Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Basic Books: What We Owe the Future by William Macaskill

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

Berkley Books: Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne; A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson; Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

Soho Crime: Cruz by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory N. Craig-Kuhn

Ace Books: Station Eternity (The Midsolar Murders) by Mur Lafferty

Editors' Note

Off to Portland

Most of Shelf Awareness is traveling to Portland, Ore., today for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association meeting and trade show, which begins tomorrow. If you're at PNBA, stop by the Shelf Awareness booth! And don't miss a sterling keynote address...

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

Quotation of the Day

A Textbook Case

"This is a very conservative industry. They haven't changed their way of doing business in, well, forever."--Michael Granof, an accounting professor at the University of Texas, in Sunday's New York Times on why textbook publishers have not responded warmly to his proposal that they make their business model electronic.

GLOW: Drawn & Quarterly: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton


Hurricane Katrina Update

Borders reported that it has yet to hear from 11 employees at stores closed by the hurricane but is hopeful because more and more employees have been in contact as communication has improved. Borders has an 800 number for employees to call and is providing them with a variety of assistance.

Stores closed until further notice are the Borders in Metairie, La., and the Waldenbooks outlets in Kenner, La., Gautier, Miss., and Biloxi, Miss. Two Waldenbooks in Laurel and Hattiesburg, Miss., will reopen when electrical power is restored.


The ABA is making an initial contribution of $25,000 to its Bookseller Relief Fund, mentioned here yesterday, which will help booksellers affected by Hurricane Katrina. The association said it is "encouraging others in the book industry, including its Book Sense Publisher Partners, to contribute to the fund."

Regional booksellers associations are also encouraging members and others to contribute to the fund and planning to collect money at their upcoming trade shows and annual meetings. At the Southern California Booksellers Association meeting, for example, the association will ask for direct donations as well as use the proceeds from the auctioning of holiday catalogue books for the benefit of independent booksellers in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Checks should be made payable to the Bookseller Relief Fund and sent to the ABA's office at 200 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, N.Y. 10591; please write "bookseller relief" on the envelope.

In addition to other emergency services offered by the ABA, the association's legal counsel, Arent Fox, will give affected booksellers free legal advice or referral information. Booksellers can contact Deanne Ottaviano at Arent Fox at 202-775-5781 or via e-mail at

Blackstone Publishing: Beasts of the Earth by James Wade

Kepler's Supporters Rally

An estimated 450 people attended the rally at Kepler's Books and Magazines yesterday, according to Palo Alto Weekly, and the smaller "work session" afterwards turned into a full-fledged City Council meeting. Kelly Ferguson, the council member particularly active in efforts to reopen Kepler's, said she had met with potential investors, adding that "it would take a special type of investor--one who doesn't expect to get much if any return."

According to the San Mateo Daily Journal, Kepler's rent amounts to $30,000 a month. The interested investors are pledging a minimum of $100,000 each, and the store is working on ways of increasing income, including a membership program.

Owner Clark Kepler said that he had met with the landlord, the Tan Group, yesterday and would meet again today. So far, the "talks have not yielded any results," the San Francisco Examiner reported.

Bookselling Notes: GAO News; Indie 'Mob'; Indigo Scrubs

The National Association of College Stores is holding a free Webcast tomorrow, Thursday, from 2-3 p.m., EDT, to discuss the General Accountability Office's report on textbook pricing. A representative from the GAO and NACS's director of government relations are among the speakers. For more information, go to NACS's Web site.


The Arizona Republic profiled the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, which has stores in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Owner Barbara Peters told the paper that she wanted to open a "little" bookstore but "it got away from me and turned into a big bookstore."


Barnes & Noble will open stores in two shopping centers that are under construction. One is in Center Valley, Pa., near Allentown, in the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley on Center Valley Parkway. The store should open in October 2006.

The other store is in Fairview Heights, Ill., east of St. Louis, Mo., in the Shoppes at St. Clair Square at Route 13 and Highway 159. This store is scheduled to open in March 2007.

Both stores will stock nearly 200,000 book, music, DVD and magazine titles and have cafes.


Larry Portzline, the creator of bookstore tourism, has a new project in the works: a flash mob event to celebrate independent bookstores and honor Banned Books Week. If all goes well, at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 1, groups of people will converge on independents and read aloud from their favorite or random books for two minutes. For more information, check out the mob project's Web site.


