Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 7, 2006

Simon & Schuster: Launch a Reading Star With Ready to Read Campaign

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

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Waiting in the Wings by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by Eg Keller

Webtoon Unscrolled: Boyfriends. Volume Two: A Webtoon Unscrolled Graphic Novel by Refrainbow

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

Quotation of the Day

Da Vinci Code Deluge

"Unborn babies must be reading Da Vinci. Who else on this planet is left?"--Larry Kirshbaum, literary agent, in an AP story via the Globe and Mail, about the paperback sales of The Da Vinci Code. (The publisher reports that more than 500,000 copies of the book sold in its first week of paperback release, and now six million copies are in print.)

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


Notes: General Retail Sales Dip; John Ashbery Day in NYC

Unseasonably cold weather and a late Easter contributed to poor sales in March, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times today. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.6%, a Goldman Sachs index showed. The company said specialty retailers were "hardest hit, followed by department stores, while discounters had the best performance," as the Times put it.

For its part, Retail Metrics's comp-store sales index of 57 retailers found that sales rose 1.9%. President Ken Perkins called it the weakest monthly comp-store increase since November 2004 and said that for the second month in a row results at 60% of retailers were below expectations.

Among comp-store results at major retailers, Costco rose 7%, Nordstrom was up 4.3%, Kohl's rose 3.7% and Target was up 2.2%. Wal-Mart rose 1.4%, Federated was flat and Saks dropped 0.6%.


The Book Shelf in Ellsworth, Me., was damaged by a fire in an upstairs apartment Wednesday night, according to WLBZ, a local TV station. Apparently owner Peter Johnson didn't know about the fire until he arrived at the store the next day. He called it a "complete shock" and credited to the fire department for putting tarps over many books to protect them.


The judge in the lawsuit brought in London by Michael Baigent and another author of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (published in the U.S. as Holy Blood, Holy Grail) against Dan Brown's publisher charging plagiarism may rule as early as today. According to today's New York Times, Wednesday night Baigent apparently indicated that he had some second thoughts about the suit, telling a Manhattan audience, "My recommendation is that you never embark upon a trial of that nature."


Pennie Clark Ianniciello, book buyer at Costco, has chosen a 2001 bestseller, A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel (Broadway, $12.95, 0767915054), as her pick of the month. The pick is highlighted in Costco Connection, the magazine that goes to some members of the warehouse club.

Ianniciello writes that in her memoir, the author "captures that childhood sense of awe that makes routine events seem remarkable."


Congratulations. The Mayor and City Council of New York City have declared today John Ashbery Day in the Big Apple. The New School is currently holding a three-day John Ashbery Festival, which ends tomorrow.

The city noted that "Ashbery has won nearly every major American award for his poetry, including the Pulitzer, the Bollingen, and the National Book Award. A New York City resident for four decades, Ashbery is one of the original members of the celebrated New York School of poets, which flourished as a major avant-garde movement in the 1950s and '60s and which has many adherents and students today.

"He has published more than 20 collections, beginning in 1953 with Turandot and Other Poems, and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He currently serves as the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. His newest collection of poems, the National Book Award-nominated Where Shall I Wander, was published in March in paperback by Ecco."

Florida Bookstore for Sale: Email

Barnett to Counsel on D.C. and Books at ABA Event

Robert Barnett, the Washington lawyer-major literary agent, will be the luncheon speaker--and begin the program--at the ABA's first-ever Legislative Day, to be held Wednesday May 17, just before the opening of BEA in Washington, D.C.

Barnett, senior partner at Williams & Connolly and literary representative of such people as Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Lynne Cheney, David Stockman and James Patterson, among many others, will speak to the topic "Washington & Books." Advanced word is that he will discuss in part the country's ever-growing interest in political books.

The Legislative Day, intended "to brief booksellers about current public policy issues affecting the book industry and to provide them with the opportunity to meet with their senators and representatives," ends with a reception on Capitol Hill honoring Rep. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.), to which all members of Congress from states and districts of attending booksellers will be invited.

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kevin Henkes; Kaavya Viswanathan

This morning on the Today Show: Kevin Henkes, author of Lilly's Big Day (Greenwillow, $16.99, 0060742364).

Also on the Today Show: Michele Borba, author of 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know: Getting Back to Basics and Raising Happy Kids (Jossey-Bass, $15.95, 078798096X).


