Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hanover Square Press: Before the Coffee Gets Cold series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey


Forthright Support for Outwrite

Peter Glassman, owner of Books of Wonder, New York City, writes about an item in Monday's Shelf Awareness:

I was deeply disturbed to read about the protests being waged in front of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse in Atlanta. It is clearly the intention of the protesters to intimidate would-be customers and so drive the store out of business. Reading your article brought back so clearly to me a truly upsetting incident at Books of Wonder nearly 15 years ago when we were still on the corner of 7th Avenue and 18th Street.

A woman walked into the store and called out to us and the other customers how we were evil people for corrupting innocent children with our satanic literature. The books she was referring to as "corrupting" and "satanic" included
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Half Magic by Edward Eager, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. At first we all just stood there in silence, totally stunned by this bizarre occurrence. My initial reaction was to assume that she was being ironic--surely no one in their right mind could object to these wonderful books? Then, realizing that she was serious, I marched over to her and evicted her from the store, stating to her in no uncertain terms that she was never to come back and that she was the evil one for trying to stop children from experiencing these great books that would open their minds and imaginations to all the incredible possibilities that the universe had to offer.

I'm happy to say that this was the one and only incident of its kind to ever occur at my store in the 26 years since I opened Books of Wonder. But I am also keenly aware that this sort of thing can happen to any of us at any time.

That is why I am going to be contacting Philip Rafshoon and offering to send him a donation of books that he can give for free to any customers who come in when there are protesters outside. I want him to know that there are others in the bookselling community who stand behind him. I hope he'll put up a large sign letting people know they can get free books just for coming inside and defying the intimidation efforts of the protestors--regardless of whether they are straight, gay or whatever. Or he can give them to anyone willing to stand outside and counter protest. Or however he thinks best. I just want him to know he is not alone.

If we as a community do not stand up to this sort of harassment--even if it is legal--then none of us are safe. Before long every bookstore will have protesters out front demanding we stop carrying the books they don't agree with. It's one of the worst quandaries that free speech presents--that others can use their right to free speech in an attempt to censor others through intimidation.

I hope everyone in the bookselling community--booksellers, publishers, distributors, authors, and artists--will do what they can to show support against this threat to the right of bookstores to sell whatever they choose to whomever they choose. If not, we may all wake up one day to find ourselves in a future all too close to the one George Orwell predicted.

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke


Notes: More on Borders; With Pipe and Book Without Storefront

Commenting to Reuters on yesterday's Wall Street Journal story that Borders is close to hiring George Jones, most recently of Saks, as its CEO, David Schick, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, said it made sense for a company trying to enhance the customer experience to hire a veteran of high-end department stores, which pay serious attention to the atmosphere of their stores.

"What book retailers are doing is turning from selling books to selling the bookstore experience," Schick told Reuters.


In other Wall Street Journal-Borders news, an article in today's Journal recapping private equity funds' current interest in retailers includes this line: "Another category ripe for buyouts includes big-box retailers playing second or third fiddle in their niches, often because of missteps in operations or strategy. Examples: Petco Animal Supplies, jewelry retailer Zale Corp., BJ's Wholesale Club and bookseller Borders Group."


And yet another Borders item . . . Later this month Borders is closing its 20,000-sq.-ft. store in Salt Lake City's downtown Crossroads Plaza because of reconstruction at the mall, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. The store is not relocating and may reopen when construction is finished. The project is one of several malls in downtown Salt Lake City owned by the Mormon church that are being renovated.

"We will look to come back when they reopen," district manager Nanette Mathieu told the paper. "We'll do a negotiation at that time. It's not anything that can be assumed."


Cool (bag o' used books) idea of the day: the Odyssey Bookshop, S. Hadley, Mass., has cut the price on many books left in its major used book sale. "Specially marked used books are just 50 cents a book or $5 for as many books as you can squeeze into one of our large shopping bags," the store said.

[Thanks to eagle-eyed local customer Rudy Mutter!]


Sadly the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports that With Pipe and Book, Lake Placid, N.Y., which sells tobacco as well as used and new books, prints and maps featuring Adirondack themes, will close this year. Owners Julie and Breck Turner may continue the business "perhaps as a catalogue or online operation."

The couple, who started the business in 1977 when they were both 19, will sell or lease their Main Street building. Julie Turner told the paper she was tired and hasn't had a summer off since she was 16. "I'm going to become a beach bum!" she added happily.


Books-A-Million will open an 18,000-sq.-ft. store by November in the Village at Sandhill in Sandhill, S.C., near Columbia, according to the State. The developer told the paper that a bookstore was "the most requested addition to the retail center." The development company also approached Barnes & Noble about the site. BAM expects to open a total of 10 new stores this year nationwide. There are three other BAM stores in the Columbia area.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

First Book and Random Begin Big Book Distribution

Tomorrow First Book and Random House Children's Books begin distributing some 50,000 books to various literacy programs serving low-income children throughout Louisiana from a U.S. Coast Guard warehouse in New Orleans, La. The distribution is part of the "Literacy and Justice for All" campaign that First Book launched during BEA in Washington, D.C.

As part of the campaign, BEA attendees and visitors to the nonprofit organization's Web site could vote for the state they believed should receive a special distribution of 50,000 new books. The Coast Guard helped sponsor ads on Washington transit to encourage people to go to the Web site and vote. (The Coast Guard regularly provides logistical support and warehouse space across the country for First Book.) More than 12,000 votes were cast; Louisiana was the overwhelming winner.

Random House is matching the Louisiana donation with another 50,000 books that will be distributed across the U.S. through the First Book National Book Bank. First Book has distributed more than 43 million new books to children in low-income families.

In a statement, First Book president Kyle Zimmer noted that according to one study, in low-income neighborhoods there is only one book for every 300 children, while in middle-income neighborhoods, there are 13 books for every child. "We have to do something to close this gap if there is ever to be literacy and justice for all children in America," he said.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Too Much Joisey Girl Is Not Enough

This morning on Good Morning America: Jancee Dunn, author of But Enough About Me: A Jersey Girl's Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0060843640).


The theme of the Book Report, the new weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., is New Orleans music. Today's show features interviews with two authors:

  • Tom Sancton, author of Song for My Fathers: A New Orleans Story in Black & White (Other Press, $24.95, 159051243X), a memoir of his years growing up in New Orleans and how the old jazz musicians of the city taught him to play and to live.
  • Rick Coleman, author of the Fats Domino biography Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n' Roll (Da Capo, $26.95, 0306814919).

The show airs at 8 a.m. Central Time and can be heard live at; the archived edition will be posted this afternoon.


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Ali Ansari, author of Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Next Great Crisis in the Middle East (Basic Books, $26, 0465003508).


Today on the View: Janice Dickinson, author of Check, Please!: Dating, Mating, and Extricating (Regan, $25.95, 0060763914).

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