Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 28, 2006


Scholastic Press: Beastly Beauty by Jennifer Donnelly

St. Martin's Essentials: Build Like a Woman: The Blueprint for Creating a Business and Life You Love by Kathleen Griffith

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

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

News

Notes: Borders in Queens; Books for Baghdad

A day after the New York Post reported that Borders has agreed to open its first store in Brooklyn, we're reminded that the company will also open its first store in the neighboring borough of Queens in the near future. Yesterday ground was broken for the lifestyle retail center the Shops at Atlas Park, which will include a Borders, the Times Ledger reported.

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University of Rochester students have joined Books for Baghdad, an effort to send textbooks to the University of Baghdad that was begun in 2004 by Safaa Al-Hamdani, a biology professor at Jacksonville State University, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. The first effort resulted in shipments a year ago of 11,000 textbooks and $5,000 worth of supplies to the University of Baghdad's library.

A small but growing group of colleges and universities are participating. Textbooks most sought after cover math, science, technology and medicine, subjects that often are taught in English in the Middle East.


University of California Press: May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It by Alex Edmans


How Opal Got Wild, Got Caught, Got Canned

[Thanks to Nicki Leone of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance for the headline. We were tempted to use our photographic memory to "recall" the phrase she used in an item about the subject, but for some reason, we decided not to.]

Yesterday Little, Brown said in a statement that it and Kaavya Viswanathan are withdrawing all copies of her novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life, from the market, the New York Times reported. According to Nielsen Bookscan, the book has sold nearly 10,000 copies, a statistic that comes via the Wall Street Journal. Little, Brown had announced a 100,000-copy first printing; some 55,000 copies had been shipped to stores.

"Little, Brown today sent a notice to retail and wholesale accounts asking them to stop selling copies of the book and to return unsold inventory to the publisher for full credit," Michael Pietsch, senior v-p and publisher of Little, Brown, wrote.

The publisher intends, it said, to published a revised version of the book.

Soon after that announcement, Crown said it was "pleased that this matter has been resolved in an appropriate and timely fashion" and cited copied author Megan McCafferty for "her grace under pressure throughout this ordeal."

McCafferty also issued a statement, through Crown, in which she said she is "not seeking restitution in any form. The past few weeks have been very difficult, and I am most grateful to my readers for offering continual support, and for reminding me what Jessica Darling [her protagonist] means to both them and to me. In my career, I am, first and foremost, a writer. So I look forward to getting back to work and moving on, and hope Ms. Viswanathan can too."


GLOW: becker&mayer! kids: The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate by Alliah L. Agostini and Taffy Elrod, illus. by Sawyer Cloud


Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Sound of Mousic

This morning the Early Show samples Paula H. Deen, author of The Lady & Sons Just Desserts: More Than 120 Sweet Temptations From Savannah's Favorite Restaurant (S&S, $24, 0743290208).

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This morning the Today Show lifts the curtain on Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, who will promote their children's book featuring a troupe of mice, The Great American Mousical (Julie Andrews Collection/HarperCollins Children's, $15.99, 0060579188).

Also on Today: Connie Schultz, author of Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths (Random House, $22.95, 140006497X).

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Today the View talks "kids and nutrition" with 50 Cent and Jorge Cruise, the fitness guru whose most recent book is The 3-Hour Diet: How Low-Carb Diets Make You Fat and Timing Makes You Thin (Collins, $24.95, 0060792299).

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Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Linda Diebel, author of Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa (Carroll & Graf, $25.95, 078671753X), about the Mexican human rights lawyer who was murdered--and the government coverup of her murder.

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Tonight on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Joe Klein, author of Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid (Doubleday, $23.95, 0385510276).


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


Deeper Understanding

Making Information Pay: The Long Tail, in Short

Reaching increasingly small and fragmented markets in the Internet age and taking full advantage of midlist and backlist were the focuses of the third annual Making Information Pay seminar held yesterday morning in New York City. Sponsored by the Book Industry Study Group and moderated by Ted Hill, president of THA Consulting, the group offered perspective and many case histories about the opportunities that technological advances offer the book business. As Hill said, "Our industry is entering a new phase in which publishers need increasingly to devote resources beyond the bestsellers. We will grow by finding large numbers of small opportunities."

