Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Aladdin Paperbacks: The Islanders by Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May

Tordotcom: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Just Pretend by Tori Sharp

Mandala Publishing: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury and Insight Editions

Simon & Schuster Fall Preview: Join us for a virtual panel featuring your favorite authors and their editors!

Tor Books: When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson

Liveright Publishing Corporation: Mrs. March by Virginia Feito

Zest Books: When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin, Robert Garofalo, Zach Stafford, and Christina Garofalo


Notes: PGW; E-Textbooks; Little House Makeover

Radio Free PGW's take on the Perseus offer to PGW publishers makes for bleak reading. The fear among smaller PGW publishers is that the fine print of the offer, written in stunning legalese, indicates that in effect, Perseus may be able to pay smaller publishers less than 70 cents on the dollar and that publishers signing up with Perseus will have to do so for at least four years and in some cases as many as six years.


In a detailed story, the Miami Herald tries to answer its headline question "Why aren't e-textbooks selling?" Among the reasons, the Herald found: "lack of knowledge, poor marketing and few choices." Other hurdles: the lack of a good reader and a variety of file formats.

MBS Direct's Universal Textbook Program (Shelf Awareness, May 23, 2006) now offers some 1,300 titles from 10 publishers, but that represents just 1% of the 125,000 textbooks in print. At many bookstores, students have to go online to buy e-textbooks. MBS is working on a program to allow students to purchase an e-textbook in-store and then download it to their computers later via the Internet. This would help students with financial aid who must spend money for textbooks in the campus bookstore.

Despite the slow growth--only 2% of B&N College store textbook sales are of e-textbooks--the consensus is that, as usual, digital texts are the wave of the future.


On the 75th anniversary of the Little House books, the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is getting a makeover, Newsweek reported. It's not an Extreme Makeover, but the first eight stories now feature photos of models as Laura instead of the Garth Williams illustrations. (The Williams illustrations were inaugurated in 1953 and replaced the original Helen Sewell work.) A new tagline reads: "Little House, Big Adventure."

These aren't the first children's classics to get a makeover. One of our favorite former colleagues, Diane Roback, children's books editor at Publishers Weekly, explained to Newsweek: "Purists are often upset. But this is also a way for publishers . . . to beef up sales. The book jackets we as adults are accustomed to seeing, and love from our childhood, may look musty and dusty to today's kids."


In the last two months of 2006, Borders Group and its customers raised $830,000 for First Book, the nonprofit organization that provides books to children from low-income families. Borders and Walden customers were encouraged to contribute $1, $3 or $5 to First Book when making purchases; their contributions of $780,000 were combined with a $50,000 donation from Borders. The full amount has been converted to Borders and Walden gift cards, which are being distributed to the many organizations affiliated with First Book, including youth centers, housing projects, pediatric clinics and daycare centers. Some Borders and Walden stores are working with the organizations to create story times and other events at which the young readers, some of whom have never owned a book or stepped into a bookstore, can redeem their cards.


Harper: The Taking of Jemima Boone: The True Story of the Kidnap and Rescue That Shaped America by Matthew Pearl

Roberta Rubin: Four Reasons to Celebrate

Roberta Rubin, owner of the Bookstall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., is celebrating four anniversaries this February:
  • In 1982, Rubin purchased a small store, the Book Stall, which originally opened in 1972, 35 years ago.
  • In 1987, Rubin merged the Book Stall with the Chestnut Court Bookstore, which had been founded in 1937, 70 years ago.
  • The Book Stall at Chestnut Court has been at its current location 20 years, since February 11, 1987.
  • And last but not least, Rubin is marking her 25th anniversary as a bookseller.
The store will celebrate its many anniversaries on Saturday and Sunday, February 10 and 11. On that Sunday, everything in the 20-year-old location will be discounted 20%. From 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday there will be a special toast and gathering.


Speaking of her 25th anniversary as a bookseller, Rubin told Shelf Awareness, "I'm happy it's been that long, and I'm happy the community appreciates me."

Another thing that makes her happy is that the store's sales were up between 7% and 8% last quarter, a gain she attributed to "corporate outreach and a lot of out-of-store events. We're lugging books to the city all the time, and some days we have seven or eight events going on."

