Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Simon & Schuster: Register for Fall Preview!

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao


Notes: Amazon Sales Up, Income Down; Orange Shortlist

Sales at in the first quarter ended March 31 rose 20% to $2.28 billion, slightly ahead of expectations, and net income dropped 35% to $51 million, the company announced yesterday.

Wall Street analysts expressed concerns that, as the Wall Street Journal put it, "Amazon is losing market share amid increased online competition" and that its marketing and other costs, including promotions like Amazon Prime, which gives customers unlimited shipping for $79 a year, continue to hurt margins.

Steve Weinstein, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, told the New York Times: "The cost of feeding the growth engine here is too high to be sustained."

International sales were strong, rising 18% to $1.03 billion. If the unfavorable effect of currency exchange rates were excluded, international sales would have risen 29%. North America sales rose 21% to $1.25 billion. The company noted, too, that merchants and individuals who sell on Amazon accounted for 29% of unit sales, up from 27% in the same period a year ago.


Kaavya Viswanathan's apology for unintentionally borrowing parts of Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty in her How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life has been rejected by McCafferty's publisher, according to the New York Times. Steve Ross, senior v-p and publisher of the Crown Publishing Group, told the AP: "We think there are simply too many instances of 'borrowing' for this to have been unintentional." In a statement, the company said, "This extensive taking from Ms. McCafferty's books is nothing less than an act of literary identity theft."

Reportedly Random House and Little, Brown lawyers have been talking. McCafferty's publisher would like the book to be pulled now; Little, Brown has said it would stop printing the current edition of the book but will keep selling it and issue a revised version in the future.


Jane Jacobs, the urban thinker and activist whose work had a major influence on city planning and design, died yesterday in Toronto. She was 89.

Her seminal work is The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Vintage, $15.95, 067974195X), published in 1961. As the New York Times wrote, Jacobs's "enormous achievement was to transcend her own withering critique of 20th-century urban planning and propose radically new principles for rebuilding cities. At a time when both common and inspired wisdom called for bulldozing slums and opening up city space, Ms. Jacobs's prescription was ever more diversity, density and dynamism---in effect, to crowd people and activities together in a jumping, joyous urban jumble."


The six finalists for this year's Orange Prize for Fiction, which honors work in English by women, have been named:

  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  • The Accidental by Ali Smith
  • Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living by Carrie Tiffany

Krauss is American, Tiffany is Australian and the others are British. The winner of the $55,000 prize will be announced June 6.


The Iron Rose bookstore opens in Danville, Pa., next Monday, the first book retailer in town since That Bookstore closed several months ago, according to the Sunbury Daily Item. The store is owned by Bob and Kathy McWilliams of McWilliams' Pharmacy.

Karen Hoyes, recording secretary of the Danville Business Alliance, welcomed the store, telling the paper, "We've had a lot of people stop in and ask where a bookstore is. You can't even send them to any place in the area. The bookstore in the mall is even closed. This will fill that void in Danville."

The Iron Rose is located at 306 Mill St., Danville, Pa. 17821.


Dan Sheehan has been named v-p of national accounts for Ingram Publisher Services, the Ingram Book Group distribution company that now has 23 client publishers. Sheehan was formerly director of national accounts for Ingram Book Co. Sheehan will lead the company's sales effort to, among others, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor and Borders Group as well as "continue to manage Ingram's relationships with college bookstore chains."

Before joining Ingram in 2003, Sheehan worked as national accounts manager for a children's book publisher. At Ingram, he has worked with national accounts in the trade, Christian, warehouse club, Internet and higher education channels.


From McGraw-Hill's first quarter report, quoting Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and CEO: "In the U.S. college and university market, we saw more students purchasing our texts through online vendors while sales through the still dominant traditional bookstore outlets were virtually flat in a seasonally modest quarter."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Happy 51st to Kepler's!

For a time, it looked as though Kepler's would never mark the occasion, but in May the Menlo Park, Calif., store that closed last summer and reopened after the community rallied around it, is celebrating its 51st anniversary.

The events, which begin April 29, include:

  • An "Uncover the Codes at Kepler's" contest, in anticipation of the debut of The Da Vinci Code movie, which will involve weekly history trivia questions, literature quizzes and brain teasers for children. In addition to weekly prizes and a dinner for two, the grand prize will be the chance of winning a trip to Paris in a Fodor's contest running at bookstores across the country.
  • A free ticket to the local Da Vinci Code premier for each ticket bought by members of Kepler's Literary Circle.
  • A timeline of Kepler's history with photos and articles. Trivia contests based on the information will have weekly prizes.
  • The 12th annual "It's for Kids Program," done with the Menlo Park Library, that includes readings, music and activities, held all day Saturday, May 6. (Children's authors Eoin Colfer and Charlie Higson appear in May, too.)
  • An expanded author appearance program that will feature, among others, Thomas Friedman whose bestseller The World Is Flat has just been revised and updated; Simon Schama, the Columbia University historian whose new book is In Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution; Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Absurdistan; and Geoffrey Moore, the Silicon Valley marketing guru whose new book is Dealing with Darwin, which offers a new theory of the evolution of markets and a management case study of Cisco Systems.