Providing context for the wider discussion, Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine whose The Long Tail will be wagging from Hyperion this July 11, discussed his Long Tail theory, whose thesis is that "technology is turning mass markets into millions of niches." The Long Tail theory is based in part on the "powerlaw" of markets, which is a bit like the 80/20 rule, but perhaps even more pronounced: 5%-10% of products account for a huge amount of sales and the rest of the products offered--the long tail--have relatively small sales. In the past in the book business, because even the largest superstores could carry "only" 100,000 titles, much of the long tail was in effect cut off artificially. But as in so many industries, the Internet has changed the shape of the tail as applied to books. Now Amazon.com offers several million titles and places like Abebooks.com offer 80 million. The tail is no longer constrained by technology or the supply chain. The question for the book industry that he hoped to answer was, he said, "Does more choice mean more demand?"

For comparison, Anderson used the music world, where online music has been available for almost 10 years. He sung a cheerful song. While Wal-Mart stocks about 4,500 CDs, online there are maybe two million tracks available. Although sales of CDs have dropped precipitously, legally downloaded music is making up for much of the loss--and the amount of illegally downloaded music likely continues to be huge. "Anyone who looks at the numbers sees that more music is being consumed and made than ever before," Anderson said. "It's a complete renaissance for music makers and music lovers, but not for the labels. That's a very promising sign: more choice is spurring more demand. The question is how to monetize it."

And in movies, Netflix subscribers watch twice as many movies as before simply because of the "incredible variety of choice": 60,000 DVDs compared to Blockbuster's 3,000. Some 95% of Netflix's titles are rented at least once every three months.

Although Barry Schwartz has argued in his book Paradox of Choice that more choice is not a good thing and that an overabundance of choice inhibits consumers, Anderson disagreed, saying that most tests of this theory were too limited because they presuppose a kind of chaos of choices. Online there is a lot of help for making choices, he countered: brands, information, "what I call filters. It's not disordered choice but incredibly well ordered." In the case of books, for example, one can sort selections by subject, price, alphabet, reviews, newest, oldest, etc. "Smartly ordered choice organized around your interests is not oppressive," he added. "It can lead to more sales."

In books as in most markets, as one goes down the tail, there is an increasing "dynamic range" of quality, he said. One finds the best and worst in categories, and the filter--or information--becomes ever more important. Luckily for readers and the industry, "we're now seeing abundant information about the products, which are tipping us into the growth of sales down the tail. The Net is full of crap; Google is brilliant for making the chaotic market into an ordered one." In the book world, one can "assume that more choice and better filters equals better satisfaction, and we can probably assume that it leads to more sales," Anderson said.

For the book industry in general, he continued, "the pointers are in the right direction. Mainstream book sales are strong, and niche sales are growing. The online component is growing fast." About 20% of online sales are of titles not available in traditional stores; and that may soon reach a third. In addition, used books are showing double-digit growth, and print on demand sales are up. Moreover, traditional bookstores are "more than keeping up with Gross Domestic Product."

In the book world, he estimated that bricks-and-mortar stores, with an emphasis on new and bestselling titles, would account for about half of the market, and online stores would account for the other half, taking advantage of the Long Tail. They may sell a huge numbers of titles, but not as many copies of a specific title as bricks-and-mortar stores.

Anderson's conclusion was along the lines of the best is yet to come. "The hyperabundance of variety and the richness of all these niches should inspire more sales," he said.

[See next week's issues for more from this seminar, including case studies of POD and ultra short-run digital printing; how a distributor goes after a range of markets and publishes cautiously but aggressively in ways that avoid heavy returns; advice on book marketing on the Web; and selling cost effectively to "micro-markets."]


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



The Bestsellers

The Book Sense/NEBA List

The following were the bestselling titles at New England Booksellers Association stores during the week ended Sunday, April 23, as reported to Book Sense:

Hardcover Fiction

1. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $21.95, 0375422722)
2. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (Knopf, $25, 1400044731)
3. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (Atria, $26, 0743496701)
4. My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 0618644652)
5. Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein (Knopf, $23.95, 1400042313)
6. Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark (S&S, $25.95, 0743264908)
7. Everyman by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 061873516X)
8. Mother by Maya Angelou (Random House, $9.95, 1400066018)
9. Intuition by Allegra Goodman (Dial, $25, 0385336128)
10. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (Putnam, $25.95, 0399153446)
11. Gone by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $26.95, 0345452615)
12. Saving the World by Julia Alvarez (Algonquin, $24.95, 156512510X)
13. Cell by Stephen King (Scribner, $26.95, 0743292332)
14. The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury (Dutton, $24.95, 0525949410)
15. Through a Glass, Darkly by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly, $23, 0871139375)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger (Norton, $23.95, 0393059804)
2. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Morrow, $21.95, 0060817089)
3. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (Penguin Press, $26.95, 1594200823)
4. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme (Knopf, $25.95, 1400043468)
5. Manhunt by James L. Swanson (Morrow, $26.95, 0060518499)
6. American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips (Viking, $26.95, 067003486X)
7. The Gospel of Judas edited by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer and Gregor Wurst (National Geographic, $22, 1426200420)
8. The World Is Flat (updated and expanded edition) by Thomas L. Friedman (FSG, $30, 0374292795)
9. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95, 006073132X)
10. The Brothers Bulger by Howie Carr (Warner, $25.95, 0446576514)
11. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (S&S, $35, 0684824906)
12. Cobra II by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor (Pantheon, $27.95, 0375422625)
13. The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong (Knopf, $30, 0375413170)
14. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Knopf, $23.95, 140004314X)
15. Teacher Man by Frank McCourt (Scribner, $26, 0743243773)