Today on the Early Show, Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan, author of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life (Little, Brown, $21.95, 0316059889).


Today on Good Morning America, Nightline and 20/20: James D. Tabor, author of The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity (S&S, $27, 0743287231).


Today on the View: Cal Ripken, Jr., whose new book is Parenting Young Athletes the Cal Ripken Way: Ensuring the Best Experience for Your Kids in Any Sport (Gotham, $25, 1592401813).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show:

  • George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq (FSG, $26, 0374299633)
  • General Anthony C. Zinni, author of The Battle For Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose (Palgrave Macmillan, $24.95, 1403971749).

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Books & Authors

Book Brahmins: Steve Brumfield

Steve Brumfield, owner of Manteo Booksellers in Manteo, N.C., on the Outer Banks, responds to a series of queries we will occasionally ask people in the business. Herewith questions and his answers:

On nightstand now:

The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant, The Complete Short Novels of Chekhov, Russian in 10 Minutes a Day and Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid by Malcolm Lowry

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene DuBois

Top five authors:

Paul Bowles, Milan Kundera, Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoevsky, John Fowles

Book you've "faked" reading:

In college I'm sure I "faked" any textbook I was assigned to read.

Book you are an "evangelist" for:

"Evangelist" would not fit my personality But I'm most apt to "evangelize" classic literature like Flaubert, Tolstoy, Steinbeck, etc. These are the books most often "faked" I'm afraid, and they're really not to be missed.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I'm just the opposite of this statement. Instead of covers "selling" me on a book, ones that have holes cut in them and other gimmicks actually make me avoid themI can't think of any cover enticing me to buy the book.

Book that changed your life:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Favorite line from a book:

Unfortunately I've never memorized a line from any book.

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

Any book by Jane Austen

Deeper Understanding

Chris Epting: Author/Brand/Cultural Attraction

It's as if he clicked some kind of marketing ruby slippers.

Luck and his background in advertising have helped author Chris Epting create an unusual and highly effective brand that continues with his latest title, The Ruby Slippers, Madonna's Bra, and Einstein's Brain: The Locations of America's Pop Culture Artifacts (Santa Monica Press, distributed by IPG, $16.95, 1595800085), a travel guide to what he calls items ranging from "obviously the sublime to the ridiculous"--Lizzie Borden's axe, the Watts Tower, the world's largest Santa Claus, Adolf Hitler's typewriter--that can be seen in such diverse places as the Smithsonian Institution, the Sing Sing Prison Museum, the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum or in public spaces.

Besides the bizarre, there is a serious aspect to the book and approach. "The U.S. doesn't get enough credit for what we've produced," he said. He cites, for example, rock and roll, "Sinatra," hot dogs, the car, modern medicine and more. To experience such things by seeing them or things connected with them helps people appreciate them. "Kids learn about Ben Franklin flying a kite and discovering electricity," he said, "but to actually be in the courtyard where he did this brings something extra."

Like many of his seven other books, which include Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America, James Dean Died Here: The Location of America's Pop Culture Landmarks, Marilyn Monroe Dyed Here: More Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks and Elvis Presley Passed Here: Even More Locations of America's Pop Culture Landmarks, Epting is spreading the word through unusual channels that reach "the exact customers I want: people who like travel and like interesting sites."

Consider the partnerships he has created to help "brand myself and my books":

For three years, Epting has been the official spokesperson for Hampton Inns' Hidden Landmarks program and promoted its Save-A-Landmark program. The Hilton-owned hotel chain approached Epting after a marketing person saw his James Dean title in a store. ("It was so serendipitous," Epting said.).

As part of the arrangement, Hampton Inns regularly sends Epting on media tours. "I go to landmarks and do press interviews, promoting Hampton Inns and my books," he commented. "It's a win-win situation for both of us." He talks about the hotels in a "low-key way. I don't launch into a hotel spiel because they want less of a commercial and more history and travel. But they do want me to mention the Hidden Landmarks Web site."

That "very active" site is a state-by-state guide to "weird and wonderful places," as Epting puts it. (Epting provides historical context to the places, which are followed by a link for finding the nearest Hampton Inns.) People who go to the site are encouraged to e-mail Epting if they have a suggestion about a landmark, which helps Epting gauge "what people want to see."

