Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 17, 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

News

If They Sold If I Did It

Distasteful is perhaps not strong enough a word to describe how some booksellers feel about selling a book by O.J. Simpson, particularly one called If I Did It. The ReganBooks title is scheduled to be published November 30 and will be promoted on Fox TV in two segments featuring Simpson interviewed by Judith Regan.

As Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, N.C., put it: "Do we take a 'stand' on such a book, thereby sending our customers who want to buy it to our competitors? Is this a form of censorship? Or do we make it available without displaying it other than having it on the shelf?" She added, "I'm disturbed to be put in such a position. Freedom of the press notwithstanding, the way they're marketing the book raises huge ethical questions. We all know the publishers are desperate to make money on commercial books, but this takes the cake." Late yesterday, Olson said, the store decided to sell the book but donate proceeds "to Interact, a nonprofit here that shelters battered women and children."

Several California booksellers have also decided to sell the book but donate the money earned from it to appropriate charities. Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif., will give proceeds from If I Did It to the Nicole Brown Foundation. "Although in the spirit of freedom of speech, we will be carrying the book, we choose not to profit from it," general manager Allison Hill wrote. "We'll have bookmarks in the book to let customers know."

Green Apple Books, San Francisco, is donating proceeds to Casa de las Madres, a local shelter for battered women and will use shelf talkers to let customers know of the policy. Kevin Ryan called it "a good solution because we still have the book but are making a statement at the same time." He added the store had done this with several books, beginning with former President Nixon's memoirs in 1978.

Kelly Justice, manager of Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., told Shelf Awareness that the store has cancelled its order for If I Did It, which like other bookstores, it had to buy blind. Fountain will fulfill special orders for the book and quietly donate proceeds to charity. She added that as of yesterday the store had decided on a new policy: it will no longer purchase a title for which the publisher gives no information. "It's been going on for years, and I can't do my job like that," she said. "It's not acceptable."

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In today's New York Times, Judith Regan offers some tortured explanations for publishing If I Did It, which she called "his confession. I would have had no interest in publishing anything but that." She stated that she had been the victim of domestic abuse and wanted to expose abusers like Simpson. Moreover, "We are all in the publishing business, and our business is to tell stories about what is going on. This is a news event."

She was also remarkably vague about where the advance and royalty money are going, saying that she had dealt with "a manager who represents a third party" that owns rights to the story. "I was told that the money would go to his children," she told the Times. "They said the money was not going to Simpson," who owes more than $33.5 million in uncollected civil court judgments to the families of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, whom he may or may not have murdered.
 


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


Notes: Stores Openings; Sherry Emory Dies

In happier news, today another Liberty Books & Music will open, in Rocky River, Ohio, in suburban Cleveland. Owned by John Gaylord, the store will have 10,000 square feet of space and 75,000 book and magazine titles. In the last several years, Gaylord, who used to be a Little Professor franchisee and co-owner of the Gaylord Companies, has opened Empire Books & News in Huntington, W.Va., and another Liberty Books & News in Columbus, Ohio.

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Naftali Rottenstreich and Susan Fox have opened Red Fox Books in Glen Falls, N.Y., just south of Adirondack Park, Bookselling This Week reported. The husband-and-wife booksellers renovated a 1,600-sq.-ft. space and are stocking some 10,000 titles. Red Fox's grand opening celebration December 7 will feature a reading by Russell Banks.

Red Fox Books is located at 28 Ridge St., Glens Falls, N.Y. 12801; 518-793-5352; fax: 518-793-9132. 

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Sad news: Sherry Emory, co-owner of Charis Books & More, the feminist bookstore in Atlanta, Ga., died of breast cancer last Sunday. She was 57. Emory had moved to Florida a year and a half ago and died at the home of her sister.

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Barnes & Noble will open a store in Maumee, Ohio, near Toledo, in October 2007. The store will be in the Shops at Fallen Timbers shopping center at Fallen Timbers Drive and Russell Road. The store will stock, it says, close to 200,000 book, music, DVD and magazine titles. 

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In the middle of December, Borders will open a two-level, 27,000-sq.-ft. store in Houston, Tex., in the Galleria Mall, located at 5061 Westheimer Road. This will be the eighth Borders in the Houston area. The store will carry "up to 200,000 book, music and movie titles." 

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The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has added three new board members:

  • Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.
  • Jack Buckley of Ninth Street Book Shop, Wilmington, Del.
  • Cecile Fehsenfeld of Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Because the vice president of the American Booksellers Association is always on the board, Shanks, who was elected v-p this year, replaces Russ Lawrence of Chapter One Books, Hamilton, Mont., who was ABA v-p and is now ABA president.

