Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 17, 2013

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny


JEM Store: Kinokuniya Opens Fourth Location in Singapore

Kenny Chan in the JEM store last Friday, the day before the store's--and mall's--grand opening.

On Saturday, Books Kinokuniya opened its fourth store in Singapore, a 7,844-square-feet location in the new Jurong East Mall, or JEM, in the western part of the city-state.

The Kinokuniya store marks several firsts: it's the company's first new store in Singapore in 14 years, it's Kinokuniya's first Singapore store outside the city center, and it's the first major bookstore opening in Singapore after a series of high-profile closings in the past two years, including Borders, Page One and some Harris Bookstores. As Kenny Chan, director of Kinokuniya's main Singapore store and director, merchandising division, noted, "We're going against the bookselling grain: we're growing." He emphasized that Kinokuniya's growth is occurring "naturally and organically" both outside Japan, where Kinokuniya has 26 stores, and in Japan, where the company has 54 stores and is opening a store in Osaka.

A smaller version of the flagship Orchard Road store, the Kinokuniya at JEM aims to re-create the larger store's cosmopolitan and international in-store experience. It has a stone "path" through the store, has clear, pleasing sight lines and light-wood fixtures, and offers a wide range of titles, most of which are in English. There are 70,000 titles and 8,000 in Chinese and Japanese. (Popular sections at the main store are fiction and literature, business, children's and graphic novels, which includes anime, manga and what many here call "American comics," i.e., superhero titles.)

Sales over the weekend at the new JEM store exceeded Kinokuniya estimates by 30%, with all departments "doing well and the buys and inquiries at the same level of sophistication as the Orchard Road main store," Chan said. "It seems that we have brought in the book lovers, both new and regulars from our other stores." One regular customer of the Orchard Road store since its opening 14 years ago who lives near the new store told Chan that he loves the new store "but will go back to his first love"--the Orchard Road store.

The new Jurong East Mall is the third largest suburban shopping mall in Singapore, which boasts an unusual number of shopping malls for its population of a little more than five million. The mall has more than 800,000 square feet of retail space, and its 260 tenants include a Robinsons department store, Cathay Cineplexes, Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo, Crabtree & Evelyn and Swarovski.

More on Books Kinokuniya in the coming days. --John Mutter

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

RiverRun to Open Second Store, in Kittery, Maine

In September, RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., will open a small store in nearby Kittery, Maine, that will carry new and used books. Owner Tom Holbrook wrote in the store's e-mail: "It will be like RiverRun Portsmouth, except it will be about the size of your living room."

The Kittery location will be in the Foreside area "right across the street from AJ's. Our neighbors will include a coffee shop and a juice bar!"

Holbrook said Riverrun is opening the store "because we care about our Maine customers and don't want to lose them. We loooovvve Portsmouth, but we understand that between bridge repair, parking, and general hubub, it can be hard to shop here sometimes. As downtown Kittery grows and becomes and exciting place to visit, we are excited to be a part of that."

The news marks a nice turnaround for RiverRun, which just two years ago nearly closed because of high rent and long-term debt. The store moved early last year and is now owned by a group of 15 community members.

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

New Café Opens at breathe books

On Friday, breathe books, Baltimore, Md., opened its new café, offering gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and Ayurvedic options. Owner Susan Weis-Bohlen called the opening "truly an exciting day, but I have to be honest with you and say I have a twinge of sadness, too. I opened breathe books almost nine years ago. It was just an idea, conceived while standing in the now-closed Bodhi Tree Bookstore....

"Why the twinge of sadness, you may ask? The changes are so great, and I am so grateful, but at the same time I'm saying goodbye to my initial dream that I've been living for the past 11 years. I'm letting go of my little bookshop, with just one or two employees. I'm letting go of handling almost every aspect of that vision and now sharing it with others who have arrived and bring with them incredible talents, ideas, and plans. Maybe I'm just a bit nostalgic, and I know that the changes are all for the best--even better than best! The changes are exciting and even necessary to keep the vision going. So a few tears have been shed as I say goodbye to version one of breathe books, and I shed a few tears of happiness as I welcome another, breathe bookstore café."

Bookstore Sales Down 5.5% in April

April bookstore sales fell 5.5%, to $758 million, compared to April 2012, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have risen 0.5%, to $4.292 billion. This has proved an erratic year so far: sales improved in January and March over 2012, but were down in February and April.

Total retail sales in April rose 4.4%, to $414.7 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 3.4%, to $1,603 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."

