Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Del Rey Books: Black Shield Maiden by Willow Smith and Jess Hendel

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

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Tommy Nelson: Just in Case You Ever Feel Alone (Just in Case) by Max Lucado, Illustrated by Eve Tharlet

Bramble: The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst

Quotation of the Day

Investing In 'Your Hope, Not Your Dread' for Indies

"Don't lament the passing of a great bookstore when you have a chance to help.... I have heard people 'mourn' the bookstore already in that laziest of ways: 'Another great New York institution is on its way out.' Or, 'Another great bookstore that can't stand up to Amazon.' Curb the instinct, folks. The bookstore is not gone, it's not over, and there is still time to do something. Put your money behind your hope, not your dread."

--Karen the Small Press Librarian's blog post headlined "Ten Reasons Why We Should Help St. Mark's Bookshop Survive."


Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman


Travel Deal: Wiley Sells Frommer's to Google

Google is buying the "travel assets" of John Wiley & Sons, which includes the Frommer's brand. Citing a source "close to the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly," the New York Times reported that Google will pay approximately $23 million. Earlier this year, Wiley had said it was exploring the possibility of selling some consumer print and digital publishing assets that no longer align with long-term strategies.

With the move, Google is "further thrusting itself into content publishing in a bid to attract more advertising dollars tied to online-travel bookings and local-business information," the Wall Street Journal wrote. "By owning Frommer's global travel-guide content and showing it in Google search results, the search-engine company could potentially sell travel-related ads against it and provide more tools for people to book travel arrangements. Frommer's data about local businesses around the world also could boost the Google+ business listings and Google Maps."

Google said that it isn't sure if Frommer's guidebooks will continue to be published in print or will appear only online--and possibly be combined with Zagat, which Google bought last year.

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

NAIPR Basic Goes Live in Edelweiss

The National Association of Independent Publishers Representatives and Above the Treeline have introduced NAIPR Basic, which replaces 20-year-old Frontlist Plus Universal. The new product, which can be downloaded for all major POS software applications that independent booksellers currently use, is located on Edelweiss's website under a separate NAIPR tab.
NAIPR Enhanced and NAIPR Premium are being developed for the spring 2013 selling season.
"This is a capital day for NAIPR, as we launch the first installment on our continuing commitment to assist publishers and booksellers with more and better metadata as we embrace the digital promise of the 21st century," said Bob Rooney, executive director of NAIPR.

Above the Treeline CEO John Rubin said his company and NAIPR "have worked very well together--and we've got some great tools coming for publishers who might not want the complete Edelweiss solution but need to provide their commissioned reps with Edelweiss access."

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

Book Nook & Java Shop Opens

The Book Nook & Java Shop, Montague, Mich., hosted its grand opening last Thursday, the White Lake Beacon reported, noting that Bryan Uecker and Mark Murr originally "purchased the old Todd Pharmacy building, 8744 Ferry St., with plans to expand their space and menu, including adding a wine bar."

The owners also "wanted to incorporate many materials already in the space into the new design and also include historical pieces from the area," the Beacon wrote. Among those items ware a 20-foot bar in the space where the pharmacy counter was, bookshelves from pieces of wood in the ceiling, church pews, an old piano and the front door from an old school.

"There is a lot of history built into this place," Murr said.

William Morrow & Company: Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

New Bargain Book Warehouse Store in Pa.

Discount bookstore chain Bargain Book Warehouse recently opened a new location in East Stroudsburg, Pa., and manager Stina Forsell said the company may also be looking for a location in the Lehigh Valley in the near future. The Morning Call speculated that possible spaces could include the "former Staples building on MacArthur Road and the former Max & Jill space up the road, which coincidentally housed a Barnes & Noble in its former life."

Harper Celebrate: Why Do We Stay?: How My Toxic Relationship Can Help You Find Freedom by Stephanie Quayle, with Keith W. Campbell

Obituary Note: Irving Oaklander

Bookseller Irving Oaklander, "the man behind Irving Oaklander Books, which specialized in printing, design, and typography, both classic and modern," died last week, Imprint reported. He was 88.