The program recently won an Odyssey Award from the Travel Industry Association of America, which cited it for its effectiveness and profitability. ("Nearly $42,000 in new hotel bookings was generated on the site in the first 15 days!")


Epting is travel editor of the new Chicken Soup for the Soul magazine, specializing in "it-happened-here" stories. A recent Epting item focused on Suite 136 at the La Quinta Resort, La Quinta, Calif., where Frank Capra wrote the screenplay of It's a Wonderful Life and a desk and typewriter mark the wonderful event. The magazine, which started last fall, appears every other month and has a subscription base of 150,000.


Epting has a spot in the lineup on the home page of Major League Baseball's Radio Web site. Here Epting, as the site puts it, "takes you to the sites of long-gone stadiums, plaques, markers, monuments and other historic baseball landmarks," as discussed in his book Roadside Baseball, which MLB also sells on the site. His regular radio feature has tuned into such spots as the old Polo Grounds (sob!) and the Roger Maris Museum.


Two of Epting's books have been the focus of annual Phi Beta Kappa Society competitions, in which college and university chapters of the Society collect points for visiting the most sites depicted in the book chosen that year and take pictures like those in the book with Phi Beta Kappa members in them. The grand prize is a "Chris Epting International Convention Registration Scholarship." Last year the focus was on James Dean Died Here; this year the source book is Marilyn Monroe Dyed Here. Epting has spoken at Society events, where "thousands" of members show up, and sells out copies of his books. "You get jaw-dropping attention and interest," he said. And the Society has millions of undergraduate and graduate members who keep sales of his backlist at a higher level than they would be otherwise.


Epting has also extended the franchise last year by setting up an online shop selling items he designed emblazoned with nostalgic highway markers. Epting said, "It fits the tone of the books I write, and I've gotten a nice response so far."


And last but not least, Epting also has a personal Web site!


Reader Connection

For Epting, the communication between author and reader that the Internet allows is one of the keys to his charmed writing life--and he works hard at it. "If someone writes to me, I respond," he said. (Recently after a radio show interview in Chicago, he received more than 150 e-mails and answered every one immediately.) "If you answer once and show you're accessible, they like you. You're always on their list." The communication often slides into snail mail. Epting sometimes sends readers bookmarks and other items, and many of his correspondents send postcards and pictures from around the world.

To encourage such communication, Epting includes his e-mail address in his books and on his Web sites and mentions it during appearances. "If you make it easy enough, you can forge something unlike anything before the Internet era," he said. "And it's not hype."

Epting's next project is yet another road trip--"the ultimate rock and roll road trip"--which would include spots in Europe and feature such things as the locations of album cover shots, Buddy Holly's plane, Beatles' locales in Liverpool. "There are so many rocks to look under," Epting said.

As usual, the idea came in part from suggestions from his readers. But he also gets ideas from seeing a gap in book coverage. As he put it, "If I walk into a store and a book doesn't exist that I want to read, then I'll write it."

The Bestsellers

The Book Sense/SCBA List

The following are the bestselling titles at Southern California Booksellers Association member stores during the week ended Sunday, April 2, as reported to Book Sense:

Hardcover Fiction

1. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore (Morrow, $24.95, 0060590270)
2. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant (Random House, $23.95, 1400063817)
3. Gone by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $26.95, 0345452615)
4. Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters (Morrow, $25.95, 0060591803)
5. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (Atria, $26, 0743496701)
6. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (Putnam, $25.95, 0399153446)
7. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (Riverhead, $25.95, 159448905X)
8. The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury (Dutton, $24.95, 0525949410)
9. The Fallen by T. Jefferson Parker (Morrow, $24.95, 0060562382)
10. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Doubleday, $24.95, 0385504209)
11. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (Ballantine, $24.95, 0345476158)
12. The Old Wine Shades by Martha Grimes (Viking, $25.95, 0670034797)
13. Dark Assassin by Anne Perry (Ballantine, $25.95, 0345469291)
14. The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais (S&S, $24.95, 0743281616)
15. Nightlife by Thomas Perry (Random House, $24.95, 1400060044)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Morrow, $21.95, 0060817089)
2. Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams (Gotham, $26, 1592401996)
3. American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips (Viking, $26.95, 067003486X)
4. The Jesus Papers by Michael Baigent (HarperSanFrancisco, $27.95, 0060827130)
5. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Knopf, $23.95, 140004314X)
6. Peeps by Mark Masyga and Martin Ohlin (Harry Abrams, $14.95, 081095995X)
7. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking, $24.95, 0670034711)
8. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (FSG, $27.50, 0374292884)
9. You're Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen (Random House, $24.95, 1400062586)
10. Cobra II by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor (Pantheon, $27.95, 0375422625)
11. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95, 006073132X)
12. Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/Fetish and the Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese (Regan Books, $34.95, 0060591676)
13. The Left Hand of God by Michael Lerner (HarperSanFrancisco, $24.95, 0060842474)
14. Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman (HarperSanFrancisco, $24.95, 0060738170)
15. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $25.95, 0316172324)

