Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 6, 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: An Indie with 30% Online Sales; Waterstone's Sales

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review surveys several local independent bookstores that, it has discovered, face strong competitive pressures.

"It's difficult, difficult, difficult," Margaret Marshall, owner of the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, told the paper. "We're not thriving, we're surviving. The only reason we stay in business is because I'm in Sewickley and I know these people." Marshall works closely with the Sewickley library, "which draws in a lot of their target demographic--children."

At Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, owned by Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman, "author premiere parties and book club meetings along with offerings such as coffee, tea and puzzles have helped drive business, but the mysteries that line store shelves remain the central selling point," the paper said.

Strikingly 30% of store revenues come from online sales. "We get a great deal of out-of-state orders from there," Gorman said. "We discovered that we needed to find little niches to enhance sellability, and that's what we've done."


Sales in the past two months at HMV, the owner of Waterstone's and purchaser of Ottakar's, have declined, Bloomberg reported. The company, which is a major movie, music and book retailer in the U.K., said that the number of shoppers declined because of the World Cup.

Sales at Waterstone's stores open at least a year dropped 6.1% during the past nine weeks. Overall at HMV, sales at stores open at least a year fell 10%, "led by a 17% drop at HMV music stores in the U.K. and Ireland." The company blamed the World Cup as well as competition from supermarkets and online retailers.

According to Bloomberg, HMV "expects about 10 million pounds ($18.4 million) of cost savings from its acquisition of rival bookstore chain Ottakar's Plc in the 2008 fiscal year. The takeover of the 141-store chain should be earnings enhancing, before integration costs, this fiscal year."


The group that wants to open a community bookstore in New Paltz, N.Y., that would fill part of the vacuum left by the closing of Ariel Booksellers may yet succeed, the Times Herald-Record reported.

The group has given up on the idea of creating a cooperative store because of a lack of money and anyone to manage it full-time, so it is working with Tom Terwilliger, owner of Mandobooks textbook stores in Binghamton and Cortland, N.Y., to set up a store.

In what he called "a marriage of convenience," Terwilliger would provide "capital and know-how" and the group would offer "goodwill and entrée to the New Paltz retail market," according to the paper. The "biggest hurdle" is finding a downtown storefront.


With some help from the city government, a group of local Portland, Me., businesses has launched a buy local campaign that the Portland Press Herald profiled on Tuesday. The paper quotes Stuart Gersen of Longfellow Books and Allan Schmid of Books, Etc., both leaders in the campaign.

--- and Biblion Ltd. have relaunched both and In April (Shelf Awareness, April 7), the two companies said that they would work together to "redevelop the current online strategy" of Biblion, the U.K. rare-book bookseller with a store in London that had shut down its Web site for a time., with headquarters in Asheville, N.C., will manage the sites while Biblion Ltd. is handling marketing and public relations in Europe. provides the technology for two other online booksellers,, and, and has indicated that it wants to provide technology services for other similar companies. has signed more than 200 sellers to list their books on the Biblion site, mainly under More than 300,000 books are now available for purchase on the site.

--- serves up the news that three people have taken over Politics and Prose's coffee house, formerly run by Sirius Coffee, and have renamed it Modern Times. The group, known as Coup d'Etat Coffee Co., plan to refurbish the space in '20s art-deco style and expand the dinner menu. They're being advised by James Alefantis, general manager of Buck's Fishing and Camping, the restaurant and bar up the street.


Mark Levine, who has more than 30 years of experience in book sales and editorial, which he calls "an uncommon mix," has founded Mark Levine Book Editorial and Marketing Services, which offers a range of services in fiction and nonfiction to authors and small- and medium-sized publishers. Services include shaping a manuscript; judging suitability for publication; line editing; general editing; packaging; working with agents, publishers and distributors; sales strategies; sales tools; selling points. "Marketing does not start with the publication of a book," he commented. "Indeed, it should start even prior to the point of acquisition by its publisher."

Levine was formerly sales director at Holt and St. Martin's, an editor at St. Martin's and most recently marketing director and editorial appraiser at Beaufort Books. His education background and interests are particularly strong in American history and African American history, and he has helped establish many novelists during his career.

