Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Little Brown and Company: A Line in the Sand by Kevin Powers

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Quotation of the Day

'Paying a Lot of Attention to Editors'

"One of the things that's a hallmark of our tradecraft is that we pay a lot of attention to the editors, whether it's a large house or an independent house. We pay attention to what they do because it's so difficult for someone in a bookstore today to actually read all the texts before you make a decision on whether you're going to stock the book in the store or not. So having the idea of what the tradition of the house is, what the curatorial taste of a particular editor is, that means so much to us."

--Paul Yamazaki, book buyer at City Lights Books, San Francisco, Calif., in a q&a with Brick, A Literary Journal.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon


Riggio's Offer to Buy B&N Stores: How Much? How?

Wall Street liked the announcement that Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio wants to buy the general retail part of the business: yesterday--when the Dow Jones fell 1.55%--B&N's stock rose 11.57%, to $15.06.

As a result, B&N is now valued at about $900 million, which is substantially less than the $1.8-billion valuation for its Nook Media division alone that was made last year when Microsoft and Pearson invested in the business. Analysts' estimates of the value of B&N's retail operations--primarily 689 stores--range from $484.5 million to more than $1 billion, according to the New York Times. A "person close to the company" said that B&N would be "hard pressed" to accept less than $1 billion for its retail stores.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Riggio's SEC filing says an offer would "consist primarily of cash and the assumption of certain liabilities" and he would "arrange any debt financing required." Morningstar analyst Peter Wahlstrom told the Journal that Riggio could exchange his third ownership in B&N as "part payment" for the stores. Then again, Wahlstrom said, "I think he's got plenty of personal wealth and connections that would support financing for the retail business."

Riggio has a lot of experience selling his privately owned companies to his publicly owned companies, then sometimes taking those purchased companies private again and then selling them back to his publicly held companies, often making significant amounts of money on each deal. Examples include B& and various game retailers--GameStop, Funcoland, Babbage's and Software Etc. The most recent case was B&N College, which Riggio owned privately and sold to B&N in 2009 for $596 million, a price that was the subject of lawsuits by other B&N shareholders who alleged that Riggio had B&N overpay for the college store company. Last year, Riggio settled a combined suit just before trial, agreeing to a $29-million reduction in the price B&N would pay for B&N College.

Yesterday, B&N said that it has set up a special committee of independent board members to evaluate the Riggio proposal.

Many people in the industry welcomed Riggio's move to purchase B&N's stores, believing that the traditional bookselling operations of the company have been neglected by management that has been focused on the digital side of the business. Who better to save B&N that the man who originally built the company into a bookselling powerhouse?

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Change of Owners at Between the Covers

On Friday, Jeanne Regentin, owner of Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, Mich., for the 10 years, is selling the store to Katie Capaldi, who has extensive experience as a bookseller and is the daughter of Between the Covers' children's book buyer, Susan Capaldi.

In a letter to customers, Regentin said that when she bought the store a decade ago, it was about to be either closed or sold. "I couldn't imagine my town without a bookstore, so I bought it," she wrote. "Back then I couldn't have imagined the joy running Between the Covers was destined to be for me. But, at some point several years ago, I realized that I was 'place-holding,' that the job of owning the bookstore I dreamed of for Harbor Springs needed to be filled by a person with a broader skill-set than my own."

Capaldi, Bunter, Regentin

She said that Capaldi has qualities she wanted the new owner to have: she is passionate about books, a salesperson, a fan of children and children's literature, creative, energetic, young, realistic with optimism and has a strong sense of community.

Capaldi, who is 29, began her career a bookseller at age 14 at McLean & Eakin in nearby Petoskey and worked at the store through high school and then during the summer when she was home from Kenyon College, where she studied pre-medicine, anthropology, mathematics and dance.

After graduating from Kenyon in 2006, she worked full time at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square in Chicago for a year, then moved back to Petoskey and worked at McLean & Eakin another three years. She then spent a year in Missoula, Mont., where she was a buyer for Shakespeare & Co., then moved back to Michigan, where she began the Kids' Book Club at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor. Besides her bookstore work, she has taught dance and yoga and performed with various troupes and companies. (Regentin noted that Capaldi's background in the arts and especially performing arts "means that she thinks both creatively and literally fast on her feet.")

