Shelf Awareness for Friday, August 5, 2005

Grand Central Publishing: Dava Shastri's Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Minotaur Books: Hello, Transcriber by Hannah Morrissey

Bloomsbury Publishing: This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

Mineditionus: The Longest Storm by Dan Yaccarino

Atheneum Books: Out of My Heart by Sharon M Draper

Bloomsbury Publishing: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Blackstone Publishing: I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad

Scholastic Press: Room to Dream (a Front Desk Novel) by Kelly Yang


Never Mind: McMurtry's Store to Stay Open

Booked Up, Larry McMurtry's huge used and antiquarian bookstore in his hometown of Archer City, Tex., will not close up.

Earlier this year, the author of Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment had said he would close the store by 2006. A note now posted on the store's Web site reads:

"To our customers, alarmed or otherwise:

"The economic crisis that forced us to consider closing at the end of this year has mostly passed. To a large extent it was a crisis felt by hundreds of antiquarian booksellers in America. Many closed. We, fortunately, won't have to.

"We will be open regular hours (10-5, Monday-Saturday) and welcome all readers, dealers, browsers.

"We are sorry for the alarm, but things did look discouraging for a while. Profound change has come to the antiquarian book business in the last few years--when and if it will stop nobody knows, but Booked Up, for now and we hope for a long time to come, is still in the game."

McMurtry told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram: "I think it will be able to stay solvent and stay open. I didn't want to close it. I wouldn't know what to do with it if I did close it."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

Bookselling Notes: Stores Close, Revamp, Open

Books, Brass, & Candles, Wauseon, Ohio, which the Toledo Blade called "the only general bookstore in Fulton and Henry counties," is closing, according to the paper. Owners Jerry and Sandy Matheny blame competition from Wal-Mart and online booksellers; another factor is that the Mathenys are at retirement age. Opened in 1989, the store had book sales that were traditionally half of overall sales, but recently that's dropped enough to push the store's annual sales to "the lower end of its typical range of $100,000 to $150,000."


Borders has converted four more Waldenbooks--in the Washington and Baltimore areas--into Borders Express stores. The stores, which will have grand reopening celebrations tomorrow, are in the Dulles Town Center, Dulles, Va., Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, Va., the Mall at Columbia, Columbia, Md., and Owings Mills Town Center, Owings Mills, Md.


Just in time for the start of the fall semester, Jayhawk Center, the first student union at the University of Kansas's Edwards Campus in Overland Park, Kan., opens on Monday, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. The KU Bookstore is selling books and gear in the Center. The campus primarily serves working adult students.


The Youngstown Vindicator (what a name for a newspaper!) reported on a 4,000-sq.-ft. addition nearing completion that is transforming the Youngstown State University Bookstore, Youngstown, Ohio. Besides the addition of leather chairs, more cash registers, large windows and a food-and-beverage section, the store has a corner in the front for trade and children's books, a section it is "trying to build up," according to Susanne Fox, associate director.

Annick Press: Living with Viola by Rosena Fung

July General Retail: Only the Weather Was Hot

Hurt by hot weather, the lure of major car discounts and high energy costs, among other factors, most general retailers posted disappointing sales figures for July, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times today.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 3.4% over July 2004, according to Goldman Sachs's retail composite index. In June, sales were up 5.5% over the same period a year earlier.

Discounters and some luxury stores had the best comp-store sales gains. Target was up 5.5%, Costco 5.0% and Wal-Mart 4.4%. At the other end of the chart, Nieman Marcus rose 3.9% and Nordstrom was up 3.6%.

Among the big losers: the Gap dropped 4.0%, Federated was down 0.9%, May stumbled 3.6%.

Bloomsbury Continuum: Making Nice by Ferdinand Mount

A New Kind of Consumer; Destination Dealer

Speaking of general retail, two recent stories struck us as having some interesting points applicable in one way or another to the book world.

Members of Generation Y or echo boomers, those born between 1977 and 1997, are the first generation to grow up with computers, cell phones and other e-gadgets. A July 27 Wall Street Journal article states that this group "will play a large role in determining whether so-called e-tailers succeed over the long term," in other words whether online retailers will move beyond the 10%-20% share they have in many markets.

Unlike any other generation, echo boomers influence the buying decisions of their parents. They also respond to e-mail offers and are more open to word of mouth, as it were, and like to "interact with products and to customize and mix and match them." This makes them favor such offers as a swimsuit that comes with a submersible watch, "like a Happy Meal," as an NPD executive put it. "It's putting entertainment and merchandise in the same message."


