Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Inkyard Press: Ring of Solomon by Aden Polydoros

Chronicle Prism: Men in Blazers Present Gods of Soccer: The Pantheon of the 100 Greatest Soccer Players (According to Us) by Roger Bennett, Michael Davies, and Miranda Davis; illustrated by Nate Kitch

Neal Porter Books: I Don't Care by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal

Tor Nightfire: The Spite House by Johnny Compton

Candlewick Press (MA): Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens, illustrated by Monica Mikai

Popular Book Company (Usa): Complete Curriculum Success Series, Math Success Series, English Success Series, 365 Fun Days

Yen on: Fox Tales by Tomihiko Morimi, translated by Winifred Bird



Calling the conclusions of the Government Accountability Office's report on textbook pricing "pretty much common knowledge" for the college store industry, a special issue yesterday of the National Association of College Stores's CM Bulletin did stress, however, that the report is the "highlight of more than a year of attention the textbook pricing issue has gotten on Capitol Hill" and its findings have "already captivated" many interested groups, including media, students and their parents, in ways previous reports have not.

NACS noted that it "generally agreed with the report unlike the Association of American Publishers," which found fault with some data and interpreted some passages as indicating that the GAO supported used textbooks and used text sellers.

In another area of difference of opinion, NACS also supports a "one-price system" by which students in the U.S. would pay the same amount for texts as students abroad, particularly those in developed countries. Many publishers charge less internationally for the same or similar textbooks, saying that they need to price on a market-by-market basis.

Via a free Webcast on Thursday, Sept. 8, NACS will provide members an in-depth look at the report, the opportunity to ask questions and tips on how to use the report to educate the campus community.

The entire report is available online. NACS press release templates and talking points are available online.

Tiny Reparations Books: Gone Like Yesterday by Janelle M. Williams

Bookselling Notes: Secret Man Slump

Today's New York Times diagnosed the sales cold that seems to have afflicted Bob Woodward's book about Deep Throat, The Secret Man. According to the paper of record and major competitor of Woodward's longtime employer, the Washington Post, sales of The Secret Man have lagged behind those of previous Woodward titles. At some stores, the lack of customer interest has been profound. For example, Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., has sold only 60-something out of the 400 it ordered, and Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa, has sent back 40 of the 50 it ordered. Nonetheless S&S publisher David Rosenthal tried to put a happy face on The Secret Man, saying, "It's been a fantastic bestseller. I think it has been, given our expectations, a success, and we expect more out of the book."

One apparent problem with the book was its timing: it appeared fully five weeks after Deep Throat was first identified publicly in an article in Vanity Fair. In that time, even Woodward scooped himself, drawing on the book for an article in the Washington Post that appeared before The Secret Man's publication.


As part of the expansion of its trade sales force, Ingram Book Group has hired Mark Piasecki as a field sales rep to cover the wee territory of Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. He will represent Ingram's distribution client publishers and wholesale services.

Piasecki has been in the book business more than 12 years in sales, marketing, merchandising and advertising at Abrams, Barron's Educational, BDD and Western Publishing.


Barnes & Noble will open a store in Snellville, Ga., in the suburbs east of Atlanta, in August 2006. The bookstore, which will stock close to 200,000 book, music, DVD and magazine titles, will be located in the Avenue Webb Gin shopping center at the southeast corner of Scenic Highway and Webb Gin House Road.


Photo District News zooms in on the payment woes of several photographers who did work for CEDCO. The calendar manufacturer's former director of operations, who is settling some of the defunct company's business, told the journal that four secured creditors are owed millions and doubted that any unsecured creditors, such as photographers, would be paid.

GLOW: Disney-Hyperion: Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow

Borders: U.S. Books Solid; Music, U.K. Stumble

It's not exactly beach reading, but two of the publicly held bookselling chains reported quarterly sales and earnings results yesterday. Barnes & Noble reports tomorrow.

Borders showed "strength in the core book business led by the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," as CEO Greg Josefowicz put it, and there was "continued strength in backlist titles" at superstores. But this quarter, in part because of the London bombings, sales in the U.K. faltered, slowing down the company's fast-growing international segment, and heavy investments in superstore remodeling and the conversion of some Waldenbooks to Borders Express outlets hurt the bottom line. Sales at stores open at least a year were solid in books, but overall comp-store figures were dragged down by dropping music sales.

In the quarter ended July 23, total consolidated sales at Borders rose 5.3% to $891.6 million compared to the same period a year ago while consolidated net income of $1.3 million declined from the $7.9 million in the same period last year. Heavy discounts on Harry Potter helped pull down gross margin as a percentage of sales to 25.5% from 26.3%.

Comp-store sales rose 1.8% at Borders superstores and 1.9% at the Waldenbooks Specialty Retail, which includes Walden, Borders Express, Borders Outlet and airport stores.