In a farewell tribute, Steven Heller wrote: "I met Irving (I never called him Irv) in the late 1980s when he kept a booth at the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair. A diminutive, unassuming man with a gray, Lenin-like goatee, he stood proudly tending to his stock, beckoning all passersby to feast their eyes as they page through the material. Seeing I was salivating at the sight of his wares, he generously invited me to his Upper West Side apartment where he maintained his sideline book business. I recall the first time I saw the main bookcase--the spines said it all. Indeed, Irving somehow had them all. Every classic and many obscure volumes that I would have died for then, and killed for years later. Opening each book, my heart would pump with joy when I saw the price--most were $25 to $50! Irving was the Trader Joe of rare design books."


Image of the Day: Origami Yoda Event It Was

Last Thursday, the Blue Manatee Bookstore, Cincinnati, Ohio, an event for Tom Angleberger hosted. Author of the Origami Yoda series from Amulet is he, and good friend Chewbacca he was happy to greet.


Young Bookseller Focus: Lindsey McGuirk

This is the fifth in an occasional series of interviews of young, smart booksellers who are both the present and the future of bookselling--and whose enthusiasm and presence are encouraging many older folks in the industry who feared they might be a dying breed. Our intrepid reporter is George Carroll, an independent publishers rep and principal of Redsides Publishing Services.

Lindsey McGuirk, 33, worked for a big-box bookstore for a couple of years. When she landed a job at an independent bookstore, she considered herself a "real" bookseller. She was at Algonquin Books for a bit and is now at Village Books in Bellingham, Wash., where she handles online marketing and runs the self-publishing program for the store's Espresso Book Machine.

It's a bit intimidating interviewing you since you do an interview column for Northwest Booklovers. What question do you not want me to ask?

So much pressure! I mean, what if, subconsciously, the question I don't want you to ask is actually the question I do want you to ask? So I tell you not to ask me, hoping that you'll ask me? I'd prefer it if you just don't ask.

I always thought it would be fun to work for Chuck and Dee Robinson. They're socially conscious, politically involved, community minded and go on long vacations from the store and leave you alone. Can you get me a job?

I feel very fortunate to have bosses like Chuck and Dee. They have provided me with so many opportunities to learn about the book world and have introduced me to countless people in it. They've given me a lot of freedom and encouragement to take my ideas and roll with them, which I am so grateful for. And I've learned a very important lesson from them: Just because someone is older than you doesn't mean they can't party harder than you, and for that, I thank them.

Can I get you a job? Depends. Can you dance?

What's the percentage of self-published books v. publishers' backlist that you create on the Espresso Book Machine?

About 12% of EBM business is publisher backlist and Google Books. Most of the Google Books that we print for customers are genealogies that date back to the early 1900s, which is pretty freakin' cool. We also have our own imprint, Chuckanut Editions, and we've published 13 books under that, with two more in the works. The bulk of our printing definitely comes from self-publishing authors. At this point, we have 83 authors who have printed their books with us. Many of them have multiple titles.

Any particular regular self-published author?

We've had a lot of people print a relative's book with us, such as a parent who wrote a book, but never let it see the light of day. We recently started printing a book for a couple whose daughter died last October at the age of 18. They're using proceeds from sales of the book to create a scholarship in her honor, which is absolutely beautiful.

What do you think the future of EBM is for an author versus just posting as an e-book?

It would be foolish for an author who wants to reach as many readers as possible to go strictly e-book. Yeah, a ton of people are reading them, but a ton of people are sticking with physical books or reading both the e-book and physical book. Considering how cheap and convenient EBM is, print five books. If they sell, print another five.

What are some things you do to market online?

I send out our weekly e-newsletter, which has about 9,000 subscribers. We include events that are coming up in the next week and a half, plus tidbits of what's happening around the community. The newsletter is a quick and cheap way to let people know what we're doing at the store.  