Buckley and Fehsenfeld will serve three-year terms and replace Cammie Mannino of Halfway Down the Stairs, Rochester, Mich., and Michael Powell of Powell's Books in Portland, Ore.

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The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association has moved. Its new address is:

214 East 12th Ave.
Eugene, Ore. 97401-3245

The association's e-mail address and telephone and fax numbers remain unchanged.

[Thanks to Bookselling This Week]

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Katelin Trowbridge has joined Baker & Taylor as field territory manager for independent booksellers in New York City, surrounding counties, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. She formerly handled sales, marketing and product management at Public Square Books, which specializes in publishing and distributing graphic novels and manga in Spanish. Before that she taught English literature at New York University. She may be reached at katelin.trowbridge@btol.com or 800-775-7930, ext. 1151.

Joni Dudlext has joined B&T as an inside sales rep, helping Carin Siegfried serve booksellers in New England and upstate New York. She formerly worked in customer service at Random House. She may be reached at Joni.Dudlext@btol.com or 800-775-7930, ext. 3355.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24


B&N's Third Quarter: Sales Up 2%; Earnings Delayed

At Barnes & Noble, sales in the third quarter ended October 28 rose 3% to $1.1 billion. Preliminary net losses were $2.8 million compared to a net gain of $327,000 in the same period a year ago. Financial statements for the quarter have not been finalized because the company is awaiting the results of a board investigation into its practices involving the awards of stock options to senior executives. B&N is one of more than 100 companies whose stock options practices are being looked into by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which wants to determine whether the options were backdated or otherwise manipulated to benefit executives.

Sales at B&N superstores rose 4% to $972.1 million, while sales at stores open at least a year rose 2%. At Dalton, sales fell 28% to $20.5 million, because of store closings and a 5% drop in comp-store sales. Sales at Barnes&Noble.com dropped 0.5% to $95.8 million.

The company said bestselling titles were Dianne Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, Mitch Album's For One More Day, Senator Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope, Lemony Snicket's The End and John Grisham's The Innocent Man.

B&N will pay a dividend of 15 cents a share to stockholders of record on December 8.

In the fourth quarter, B&N predicts comp-store sales at superstores to range from "flat to an increase in the low single-digits." For the full year, comp-store sales range from "flat to a slight increase over last year."

In a conference call, CEO Stephen Riggio said early results from B&N's decision last month to increase discounts on hardcovers and bestsellers for members of its loyalty program were encouraging and could lead to "steep" discounts for all customers, Reuters reported.

Some analysts expressed concern that increased discounts would hurt earnings. "We remain concerned about the impact that an intensifying promotional environment could have on the fourth quarter," Merrill Lynch analyst Danielle Fox wrote, as quoted by Reuters.

On an up date on Wall Street, B&N shares fell 5.2% and closed at $40.40.

At the end of the quarter, B&N had 692 B&N superstores and 109 Dalton stores. During the quarter, the company opened 11 B&N stores and closed six while closing three Dalton stores were closed.


BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Wholesalers' Holiday Hours

The following are the major wholesalers' holiday special hours and other offers. The wholesalers emphasize that their Web sites are open 24 hours a day for a range of services, including ordering:


Baker & Taylor

Beginning Saturday, November 25, through Sunday, December 17, the company will have extended ordering hours, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sat. and Sun., 12 Noon-6 p.m. 800-775-1100; fax 800-775-7480; electronic 800-774-0419; e-mail orders@btol.com. Beginning November 25 through December 17, the customer service department will be open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Bookazine

From Monday, November 20, through Saturday, December 23, Bookazine will have the following ordering hours: Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sun., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Orders received by normal cutoff time Mon.-Fri. ship same day; orders received between 12:01 a.m. Sat. and 6 p.m. Sunday receive priority shipping Monday morning and earn an additional 1% discount. Local customers' orders received by 11 a.m. can have same-day delivery service through December 23.

800-221-8112; 201-339-7777; fax: 201-339-7778

BookStream

BookStream's special holiday ordering hours are:

Saturday, November 25, through Thursday, December 21: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays closed.

866-416-1112; local: 845-452-4042; fax: 845-452-7968

Ingram
Book Co.

Ingram Book Co. noted that it can't have special holiday hours because it's already open 24 hours a day, with human beings always answering the phone.

Koen-Levy Book Wholesalers

Starting on Monday, November 20, Koen-Levy will be open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays, and 12-4 p.m. on weekends. The company will also be open on Black Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

800-257-8481

Partners/East Book Distributing

Hours from Monday, November 27, through Thursday, December 21: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EST.

And from Saturday, December 2, through Saturday, December 16: Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Special offers are available for GLBA and MBA Holiday Catalogs.
 