Florida and Amazon Reach Tax Deal

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who rejected a sales tax deal with Amazon last month, reversed course and announced Thursday the online retailer has now pledged to provide the state with "thousands of jobs and more than $300 million spent on new warehouses between now and 2016," the Miami Herald reported.

Although the decision means that Amazon will be required to begin charging its Florida customers 6% percent sales tax, there "was no firm timeline on when that would be in Scott's announcement," though the governor's office said Amazon would begin collecting state sales taxes "at the time it is required under state law," the Herald wrote.


Image of the Day: Happy Punks

Jana Christy and John Seven, authors of A Rule Is to Break: A Child's Guide to Anarchy, read from their new book, Happy Punks 1 2 3 (Manic D Press) recently at indie bookstore Librairie Drawn & Quarterly in Montreal. It was a "Give Away Stuff for Free" event where people could bring a charitable canned food donation and receive a signed print or mini-comic from the authors.

California Bookstore Day: Looking for a Logo

The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, which has set next May 3 as the first California Bookstore Day, is holding a design competition for a logo and is offering a cash prize of $350. The organizers wrote: "We are looking for a logo with flexible design use. Ideally it will work both horizontally and vertically and look as good on a large banner as it does on a bookmark or T-shirt. The logo should capture the spirit of independent bookstores, and a love of books and real bookstores. It might also say something about California, about rare finds, rabid fans, writers, treasures--we leave that part up to you."

The deadline is July 9; for more information, go to Green Apple Books' website.

New England Mobile Book Fair: Computerizing and More

The Boston Globe outlined in depth the huge amount of effort that new owner Tom Lyons is putting into turning around New England Mobile Book Fair, Newton Highlands, Mass., an effort that includes computerizing and "bringing order to a million-plus books bewilderingly arranged by publisher or, in the case of remainders, seemingly by whim."

Lyons, who bought the store in late 2011, told the paper he is well on the way to achieving those goals. He's also halted a sales slide that started with the Great Recession, although the store will still be in red ink this year.

He's also reorganizing the layout of the store, holding regular events, sprucing up areas of the store and more.

"We're basically doing triple the work any small regular bookstore does because we have so many things going on," Lyons told the paper. "Once we have it done, it's going to be so much quicker and smoother." Lyons, who is 68 and whose two children are working at the store, added that he could have retired, "but I was so concerned that [the store] would go out of business that I grabbed it."

Capital Idea: 'Seven Best Indies in D.C.'

InTheCapital highlights the "seven best independent bookstores in Washington, D.C.," ranging from Politics and Prose ("a D.C. staple") and Kramerbooks & Afterwords ("open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday") to used bookstore Capitol Hill Books ("what I imagine heaven to look like") and Lantern (which "uses proceeds to provide scholarships for women to go to college").

From Treehouse to Dollhouse: 10 Unusual Libraries

Noting that she has been "very interested in the use of library space lately as well as the design of libraries be they traditional, mobile, pop-up or other types and in my research," Ellyssa Kroski shared 10 "truly unique and interesting libraries" she has discovered.

Columbia University Press Adds Two Clients

On January 1, Columbia University Press began distributing frontlist and backlist titles from Transcript in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Transcript, Bielefeld, Germany, is an academic publisher that publishes 250 books a year in German and 50 in English. The Columbia distribution deal is for English-language publications. Columbia titles and all those of its distribution clients can be ordered through Perseus Distribution.

Also this past January 1, Columbia University Press began distributing frontlist and backlist titles from Jagiellonian University Press, Krakow, Poland, in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Jagiellonian University Press publishes 200 books a year in Polish and 20 in English. The Columbia distribution deal is for English-language publications. Columbia titles and all those of its distribution clients can be ordered through Perseus Distribution.

Effective immediately, Columbia University Press is expanding distribution of Hong Kong University Press titles from North America to include the U.K., Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Sales for the territory are managed by the University Press Group (a sales consortium of the university presses of California, Columbia, Princeton and MIT). Order processing, shipping, customer service and credit control for the University Press Group are managed by John Wiley & Sons European Distribution Centre.

Media and Movies

Movies: Salinger Trailer

The Weinstein Company released the first trailer for Salinger, the documentary film directed by Shane Salerno "that Harvey Weinstein acquired after he and his team were the only film guys to see the film, the morning of the Academy Awards. That happened right after the PBS American Masters team were shown it and bought it for TV and Simon & Schuster editors saw it and bought a companion biography," reported. The movie will be released September 6.