Capaldi said that within a year, she will move Between the Covers "so that the space and subsequent inventory are nearly doubled." She also will expand the children's and YA sections and work with an increasing number of younger business owners in downtown Harbor Springs on collaborative and cultural events.

For her part, Regentin told customers that she and her dog, Bunter, "are going to ramble off into the sunset. What's next for me? You should see the piles of unread books at my house, and most of them are your fault! One of the biggest perks of being a bookseller is the community of readers who come to the store. You guys are the best, the most entertaining, and interesting people I can imagine to get to rub elbows with every day. But you all have recommendations for your favorite books, and you did a magnificent job of selling those books to me--thus, the stacks and stacks at home. I'm looking forward to discovering the magic you found in them! Thank you all for all of the inspiration and support you have given Between the Covers over the years, your loyalty to the book-a-month buying pledge, your participation in support for the library, and your dedication to making sure that Harbor Springs keeps its bookstore. I hope you'll be joining Bunter and me as Katie's best customers and biggest fans. This young woman is extraordinary, and one of my greatest satisfactions will be watching her succeed."

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

AAP Sales for October: Net Book Sales Drop 8.3%

In October, total net book sales fell 8.3%, to $880.6 million, representing sales of 1,195 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the year to date, net book sales have slipped 1.9%, to $12.261 billion.

Despite the overall drop in October, sales of e-books continued to increase, although at less stratospheric levels than a year earlier. University press and children's e-books were the major gainers. Trade paperbacks were flat, hardcovers fell 6.4% while the bottom fell out of mass markets. 



 % Change

 Univ. press e-books

     $1.1 million


 Children's/YA e-books

   $10.6 million


 Adult e-books

 $103.7 million


 Downloaded audiobooks

    $9.5 million


 Univ. press hardcovers

    $5.6 million


 Religious e-books

    $4.9 million


 Religious paperbacks

  $24.4 million

    8.2 %

 Univ. press paperbacks

    $5.1 million





 Adult paperbacks

 $116.8 million


 Physical audiobooks

   $11.8 million


 Children's/YA hardcovers

   $97.1 million


 Children's board books

     $9.3 million


 Adult hardcovers

 $224.6 million


 Children's/YA paperbacks

   $46.4 million


 Religious hardcovers

   $30.6 million


 Professional publishing

   $31.8 million


 Mass market

   $28.2 million


Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Wi8: Banned Books, Censorship & YA Literature

Opening yesterday's Winter Institute panel discussion about censorship, ABFFE's Chris Finan quoted the American Library Association statistic that 326 challenges were filed against books in 2011. "That's almost one for every day," he noted.

Authors Laurie Halse Anderson and Sherman Alexie, who have both had books banned (Anderson's Speak and Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian), joined Finan and Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla., who recently faced a brouhaha surrounding the book Vamos a Cuba [A Visit to Cuba] by Alta Schreier.

Finan mentioned a 2011 column in the Wall Street Journal by Meghan Cox Gurdon titled "Darkness Too Visible," in which she not only took the genre to task but also made the claim that people who complain about censorship do not care about children. "I expected some hisses there," Finan said, at the mention of her name.

Instead, Anderson said, book challenges "often come from goodhearted people; parents whose child is just entering adolescence." But, she added, once their children go through adolescence, parents will want their teens to have read the books they object to. Concerning Gurdon, she said, "I imagine she had some things happen to her that she has not dealt with and she is desperately afraid of talking with her nine-year-old about."

On the other hand, some challengers have base motivations, Anderson said, and use manipulation and politics--"and by that I mean religion"--to get good-but-scared people to follow a political agenda. "Those sons of bitches have to go," she said.

