Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ballantine Books: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Charlesbridge Publishing: Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson

Aladdin Paperbacks: Return of the Dragon Slayers: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch #5) by Brandon Mull

Norton Young Readers: Children of Stardust by Edudzi Adodo

Union Square & Co.: Wait for Me by Sara Shepard


The Tours Must Go On

Call it a freakeffect. Thanks again to Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, we continue to hear from booksellers about the efficacy of author tours and appearances. Today two more observations about which kinds of authors make for the best tour candidates, the long-term effect of an appearance and how important authors' interaction with booksellers can be.

Valerie Ryan, owner, Cannon Beach Book Co., Cannon Beach, Ore., writes:

We here at the edge of the world are not exactly in the loop when it comes to author signings. My store is not set up for readings, but we find that if we run an ad in the local paper, put a sign in the window and put the author right in the middle of the store with a card table and a pen, WE SELL BOOKS, even in a town of 1,200 souls. Of course, we pick our spots and do more of this in the summer when we have hot-and-cold running people.

I used to be a media escort and my observation is as follows: fiction authors are a dream. They are used to living the solitary life and love to stay in the best hotel around, have somebody drive them, take them someplace wonderful for lunch, dinner, etc. They are pleasant and grateful and unfailingly pleasant about the whole affair.

Nonfiction authors, on the other hand, are not primarily authors. They are usually gurus in some field and have been prevailed upon to put all their expertise on paper. They HATE the process. They can't be out of cell-phone range, are impatient, don't want to talk to the unwashed multitudes and are bored with the whole thing. Of course, these observations are not universally true, but darn near!

Christy Hart, campus auxiliary manager/bookstore manager, St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo., writes:

An author appearance does go well beyond that short period of time in the store!  Years of working in independents and excellent training with Nancy Olson [owner of Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.] are my testimony!

Authors should always remember to be kind to the bookstore staff! We are the ones placing the books in the hands of the readers. Booksellers are a bit reluctant to help a book along if the author was rude! Word travels fast among us about the authors and how they behave!

And what makes a great book even more attractive to readers? A bookseller who talked with the author and tells the customer, "I read the book. I met the author and she was wonderful. You will love her book."

Broadleaf Books: Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us by Mark Yaconelli


Bookselling Notes: GAO Report on Texts; Ottakars Bid

Textbook prices have risen at twice the rate of inflation, in large part because the typical college textbook has added colorful supplements and software, according to the long-awaited General Accountability Office study of textbook prices that is being released today.

Text prices have increased 186% since 1986, about 6% a year, well above the consumer price rise of 72% in the same period, the report said. The average student spends nearly $900 on texts and supplies, about a quarter of tuition and fees at a typical public four-year college and 74% of the average community college tuition.

Parts of the report, commissioned by Rep. David Wu (D.-Ore.), were disseminated yesterday by the state Public Interest Research Groups that have been attacking textbook prices for several years. The AAP disputed some of the report's findings, saying that it believes the average students spends about $600 a year on books and materials, about 6% of full college costs.

The report makes no judgment on textbook prices although a slew of general and campus newspapers are highlighting the report's finding that prices have risen faster than inflation in the past two decades. Rep. Wu told the Associated Press that the report found a moderation in text pricing in the past few years and said there are "a range of things" that can be done without congressional involvement.

The National Association of College Stores should issue its response and analysis today.


The chairman, managing director and other directors of Ottakars, which has 130 shops in the U.K., are trying to buy out the company, according to wire service reports. In early morning trading in London, shares rose 14%. The company has had a difficult year, in part because of disappointing Harry Potter sales.

Soho Crime: Blown by the Same Wind (Cold Storage Novel) by John Straley

Varsity Plays Costly Real-World Offense

Varsity Group, which began in business in 1997 as an online textbook seller, continues to run new plays. In May, the company, which has a substantial business acting as the exclusive online bookstore for private schools, including some engaging in distance education, bought Campus Outfitters, which contracts to provide uniforms to private elhi schools both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores in eight states.

As a result, net sales in the quarter ended June 30 rose 57.4% to $1.7 million, but the company had a net loss of $815,000 compared to a net gain of $519,000 in the same period a year earlier. For the year to date--the six months ended June 30--net sales rose 39.2% to $4.1 million and the net loss was $1.3 million compared to a net gain of $169,000 in the same period a year earlier.