In contrast to earlier days, "our biggest competition is time," as Rubin put it. "The customer who used to come in and browse and build up a stack of books at the counter is not there in the same numbers as before. Today many customers run in and out and want immediate satisfaction." As a result, one of the store's most important challenges has become, Rubin said, "how can we make it easier for customers to shop with us?"

In part, this accounts for the out-of-store sales. In addition, the Book Stall at Chestnut Court "is working on our Internet sales," which doubled last year. The store just put its newsletter on the Web site and is adding other material. "We can't compete with Amazon," Rubin said. "But we can have a bigger presence there."

Although there have been many changes during her quarter century in bookselling, Rubin has been consistent about several matters. For one, she has maintained staffing levels no matter pinched the store's budget. (The 5,500-sq.-ft. store currently has 25 staff members.) "You can cut inventory and marketing if need be," she said. "But staff is key to having people come in and find the right book."

Rubin continued: "You have to stay with simplicity and focus on your strengths and what your customers want"--sentiments that should help the store to celebrate many more anniversaries.--John Mutter

Bronzeville Books: Rising and Other Stories by Gale Massey

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Starless Crown
by James Rollins

GLOW: Tor Books: The Starless Crown by James RollinsJames Rollins, known for his international thrillers, returns to fantasy in The Starless Crown, the lush and captivating first book in a planned series that is already garnering early-reader comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien. In a realm of secret societies, mystic arts, epic beasts and nations on the verge of war, a young woman's apocalyptic premonition sends her and an unlikely band of companions on a dangerous journey to save the world. "[It has] action and suspense, inventive and deeply informed use of science and history, all driven by masterful plotting and a rich cast of characters drawn together in the face of doom," says Will Hinton, executive editor at Tor Books. "It feels original and classic at the same time, a thriller merged with an epic fantasy." Rollins has created an enthralling and complex new world that readers will delight in exploring. --Jennifer Oleinik, freelance writer and editor

(Tor Books, $27.99 hardcover, 9781250816771, January 4, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Senator Schumer Speaks Out

This morning on the Today Show and Imus in the Morning: Senator Chuck Schumer stumps for Positively American: Winning Back the Middle Class One Family at a Time (Rodale Books, $24.95, 9781594865725/1594865728).


Today on ABC's America this Morning: Douglas Rushkoff, author of Get Back in the Box: How Being Great at What You Do Is Great for Business (Collins, $12.95, 9780060758707/0060758708).


The Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., will feature two interviews and has the theme "sweet & sweeter":

  • Jill Conner Browne, whose new book is The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, but Could Have, and May Yet (S&S, $22.95, 9780743278270/0743278275).
  • David Magee, author of Moon Pie: Biography of an Out-of-This-World Snack (Jefferson Press, $19.95, 9780971897489/0971897484).

The show airs at 8 a.m. Central Time and can be heard live at; the archived edition will be posted this afternoon.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 04.19.21

Books & Authors

Roger & Roger: Rapoport on Moore

How do you publicize a book about a publicity hound who's litigious about publicity about himself?

This was the dilemma confronting Roger Rapoport, publisher of RDR Books and author of Citizen Moore: The Life and Times of an American Iconoclast (RDR Books, $15.95, 9781571431639/1571431632), the "untold story" of filmmaker, former Mother Jones editor and activist Michael Moore based on interviews with 200 people who have known him and worked with him over the years. "His own story is a pretty good tale," Rapoport said.

Fearing that Moore might react negatively, Rapoport did no prepublication publicity and sent out no galleys of the book, which came out last month. "It was publishing in reverse, I guess," he said. Still, "stores have gotten behind the book" and a starred review in Booklist had a "dramatic impact." ("In this engaging profile, Rapoport portrays the quirks and complexities of a man whose life is as fascinating as his films.") Rapoport himself has been interviewed on a range of radio shows, particularly in Michigan, Moore's home state and where RDR Books has headquarters. The author/publisher has also appeared in some Michigan bookstores and next month begins a tour in California; the first event there will be February 21 at Black Oak Books in Berkeley. Rapoport said he is close to going back to press after the first printing of 10,000.