800-336-3137 or e-mail partnersbk@aol.com

Partners/West Book Distributing


Hours from Monday, November 27, through Thursday, December 21: Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. PST.

And from Saturday, December 2, through Sunday, December 17: Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
 
Special offers available for PNBA, MPIBA, NCIBA and SCBA Holiday Catalogs.

Customer service: 800-563-2385 or e-mail: orders@partners-west.com


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Politics, Power, and What Paul Meant

Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: former Senator John Edwards, editor of Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives (Collins, $29.95, 0060884541).

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Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Garry Wills, author of What Paul Meant (Viking, $24.95, 0670037931).

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Saturday on Fox & Friends: Kurt Campbell and Michael O'Hanlon, authors of Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security (Basic Books, $26, 0465051669).

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On CBS Sunday Morning: Mireille Guiliano shares tips and advice from French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasures (Knopf, $24.95, 0307265234).

Also on CBS Sunday Morning: Rebecca Katz, author of One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for People With Cancer, Survivors, and Their Caregivers (Celestial Arts, $21.95, 1587612194). 

 


Books & Authors

Mandahla: Four Delectable Cookbooks Reviewed

Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, & Lebanon by Claudia Roden (Knopf, $35, 030726498X, October 31, 2006)
 
This is one gorgeous cookbook, from the deep aqua and gold cover to the tinted pages to the decorative art. And the photographs! My husband opened the book to a full-page picture of Eggplant and Tomato Salad (Batinjan Raheb), which absolutely glows with pomegranate seeds and mint, said, "We have to make that!" and was off to the store in a trice. We made it that night, and it was not only lovely but utterly delicious. Spinach and Beans with Caramelized Onions (Sabanekh Bi Loubia) will make you try spinach again: a simple dish that combines the leafy green with haricot beans, chickpeas or black-eyed peas (the best choice, in my biased opinion), the recipe again lives up to the photo. I'm not a zucchini fan, but the depiction of Zucchini Fritters (Kabak Mücveri), made with the addition of onion, mint, dill and feta, has me seriously reconsidering my aversion. Arabesque makes good on the promises of its illustrations, and is both a culinary and visual pleasure.
 
The Essential Christmas Cookbook by Lovoni Walker (Lone Pine, $16.95 paperback, 1551055163, September 2004)
 
This backlist title is new to me, but in a month will become part of my essential cookbook library. The holidays are stressful, so why add to the agita by attempting to make complicated recipes designed to impress? The best holiday food, to my mind, is easy, comforting and familiar. A few tweaks here and there are O.K., but don't go messing with the dressing. A Roasted Pepper Tart appetizer with sour cream and Parmesan cheese or Spicy Nut Nibble Mix with cumin, cayenne and cinnamon sound yummily acceptable. The photograph of Roasted Caramelized Onions is almost scented, it looks so good. Creamy Roasted Yam Soup has whipping cream in it, a vital seasonal ingredient. The Butter Tarts, with their filling of brown sugar and raisins, remind me of the sugar pies my grandmother and mother made with brown sugar and butter and leftover pie crust. The recipes in Walker's cookbook bring to mind the kind of winter meals we either had or dreamed of having, no matter what the holiday.
 
The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater
by Nigel Slater (Gotham Books, $40, 1592402348, October 2006)
 
Nigel Slater's Toast is one of the best books about food and memory that I have read. His new cookbook has the same evocative style and content, and is sure to enchant both readers who cook and readers who just eat. Sometimes his diary may create envy--few of us can say, "The last fat, yellow leaves fell off the fig tree this morning, leaving next year's buds at the tip of each gray branch, [while] the figs we eat today are those sent by a kind reader, and we gorge on their melting flesh like lushes."--or frustration that we can't get that fabulous chorizo from the Brindisa shop in Exmouth Market. These moments are offset by the wealth of marvelous recipes and easy, graceful style: "Few sights lift the spirits like a crate of lemons with their glossy leaves intact" leads into a recipe for Lemon and Basil Linguine, where the sauce is "all about the sharpness of the lemon tempered by the Parmesan [and] the fragrance of the basil . . . it is sumptuous and incredibly simple." In December, "The smell of white rice cooking, clean, nutty and warm, casts a serene peace over the house. As if snow has fallen. Seasonings change with the day, but tonight it is green cardamom, black cumin seed, cinnamon . . . fleeting, intriguing, gentle." The Kitchen Diaries is reassuring, familiar and cozy, and a delight to read.

Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala (Douglas & McIntyre, $29.95 paperback, 1553651847, October 2006)
 
Vij's is another lushly beautiful cookbook, awash in reds and oranges and yellows. The food photographs could be a bit more plentiful for a cook new to Indian cookery, but the instructions are clear, with practical recommendations: Beef Tenderloin with Black Cumin Curry is marinated in demerara sugar and tamarind; the cook is advised not to use tenderloin if it's to be cooked well-done (it will be chewy), and to roast more cumin seeds than the recipe calls for because it's difficult to roast just one tablespoon at a time. With Curried Brussels Sprouts with Paneer (a mild cheese) and Bacon, the authors explain why thin bacon won't work after it's mixed with the curry, and recommend a wine match, saying to start the wine while the Brussels sprouts are cooking--excellent advice. Written by the husband and wife owners of Vij's Restaurant in Vancouver, B.C., the book includes information about Indian cuisine, stories about their lives, and innovative recipes that will tempt you whether you are familiar with Indian cooking or a novice.--Marilyn Dahl



Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: A Conversation with Len Vlahos, Part 3

Our discussion concludes (or pauses) with an overview of Booksense.com's search engine and a quick peek at some Web sites that Len Vlahos, director of BookSense.com, considers interesting variations on the theme.

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Robert Gray: How would you rate the search engine for BookSense,com? What does it do well? What could it do better? I don't know whether you want to compare or contrast it directly with Amazon's, but I do know a lot of frontline booksellers still covertly use Amazon to answer customer questions on the sales floor quickly.
 
Len Vlahos: O.K., I'm probably a bit biased, but our search engine is really, really, really, really good. This past January we did a major overhaul and upgrade to the search engine, which, we believe, put our members on more equal footing with their competitors. And at the very least, our search engine is clearly, we believe, the best available to independent booksellers.
 
We made four crucial changes to our search engine:
 
a. The search results are now ordered by a combination of matching the search term to items in the database, Book Sense Bestseller sales and on-order quantities from Ingram. It used to be that you'd type "John Adams" into the keyword search and get nothing but books by authors named John Adams. Now the McCullough paperback comes out on top. Likewise a search on the keyword "kite" now displays the trade paper of Kite Runner first, and the rest of the books in the list (Curious George Flies a Kite, etc.) are all relevant results. This system allows us to anticipate what the customer might be looking for with a much greater degree of accuracy. I encourage you to visit independent bookseller Web sites NOT powered by BookSense.com and try these two searches, or any other search term you can dream up. We're confident that our results are far and away the best. (We even score pretty well against the corporate search engines.)
 
b. We license our book data from Ingram. Specifically, we use iPage (both iPage Active and iPage Extended). This database is truly remarkable for the breadth, depth and quality of the data. The problem is sometimes there's too much data. So with the new search engine, we've given stores the ability optionally to exclude books by inventory status. For example, a bookseller can exclude from search results all Out of Print and/or Special Order books. This allows each store to tailor the selection displayed in the search results to that store's liking. Some stores are excluding some categories; others are including all. The important thing for BookSense.com, with the search or anything else, is that the product be more flexible to meet the varying needs of our very independent members.
 
c. We've added "stemming." This means that different versions of the same root word will find the right result. Search for "Easter Rise" and you'll get "Easter Rising" even though it's not really a match.
 
d. The search is faster and more stable than it's ever been before.

To your specific point about frontline booksellers covertly using Amazon.com to answer customer questions, that has definitely been true in the past, but we are anecdotally hearing it's changing for stores with BookSense.com Web sites, largely because our search is so much better than it used to be.
 
RG: You showcase four Booksense Web sites (Tattered Cover, etc.) on your site as examples of what can be done with the template. Are there other pages you'd highlight as exemplary? Anything wild? Innovative?    
 
LV: Village Books' staff picks page is one of the prettiest uses of the template I've seen. St. Helen's Bookshop is the exclusive home of signed Chuck Palahniuk books, which has been a huge financial boon to the store. (Through the sale of signed-Chuck books alone, they pay for their Web site). Alabama Booksmith has a very interesting signed first editions program. Vroman's Bookstore has created both a MySpace page and a Blog (and link to both from their home page).

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Like most conversations, this one is incomplete (perhaps a better word is unfinished), but I hope it gives you a general sense of what the Booksense.com approach and philosophy currently entail. You can visit Booksense.com's site for more information. And we'll keep talking. You can send questions and comments to fresheyesnow@yahoo.com. I will share them with readers in upcoming columns.

As has been shown here during the past five months, many bookstores use Booksense.com's service. Many do not. I've highlighted alternatives in the past, and will continue to do so. If you've seen one you love, please let me know.

Ultimately all of this leads to the Big Question, posed some time ago by Pink Floyd:

Is there anybody out there?

Oh, yes.

The follow-up, and more important, question is: How do we let them know that there is somebody (aka bookstores) "in here."--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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