The company attributed part of the loss to higher operating costs "associated with building and maintaining a brick-and-mortar retail network." In addition, sales and marketing expenses increased by about $500,000 in the quarter and $800,000 in the six-month period, part of which was attributable to the Campus Outfitters acquisition. The rest of the increase in sales and marketing expenses came from the cost of doing used book buybacks at more of the company's client schools and an increase in sales and marketing staff.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stephen J. Cannell

Today Imus in the Morning gets the lowdown from Stephen J. Cannell, author of Cold Hit: A Shane Scully Novel (St. Martin's, $24.95, 0312347308), the latest in the series starring the L.A. homicide detective.


Among the guests yesterday on Leonard Lopate:

  • Jay Neugeboren whose new short story collection, News From the American Diaspora and Other Tales of Exile (University of Texas Press, $16, 0292706618), deals with American Jews in various states of exile and expatriation.
  • Telecom journalist Leslie Cauley, author of End of the Line: The Rise and Fall of AT&T (Free Press, $26, 0743250257)

Tomorrow's Diane Rehm Show features a Readers' Review of the 1988 novel Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith (Ballantine, $6.99, 034536208X)

Berkley Books: City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita

Books & Authors

Hooks for Books: Through August 31

Tuesday, August 23

Beginning of the astrological zodiac of Virgo, the virgin, lasting until September 22, anniversary of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927, and of the first man-powered flight in 1977 by Bryan Allen in the Gossamer Condor. Birthday of Edgar Lee Masters (b. 1869), Nelson DeMille (b. 1943) and Gene Kelly (b. 1912).

Wednesday, August 24

Anniversary of the day in 79 A.D. when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, 1814 when the British forces invaded Washington, D.C., and burned the Capitol, the White House and other buildings. Birthday of Max Beerbohm (b. 1872), Jean Rhys (b. 1890), Jorge Luis Borges (b. 1899), A.S. Byatt (b.1936), Stephen Fry (b. 1957) and Oscar Hijuelos (b. 1951).

Thursday, August 25

Kiss-and-Make-Up Day and the beginning of Be Kind to Humankind Week. Anniversary of the day Paris was liberated from the Nazis in 1944. Birthday of Bret Harte (b. 1836), Leonard Bernstein (b. 1918), Martin Amis (b. 1949) and Wayne Shorter (b. 1933). (See the new Shorter biography, Footprints by Michelle Mercer (Tarcher, $24.95, 158542353X).)

Friday, August 26

Women's Equality Day. Anniversary of the eruption of Krakatoa on the Indonesian island of Java in 1883, heard 3,000 miles away and creating 120-ft.-high tidal waves. Birthday of Guillaume Apollinaire (b. 1880), Christopher Isherwood (b. 1904) and Julio Cortazar (b. 1914).

Saturday, August 27

International Sing Out Day. The anniversary of the first performance of a play in the North American colonies, called Ye Bare and Ye Cubb by Phillip Alexander Bruce, in 1655, and of the digging of the first commercial oil well in 1859 in Titusville, Pa. Birthday of Mother Teresa (b. 1920), Lyndon Baines Johnson (b. 1908), Theodore Dreiser (b. 1871) and Jeanette Winterson (b. 1959).

Sunday, August 28

Catholic Feast of St. Augustine and anniversary of the March on Washington by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1963, during which he made his famous "I have a dream" speech. Birthday of the creator of the Peterson's Nature Guides, Roger Tory Peterson (b. 1908), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (b. 1749), Roberson Davies (b. 1913), Janet Frame (b. 1924) and Rita Dove (b. 1952).

Monday, August 29

Birthday of Ingrid Bergman (b. 1915), John Locke (b. 1704), Oliver Wendell Holmes (b. 1809) and Sen. John McCain (b. 1936).

Tuesday, August 30

Huey P. Long Day in Louisiana.  Birthday of Mary Shelley (b. 1797) and R. Crumb (b. 1943).

Wednesday, August 31

National Love Litigating Lawyers Day. Anniversary of the founding of Solidarity in Poland in 1980. Birthday of Maria Montessori (b. 1870), New Yorker editor William Shawn (b. 1907) and William Saroyan (b. 1908).--Edward Nawotka []


Our Apologies to Keith Ablow

The author of Inside the Mind of Scott Peterson (St. Martin's, $23.95, 0312352050) is Keith Ablow, not Steve Ablow, an alias supplied by the Early Show that we did not detect.

Keith Ablow, a psychologist who has written a series starring an FBI forensic psychologist, appears on the Early Show today.

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
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