Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 1, 2005

Harper: Evil Eye by Etaf Rum

Tor Books: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

St. Martin's Press: The Last Outlaws: The Desperate Final Days of the Dalton Gang by Tom Clavin

Page Street Kids: Payden's Pronoun Party by Blue Jaryn, illustrated by Xochitl Cornejo

Annick Press: Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell

Flatiron Books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias


Another Happy Jubilee: Cannon Beach Book Co. at 25

From 1 p.m. until closing at 9 p.m. yesterday, Valerie Ryan celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of Cannon Beach Book Co. in Cannon Beach, Ore., by serving cake and champagne to customers and visitors. "But we won't have jugglers or clowns," she commented to Shelf Awareness not long before the party was to begin. "After all, it's a bookstore!"

In fact, Ryan cheerfully called Cannon Beach Book Co., which stocks 14,000 titles, "very elitist. We have lots of literary fiction and literary nonfiction. We specialize in excellent children's and mystery titles. We have history, biography, a huge Penguin Classics section, a really good collection of cookbooks and a little bit of mass market beach read stuff in front." Regional and travel titles focus on the area, and travel memoir is one of Ryan's favorite categories. The store does not, however, carry "supermarket, science fiction, fantasy and computer books," she said. "It's the kind of store that when people come in, they say ‘I've never seen these books before.' It's not that the books don't exist in other stores; it's the way we display and merchandise them. People get a chance to see them because we think they're special."

The store's "quirky" taste is exemplified by what Ryan called the "obsession display," two shelves of books "we particularly like and admire" that deal with subjects in a "deep and narrow" way. Among the titles: Mark Kurlansky's Cod and Salt, Quinine by Fiammetta Rocco, Vanilla by Patricia Rain, Cannabis by Martin Booth and Coffee by Antony Wild. You get the idea.

The store also carries sidelines, but "only a few," Ryan said. They include greeting cards, Putumayo music, Kikkerland Design's Moleskin journals and FunSpecs's "spiffy reading glasses."

Current store bestsellers include The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Working Poor by David K. Shipler ("the same genre as Nickel and Dimed but slightly different"), The Sewing Circles of Herat by Christina Lamb, The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman and Collapse by Jared Diamond.

Among books Ryan has read recently and praises are Memory of Running by Ron McLarty ("the hero-protagonist is as interesting as the guys in Confederacy of Dunces and The Shipping News") and a galley of The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch, a September Bloomsbury title ("for people who liked Peace Like a River or Kent Haruf").

About 80 miles northwest of Portland, Cannon Beach has just 1,200 residents year-round, but draws many tourists and second-home owners from Portland as well as around the world. Summer is the big season for the store.

Cannon Beach Book Co. does few traditional signings and autographings, although Ryan has found that "on a busy Saturday, putting an author in the middle of the back room with a sign on the window and an ad in the paper can sell some books."

The one major event that has worked well is intended to draw traffic at a particularly quiet time of the year. The Midwinter Mystery Weekend, in its third year, is held the last weekend in January and features six to eight authors and a major dinner speaker. From Friday evening to Sunday morning, there are a cocktail party, signings, a banquet and q&a session. This year's Weekend featured Ann Rule; next year Steve Martini will be the star guest.

Although the store's been around a quarter of a century, technically Ryan has not. In 1980, with John Buckley, she bought a 650-sq.-ft. bookstore and renamed it Cannon Beach Book Co. "It was one of those charming beach stores with a potbelly stove in the corner and as cute as a basket of kittens," Ryan commented. In 1984, Ryan sold her share to Buckley and moved back to Seattle, where she had several stores and did freelance publicity, writing and reviewing. (In 1992, while Ryan was away, Buckley increased the size of the store to its present 2,000 square feet.) In 1995, she bought Cannon Beach Book Co. from Buckley and has run it ever since.

Cannon Beach Book Company is located at 130 N. Hemlock, Suite 2, Cannon Beach, Ore. 97110; 503-436-1301.

Ryan: "After all, it's a bookstore!"

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman

Patterson Promotes PageTurner Prizes

First exciting novels. Now an exciting award.

James Patterson and Time Warner Book Group will give $75,000 annually to honor people and groups who "find original and effective ways to promote the excitement of books." The prizes will be known as the James Patterson PageTurner Awards.

Each year, $25,000 will go to a person, company or institution that presents books to the public in "an exciting and original way." Another 25 grand goes to an elementary, middle or high school that "inculcates the joy of reading for pleasure in its students." (In addition, Patterson will visit the winning school for a day.) The rest of the annual award will take the form of 25 $1,000 merit awards to individuals and institutions who have made "notable contributions to promoting the excitement of books."

