Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Jy: Gabby and Gator by James Burks

St. Martin's Press: The Unwilling by John Hart

Simon & Schuster: Unicorns Are the Worst! by Alex Willan

Algonquin Books: Let's Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih

Candlewick Press: In the Half Room by Carson Ellis

Quotation of the Day

A New Bookseller's Extra Joy

"Whenever I walked into a Christian bookstore, I had a sense of peace. I could walk around for an hour or two and not buy anything, but I knew that God was there. Now I get to have that feeling everyday."--Andrew Mattox, who with his wife, Tracy, is the new owner of the Christian Bookstore, Suffolk, Va., as reported by the Suffolk News-Herald.

Weiser Books: Witch Hunt: A Traveler's Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch by Kristen J Sollee


Bookselling Notes: Vox Pop, the Bookstore

Sander Hicks's new venture, Vox Pop Café and Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., opened last November, is colorfully profiled in the current issue of New York Press. Among highlights: the staff is unionized (by the IWW!); the motto is "books, coffee, democracy"; there is a solid schedule of readings, music and open-mic events; Hicks's Vox Pop book publishing operation is run out of the café's basement; the store has an Instabook print-on-demand machine.


The Elkhart Truth reported a somewhat unusual book-and-other-product retail combination: taking on a partner and expanding, Floral Concepts in Nappanee, Ind., has morphed into Pages & Ivy, which in addition to books, sells custom floral products, baby gifts, chocolates, bracelets, candles, etc.


A couple used seven fake library cards to check out 483 books, mostly college textbooks, from Prince George's County (Md.) public libraries to sell to used bookstores, the Washington Post reported. The couple were arrested earlier this year when they tried to sell books to BookHolders, a used bookstore in College Park, which had been alerted to the fraud by police. This week the pair pled guilty to the felony charge of aggregate theft and will make restitution of $20,000.


A front-page story in today's Wall Street Journal highlights a different kind of fraud. For Neil Kugelman of six-year-old, an online jewelry seller, credit card fraud used to be relatively easy to detect. But now, because of identity theft, he has one person work full time "validating" orders--some 30% of all company orders are fraudulent, he estimates. What makes the situation especially dicey: in contrast to their general policies with bricks-and-mortar stores, credit card companies make online retailers responsible for fraudulent charges.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.28.20

Media and Movies

Media Heat: White and Statements

Today Imus in the Morning had a colorful conversation with Christopher Whitcomb, author of White (Little, Brown, $24.95, 0316600806), a thriller by the former FBI agent and author of Black about enemies who infiltrate the highest offices in the U.S.


Scheduled for tonight on Charlie Rose: Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don't (HarperCollins, $27.50, 0066620996) and Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (HarperCollins, $27.50, 0060566108).


Tomorrow the Today Show does a background check on comedian Amy Borkowsky, author of Statements: True Tales of Life, Love, and Credit Card Bills (Penguin, $19.95, 1596090871).


Tomorrow Diane Rehm talks with Mary Childers, author of Welfare Brat: A Memoir (Bloomsbury, $23.95, 1582345864).

GLOW: Temple University Press: Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D'Angelo

Book TV: William Least Heat-Moon in Depth

Book TV airs from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday on C-Span2 and features nonfiction books about history and politics as well as book industry subjects.  For a full schedule, go to Book TV's Web site.

Saturday, August 6

7 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In this segment first aired in 2003, Matthew Pinsker, author of Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home (Oxford University Press, $14.95, 0195179854), discusses the move Lincoln and his family made after the death of his son Willie.

Sunday, August 7

12 p.m. In-Depth: William Least Heat-Moon. Viewers may join this three-hour conversation by calling in during the program or by e-mailing questions to (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

6 p.m. After Words. Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower and herself a president--of the Eisenhower Group--interviews Kenneth Walsh, chief White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, whose new book is From Mount Vernon to Crawford: A History of the Presidents and Their Retreats (Hyperion, $25.95, 1401301215). (Re-airs at 9 p.m.)