Media Heat: Charles Glass on Fresh Air

This morning on CBS This Morning: Janet Evanovich, co-author of The Heist (Bantam, $28, 9780345543042).


This morning on Good Morning America: Les Gold, author of For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker (Portfolio, $25.95, 9781591846390).


This morning on America in the Morning with Jim Bohannon: Paul Samuel Dolman, author of Hitchhiking with Larry David: An Accidental Tourist's Summer of Self-Discovery in Martha's Vineyard (Gotham, $22.50, 9781592408269).


Today on CNN's Piers Morgan Live: Lauren Sandler, author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 9781451626957). She will also appear on Laura Ingraham.


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Charles Glass, author of The Deserters: A Hidden History of World War II (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594204289).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Judith Schwartz, author of Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth (Chelsea Green, $17.95, 9781603584326).


Today on the O'Reilly Factor: James O'Keefe, author of Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy (Threshold, $26, 9781476706177).


Today on the View: Amanda Knox, author of Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir (Harper, $28.99, 9780062217202).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Olympia Snowe, author of Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress (Weinstein, $26, 9781602862173).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Paul Offit, author of Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (Harper, $26.99, 9780062222961).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Joanne Chang, author of Flour, Too: Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets & Savories (Chronicle, $35, 9781452106144).


Tomorrow on the Mike Huckabee Show: James O'Keefe, author of Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy (Threshold, $26, 9781476706177).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, author of Global Crossings: Immigration, Civilization, and America (Independent Institute, $26.95, 9781598131338).


Tomorrow on CNN's Christiane Amanpour: Niall Ferguson, author of The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die (Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594205453). He will also appear on Fox Radio's Alan Colmes.


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Jim Gaffigan, author of Dad Is Fat (Crown Archetype, $25, 9780385349055).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (Nation, $29.99, 9781568586717).

Books & Authors

Awards: Walter Scott Prize; Amazon Breakthrough Novel

Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng has won the £25,000 (almost $40,000) Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction for his second novel, The Garden of Evening Mists, the BBC reported.

Eng also won the Man Asian Booker Prize for The Garden of Evening Mists, which was published here last September by Weinstein Books. He is the first overseas writer to win the Scott Prize, which was opened last year to authors from the Commonwealth.

The judges wrote in part, "Set in the jungle-clad highlands of Malaya, this year's winner leads us into the troubled aftermath of World War Two… It is pungent and atmospheric; a rich, enigmatic, layered novel in which landscapes part and merge, and part again."


Rysa Walker was named the grand prize winner of this year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for her YA book Timebound. Walker will receive a $50,000 advance and publishing contract with Amazon Publishing.

Book Review

Review: Lillian & Dash

Lillian and Dash by Sam Toperoff (Other Press, $15.95 paperback, 9781590515686, July 16, 2013)

Sam Toperoff (Jimmy Dean Prepares; Queen of Desire) brings Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett back to life in Lillian & Dash. Much has been written about these two writers, playwrights, political activists, drunks and lovers, but nothing better than this novel. Toperoff does not pretend to be an earwitness to every private conversation, bit of pillow talk or fight; instead, he weaves a great story out of the public evidence that swirled around both parties.

They met in 1930, when Lilly was 24 and Dash 36, at a party given by Darryl F. Zanuck at Hollywood's Brown Derby. They were both married, but went to his place that night and were together, more or less, until Dash's death in 1961. "Lillian believed him to be the most beautiful man she had ever seen," Toperoff writes. "Hammett could not get over her sexual force and presence." They both had other affairs but always got back together again. Their attraction could not be denied for long.

Dash had been a Pinkerton man for several years, until the company's union-busting activities turned him off. He was not formally educated, having left school at 13, but he had a canny knack for reproducing the seamy side of life and seeing through hypocrisy. His first novel, Red Harvest, is a classic treatment of corruption and violence in America, and was followed by even better-known works like The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man--both the basis for classic Hollywood pictures. Lillian took on controversial themes as a playwright--a teacher accused of a lesbian attachment in The Children's Hour, anti-fascism in Watch on the Rhine and the family dispute of The Little Foxes--and made a success of them. She also wrote memoirs and screenplays, making her living with her pen all of her life. (Dash was not as successful over the years; booze often got in the way.)

They were both political activists on the left; Lillian testified before the HUAC, where she famously said, "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." Dash was imprisoned for five months for "advocating the overthrow of the United States government."

Toperoff has interwoven the lives of these two larger-than-life people and brought us an understanding of their wit, humor, intelligence, talent and care for each other. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A novel that closely follows the lives of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett during their 30 years together.

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