Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 30, 2005

Mariner Books: A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis by Vanessa Nakate

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

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Tale as Tall as Jacob: Misadventures with My Brother by Samantha Edwards

David Zwirner Books: Making a Great Exhibition by Doro Globus, illustrated by Rose Blake

Tor Books: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Disney-Hyperion: The Fowl Twins Get What They Deserve (a Fowl Twins Novel, Book 3) by Eoin Colfer

Sourcebooks Landmark: In Every Mirror She's Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Dragons Are the Worst! by Alex Willan


A Happy 25th for Village Books

At a "big bash" last Sunday, Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., owned by Chuck and Dee Robinson, celebrated its 25th year in business. "It was great," Chuck Robinson, a former ABA president, told Shelf Awareness. "We had a lot of people." As part of the festivities, the store held a two-day, 20%-off sale.

This year Village Books and the Robinsons had an extra reason to celebrate the store's anniversary. Last October, Village Books moved into a new building at the other end of the block from its old location and made several significant changes. The biggest: with the move, the stock of the used and remainder annex was mixed in with the new books a la, most famously, Powell's Books in Portland, Ore.

At 10,000 square feet, the new building is about a third larger than the space it replaced. The new store also has an inside entry into Paper Dreams, the Robinson's 4,000-sq.-ft. card and gift shop, a change that has helped Paper Dreams's business. (Paper Dreams stayed in its mid-block location while the bookstore moved from one side of it to the other.)

Originally the Robinsons were going to develop the new building themselves, but in part because financing was complicated, they sold to a developer. In exchange, the developer gave them a favorable long-term lease; they also own, live in and have their offices in one of the two condominiums atop the store.

Robinson called the timing of the move "perfect." Several new developments are going up, and by the end of the year some 200 condos will come on the market within four blocks of the store, adding more potential customers and helping the area. While book sales have been nothing "to jump up and down about," as Robinson put it, the new store helped make the holiday season "great." If all else fails, the condo itself is doing very well. "The value has shot through the roof," Robinson noted. "We're pretty pleased."

Village Books at 25.

Rebel Girls: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic, 4 edited by Lilly Workneh

ISBN-13 for Dummies Goes Back to Press

A slim title that has strong backlist potential—at least for another year and a half—and plenty of interest in the business--was quietly published just before BEA. Available online, ISBN-13 for Dummies, a coproduction of Wiley and the Book Industry Study Group, explains the basics of the 13-digit ISBN, which replaces the 10-digit ISBN for good on January 1, 2007. (The 13-digit ISBN has already been introduced, but during the current transition period 10-digit ISBNs still are accepted.) A related printed pamphlet offers a kind of Cliffs Notes approach to the issue.

"It is going well," BISG executive director Jeff Abraham and new e-publisher told Shelf Awareness in an e-mail. "We've distributed more than 10,000 copies of the tri-fold pamphlet, and thousands of copies of the more comprehensive PDF booklet have been downloaded from our Web site."  BISG is going to do a second printing of the pamphlet.

For those wanting to know more, go to the BISG's "definitive repository of documents and guidelines related to the ISBN-13 transition" at

Appropriately ISBN-13 for Dummies has both a 10-digit and 13-digit ISBN. Those numbers are 0-555-02340-0 and 978-0-555-02340-2, respectively. (ISBN connoisseurs will note that the 13-digit ISBN consists of the 10-digit with a 978 prefix and a different check digit at the end.) The pamphlet's ISBN is a mere 0-555-02316-8.

