magical increases. Children's paperbacks rose 10.6% to $850 million; adult paperbacks rose 9.5% to $1.1 billion; and adult hardcover rose just 1.4% to $2.2 billion, which likely masked a drop in unit sales.

In other categories, the big gainers last year were non-print media, which admittedly grew from smaller bases: e-books jumped 44.8% to $179.1 million, and audiobooks increased 29% to $206.3 million.

Among the major categories whose sales dropped: book clubs and mail order, down 6.7% to $1.5 billion; religious, down 6.1% to $876 million; and professional and scholarly books, down 1% to $3.3 billion. Mass market paperbacks were nearly flat in dollar terms, up just 0.2% to $1.1 billion.

Higher ed rose 5.3% to $3.4 billion, and probably had no gain in unit sales, and the el-hi category rose 10.5% to $6.6 billion.

Four-Year Comparisons

The AAP also provided compound growth rates for the years 2002-2005. The biggest gainer was e-books, whose sales rose 81.5% during the period, although growth slowed over time. Children's paperback was the second-largest growing category, up 19.6% in the period, also thanks in large part to Harry Potter.

Religious books rose 14.2%, although growth was most impressive in 2003, and audiobooks sales were up 12.9%, accelerating during the period.

Excluding children's hardcover titles, sales of trade books and mass market titles barely moved between 2002 and 2005. Adult hardcover was up 1.7%, adult paperback was up 3.8%, children's paperback rose 2.8%, and mass market sales dropped 3.5%.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Notes: Wendell Holmes Stores Close; Gagging Google?

The four Wendell Holmes bookstores in London, Ont., have closed although owner Stephen Klein is trying to secure financing to allow at least a few to reopen, the London Free Press reported. In the past, Klein has blamed the opening nearby of Chapters superstores for the closing of other independents in London. The first Wendell Holmes opened 99 years ago.


Is Amazon a bigger threat to the book industry than Google? At least one member of a London Book Fair panel thought so and speculated that the online seller has big publishing plans. See Publishers Lunch and Reuters coverage. Not to be outdone, Nigel Newton, CEO of Bloomsbury, last week called for a boycott of Google, as reported by the Guardian.


Oops. Here's one outtake from Sunday night's Oscar ceremony. There is an entertaining "making of" tie-in to Wallace & Gromit, the winner for best animated-feature length film: The Art of Wallace & Gromit (Titan Books, $19.95, 18405762150).


The Shreveport Times toured New Orleans last week and stopped by one of the city's loveliest bookstores, the Faulkner House Bookstore, which Joe DeSalvo reopened on December 5, his birthday. Many longtime local customers have returned and shopped, but the store is dependent on out-of-town visitors, such as attendees of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. Since tourism is way down, business on average has fallen by two-thirds, DeSalvo said.


In a "kind of anthropological study of human nature," as she described it to the Boston Globe, over the past two and a half years, Sara Theriault has collected some 5,000 notes and objects from used books that have come through Lorem Ipsum in Cambridge, Mass., which she co-owns. Among the collection: a letter that begins, "I am returning your book along with this check for $27,000 as a small token of my appreciation." Some of the items serve as wall décor in the store's bathroom.


An item in its entirety from the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina:

"Encore! Books Inc., a secondhand bookstore at 1130 Burke St., is going out of business. Mark Redmond, the owner of the six-year-old store, said he is returning to his previous occupation as a school social worker. He hopes to find a buyer for the business. He expects to close the store by April 1."


The Edward McKay used bookstore in Greensboro, N.C., is moving in late April to a new 10,000-sq.-ft. space with better parking and will add vinyl records to its mix of books, CDs, DVDs, videogames and graphing calculators, according to the Greensboro News-Record. The 19-year-old store has sales of $1.7 million and is the most profitable of the four Edward McKay stores, which are owned by Jason Books Corp.


In a story with the delightful headline "What would Jesus download?" the Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina notes the growing popularity of the Bible on iPods and other handheld devices "in versions ranging from the New Living Translation to the King James." In addition, "electronic pocket Bibles that resemble calculators are also replacing bulky Bibles in the pews these days."

The paper lists several sites offering digital versions of the Quran, Torah and the writings of the founder of the Baha'i faith.

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The View of Danielle Steel

The Early Show cedes morning air time to David Bach, whose new book is The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner: A Powerful Plan to Finish Rich in Real Estate (Broadway Books, $19.95, 0767921208).


This morning on the Today Show, Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees, buzzes about her latest, Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads: Coping with the Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and Counselors Who Can Rule--or Ruin--Your Child's Life (Crown, $25, 1400083001).

Also on the Today Show: Wendy Straker talks about her new book, Men at Work: A Job-by-Job Search for Mr. Right (Polka Dot Press, $14.95, 159337495X).


Today on NPR's Morning Edition, James Reston Jr. talks about his new book, Fragile Innocence: A Father's Memoir of His Daughter's Courageous Journey (Harmony, $23, 1400082439).


Today WAMU's Diane Rehm Show talks with Larry L. King, author of In Search of Willie Morris: The Mercurial Life of a Legendary Writer and Editor (PublicAffairs, $26.95, 1586483846), about the longtime Harper's editor.


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Gershom Gorenberg, author of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 (Times Books, $30, 080507564X).


Today, the View, the author, The House (Delacorte, $27, 0385338287): Danielle Steel.


In a repeat, tonight the Daily Show with Jon Stewart warms up to Eugene Linden, author of The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations (S&S, $26, 0684863529).