At the moment, Moore himself is in one of his occasional quiet times, but that will end soon, when Moore releases his next film, Sicko, about health care and the pharmaceutical industry. (He's also releasing a documentary about his Slacker Uprising Tour of 2004.) Noting that "health care is on the front burner in Congress," Rapoport praised Moore for his timing. "He has perfect pitch once again. Sicko will be all over the media in several months, starting with Cannes [which takes place in May]." Methuen, which has bought U.K. rights to Citizen Moore, will release it this summer as a film tie-in.

Rapoport has written and edited books on politics, education, medicine, travel and nuclear weapons. He's also a journalist who worked at the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle and has contributed articles to many magazines and newspapers. He started publishing 14 years ago, "just when superstores were taking off." In his area, he continued, "just about every town, down to towns of 5,000 or less, has an independent." Perhaps the journalist in him has sniffed a story: he said that he's seen "a wave of startups of stores that are not big by any means but are doing well. A lot are doing events, and all are very regionally oriented."--John Mutter

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Turnout by Megan Abbott

Awards: The Mountains & Plains Regional Winners

The Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's 2007 Regional Book Award winners are:
  • Adult Fiction: Cottonwood Saints by Gene Guerin (University of New Mexico Press)
  • Adult Nonfiction: Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides (Doubleday)
  • The Arts: Mesa Verde National Park: The First 100 Years by Rose Houk, Faith Marcovecchio and Duane A. Smith (Fulcrum/Mesa Verde Museum Association)
  • Children's: The Buffalo and the Indians by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, photos by William Munoz (Clarion)
  • Regional Reference: Pinedale, Wyoming: A Centennial History 1904-2004 by Ann Chambers Noble (Sublette Country Historical Society/Museum of the Mountain Man)

Also the MPIBA's Spirit of the West Literary Achievement Award, given to an author whose "body of work captures the unique spirit of the Mountains & Plains region," has been won by Linda Hogan, a Chickasaw poet, novelist, essayist, playwright and activist. She has written and edited many books, including The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir; Power; Solar Storms; Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals; and The Sweet Breathing of Plants: Women Writing on the Green World. She is a professor of Native American studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The awards will be presented and winners will speak at an MPIBA banquet open to the public in Austin, Tex., on March 30. For more information, go to MPIBA's Web site or call 1-800-752-0249. 


University of Minnesota Press: Yang Warriors by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Billy Thao

The Bestsellers

Changing Hands Bestsellers--And Why

Passion has inspired the #1 bestseller at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., for the week ended Saturday, January 20.

Pat Davis's The Passion Parties Guide to Great Sex garnered top honors thanks to a pre-Valentine's Day event held recently at the store. "She was incredibly vibrant," Changing Hands owner Gayle Shanks said about Davis, who is the president of Passion Parties, Inc. "She got everybody in this passionate mood, and they all wanted the book."

Davis's appearance drew some 70 people, most of whom purchased the title. "It's almost unheard of to sell nearly the same number of books as people who come to the event," Shanks said. The store sold out of The Passion Parties Guide to Great Sex during the event, which proved to be a boon in other ways as well. "The foot traffic was tremendous," Shanks said, and resulted in significant sales of Valentine's Day merchandise.

Although Christopher Moore won't appear at Changing Hands until February 3, his new novel, You Suck, is the store's #2 bestselling title. "What we do with our large events is sell the books with a signing ticket enclosed in advance," said Shanks, who expects about 200 people to attend Moore's signing. Tickets are free for in-store events and determine the order in which books are signed--the earlier a book is purchased, the less time spent waiting.

The store uses e-mail blasts to alert customers about upcoming author events, "and the books start selling right away," Shanks continued. "This training we've done for our customers is very helpful for us as well. It gives us time to order more books if a lot of people are buying copies in advance of an event."