I have a blast with online marketing! We are, of course, on Facebook and Twitter, which is so much fun. We have some hilarious customers, and I love when they comment on things we post. Having these sorts of online venues allows us to have conversations with customers that we may not have face-to-face. It also gets customers talking with each other, which I absolutely love! I take care of the blog, which I really enjoy. We will sometimes have guest posts by visiting authors and other folks on staff will occasionally contribute.  

What's the most effective way of reaching your customers?

Talking to them. Plain and simple. We may be able to reach people hundreds of different ways, but it's when they see we're actual people with quirky personalities that they become loyal shoppers. The other day a coworker and I were having a completely ridiculous conversation and a customer came up to us and said, "You guys sure do laugh a lot around here. It's great!"

Village Books is involved in the local community: there's a farmer's market outside the back door on Wednesdays and you just participated in the Steampunk Festival, a 5k run/walk for literacy and the big event, the Ski-to-Sea.

Yeah, we're a staple in the community. Aren't all indie bookstores, though? Ski-to-Sea was a great time! It's an annual 100-mile relay that happens the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Each team is made up of eight people who work their way through seven legs: cross country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboard, running, road biking, canoeing (two people for this leg), mountain biking, then kayaking. This year, the amazing rally-er, Paul Hanson, organized a team for Village Books, aptly named the "Speed Readers." We had a few mishaps (do you know how easy it is to flip a canoe?), but it was still a huge success.

The last question is from Danielle Borsch, our previous Young Bookseller interviewee: As the online marketing person, which platform--blog, e-blast, Facebook, Twitter, etc.--has made you feel the most connected to readers/customers and why?

Twitter is a great way to reach out to people, but it can feel like being at a party where you have to throw elbows just to get through the door. There's also a lot of eavesdropping on Twitter and it feels pretty anonymous. Facebook feels more like a dinner party where we can all sit down and enjoy a meal and a few glasses of wine together. Facebook feels the most connected to me.


Gatsby Books: Celebrating a Great Two Years

Congratulations to Gatsby Books, Long Beach, Calif., which recently celebrated its second birthday; and to owner Sean Moor, who was also celebrating the day he met his fiancee, Alisha Attella, the first customer to enter his new store. The Contra Costa Times interviewed Moor. Among the highlights:

Q: Every year the Long Beach Public Library Foundation does Long Beach Reads One Book. What do you think the next title should be?
A: Well, The Great Gatsby.

Q: And you have a cat in the store. Did it come with the place?
A: The cat came from a used bookstore that closed over on Lakewood and Carson. I was in there and they had a store cat and they needed a home for her, so I said I'd take her. Her name is Ruby. I have both front and back doors wide open all day long and Ruby will not leave the bookstore.

Q: You probably don't get out much yourself.
A: I'm here most of the time. Alisha has a job as an office manager, but she's here as much as she can be. Every month--every day--we think about the next adventure. Working together is just a ton of fun because people come in and we get to talk about books.

Q: Is your store going to get bigger?
A: I don't know if it will get physically bigger, but we're going to keep getting better. I just signed a three-year lease, so we'll be around for a while. Our goal is to be the last used-book store in town.

photo: Brittany Murray/

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hope Solo on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Neil Barofsky, author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street (Free Press, $26, 9781451684933).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Tom Brokaw, author of The Time of Our Lives (Random House, $17, 9780812975123).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Hope Solo, author of Solo: A Memoir of Hope (Harper, $24.99, 9780062136749).


Movie Trailers: On the Road; Great Expectations

An international trailer has been released for director Walter Salles's adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, with a screenplay by Jose Rivera, reported. The movie, starring Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund, will be distributed in the U.S. by IFC and Sundance Selects, though a release date has not been set.

The new international trailer for Mike Newell's film version of Great Expectations offers "a rather substantial peek at what's in store. Featuring a pretty strong cast with veterans Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane starring alongside rising talents like Jeremy Irvine and Holliday Grainger, the David Nicholls' penned film will hopefully do something to make it stand out from the countless versions that have come before," Indiewire reported. Certainly, the strong ensemble is a good way to start, and while it looks compelling, we'll see if its one worthy of distinction soon enough." The movie opens November 30 in the U.K., but has no U.S. distributor yet.