Sales at superstores rose 4.3% to $618.5 million. Comp-store book sales were up more than 6% but music sales dropped in the low double digits.

The company remodeled 36 Borders superstores during the quarter, bringing the total remodeled to 45. The company has found that sales in remodeled stores decline temporarily during the remodeling but then build and surpass sales of non-remodeled stores. The company plans to remodel 55 more superstores in the third quarter, completing the remodeling program in time for the holiday season. The remodeling emphasizes some strong categories, including gifts, stationery and the cafe business.

International sales rose 17.1% over the same period a year to $122.1 million, but this was less than expected because of a decline in comp-store sales in the "low single digits" at U.K. Borders and Books etc. stores, a combination of weak sales trends and the July bombings. (If currency fluctuations are taken into account, sales would have risen 14.6%.) U.K. sales comprise 70% of Borders's international sales. There are now 47 superstores outside the U.S.; the company may open nine more by the end of the fiscal year.

Waldenbooks Specialty Retail had sales of $151 million in the quarter, up 0.7%. Borders converted some 44 Walden stores in the quarter, bringing the total converted to 48. The company will convert up to 52 more Waldenbooks into Borders Express stores. The Borders Express locations, which now total 85, have same-store sales that are better than the Waldenbooks chain.

For the full year, Borders expects comp-store sales at its superstores to range from "flat to up slightly" while Walden Specialty Retail comp-sales will likely be "flat to down in the low single digits."

In other news, the company bought back some 2.4 million shares of its stock for $59.8 million. For the year to date, it has bought back 4.6 million shares for $117.5 million.

Harper: Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

BAM's Slam-Dunk Quarter

Buoyed by Harry Potter and "strong growth in children's, history, teen fiction, cooking, humor and inspirational books," according to president and CEO Sandra Cochran, Books-A-Million had a solid quarter ended July 30. Net sales rose 7.9% to $122.4 million and net income rose 70% to $1.7 million. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 4.4%.

The company is paying a five-cent-a-share dividend.

BINC: Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

MPBA's Rocky Mountain High

The Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association meets for its Fall Trade Show Thurs.-Sun., Sept. 22-25, at the Marriott Denver Tech Center in Denver, Colo.

Besides the day-and-a-half-long trade show, events include a brown bag lunch with regional authors; two author breakfasts and two evening author receptions. At Saturday's author reception, featuring more than 20 authors, MPBA will present the Gordon Saull Sales Rep of the Year Award, Bookseller of the Year Award and literacy grants. Friday afternoon is MPBA's general meeting.

Two days of educational seminars focus on the future of bookselling: establishing the lifelong reader; strategies for independent businesses; the art and science of customer service for bookstore staff; and getting started with graphic novels. In addition, the ABA's Avin Domnitz will lead financial seminars--on ABACUS results, increasing sales, payroll and basic budgeting. On Friday, reps will offer highlights of their lists.

Following the shutting down of the Mid-South Independent Booksellers Association, the association hopes to welcome new bookstore members from Oklahoma and Texas.

For more information, go to MPBA's Web site.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Love and Supersizing

Scheduled for tonight on Charlie Rose: Michael Cunningham, author of Specimen Days (FSG, $25, 0374299625).


Tomorrow Bookworm talks with Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love: A Novel (Norton, $23.95, 0393060349). As Bookworm describes the rendezvous: "Memory is the subject of many novels, but Nicole Krauss' subject is the transmission of memory: how do you tell another person about the things that are no longer there? We discuss how writing serves as the great transmitter of memory."


Tomorrow the View chews the fat with filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) whose related book is Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America (Putnam, $21.95, 0399152601).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Next Week

Next Tuesday, two big titles go on sale:

Point Blank by Catherine Coulter (Putnam, $25.95, 0399153225). An explosive FBI thriller, Point Blank follows two dangerous cases--a kidnapping and a murder--as different agents fight to save the lives of others as well as their own.

Book 2 of the Inheritance series, Eldest by Christopher Paolini (Knopf Books for Young Readers, $21, 037582670X), follows up on the Eragon phenomenon. This title has a million-copy printing and a $500,000 ad budget.

Many booksellers have promoted Eldest and taken advance orders. (It's been in the top 10 on Amazon for many weeks.) For example, Watermark Books & Music in Wichita, Kan., played up Eldest at its Harry Potter party. Managing partner Sarah Bagby noted that Random "did a good job providing us with materials for the audience, including sample CDs." The store will do an event, although "not on the scale of Harry."

A general bookstore on the East Coast with a strong children's department has been taking orders for Eldest but otherwise is "not doing anything special," a bookseller said. "People ask about it a lot, but you can't compare it with Harry Potter. You can't put the two in the same sentence."

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