Levine may be reached at 264 Ninth St., Suite 4-O, Jersey City, N.J. 07302; 201-653-5453; cell 201-424-5949;

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The New Yorker's Alice Quinn

Today on KCRW's Bookworm: Alice Quinn, who edited and annotated Edgar Allan Poe and the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop (FSG, $30, 0374146454). As the show put it: "Alice Quinn, the poetry editor of the New Yorker, assembled this volume of drafts and fragments from Elizabeth Bishop's notebooks and archives. The result is an extraordinary free association about Bishop: her childhood, her sexuality, her influences. We continue the process of free association with this conversation, which includes a rare recording of Bishop herself."

Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Kenneth Briggs, author of Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church's Betrayal of American Nuns (Doubleday, $24.95, 0385516363).

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

This Weekend on Book TV: A Dark Horse and a Bystander

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's Web site.

Saturday, July 8

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment originally aired in 2003, author and attorney Kenneth Ackerman talked about his book Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield (Avalon, $16, 0786713968), focusing on the politics of Garfield's dark horse campaign and his subsequent assassination, whose 125th anniversary was July 2.

9 p.m. After Words. Joe Leonard, executive director of the Black Leadership Forum, interviews Nick Bryant, author of The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality (Perseus, $29.95, 0465008267). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Books & Authors

Awards: The First Thrillers

The International Thriller Writers have created a series of awards that are collectively called the Thriller. The first winners were announced July 1 at the ITW's gala in Phoenix, Ariz.:

  • Best Novel: The Patriots Club by Christopher Reich (Delacorte)
  • Best First Novel: Improbable by Adam Fawer (Morrow)
  • Best Paperback Original: Pride Runs Deep by R. Cameron Cooke (Jove)
  • Best Screenplay: Cache (Hidden) by Michael Haneke

ITW co-presidents Gayle Lynds and David Morrell received Awards of Recognition for outstanding contribution and service to ITW in its founding year.

Clive Cussler won a ThrillerMaster Award, which recognizes "an illustrious body of work and many contributions to the thriller genre."

Deeper Understanding

Kepler's Focuses on Book Clubs--and Fun

More on some of the initiatives the reborn Kepler's has taken to improve business.

Working with book clubs has become almost as important as outside sales (Shelf Awareness, June 29) for Kepler's, according to chief marketing officer Anne Banta. Although book clubs often garner discounts, she said that bookstores with programs that "provide value and benefits" to book clubs can help define and differentiate themselves from their competition--and improve sales.

As a result, Kepler's launched a program last month to register 100 book clubs with the store. Among the incentives to the clubs: a 15% discount on all book club choices and quarterly meetings at the store at which booksellers and publishers will make presentations about upcoming books and offer galleys. ("Publishers love these," Banta noted.) Kepler's is also working with publishers that have author call ins and Web casts, and the store plans to hold an annual book club conference. All the store's book clubs would be represented at the conference, where Kepler's would hold "mini salons and exchanges--and maybe a spa for the afternoon so they could have a wonderful day together," Banta added. Kepler's also acted as a co-sponsor of the Book Group Expo held in San Jose last month (Shelf Awareness, June 20). The store publishes a monthly newsletter for book clubs.

Kepler's has created an incentive program with the staff to help sign up the 100 clubs. The store also has displays related to book clubs--spinners with book club reads that include not only Kepler's recommendations but selections of titles that are being read by other book clubs in the Bay Area as well as around the country. "We're contacting other stores and finding out what the No. 1 selling book club books are," Banta said.

Fomenting Fun

With this and other efforts, Kepler's aims to find "ways to have fun with people," Banta continued, and make buying books "not such a serious intellectual pursuit." Recent and planned events reflect this. As part of the celebration of the store's 51st anniversary, it held an "Uncover the Codes at Kepler's" contest related to the opening of the movie The Da Vinci Code, with trivia questions, literature quizzes and brain teasers (Shelf Awareness, April 25).

In June, the store held an event featuring Barry Eisler that offered two prizes: one was a complete signed, first edition set of the author's books; the other was being a character in Eisler's next book.

In the fall, Kepler's plans on holding "a day in the park," to which the "entire community" is invited. Banta hopes to attract "hundreds of hundreds" of people. The event will feature "a giant book swap," with an entire tent devoted to local authors who can sell their books. Another tent will be devoted to Kepler's 40 or so community partners, to whom it donates 10% of their members' store purchases.

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