Author appearances account for several other titles on the store's bestseller list, among them editor Ruth Andrew Ellenson's The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt, motivational speaker Ray Dodd's BeliefWorks and M. J. Ryan's This Year I Will . . .  All books promoted with author appearances are included on a large display table near the store's entrance. Ryan's title is also featured on a "You in the New Year" display, as is Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen's You on a Diet. With coverage on Oprah and other national publicity outlets, You on a Diet "is one of those slam dunk diet books of the year," according to Shanks.

Holding steady in the #9 spot is What Is the What by Dave Eggers. An event propelled the book onto Changing Hands' bestseller list, but the author wasn't at the gathering. The store hosted Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee and the inspiration for Eggers' latest novel. During the event, several young men from the AZ Lost Boys Center, a haven for Sudanese refugees, sold handmade ceramic cow figurines to raise money for a scholarship fund. "It was a phenomenal event," said Shanks.

Changing Hands customer and Arizona State University professor G. Lynn Nelson's Writing and Being holds the #3 spot on the bestseller list. Students taking Nelson's class are directed to Changing Hands--which hosts many writing workshops and panels--to purchase the book, which is displayed in the store's writing section. (Fun fact: Shanks took courses with Nelson while attending ASU in the 1970s.)

Paolo Coelho's fable The Alchemist, ranked at #12, is a consistent bestseller for Changing Hands. Another frontrunner since its publication in October is The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, who appeared in Tempe last fall at an event sponsored by Changing Hands. The senator's tome was a popular holiday gift book at the store and received a boost last week when Obama launched a presidential exploratory committee.

Changing Hands employees receive credit for the appearance of This I Believe in the #10 spot. "My staff is incredibly creative, and they've come up with two unique programs," said Shanks. One is an endcap designated "We Love this Book," and currently featured is the essay collection This I Believe, based on the NPR feature.

The "We Love this Book" display was created after several staff members met Sara Gruen at the ABA's Winter Institute a year ago. Besides handselling Gruen's Water for Elephants, they wanted to find a way to draw additional attention to the novel and came up with the idea for the display. The second employee-devised program, called "Page 23," promotes titles aimed at young adult readers.

The staff picks section is also popular with customers. In addition to a quarterly selection, each staffer chooses a "best book of the year," one of which is The Memory Keeper's Daughter. Kim Edwards' novel "keeps selling and selling," said Shanks, and it's currently the #7 bestseller. Staff favorites are displayed with a write-up describing each one, and when a quarter is over the books are moved into the appropriate sections and remain face out as long as they continue to sell.

Each year Changing Hands creates a full-color, printed brochure with staff selections and distributes it to customers. "It's a great sales piece for us. We try to get it done as early as we can in October and hand it out into the New Year," said Shanks. "It's really the only in-store advertising that we do beyond our posters and flyers for events." For those who would like to read Shanks' pick for the best book of 2006, it's the novel Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison.--Shannon McKenna

Changing Hands Bestsellers during the week ended Saturday, January 20:

1. The Passion Parties Guide to Great Sex: Secrets and Techniques to Keep Your Relationship Red Hot by Pat Davis (Broadway, $19.95, 0767924371/9780767924375)
2. You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore (Morrow, $21.95, 0060590297/9780060590291)
3. Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life through Creative Journaling by G. Lynn Nelson (Inner Ocean/Innisfree Press, $12.95, 1880913615/9781880913611)
4. You on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. (Free Press, $25, 0743292545/9780743292542)
5. This Year I Will . . . : How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True by M. J. Ryan  (Broadway, $15.95, 0767920082/9780767920087)
6. The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt edited by Ruth Andrew Ellenson (Plume, $14, 0452287480/9780452287488)
7. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (Penguin, $14, 0143037145/9780143037149)
8. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama (Crown, $25, 0307237699/9780307237699)
9. What Is the What by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's, $26, 1932416641/9781932416640)
10. This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (Holt, $23, 0805080872/9780805080872)
11. BeliefWorks: The Art of Living Your Dreams by Ray Dodd (Hampton Roads, 14.95, 157174472X/9781571744722)
12. The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho (HarperSanFranciso, $13.95, 0061122416/9780061122415)

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Blush by Jamie Brenner

KidsBuzz: FSG BYR: The Adventure Is Now by Jess Redman
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