Alexie, who wrote a response in the Journal to Gurdon's column, said that "f**k you" was the extent of his first draft, "but they wanted more." He was not nearly as diplomatic as Anderson, he admitted. "I've been in principals' offices in schools who try to use their Psychology 101 on me." Almost exclusively, he said, the censors are white, Christian conservatives who are "trying to ban brown people." Most of the time, he said, they have never read the books they want to ban and just "make up s**t."

For instance, he said he was accused of including blowjob lessons in his book. "I'm way too shy to write that," he said. "I don't even make those kinds of suggestions to my wife." (Later, he said that while he may make jokes about censorship, he almost declined to be on the panel because the subject makes him so angry. "If you are funny, then people don't notice how angry you are," he said.)

To censor books without reading them, Alexie said, was the first step toward the Salem witch trials.

Alexie argued that, in fact, the YA genre is "extremely moral" for presenting ideas and situations to help teens deal with precisely the kinds of things they confront in the real, nonsensical world.

And he found one advantage to having censors go after his books. "That means every kid is going to read them," he said.

Anderson told booksellers that they can act by not letting those who make stuff up and have not read the books make an issue in the media about them. "Bullying is a baby fascism," she said.

She also said that white conservatives are not the only people who attack authors. She came under attack from the left for Wintergirls, which critics said promoted eating disorders.

Kaplan uses censorship efforts as "an educating experience," he said, explaining to concerned customers and others that seeking subjects "outside the margins" is what teenagers are supposed to do. On the other hand, he fights when he thinks someone is manipulating facts for political gain, as he suspected was the case with a school board member who sparked the debate about Vamos a Cuba.

What about parents exercising their right to decide what their children should read, asked Finan.

"There's always the option of not reading the book," said Alexie, who emphasized that he objects to people who want to control what every kid reads. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie wrote about leaving the reservation and being saved (in a non-religious way) by living in a conservative Christian community. "They don't even see that I am celebrating that," he said.

When asked to address her views on sensitive topics with parents of teens, Anderson said she starts by acknowledging that all parents do a good job of teaching kids not to cross the street without looking both ways. Then, she asks, what happens when you are not there and they enter the "minefield" of adolescence? "The safest way to present these situations to them is through literature," she argues. When she did this recently in Qatar--a country with a large Muslim population--she said a veiled woman had tears in her eyes when she admitted that she believed she was keeping her children safe by not telling them about things, but realized that she was opening the door for them to be hurt. "She had the grace to listen and grow, and I was very moved by that," Anderson said. --Bridget Kinsella

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams


Greenlight Spotlight at 35,000 Feet

Congratulations to Rebecca Fitting, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., who was quoted in the current issue of United Airlines' Hemisphere magazine (found in the back of every seat of every United plane) in a section on "potentially vulnerable companies that have refused to lie down." The item reads in part: "One way to stay alive, according to the folks at Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore, is to play to your strengths, to make the fact that people have to physically visit your shop something to celebrate. 'We believe that being a bookstore where people can come to shop and congregate is vital,' says co-owner Rebecca Fitting, who's also a firm believer in the personal touch. Book lovers have responded: Greenlight's sales have been growing at a rate of about 25% a year."

Audiobook Trailer of the Day: Ruby Red Trilogy

A new trailer has been released for Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red trilogy (Macmillan Audio), which includes print and audiobook editions of Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue, with Emerald Green scheduled for an October release. The audiobooks are read by Marissa Calin.

Music Community at Horizon Books

The Traverse City Record-Eagle has a long story about live music hosted most weekends in the Horizon Shine Café at Horizon Books in Traverse City, Mich., a "laid-back venue" that began to attract musicians when it opened 16 years ago.

"We wanted a listening audience instead of the bar atmosphere," said musician Adair Correll, who called Horizon Books owners Vic Herman and Amy Reynolds "very supportive."

From that beginning, the loosely organized Songwriters in the Round has grown and now includes 50-60 musicians who play original music monthly. (Horizon Books has underwritten several compilations of the group's work.) Recently two other monthly live music events have begun: Open Mic Night and Songwriters on the Horizon.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Moss on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Michael Moss, author of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Random House, $28, 9781400069804).


