Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 10, 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


Cody's Flagship Store in Berkeley to Close

Very sad news: Andy Ross, owner and president of Cody's Books, is closing Cody's flagship store on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, Calif., on July 10. The store is doing only one-third the business it did in 1990, and "the company's attempt to keep this store open has caused a loss of over $1 million," he said in a statement. "As a family business, we cannot continue to afford these ruinous losses."

Cody's other Berkeley store, on Fourth Street; its striking new store on Stockton Street in San Francisco, which opened last fall; and its school and book fair division are healthy and staying open, and Cody's is "intent upon continuing to provide the best of independent bookselling."

Ross said that in the past 15 years the book business has changed on Telegraph Avenue. "Many of our customers have found other sources for their books," he indicated. "In particular, the Internet has taken quite a bite out of sales, particularly the scholarly and academic titles that have always been our specialty."

Founded by Pat and Fred Cody in 1956, Cody's has been in the Telegraph Avenue location for 43 years. (Ross bought the store from the Codys in 1977.) Pat Cody, who is 83, visits the Telegraph Avenue store weekly and stays in touch with Ross, told the Contra Costa Times, "I feel very sad, but I can understand. It's a lifelong struggle to keep an independent bookstore going. You never go in expecting to make money." She added that Ross "deserves a great deal of praise for hanging on as long as he did. Keeping it going with the onslaught of Amazon and chains. It's almost like putting a finger in the dike.

The Telegraph Avenue store was part of and witnessed some key moments of modern American history. Telegraph Avenue was the center of many demonstrations during the Free Speech Movement in the early 1960s, which grew into the antiwar movement. In 1989, a pipe bomb was found in the store during the contretemps about The Satanic Verses. (Despite the attempted bombing, staff voted unanimously to continue selling Salman Rushdie's book.) And Ross and the store have been vocal promoters of independent, local bookstores--protesting against "huge mass merchants and disembodied Internet retailers."

The announcement of the closing highlights major changes in Bay Area bookselling: only last week, it became public knowledge that the last A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, in San Francisco, is for sale, and less than a year ago, Kepler's Books & Magazines in Menlo Park closed for several months because of financial problems. With the opening of its 20,000-sq.-ft., $3.5 million Stockton Street and the closing of the flagship Berkeley store, in effect Cody's has responded to the changes in bookselling dynamics by betting on a move west to a more upscale area that attracts tourists, serious shoppers, commuters as well as local residents.

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

Notes: VQR Wins Two; Author Left Behind

Congratulations: Nominated for an impressive six National Magazine Awards (Shelf Awareness, March 22), the Virginia Quarterly Review won two: one for general excellence in its class (circulation under 100,000) and the other for fiction, for stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Isabelle Allende, R.T. Smith and Alan Heathcock.


Stephen King's next benefit for performing artists who have suffered major illnesses or accidents (now formalized as the Haven Foundation) and for Doctors Without Borders, will include an appearance by J.K. Rowling, marking her first visit to the U.S. in six years, today's New York Times reported. The August reading at Radio City Music Hall in New York City will also feature John Irving as well as King himself. S&S and Scholastic are sponsoring the event.


On her Web site, children's author Patricia Polacco has an eyebrow-raising account of why she did not appear as originally scheduled for several events May 2 and 3 during the International Reading Association's conference in Chicago. Contrary to the impression that might have been left to many, she did not cancel, she said. Instead, she was cancelled--by SRA/McGraw-Hill, which had originally scheduled her to appear but required her to say nothing negative about the No Child Left Behind Act.

Apparently, she wrote, the company "wanted to make sure that I would not discuss my deep concern about No Child Left Behind Mandate . . . as well as my concern that there is a link between this mandate and the SRA/McGraw Hill Company who manufactures, prints, and profits from the sale of these tests to school systems all over our country."

Polacco emphasized that IRA had nothing to do with the cancellation and urges the many upset booksellers to "contact your Congressmen, State Representatives, and your Senators to lodge your complaint against the tyranny of the No Child Left Behind mandate. My issue is and always has been with the No Child Left Behind mandate and its destructive force in American schools."