Trade Paperback Fiction

1. Saturday by Ian McEwan (Anchor, $14.95, 1400076196)
2. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0143036696)
3. March by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, $14, 0143036661)
4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage, $14, 1400078776)
5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $14.95, 0307277674)
6. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House, $13.95, 0812968069)
7. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14, 031242440X)
8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Penguin, $15, 0143034901)
9. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House, $13.95, 081297235X)
10. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Washington Square, $14, 0743454537)
11. The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg (Ballantine, $13.95, 0812970993)
12. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Mariner, $13.95, 0618711651)
13. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
14. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (Back Bay, $13.95, 0316010707)
15. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $12.95, 140007570X)

Trade Paperback Nonfiction

1. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (Penguin, $15, 0143036610)
2. Plan B by Anne Lamott (Riverhead, $14, 1594481571)
3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Scribner, $14, 074324754X)
4. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Vintage, $14, 0679745580)
5. Night by Elie Weisel (FSG, $9, 0374500010)
6. Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson (Harvest, $15, 0156031442)
7. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (Vintage, $14.95, 0375725601)
8. My Life So Far by Jane Fonda (Random House, $16.95, 0812975766)
9. Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals by Rachael Ray (Clarkson Potter, $18.95, 1400082552)
10. Collapse by Jared Diamond (Penguin, $17, 0143036556)
11. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (Random House, $14.95, 0812973011)
12. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (Plume, $15, 0452287081)
13. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (Gotham, $11, 1592402038)
14. Bad Cat by Jim Edgar (Workman, $9.95, 0761136193)
15. Smashed by Koren Zailckas (Penguin, $14, 0143036475)

Mass Market

1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Anchor, $7.99, 1400079179)
2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (Pocket, $9.99, 1416524797)
3. With No One as Witness by Elizabeth A. George (HarperTorch, $7.99, 0060545615)
4. One Shot by Lee Child (Dell, $7.99, 0440241022)
5. Deception Point by Dan Brown (Pocket, $9.99, 1416524800)
6. The Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver (Pocket, $9.99, 0743491564)
7. Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman (HarperTorch, $7.99, 006056346X)
8. Long Spoon Lane by Anne Perry (Ballantine, $7.50, 0345469283)
9. The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston, M.D. (St. Martin's, $7.99, 0312991193)
10. Cold Service by Robert B. Parker (Berkley, $7.99, 0425204286)

Children's (Fiction and Illustrated)

1. Heat by Mike Lupica (Philomel, $16.99, 0399243011)
2. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, $7.99, 0763625299)
3. Night of the New Magicians (Magic Tree House #35) by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca (Random House, $11.95, 0375830359)
4. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, $18.99, 0763625892)
5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0694003611)
6. Lilly's Big Day by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, $16.99, 0060742364)
7. Only in Your Dreams (Gossip Girl #9) by Cecily Von Ziegesar (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316011827)
8. A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy, illustrated by Jon J. Muth (Hyperion, $19.95, 0786851112)
9. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Viking, $17.99, 0670061050)
10. The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett, illustrated by Brett Helquist (Scholastic, $16.99, 0439693675)
11. The Pretty Committee Strikes Back by Lisi Harrison (Little, Brown, $9.99, 0316115002)
12. Ark Angel: An Alex Rider Adventure by Anthony Horowitz (Philomel Books, $17.99, 0399241523)
13. Flyte (Septimus Heap, Book Two) by Angie Sage (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 0060577347)
14. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Yearling, $6.50, 0440421705)
15. Small Steps by Louis Sachar (Delacorte, $16.95, 0385733143)

[Many thanks to NEBA and Book Sense!]


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