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Books & Authors

Orange Prize: Best Fiction by a Woman

The longlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction, which goes to a work of fiction by a woman published in the U.K. and is in its 11th year, consists of:

  • Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
  • Disobedience by Naomi Alderman
  • Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones
  • Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living by Carrie Tiffany
  • Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  • Harbor by Lorraine Adams
  • House of Orphans by Helen Dunmore
  • Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller
  • Minaret by Leila Aboulela
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  • Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates
  • The Accidental by Ali Smith
  • The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  • The Position by Meg Wolitzer
  • Watch Me Disappear by Jill Dawson
  • White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenaway

The shortlist will be announced on Wednesday, April 26, and the winner will be honored on Tuesday, June 6.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Swish: Penguin and the NBA Score Reading Points

It's a connection that conjures up an amusing image: basketball players, some of the most agile people alive, and penguins, who are graceful underwater but on land are a tad stiff, shall we say.

Nonetheless the connection appears to be a slam dunk. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Penguin Classics, the publisher and the National Basketball Association Cares's "Read to Achieve" Literacy Initiative have set up an "Aim High, Live Classic" campaign that matches NBA and WNBA stars current and retired with Penguin Classics. Images of stars reading titles will appear in ads, posters, promotional materials, online and in reading group guides. Among the pairings: the Seattle Supersonics's Ray Allen and Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha; Magic Johnson and Narrative of My Life as a Slave by Frederick Douglass; and Becky Hammon of the New York Liberty and The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

One of the first events involving the players will be held with Books and Books at Miami Dade College on April 13. Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, who has been depicted going one on one with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, will make a full-court press for the joys of reading at the college auditorium, which holds 800 readers and fans.

For more on the program, click here.

No Ordinary Man: Paul Rusesabagina of Hotel Rwanda

Paul Rusesabagina, the man who saved more than 1,200 lives during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, held several thousand college booksellers spellbound for an hour when he spoke at the NACS/CAMEX show in Houston this past weekend. His story, told in the film Hotel Rwanda, is one that, with characteristic modesty, he likes to call that of an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Indeed his new memoir, whose publication date is April 6, is called An Ordinary Man (Viking, $23.95, 0670037524). Still, most in the crowd considered him an extraordinary man, on a par with Oskar Schindler or Raoul Wallenberg, and gave him a long standing ovation.

Although he made clear that he and others at the mercy of marauding militia and a bloodthirsty army felt abandoned by the West, Rusesabagina was not accusatory, which made his story resonate all the more. "When the world decided to abandon us and closed its eyes and ears, we had to take responsibilities," he said matter of factly. "I got involved in everything."

Throughout the 100 days that he and the people he protected were under threat of death, "I decided not to fight with guns," he said. "I decided to fight with my words. I negotiated and learned how to deal with evil." He bribed, flattered, cajoled and stalled for time. "All this will end soon," he told one important general at a crucial moment. "What will you tell history afterward?" During another confrontation, he pointed to several of the people he was protecting and asked a militiaman bent on murder, "Is this old man the real enemy you are fighting? Is the enemy you are fighting truly this baby? Do you really want this man's blood on your hands for the rest of your life?"

Again and again Rusesabagina called and faxed contacts in Rwanda and around the world, seeking to get them to intervene on behalf of the 1,200 who were barely hanging on in the des Milles Collines luxury hotel in the Rwandan capital of Kigale. "I never gave up," he said. "I kept phoning the White House, Brussels, Paris."

Rusesabagina knew some of those who had done the killings. "I saw people we considered wise men, who were advisors and leaders, in the militia with guns and machetes," he said. "I couldn't believe my eyes." Early in the genocide, Rusesabagina's son, who was 15 at the time, witnessed the murders of friends and couldn't speak for four days. "He couldn't understand how human beings could be so wild, so cruel, so criminal."

In the same vein, he noted that as emphasized in the movie, leaders of the genocide used radio stations to incite the killers and guide them, to the extent of sending out over the air names and addresses of people to kill. "Media can be the best weapon when used for good," Rusesabagina said. "And media can be the worst weapon when used for evil."

Although he "expected death each and every day," one of the worst moments was when he gathered his wife and four children together before an evacuation and said that whatever happened, the six were "all brothers and sisters and the oldest would take care of the youngest. Then we shook hands."

As seen in the movie, before the first attempted evacuation, Rusesabagina decided not to go with his family because, he said, he knew he was the only person among the 1,200 who "could sit down and talk with the militia." Had he gone, those remaining would have been slaughtered, and their deaths would have hung over him forever. "I would never have been a free man," he said. "I would have been a prisoner of myself. I would never have been able to eat and sleep with satisfaction."

As a result, he put his family on a vehicle and stayed behind. He told the audience, "You can't imagine how heartbreaking it is to see your loved ones going and you don't know where they are going, where you are going and if you will ever see them again. Sending my wife and children to a safer place was the toughest decision I ever made in my life."

He spent some time discussing Rwandan history to show that the 1994 killings were not the first blood shed in the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis, which began during colonial times. "Both sides have done killing," he said.

Despite his general equanimity, Rusesabagina admitted to wanting to take revenge once. After the 100 days, when he went with his wife to his mother-in-law's house and discovered that she and other relatives had been slaughtered, "Like small babies we sat in the ruins and cried," he said. "If I had a gun, I would have killed someone. Thank God I didn't have a gun."

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