7 p.m. Public Lives. In Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger (St. Martin's, $24.95, 0312333382), Laurence Leamer chronicles the life and rise in politics of the current governor of Kalifornien.

Soho Press: The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata by Gina Apostol

Books & Authors

Author Vincent Murdered in Iraq

Steven Vincent, the freelance journalist and author of In the Red Zone: A Journey Into the Soul of Iraq (Spence Publishing, $27.95, 1890626570), which was published last November, was kidnapped and murdered in Basra, Iraq, on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Vincent was a longtime arts critic and reporter whose interest turned to politics and Islam after September 11. Taking a position against what he called "Islamo-fascism," he had spent much time in Iraq since the war and contributed articles to several publications, including the Christian Science Monitor and the National Review. This past Sunday, the New York Times ran a piece in which Vincent said that Basra was "increasingly coming under the control of Shi'ite religious groups" allied with Iran and criticized British troops for not clamping down on them. He also charged that local police were working with militants. Eerily he had mentioned a death squad operating within the Basra police.

The Times said today that he was the first American journalist to be attacked and killed in Iraq.

New York Minute

Zeitchik Likes Variety; Melville's New Work

We're happy to note that Steve Zeitchik, our former colleague who added such a hip, fun voice to Publishers Weekly and PW's online newsletters (not to mention being an exemplary Jets fan), is moving up, literally one flight, to join Variety. He'll apparently do some book world coverage in addition to all the other Zeitchik-friendly beats Variety offers.


In another personnel change (albeit in Kansas City), one of our favorite Australians, Kirsty Melville, is becoming executive v-p and publisher of Andrew McMeel Publishing's book division, effective September 2.

Melville was founding publisher of Simon & Schuster Australia before moving here in 1994 to become v.p. and publisher of Ten Speed Press. Last year, she become publisher of University Games.


First Chapter for Reading Group Choices's New Leaders

After Barbara Drummond Mead and her husband, Charlie, decided reluctantly not to open a bookstore, she learned that Reading Group Choices, the publication founded by Paz & Associates 10 years ago to serve the book group market, was for sale. "My eyes lit up," she told Shelf Awareness. "It was perfect. I was in publishing and had worked in bookstores [including McIntyre's in Fearrington Village, N.C., and Covered Treasures Bookstore, Monument, Colo.]. I know books. I know bookstores. And Charlie comes from sales and marketing."

Charlie, who has an MBA and worked for 30 years for Compaq and Digital Equipment, "ran the numbers and saw it was a good, solid business," he said. And with his tech background, he saw further possibilities, such as enhancing the publication's Web site and making it more interactive. "We want to connect authors and publishers and readers," he said.

But those plans have to wait at least a few more weeks. Since buying Reading Group Choices from Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman, who wanted to concentrate on their core business of training and consulting with booksellers, in May, the Meads have focused on getting the 2006 edition together. "We're 85% full for this edition," Barbara said.

Of the edition's 20,000 copies, complimentary copies are sent to 12,000 public libraries, 2,000 bookstores with book group programs and 1,000 book groups. The rest of the copies are sold, sometimes a copy at a time, sometimes in bulk to bookstore groups. Eventually the Meads want to add specialty editions, focusing, for example, on faith-based fiction or Southern writers.

Two groups of Reading Group Choices owners (from l. to r.): Mark Kaufman, Donna Paz Kaufman, Barbara Drummond Mead, Charlie Mead.

Although bookstore reading groups get plenty of attention, much reading group action takes place at libraries. Charlie said: "Lots and lots of public libraries are very active. Reading groups may not take books out of the library but they depend on the library for advice."

Both Meads extol the demographics of book groups. Some 30% of readers of Reading Group Choices have been members of book groups for more than five years and more than 60% hold advance degrees. They also buy more than 60 books a year on average and they often buy as gifts titles they learned about through reading groups. Charlie added, "They're tech savvy, but like to have a printed copy of Reading Group Choices."

Reading Group Choise is located at 532 Cross Creek Court, Chester, Md. 21619; 410-643-7472;;

KidsBuzz: Vesuvian Books: 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner
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