... and then some

Unbound: This Party's Dead: Grief, Joy and Spilled Rum at the World's Death Festivals by Erica Buist

Librarians' Secret Lives

Today's Chicago Tribune has an enthusiastic account of a Monday night program held at Quimby's, the Wicker Park bookstore, called "The Secret Lives of Librarians," intended to "give lie to the stereotype of the repressed, bun-wearing, Dewey Decimal obsessed shusher." Several of the five panelists publish 'zines, a special interest at Quimby's. One panelist said, "I'm in love with information." Another stated, "A public library is an oasis, an example of working government." Some 200 people attended. Check it out at,1,5801598.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed,

Book*hug Press: Letters to Amelia by Lindsay Zier-Vogel

Pages Bookstore Turns a Leaf

As this is being written, Pages Bookstore, in downtown Flint, Mich., is moving to a "much better" location, as owner Tracy Atkinson told the Flint Journal. The new location should be open for business on Friday morning. The store's focus, Atkinson said, remains on building community and on "book discussions instead of book signings and book clubs." For more, go to this Web page:

Hyperion Avenue: A Little Closer to Home: How I Found the Calm After the Storm by Ginger Zee

High on Wi-Fi in Bookstores and Libraries

The Cape Cod Chronicle examines the recent introduction of free wireless Internet access in Chatham at the new Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore, the Eldredge Public Library and two cafes. Bookstore co-owner Joanne Doggart said the service had been "very well received." For a direct connection go to

Sadly All Books & Records Soon to Be All Gone

All Books & Records, a 22-year-old used books and music store in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is closing. Owner Rod Cronk told the Sun-Sentinel that "disputes with his landlord" about back rent and "revenues unequal to his debts" caused the move. For all the details, go to,0,1057032.story?coll=sfla-business-frontSadly.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Ballad for Sophie
by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia
trans. by Gabriela Soares

GLOW: Top Shelf Productions: Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia, trans. by Gabriela SoaresA reclusive French piano star recounts his epic rise and fall, from WWII France through the tumultuous disco era, to a young journalist who's hiding her own past, in this passionate, sophisticated graphic novel from writer and pianist/composer Filipe Melo and illustrator/filmmaker Juan Cavia. Publicist and marketing director Leigh Walton shares that Top Shelf selected this work for translation from the Portuguese for its stunning blend of "the grandeur of classical music, the outrageous drama of rock and roll, the grim history of 20th-century Europe... and the bittersweet unearthing of family secrets." Cavia's palette evokes the lush light of a late evening sun, and his accomplished illustrations breathe life into Melo's complex saga of fame, regret and redemption. --Jaclyn Fulwood

(Top Shelf Productions, $24.99 paperback, 9781603094986,
September 28, 2021)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jewish Identity; Lobotomies; Civil War

This afternoon Bookworm with Michael Silverblatt features Art Spiegelman, Cynthia Ozick and Jonathan Rosen on a show whose theme is Jewish Identity in Writing.


Among Leonard Lopate's guests tomorrow:

  • Alephonsion Deng and Judy Bernstein. Deng was displaced by the Sudanese civil war; Bernstein helped write his story in They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky (PublicAffairs, $25).
  • Jack El-Hai, author of The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness (Wiley, $27.95), who discusses why doctors once used psychosurgery to treat mental illness. Scientific America called this biography of Dr. Walter Jackson Freeman, a champion of lobotomies, "poignant and illuminating."
  • Ed Hotaling, whose Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Wakefield (McGraw-Hill, $22.95) tells the tale of the late African-American jockey.
  • Patrick Keefe, author of Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping (Random, $24.95), which appropriately also comes in several audio editions.


A different perspective? This morning Diane Rehm grills two self-published authors, Peyton Lewis and Howie Schaffer, about self-publishing.


Yesterday Fresh Air rebroadcast a 1997 interview with Shelby Foote, most notably author of the highly praised three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative (Vintage, $75)--an effort that took four times as long to write as the subject lasted--and narrator of Ken Burns's PBS documentary The Civil War. Foote died on Monday. To listen, tap


Yesterday Talk of the Nation talked with the head of the nation of Disney: Michael Eisner, who, just as the summer begins, continues to promote his memoir/advice book, Camp (Warner, $22.95).

This Weekend on Book TV: A Jeffersonian Fourth

Rationality anyone?