And here's something that's seemingly farther afield: a long-established but fading Chevrolet dealership in Chicago that reinvented itself. According to the July 27 New York Times, "Z" Frank Chevrolet fired a third of its staff and decided to go after the Hispanic market. The new "Z" takes on a Spanish accent on Saturdays, when it plays salsa music, reps wear Tommy Bahama shirts and reps cheers when a sale is made, which is signaled when a customer rings a bell. Once a month, a local taco salesperson gives away tacos in the dealer's service bay. The company also has installed artificial palm trees and a plastic sandbox in the showroom. "Z" Frank dealer runs radio and TV ads rather than print ads. It gives away soccer balls and portable CD players and does radio broadcasts from local parks.

So far, the effort has helped, as sales have risen two of the last three quarters, following a steady years-long decline before the change.

Other dealers needing to "compensate for a lack of creativity in the vehicles they are trying to sell" have begun to offer "everything from exotic coffee to Internet access to restaurants and amusement park rides on the premises," all to make the dealership a destination.

So how about a roller coaster ride in a bookstore? Wait . . . isn't running a bookstore enough of a roller coaster ride?

GLOW: Top Shelf Productions: Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia, trans. by Gabriela Soares

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joan DeJean

Yesterday Morning Edition was graced by the presence of Joan DeJean, author of The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour (Free Press, $25, 0743264134). Hear DeJean on NPR s'il vous plait.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Still Life by Sarah Winman


Manteo's Hoover Party Turns 20

Who could imagine having fun celebrating the president best known for seeming to be unable or unwilling to do anything about the Great Depression, which began on his watch?

Still, the celebration's as popular as a late '20s speakeasy, and Steve Brumfield, owner of Manteo Booksellers, Manteo, N.C., the Outer Banks store that since 1986 has hosted a Herbert Hoover party each year on the former president's August 10 birthday, insisted that he is "not making fun of Hoover."

Quickly he listed some of Hoover's accomplishments. "He wrote more than 40 books and lobbied for a national poem." He led efforts to provide humanitarian and food relief aid in Europe during and after World War I and helped give engineering assistance in China in the 1920s. He created what eventually became the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He also loved fishing. "We show sides of Hoover most people don't know," he explained.

The Hoover tradition goes back to Manteo Booksellers's beginnings, Brumfield continued, "We started doing events right away. We looked at things to tie in with and found some crazy stuff like National Watermelon Spitting Day. Then we noticed August 10 was Hoover's birthday. The idea snowballed. People thought it was kind of fun."

It took 16 years after first staging the Hoover party for a connection between Hoover and Manteo to emerge. It turned out that when he was Secretary of Commerce under President Coolidge, Hoover traveled to the area to give out life saving service awards. "Someone found a picture of Hoover on the docks here and a letter he wrote to a resident thanking him for his hospitality," Brumfield noted. In addition, he came up with the committee that chose the site of the Wright Brothers memorial. "Then we had reason to celebrate," Brumfield laughed.

Over the years, the store has developed some traditions for the party. For example, for the 20th Hoover party next Wednesday, Manteo will serve "Happy Birthday Herbie" cakes, "Herbert Sherbert" punch and hold a trivia contest based on Hoover "fun facts" posted throughout the store that day. (One fact: Hoover was the first president born west of the Mississippi.) The store also should have live music.

Besides the refreshments, the party's focus is on the Hoover memorabilia the store has collected over the years and is displayed year round in a kind of shrine. The cabinet includes photos, a few copies of letters, some of Hoover's books, "a hat from Camp Hoover," even a Grant Wood painting of the Hoover homestead.

Usually the Hoover party features an author, and this one would have been a blockbuster, but unfortunately Adriana Trigiani, who's been touring for her new novel, Rococo, just canceled her appearance, pleading "exhaustion."

In at least one way, however, Trigiani will make an appearance--on another of Brumfield's cool ideas. Each year, Manteo Booksellers sells a T-shirt with the store's name on the front and a list of 20 authors and events of that summer on the back, like a T-shirt for a band's tour.

By the way, Wednesday would have been Hoover's 131st birthday.

Manteo Booksellers may be contacted at P.O. Box 1520, Manteo, N.C. 27954; 252-473-1221;

Parallax Press: How to Live When a Loved One Dies: Healing Meditations for Grief and Loss by Thich Nhat Hanh

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