Tomorrow on Anderson Live: Heather McDonald, author of My Inappropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable for Small Children, Nuns, or Mature Adults (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781451672220).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: readers review The March by E.L. Doctorow (Random House, $16, 9780812976151).


Tomorrow on Current's Stephanie Miller Show: Gavin Newsom, author of Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594204722).

Movies: Ender's Game

A new image from Ender's Game "introduces us to Ender's Battle School companion, Petra Arkanian, played by True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld," Entertainment Weekly reported, adding that in the pic, "Petra and Ender share a meal in the dining facility alongside their fellow Salamander Army (see those patches on their jumpsuits?) soldiers. That means this is still early on in Ender's journey, as Salamander is the first army he is recruited to after his time as a Launchie. At the far left end of the table, you can see Bonzo Madrid (Moises Arias), the cruel commander of Salamander Army, who, in the novel, resents having the under-trained Ender fighting alongside him. Fortunately for Ender, Petra proves to be a true and loyal friend--not to mention an expert fighter.

"The background of the photo also contains a few gems for super-fans. The scoreboard, which displays daily rankings of all Battle School recruits, looks to be broadcasting a battle between Rat Army and Asp Army, in what appears to be a spherical or circular Battle Room." The movie, also starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford as Ender Wiggin and Colonel Hyrum Graff, will be released November 1.

Books & Authors

Awards: Duff Cooper Prize; Bodley Medal

Sue Prideaux won the £5,000 (about US$7,700) Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize, given annually for a "work of history, biography, political science or (very occasionally) poetry, published in English or French."


Hilary Mantel added another prize to her collection with the announcement that she will receive the Bodley Medal, "which marks outstanding achievement in literature," at the Oxford Literary Festival next month, the Bookseller reported.

Book Review

Review: Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest

Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest by Susan Denning, Daniela Elza, Cody Walker, Bonnie Nash et al., editors (Ooligan Press, $18.95 paperback, 9781932010497, March 1, 2013)

Alive at the Center is the first book in the ambitious Pacific Poetry Project of Portland State University's graduate publishing program. It includes a wide variety of poets from three cities--Vancouver, Seattle and Portland--chosen by nine editors (three from each city), themselves poets. As John Sibley Williams, who got the project off the ground, describes the process, "rounding up poets is like rounding up cats." Nevertheless, they did their jobs well, celebrating the vibrant poetic communities of their cities. "We have poetry stuffed in our parkas and stashed under our boot-soles," says Cody Walker, introducing the "rough water town" of Seattle; Portland's Susan Denning, confides, "It's Oregon, go ahead--mention the rain and the Doug firs and the fish and the rivers that run through it all."

The anthology is evenly balanced among the three cities for a total of 136 poets. Most have one piece; a few have more. There are veteran poets here, like Heather McHugh, Floyd Skloot, Carlos Reyes, Paulann Petersen, Susan McCaslin and Evelyn Lau, side by side with rookies and other poets who may be relatively well known but are still at the early end of what might become long careers. And then there are the poems. So many good ones. Carl Adamshick's "Our Flag" ends in a flourish:

Let it be a reminder.
Let it be the aperture,
the net, the rope of dark stars.
Let it be mathematics.
Let it be the eloquence
of the process shining
on the page, a beacon
on the edge of a continent.
Let its warnings be dismissed.
Let it be insignificant
and let its insignificance shine.

While in Lucia Misch's "In Event of Moon Disaster," we read:

In event of moon disaster,
do not think that we have put men
in robot bodies without reason.

That perhaps the eleven layer A7L spacesuit
is padded casket comfortable

remember that those careful white costumes
are the smallest Eden   we have ever put an Adam inside of

Richard Kenney's contribution, simply titled "Poetry," sums up the spirit of Alive at the Center, and is worth quoting in full:

Nobody at any rate reads it much. Your
citizenry have other forms of fun.

Still, who would wish to live in a culture
of which future anthropologists would say:
Oddly, they had none?   --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: An abundant array of the Pacific Northwest's poetic pleasures populate this particularly potent panoply.

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