Today's New York Times has a long feature in the Dining Out section that digests that wonderful tale of Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, which has sold more than 1.4 million copies. His new book is Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food (Houghton Mifflin, $16, 0618710310), written with Charles Wilson, a book that "repackages Mr. Schlosser's investigative work for Fast Food Nation into a message aimed at adolescents."

Schlosser's life is moving very fast, the paper noted. Later this month, the movie Fast Food Nation, directed by Richard Linklater with a script by Schlosser, will make its debut at the Cannes Film Festival. But he's likely taking it all in stride. Schlosser, the Times explained, "isn't new to the world of drama and narrative. He's a playwright, and his father-in-law is Robert Redford."


Sad end of an era: After no one could be found to become president of the Southern California Children's Booksellers Association when Jody Fickes Shapiro sold her store, Adventures for Kids, the dozen or so members of the association have voted to disband, Bridget Kinsella reported in PW Daily.


Books-A-Million is opening a 16,642-sq.-ft. store in Muncie, Ind., in the Muncie Mall on McGalliard Road and Granville Avenue. The store replaces the smaller Bookland branch in the same mall. This is BAM's first store in Muncie and fourth in Indiana.

The store will stock more than 85,000 titles, 2,000 magazines and newspapers and offer a Joe Muggs Café.

The grand opening celebration, which includes local author signings, food samplings, costumed character appearances and more, will take place from Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21.


Liza Algar is joining Chronicle Books as director of marketing for the adult trade and gift divisions. Most recently she was marketing director for Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group in Canada and has 15 years of experience in book marketing, publicity and brand building at Osborne McGraw-Hill, IDG Books Worldwide, Macmillan Canada and Bantam Doubleday Dell.

In addition, Chris Boral has been promoted to marketing director of Chronicle's children's book division. She joined the company in 1991 in customer service and special sales; two years later she moved into children's marketing. In her new position, she will focus on expanding children's sales into new markets as well as continue to maintain strong relationships in the trade, library and education markets.

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

Equity Firm Takes Alibris by the 'Long Tail'

Alibris, the online marketplace for used, hard-to-find and specialty books, music and movies, has been acquired by Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity fund led by Robert M. Bass. Martin Manley will continue to serve as Alibris CEO and become chairman; Brian Elliott will continue as COO and become president.

In a statement, Bill Pade, an Oak Hill partner, said that the company had "conducted extensive research on the used/hard to find/rare book market and related 'long tail' businesses. We are impressed with the position that Alibris has built in this market and with the quality of its management, technology, and business partnerships. We are excited about helping this company grow and prosper."

For his part, Manley said that Oak Hill "has built an unusually deep knowledge of secondary book markets, e-commerce, and the challenges of global distribution. They know this market and are committed to helping us grow internationally, strengthen our movie and music business, and increase consumer awareness of our Web site."

Founded in 1998 and with headquarters in Emeryville, Calif., Alibris offers more than 60 million books.

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

BEA on the Horizon: Fodor's Code Clue

Leading up to the opening of BEA next week, Fodor's is presenting tips exclusively on Shelf Awareness for show attendees. There's even more information on a Web site for show goers the publisher has put together. The first installment:

If you are one of the millions of fans anticipating the movie release, you can watch Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou bring The Da Vinci Code to life on opening weekend at Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14 in Chinatown or Lowes Georgetown 14. Both cinemas have 10:45 p.m. screenings so that your obsession with the code doesn't force you to pass on any essential book parties and dinners. For details and more exclusive BEA coverage of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in Washington, D.C., visit

[Many thanks to Fodor's!]

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Crab Cakes and Pilgrims

This morning Imus in the Morning sets sail with Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War (Viking, $29.95, 0670037605).


This morning on the Today Show: Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Morrow, $29.95, 0061124230).


This morning the Early Show serves up chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas, author of I Love Crab Cakes!: 50 Recipes for an American Classic (Morrow, $19.95, 0060881968).

Also on the Early Show: Marlo Thomas, editor of The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2, Your Turn! (Atria, $25, 0743497430).


The morning on Good Morning America: Mark Fuhrman, author of A Simple Act of Murder: November 22, 1963 (Morrow, $25.95, 0060721545).