Winners will be announced in November; nominations should be made by October 15. More information is available online.

GLOW: Pajama Press: The Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault

Pendulum Swings East at Fulcrum

George Ecarma, a buyer at Baker & Taylor for six years and an assistant store manager at Borders, has joined Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colo., as eastern sales manager, a new position that reflects an increased national sales focus for the general interest nonfiction house. Ecarma will begin "making contact and building relationships with the key trade and special sales accounts in the East" in the middle of the month, the company said.

Portland Bookseller to Close Storefront

Wrigley-Cross Books in Portland, Ore., is closing its bricks-and-mortar operation on, of all days, September 11, but will continue to do business online, via catalogue, at conventions and shows and from the owners' home.

Selling new, used and collectible science fiction, fantasy, mystery and horror, the store had been open nearly 15 years. In an announcement, Paul Wrigley and Debbie Cross said that "the realities of the marketplace no longer make high overhead storefronts a viable option. . . . Now with more and more customers turning to the convenience of the internet and big box stores, we have faced slowly decreasing in-store sales for several years. As much as we hated to do so, we had to finally admit that if we want to stay in the book business, we have to do so in a more cost effective way."

Media and Movies

USA Today Unveils Secret Man

Yesterday USA Today contributed to the buzz about Bob Woodward's The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat, due out next Wednesday from Simon & Schuster. After buying a copy from a bookstore that mistakenly put the embargoed book out early, the paper reported, among other things, that Mark Felt nearly confirmed his identity as Deep Throat during a grand jury proceeding in 1976; that Woodward suspected someone at the Washington Post was feeding information to the Nixon White House, which came close to learning who Deep Throat was; and that Felt gave Woodward one of his biggest scoops--that White House tapes had gaps on them--after he left the FBI.

Harry Potter and the Man Who Gives Voice to Him

On the front page of its Marketplace section, today's Wall Street Journal profiles the man behind the 200 voices used in the Harry Potter audiobooks, Jim Dale. A stage actor, singer and songwriter, Dale has to record under tight deadlines. "He typically receives a manuscript on a Friday night and is expected to begin recording the following Monday at 9:30. He then reads as many as 85 pages in a session before his voice gives out."

Dale's comment: "You've got to have a throat of iron to do this."

The audio version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from Listening Library has a record 635,000 first printing; Dale's Harry Potter audios have sold more than four million copies in North America. Oddly, besides the Potter series, Dale has recorded only four audios because "nobody asks me."

Media Heat: Author Tour de France

As the holiday weekend begins, most authors take a break from promoting their titles. But at least one bestselling author continues to move--for a goal that no one else has reached. Tomorrow Lance Armstrong begins the quest to win the Tour de France for the seventh straight time. His It's Not About the Bike has worn a few bestseller yellow jerseys. Several new and updated titles have been issued recently, including Wiley's Tour de France for Dummies, Lance Armstrong: Images of a Champion (Rodale) and The Official Tour de France (Sterling).

Less-demanding appearances by other authors:

Ron Shaw, CEO of Pilot Pen Corp. of America and the author of Pilot Your Life: How to Create the Career You Want (Emmis Books, $12.99), is scheduled to take the co-pilot's seat on Larry King Live tomorrow.


On the Early Show yesterday, the last day of the traditional month for marriage, Stephanie Coontz stood by her book Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage (Viking, $25.95).


Paul Feig, creator of the TV show Freaks and Geeks and author of Kick Me, strutted his stuff on Fresh Air yesterday, promoting his latest book, Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin (Three Rivers, $13.95).

The Philadelphia (Bookstore) Story

Honestly we aren't fixated on Philadelphia. It just happens that two stores are opening in the area within days of each other (see our first issue and the In-Depth story below), and now the weekly Philadelphia City Paper has posted online several stories about local bookstores from its June 23 issue, which included the Summer Book Quarterly.

Check out the introduction, short sketches of many of the City of Brotherly Love's bookstores and a feature about how independents in the Philadelphia area and across the country are competing and distinguishing themselves in a challenging time.

The Bestsellers

Nonfiction Celebrating the West

The following are the 25 nonfiction titles from and about the West published during the first 25 years of the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah, that the store has judged its favorites on the subject. This is just one of the many intriguing book lists that appear in co-owner Betsy Burton's new memoir, The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller (Gibbs Smith, $24.95).