Books & Authors

Awards: Aussie SiC's Davitt Shortlists; Bulwer-Lytton

Finalists have been named for this year's Davitt Awards, presented by Sisters in Crime for books written by Australian women. The shortlisted books in each of the categories will also be eligible for the Reader’s Choice Award, and debut books will be considered for a new award for best debut, Bookseller+Publisher reported. Winners will be announced September 1 in Melbourne. See the complete Davitt shortlists here.

The winner of this year's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges writers to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels, is Cathy Bryant of Manchester, England. She crafted the following epic:

"As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 21:

Winter Journal by Paul Auster (Holt, $26, 9780805095531) is another memoir by the author of The Invention of Solitude.

Paterno by Joe Posnanski (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451657494) chronicles the longtime Penn State football coach whose career ended in scandal.

Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Dwight Jon Zimmerman (Holt, $19.99, 9780805096750) is a young adult version of O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln.

Leading from Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him by Richard Miniter (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250016102) offers a critique of President Obama's leadership skills.

The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780061974588) continues the I Am Number Four young adult series.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250006219) follows Budo, an eight-year-old's imaginary friend.

Now in paperback:

The Importance of Being Seven by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $15, 9780307739360).

The House at the End of the Street by Lily Blake, David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow (Little, Brown, $12.99, 9780316230636).

Wild Card by Laura Leigh (St. Martin's Press, $14.99, 9781250031068).

Widow's Web by Jennifer Estep (Pocket, $7.99, 9781451651775).

Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant by Amanda Cohen, Ryan Dunlavey and Grady Hendrix (Crown, $19.99, 9780307952172).

Book Review

Review: A Killing in the Hills

A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books, $24.99 hardcover, 9781250003485, August 21, 2012)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Julia Keller makes her mystery debut with A Killing in the Hills, a love song to her native West Virginia that's as beautiful as it is gritty.

In the words of Belfa "Bell" Elkins, prosecuting attorney of Raythune County, "What a weekend. My daughter witnesses a massacre. Some crazy bastard just about runs me off the road. And now my ex-husband shows up unannounced. It's the freakin' trifecta." Bell already had her work cut out for her as she debated whether to prosecute a mentally handicapped man called Albie Sheets to the fullest extent of the law for the killing of a small boy or lighten the charges in the belief he did not understand his own actions. Now her teenaged daughter, Carla, has witnessed the drive-by slaying of three elderly men and is acting more surly and secretive than ever, and Bell has no leads on the suspect.

Believing the triple homicide is one more symptom of the drug problem that's tearing her hometown of Acker's Gap apart at the seams, Bell aggressively pursues the case despite an attempt on her life. Aiding her are her assistant Rhonda, whose intuition and connections almost make up for her tendency to skip work for a manicure, and Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, whose longstanding friendship stretches back down the years to the night he rescued a little girl named Belfa from a crisis that left her home in ashes and her elder sister in prison.

The killer, a disturbed young man who calls himself "Chill" and answers to a shadowy boss, eludes them, but Carla is certain she knows his face if not his name, and she pursues Chill's identity without her mother's knowledge, equally determined to protect their mountain home.

Keller's alluring portrayals of the West Virginian landscape contrast with her descriptions of the abject poverty endured by many of its citizens. While perhaps not the most intuitive of sleuths, Bell Elkins is nonetheless an appealing heroine, fiercely protective of her family and home and stubborn in her pursuit of justice (as we see when the Albie Sheets case becomes more complex). The ensemble cast brings a sense of community to the story and gives readers insight into Bell's steadfast determination to preserve the culture of Acker's Gap. With ample loose ends left to begin a second book, readers may justifiably hope to see more of Keller's sure-footed prose and dynamic characters. --Jaclyn Fulwood

Shelf Talker: Julia Keller makes her mystery debut with a novel set in her native West Virginia that's as beautiful as it is gritty.


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