Saturday, July 2

7 p.m. Encore Booknotes. First aired in 1993, this segment features Willard Sterne Randall, who discussed his book Thomas Jefferson: A Life.

8 p.m. History on Book TV. In a talk hosted by the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., Lee Standiford speaks to the subject of his amusingly titled new book, Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America (Crown).

Sunday, July 3

12 p.m. In Depth: H. W. Brands, professor of history at the University of Texas whose next book, Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, will be published by Doubleday in October. Viewers may call in during the show or e-mail questions to (Reairs Monday at 12 a.m.)

6 p.m. After Words. In another great pairing in this series, Harlan Ullman of the Center for Strategic Studies and author of Finishing Business: Ten Steps to Defeat Global Terror (Naval Institute Press), interviews Robert Merry, president and publisher of the Congressional Quarterly and author of Sands of Empire: Missionary Zeal, American Foreign Policy, and the Hazards of Global Ambition (S&S).

Monday, July 4

4 p.m. Public Lives. Christopher Hitchens talks about his new book, Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (HarperCollins Eminent Lives). (Reairs at 11:15 p.m.)

For a full schedule, go to

Pennie Finds Irving

While she often highlights first-time authors, in the July Costco Connection, which goes to all the warehouse club's members, book buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello embraces an old favorite, John Irving, whose Until I Find You appears July 12.

"A humorous and heartwarming tale," she writes, "Until I Find You is the story of famous actor Jack Burns; his relationship with his mother, Alice, a tattoo artist; and their search for Jack's father, William, a church organist and tattoo addict. The novel tackles emotional issues such as a son coming to terms with a father he never knew, the inherent myster in all relationships—even those with our parents—and how the loss of innocence affects both our passage into adulthood and the memories of our childhood."


Borders Makeovers: Inside and Out

Borders continues to expand and remodel--with grand openings and reopenings as well as major shifts behind the scenes. And after a soft March and April, business turned upward around Mother's Day and should continue that way, Michael Spinozzi, executive v-p and chief product officer of Borders, told Shelf Awareness earlier this month. Citing 1776 by David McCullough (S&S, $32) and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Little, Brown, $25.95), among other titles, he said, "there are lots of good releases leading into Harry Potter."

Malay Foray

Borders's first franchised store, which at 60,000 square feet is also its largest, made its debut in late April in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and has had "very encouraging" sales so far, according to Spinozzi. The store sells titles in English, Malay and Chinese; Borders trains staff, supplies titles and offers systems support. "The infrastructure is working very, very well," Spinozzi said.

Berjaya Group, which Spinozzi called "a fabulous partner," has "ambitious plans" to roll out more Borders around Malaysia. Several observers have speculated that with experience in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, Borders may next cross frontiers into Hong Kong, India and Sri Lanka.

Express Conversions

Borders continues to remodel its superstores, another 100 this year. The remodeling ranges from upgrades in painting and carpets to adding Paperchase stationery sections and Seattle's Best cafes. "We want all of our best thinking reflected in the stores," Spinozzi commented, noting that the average age of a Borders is now five years, a seeming eternity in the modern age of book retailing.

The rebranding of Walden outlets into Borders Express stores also continues. Following the initial 37 last year, another 100 will be made over by the end of 2005. A majority of the approximately 700 Walden stores from a year ago will be converted by the time the process is completed. The stores have "the look and feel of a Borders superstore" as well as offer such Borders standards as Original Voices displays, Borders bestsellers, music, movies and stationery. Not all Waldens will be converted, however, Spinozzi said. Some will close but others will remain because in some markets, "Walden is the only bookstore and a real brand."

Tech Upgrade

Borders is also making "a major investment" in new systems that will "retain all of what made Louis Borders's system great but bring in new technology," as Spinozzi put it. For a long time after the merger of Borders and Waldenbooks in 1995, the company has used two systems, which have had trouble handling Borders's 1,200 stores on four continents—and the addition last year of Paperchase.

Spinozzi: "We want all of our best thinking represented in the stores."

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