  1. This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig (Harvest, $14)
  2. Basin and Range by John McPhee (FSG, $13)
  3. The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country by Gary Paul Nabhan (North Point, $13)
  4. The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich (Penguin, $12.95)
  5. Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner (Penguin, $17)
  6. Wild to the Heart by Rick Bass (Norton, $12)
  7. Desert Solitaire by Ed Abbey (Ballantine, $6.99)
  8. The Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin by Steve Trimble (University of Nevada Press, $14)
  9. Desert Notes, River Notes by Barry Lopez (HarperCollins/Quill)
  10. Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams (Vintage, $13)
  11. Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West by Wallace Stegner (Modern Library, $13.95)
  12. Hole in the Sky: A Memoir by William Kittredge (Vintage, $19)
  13. The Eagle Bird: Mapping a New West by Charles Wilkinson (Johnson Books, $14)
  14. Riding the White Horse Home: A Western Family Album by Teresa Jordan (Vintage, $12)
  15. Temporary Homelands by Alison Hawthorne Deming (Mercury House, $18)
  16. Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River Through the Grand Canyon by Ann Zwinger (University of Arizona Press, $19.95)
  17. A Place in Space: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Watersheds by Gary Snyder (Counterpoint, $17)
  18. Homestead by Annick Smith (Milkweed, $13.95)
  19. Where Rivers Change Direction by Mark Spragg (Riverhead, $14)
  20. Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West by Chip Ward (Verso, $16)
  21. The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams by Nasdijj (Mariner, $13)
  22. Eye of the Blackbird: A Story of Gold in the American West by Holly Skinner (Johnson Books, $17.50)
  23. The Secret Knowledge of Water: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert by Craig Childs (Back Bay, $13.95)
  24. Running After Antelope by Scott Carrier (Counterpoint, $14)
  25. The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflecting on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky by Ellen Meloy (Vintage, $14)


Store Rises in Phoenixville

In the appropriately named town of Phoenixville, Pa., about 30 miles from Philadelphia, a new bookstore called Bridge Street Bookshop is opening for business today. Owner Suzanne Kelly was general manager of Gene's Books, the King of Prussia, Pa., bookstore that closed in 2000.

When Gene's closed, "I knew then that I would open my own store," Kelly told Shelf Awareness. "I wanted to do it right away, but then I realized I didn't have quite enough experience." She wanted to learn more about buying, so she talked with Bob and Kathy Simoneaux, owners of Chester County Book & Music Co. in nearby West Chester, Pa., who hired her to be their children's book buyer and manage the children's department. "They welcomed me with open arms," Kelly recalled. "Kathy taught me what I needed to know."

After two years at Chester County, Kelly also worked for a year in publicity and marketing at Running Press, then was let go in a major layoff, which proved to be the catalyst to start the bookstore. She joined a program to help unemployed people start their own businesses, where over nine weeks, she developed a business plan, built a financial model, found an accountant and began applying for loans.

Kelly found space in an 1870 building in the center of Phoenixville's historic downtown area, which has been revitalized with state aid in recent years. "There are new townhouses and new condos on the way, a new office building, a new district court building, new stores and restaurants," Kelly said. "It was time to get in on the ground floor. If I missed it, I probably couldn't afford to get in later."

The 1,700-sq.-ft. general store will have "basically every subject you can think of," Kelly said. "We won't specialize in any particular thing," although she did note that with all the building and redevelopment in the town of 15,000, she would emphasize home decoration and cooking titles.

The store will also carry book-related sidelines such as cards and book marks as well as newspapers and magazines, including some foreign ones, which had "a huge clientele" at Gene's.

Because Steel City Coffee House is across the street, Kelly will not provide customers caffeine. "I've approached the owners and others in the area about helping each other out. We may start with joint incentives." As Kelly envisions it, a customer making a purchase at Bridge Street Bookshop would get a discount at Steel City and vice versa. Besides, she added, "I want to focus on selling books; they do a good job selling coffee."

Kelly would like to hold larger events at both Steel City, which already has music and poetry nights, and at the nearby Colonial Theatre. Because of its size, Bridge Street Bookshop can host only "intimate" events.

A member of Book Sense, the store will eventually have a Web site.

There's one unusual aspect of Kelly's new venture. Bridge Street Bookshop is the one retail unit in its building, which was recently renovated. The building includes five apartments, one of which Kelly has rented. "I'm going to be at the store a lot anyway," Kelly laughed. If she finds that work and home are too close, Kelly has an out: her apartment lease runs only a year.

Bridge Street Bookshop is located at 214 Bridge St., Phoenixville, Pa. 19460; 610-933-5582.

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