Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 1, 2005
Quotation of the Day
First Midwest Booksellers' Choice Awards
Nominated and chosen by MBA members, the awards recognize authors from the region or books about the region, which includes Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin. The first winners:
Winner: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (FSG)
Honorable Mention: The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich (Perennial)
Winner: What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank (Metropolitan Books)
Honorable Mention: Homegown Democrat by Garrison Keillor (Viking)
Winner: Delights and Shadows by Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon Press, distributed by Consortium)
Honorable Mention: Original Fire: Selected and New Poems by Louise Erdrich (Perennial)
Children's Picture Book
Winner: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)
Honorable Mention: A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet by Claudia McGehee (University of Iowa Press)
Winner: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett, illustrated by Brett Helquist (Scholastic Press)
Honorable Mention: Ida B: And her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and Possibly Save the World by Katherine Hannigan (Greenwillow)
Bookselling Notes: Little Professor's Back
Once a franchise operation with almost 150 stores, Little Professor has become a "service provider," offering the 16 stores that still associate with it training, software, book buying help, marketing materials and whatever else owners need to operate. Booksellers no longer franchise but instead license those services--and don't even need to use the Little Professor name. Little Professor owner Praxis Book Store Group, consisting of Little Professor veterans John Glazer, Mary Ann Reaume and Amy Craig, plans to open two more stores this year.
After 24 years with Olsson's, which has seven stores in and around Washington, D.C., Virginia Powers, general manager for books, is retiring, according to Olsson's. Powers plans to pursue her interests in horses and gardening and will continue to be active in greyhound rescue.
Joe Murphy, who has been with Olsson's 15 years, the last 10 as book buyer and manager of the Lansburgh/Penn Quarter store, will become Olsson's head book buyer. In May, he completed his Ph.D. in English at Catholic University.
The Midwest Booksellers Association, which just announced its Booksellers' Choice Awards (see above), is also relaunching its Web site today at www.midwestbooksellers.org.
Today's Wall Street Journal examines family succession at top posts of publicly held companies. In the case of Barnes & Noble, where Stephen Riggio succeeded his brother Len as CEO in 2002, the brothers' ownership of about a quarter of the company "was not an issue," longtime board member Michael N. Rosen told the paper. "The board looked at [Steve's] credentials and his wide range of roles inside the company and decided that he was highly qualified for the job."
The Asheville Citizen-Times profiles Asheville's Biblio.com, the Web site for used, rare and oop books and its founder, Brendan Sherar, who used to run a Waynesville, N.C., bookstore, Sherar & Paige, with his wife, Tracy Paige. Biblio.com, which is building several libraries in South America, offers 22 million titles from 3,000 booksellers and is the third-largest such site behind Abebooks and Alibris.
Because of the loss of other nearby retailers and a long, disruptive construction project, Newsstand International, Charlotte, N.C., plans to move by October to the Dilworth section, according to the Charlotte Observer. At 3,000 square feet, the new store will be larger; it'll also add a café.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Tour de France Vainqueur
The Early Show today holds a conversation with Bebe Moore Campbell, whose new book is 72 Hour Hold (Knopf, $24.95, 1400040744).
Diane Rehm has an amazing hour today with Charles Peters, author of Five Days in Philadelphia: The Amazing 'We Want Willkie!' Convention of 1940 and How It Freed FDR to Save the Western World (PublicAffairs, $26, 1586481126).
Fresh from winning his seventh straight Tour de France, Lance Armstrong, whose memoirs are It's Not About the Bike (Penguin, $14. 0425179613) and most recently Every Second Counts (Broadway, $14, 0767914481), spins onto Charlie Rose and the Late Show with David Letterman.
Tomorrow on the Today Show, Mark Bittman, whose most recent book is How to Cook Everything: Bittman Takes on America's Chefs (Wiley, $24.95, 0764570145), clucks about chicken recipes.
On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, Stephen Walker, author of Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima (HarperCollins, $26.95, (0060742844), appears on the Today Show tomorrow.
Tomorrow the Late Show with David Letterman serves up Anthony Bourdain, whose tastiest dishing was Kitchen Confidential (HarperCollins, $14, 0060934913).
Latest Unexpected Chapters at Chapter 11
Current signs of the change at the company: Chapter 11's slogan now is "Your Neighborhood Bookstore," not "Prices so low, you'd think we're going bankrupt." The screaming yellow is being replaced by warmer colors or when not replaced, toned down. The company has a robust Web presence and has developed more business-to-business business, as it were.
Moreover, the Chapter 11 store in Snellville has become the test site of a new concept for the company: now called Chapter 11 Outlet, the store sells mainly bargain books and, in a first for Chapter 11, used books. And yesterday the Chapter 11 store in Alpharetta closed after 11 years in business. The company wants to stay in the area and is searching for another site within five miles of the store, but Tanner did not want to stay in the same storefront: as has happened repeatedly, the end of a store's lease has led Tanner to reappraise the store and site.
When previous owners Barbara Babbit Kaufman and Dale Glenn started the company in 1990, "they put the stores in strip centers," Tanner noted. As the Atlanta metropolitan area has exploded and expanded into the far suburbs, business patterns have changed. Some strip centers have been eclipsed by larger, cutting-edge malls, and sometimes customers have simply moved.
The Snellville store became an Outlet store in part because of such changes. When the Snellville Plaza shopping center was established, it was on "the main mecca of shopping" in Snellville, Tanner said. More shopping centers opened, and now the shopping center has changed so much that the next-door neighbor is Big Lots, which sells brand name merchandise at closeout prices.
Despite needing to do more scrambling than he'd anticipated, Tanner appears to have no regrets about becoming a bookseller after 20 years working for Scientific Atlanta, where he was involved in technology, marketing and management. "I love this industry," he said. "I stay fresh. Each week, there's something new and sometimes something controversial. Retail is a different challenge from my career in technology."
Calling himself the "chief bookseller," Tanner has done everything from take the garbage out to change lights in stores. "I like to set the tempo," he said. His mantra: "Let's sell books and let's have fun." He also praises his staff whom he calls "true booklovers. They are passionate about books."