Trade Paperback Fiction

1. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0143036696)
2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $14.95, 0307277674)
3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House, $13.95, 0812968069)
4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
5. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14, 031242440X)
6. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage, $14, 1400078776)
7. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $12.95, 140007570X)
8. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (Hyperion, $12, 1401308589)
9. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $14.95, 1400079276)
10. The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316154520)
11. Any Place I Hang My Hat by Susan Isaacs (Scribner, $14, 0743272307)
12. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Mariner, $13.95, 0618711651)
13. Close Range by Annie Proulx (Scribner, $14, 0684852225)
14. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco, $13, 0062502182)
15. The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer (Downtown Press, $14, 0743265033)

Trade Paperback Nonfiction

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Vintage, $14, 0679745580)
2. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Scribner, $14, 074324754X)
3. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (Plume, $15, 0452287081)
4. Zagat Survey: Los Angeles/Southern California Restaurants (Zagat, $13.95, 1570067422)
5. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (Penguin, $15, 0143036610)
6. Night by Elie Weisel (FSG, $9, 0374500010)
7. Plan B by Anne Lamott (Riverhead, $14, 1594481571)
8. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage, $14.95, 0375725601)
9. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624)
10. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz (Workman, $18.95, 0761104844)
11. Collapse by Jared Diamond (Penguin, $17, 0143036556)
12. The End of Poverty by Jeffrey D. Sachs (Penguin, $16, 0143036580)
13. Bad Cat by Jim Edgar (Workman, $9.95, 0761136193)
14. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (Amber-Allen, $12.95, 1878424319)
15. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (Warner, $16.95, 0446677450)

Mass Market

1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $7.99, 1400079179)
2. With No One as Witness by Elizabeth A. George (HarperTorch, $7.99, 0060545615)
3. The Closers by Michael Connelly (Warner, $7.99, 0446616443)
4. Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman (HarperTorch, $7.99, 006056346X)
5. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket, $7.99, 0671027360)
6. Dark Demon by Christine Feehan (Jove, $9.99, 0515140880)
7. One Shot by Lee Child (Dell, $7.99, 0440241022)
8. The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters (Avon, $9.99, 006059179X)
9. Cold Service by Robert B. Parker (Berkley, $7.99, 0425204286)
10. Ireland by Frank Delaney (Avon, $7.99, 0060563494)

Children's (Fiction and Illustrated)

1. Night of the New Magicians (Magic Tree House #35) by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Sal Murdocca (Random House, $11.95, 0375830359)
2. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Knopf, $9.95, 0375826696)
3. The Princess Diaries, Volume VII: Party Princess by Meg Cabot (HarperCollins, $16.99, 0060724536)
4. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (HarperCollins, $15.99, 0060542098)
5. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, $18.99, 0763625892)
6. Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt Paperbacks, $7.95, 0152051244)
7. The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Kathy Couri (Grosset & Dunlap, $3.99, 0448418738)
8. The Pretty Committee Strikes Back by Lisi Harrison (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316115002)
9. Some Like It Hot (A-List, #6) by Zoey Dean (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316010936)
10. Flyte (Septimus Heap, Book Two) by Angie Sage (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 0060577347)
11. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Chicken House, $7.99, 0439709105)
12. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, $8.95, 0375829164)
13. Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells (Puffin, $5.99, 0140566724)
14. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (Putnam, $7.99, 0399230033)
15. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow, $16.99, 0060092726)

[Many thanks to Book Sense and SCBA!]

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