Also on GMA: Jane Buckingham, author of The Modern Girl's Guide to Motherhood (Regan Books, $25.95, 0060885343).

Also also on GMA: former plus-size model and New York Post columnist Danica Lo, whose new book is How Not to Look Fat (Collins, $14.95, 0060891785).


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Charles Curran, author of Loyal Dissent: Memoir of a Catholic Theologian (Georgetown University Press, $26.95, 1589010876).


Today on the View: Giada De Laurentiis, author of Giada's Family Dinners: Family Dinners (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 030723827X).

Deeper Understanding

Show and Tell: New BEA Head Lance Fensterman

"So far, so good," Lance Fensterman, who has been the event director of BookExpo America for a month, told Shelf Awareness earlier this week. "I haven't been caught completely offguard by anything, but I am amazed at the sheer number of details that go into assembling this show. As an attendee, I would walk into Javits or McCormick Place and think the banners came with the building."

A former bookseller at Elm Street Books, New Canaan, Conn., and Bound to Be Read Bookstore, St. Paul, Minn., Fensterman said that "it's enjoyable to interact with some of the same people I used to interact with from a different perspective. Before I used to be their customer; now they're my customer."

He also said that in contrast to his last job, where he was the only fulltime person and "I did it all," BEA has many "really capable people and professionals. It's so nice to have people to help."

Despite the immediate need to make sure next week's show goes on, Fensterman already is working on "rethinking BEA and how it interacts with attendees, exhibitors and visitors while continuing to be the mirror and harbinger of the industry."

Toward that end, he's relying in part on his own entrepreneurial experience, particularly when he and a partner launched a dot com company focused on design and marketing that was "basically an alternative newspaper for a medium-sized community" in Ohio. At the same time, he opened several restaurant/coffee shops. Between that and running several independent bookstores, he said, "I better be prepared to free wheel a bit."

Concerning BEA, "everything's on the table," he continued. "I want to keep the energy high but introduce some new ideas and maybe speak to a little bit larger audience in the book and publishing world. We're never going to stray from the core of booksellers and publishers, but I think we are missing some people. We can do a better job of going out and getting people to the show."

One early change is the addition of the BEA Podcast (Shelf Awareness, May 1), which Fensterman called "a step in the right direction." The Podcasts, which feature some 20 events, are both for people who can't come to the show or can't make every event (which is just about everyone!).

Fensterman is not contemplating changes specifically based on his bookseller's background. Rather, he said, "I hope that I bring an understanding of the bookseller's viewpoint to the position. I bring a unique perspective of what the show brings to an attendee, particularly what they get out of it and frankly what's frustrating about it sometimes."

In general, Fensterman would like to take an approach to the show similar to "what the ABA is doing with emerging leaders. We want to make it professionally relevant and enticing and sustainable."

As for the sometimes contentious issue of location, BEA next year will be in New York and in 2008 will go to Los Angeles. After that the show will be in New York every second or third year with breaks elsewhere in the country, possibly in a city or cities other than Los Angeles in the West. "We're making New York our most consistent base of operations," Fensterman said. "Based on feedback and pure participation, New York is popular." The main challenge in the Big Apple is the cost of hotels, "but we're working on some things that could help."

The return of the show next week to Washington for the first time in 17 years is not as simple as it might seem. Because the convention center is new, "we're returning to the show's longtime home [when it was ABA, for years it was held annually in Washington] but at the same time, we've never been there." He said he hoped the experience "works because I would like to see us come back." He praised the capital for its "fairly small-town feel. It's comfortable and there's plenty to see and plenty to do and most of it's free."

Fensterman said he's looking forward to the 2.0 Revolution program on Thursday at BEA, which focuses on recent trends in Internet development (Shelf Awareness, April 11). "In the room, we're going to have representatives of company on two sides of this revolution," he commented. "In some cases, they're on two sides of a courtroom. It's what's exciting about this show: they'll both be there talking and exchanging ideas and arguments." He said he's also eagerly awaiting Saturday's book & author breakfast, when "Barack Obama and Amy Sedaris will be at the same table--with John Updike in-between."

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