The store continues its full schedule of book clubs, storytimes and the Kepler's travel series, the last of which will feature during May Tony Cohan, author of Mexican Days, and Maxine Schur, two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Award for excellence in travel writing.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

Sales Rep Carl Schmidt Dies at 56

Carl Schmidt, most recently a sales rep with Collins/Terry Associates, died April 16 of a heart attack while on vacation in St. Lucia with his wife, Sarah. He was 56.

Schmidt lived in Louisville, Colo., and called on bookstores in the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association region and in Idaho, Montana and Washington. Before joining Collins/Terry in 2004, he worked for years as a rep for Cambridge University Press. He had served on the board of directors of the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association.

Schmidt earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science from the University of California, Riverside, and began working in the book industry in 1970. An avid golfer, he enjoyed reading, history, old films, spending time with friends and family and being a grandfather.

Letters of condolence may be sent to Schmidt's wife at:

Sarah Schmidt
131 West Elm St.
Louisville, CO  80027

[Thanks to the Daily Camera and Thom Chambliss of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association for information.]

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Up to Bat, David Maraniss

This morning the Early Show hooks up with Kathy Freston, author of The One: Finding Soul Mate Love and Making It Last (Miramax, $23.95, 140135243X).


This morning the Today Show leads off with David Maraniss, author of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero (S&S, $26, 0743217810).


This morning on Good Morning America, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka politely discusses her new book, Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0060736011).


Today World Talk Radio's Antoinette Kuritz talks with Catherine Ryan Hyde, whose latest book is Becoming Chloe (Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.95, 0375832580), and Dana Reinhardt, author of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life (Wendy Lamb Books, $15.95, 0385746989), about writing for the YA market and what makes a YA novel work. She also talks with Lisa Jackson, author of romantic suspense, historicals and more.


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Joe Klein whose new book is Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid (Doubleday, $23.95, 0385510276).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times columnist and author of the updated and revised The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (FSG, $30, 0374292795).


In a repeat of the April 10 show, the Late Show with David Letterman talks with Billy Crystal, author of Grandpa's Little One (HarperCollins, $16.99, 0060781734), a children's book and CD-ROM with Crystal reading the book.

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 3

Appearing in paperback next Tuesday, May 2:

Broken Prey by John Sandford (Berkley, $9.99, 0425204308). The latest Prey thriller starring Lucas Davenport.


Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner (Washington Square Press, $15, 0743470125). The chick lit author tries a mystery.


A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve (Back Bay Books, $14.95, 0316154512). A group of seven former classmates who haven't been together for years meet up for a wedding several months after September 11.

Deeper Understanding

Deb Hunter's Mini-Empire, Part Two

[Editors' Note: The first part of this story about Deb Hunter, who owns two bookstores, a gift shop and two wholesalers, ran in yesterday's Shelf Awareness.]

"Business, overall, has been quite good," said Top Banana Hunter. "The store in Princeton is definitely holding its own. Chicklet has a lot of repeat customers. The Kentucky warehouse is out of this world. The New Jersey warehouse is behind in its numbers, but that may be because I've been concentrating on Kentucky."

As to competition, Hunter said, "There is none. In Princeton, there are other bookstores, but we're a good fit. At Chicklet Books, people come to us before going out on the highway. We offer a different shopping atmosphere. At Borders or Barnes & Noble, you park in a big lot, haul the kids in and stay for an hour. Here we get people who are in and out. We also offer much more customer service and friendliness. It's like comparing apples and oranges."

On the warehouse business: "I'm just a little guy," said Hunter. (Or more to the point, perhaps, a little gal.) But she appears to have found a niche nonetheless.

At the bookstores, all New York Times bestsellers are 20% off, magazines are discounted 10%, special orders are 10% off and remainders are discounted 50%. Hunter noted that she is just starting a buy-back program in both stores and "a kind of a book rental" program geared to assisted-living places. "They want hardcover books but don't want to pay full price for them," she explained. "We sell them previously read books at 50% off. If they return the books in two weeks, they get $7.50 store credit, or in three weeks, a $5 store credit."

Hunter described the stores as "very community-oriented." Last summer, when books were stolen from a Princeton elementary school library, Hunter arranged for the school to have a $1,500 store credit. She also sponsors a "Get Caught Reading" program at a Hillsborough elementary school, which recently resulted in 23 winners receiving $10 gift certificates.

In general, Hunter has found that author and poetry readings have not been well-attended so she is striving to include more "author-less" events, trying to get people to just come in and have some fun. One example that has been successful at Chicklet Books is a "Moms and Me" class, where participants read a book and do a project.

No empire would be complete without the provision for heirs, of course. "My son works in the New Jersey warehouse. One daughter runs the Purple Door, and the other daughter does our graphic work." Long live the Top Banana.--Maria Heidkamp

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center
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