Ottakar's top management has raised its bid to buy the firm to 4 pounds per share, up from their original 3.50 pounds offer, the BBC reported. The new bid was seen as a preemptive move against HMV, which owns Waterstone's, and has expressed interest in Ottakar's but has not yet made a formal offer.


Labyrinth Books opened in the former location of Book Haven in New Haven, Conn., on August 22, but long before then, it contacted professors who ordered books through Book Haven, according to the Yale Daily News. The effort has resulted in the store handling some 300 course lists this semester.

Owner Dorothea von Moltke, who also owns the Labyrinth near Columbia, told the paper that "a first-class university should have a very serious, hand-picked store, so we thought this was a perfect opportunity."

Unlike the old Book Haven or main competitor Yale Bookstore, owned by Barnes & Noble, the store requires students to give course lists or the name of a course to an employee who retrieves the books. The reason for von Moltke's strategy: "We have fewer lost lambs that way," she said.


Nebraska Book Company, which operates more than 112 college bookstores, last month bought Anders Bookstore in Auburn, Ala., home of Auburn University. Founded in Montgomery in 1951 to serve school children, the store moved to Auburn in 1966 after the state began to fund textbooks.

Manager Ron Anders Jr., whose grandfather founded the store, told the Auburn Plainsman that the only change will be "greater resources for the students. We will have better service, especially for our football customers."


Chapter 11, the Atlanta, Ga., area bookselling company, closed its Lawrenceville location after almost three years in business. Chapter 11 continues to operate 14 stores.


After three years of cuts and restructuring following the purchase of Chapters, Indigo is back in "growth mode," planning to open three Indigo superstores in Ottawa, Windsor and Montreal and three Coles "boutique" stores in Toronto, Uxbridge, Ont., and Whitehorse, Yukon, CBC reported.

Sales at the company, Canada's largest bookseller, rose 5.3% to C$164.2 million (about US$137.9 million) during the quarter ended July 2. At the same time the net loss declined 26.4% to C$8.1 million (US$6.8 million).

Among the prescriptions for solid growth: shops in hospital lobbies. CEO Heather Reisman was most positive about a test in which the company opened an Indigospirit shop in June in Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Sales have been so healthy that the company is negotiating with other hospitals to open similar shops, which in addition to books, sell flowers, baby gifts and toothpaste.

Reisman's diagnosis, according to the Globe and Mail: "This is a concept meant for captive markets. We'll go slowly, but we think it has real potential."


In another story about unusual markets, yesterday's New York Times noted that Little, Brown will ship free copies of Anita Shreve's A Wedding in December, to be published October 10, to more than 100 B&B's around the country. The protagonist in the story is an innkeeper.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ehrenreich, Ishiguro

Tomorrow on the Today Show, Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the continuing bestseller Nickel and Dimed, talks about her new book, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (Metropolitan Books, $24, 0805076069).


Kazuo Ishiguro, best known for The Remains of the Day, appears tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm to discuss his new book, Never Let Me Go (Knopf, $24, 1400043395). According to Bookworm, "Ishiguro never tells more than he has to--his stripped-down narratives are filled with absence and mystery. In this science fiction derived narrative, he refuses to follow convention--he doesn't invent a complete world. Instead, he wants us, as readers, to fill in the gaps while he clobbers us with sinister surprises."


Tomorrow on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show, Michael Kimmelman, chief art critic for the New York Times, sheds light on The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa (Penguin Press, $24.95, 1594200556).


Tomorrow on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Aimee Bender speaks about her new short story collection, Willful Creatures (Doubleday, $22.95, 0385501137).
  • Charles Mann edifies about 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Knopf, $30, 140004006X).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

The following are major titles going on sale next Tuesday, September 13:

Flush by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 0375821821, $16.95). When Noah's dad discovers an off-shore casino dumping sewage into the ocean, he takes matters into his own hands and sinks it. Unfortunately, he can't prove the casino was doing anything wrong and is promptly arrested. Noah and his sister set out to prove their father's claims and clear his name.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned by Alan Alda (Random House, 1400064090, $24.95). Star of M*A*S*H for 11 years, multiple Emmy winner and Academy Award nominee, Alda recounts memorable turning points in his life, focusing on his strained childhood. The audio version is narrated by Hawkeye Pierce (RH Audio abridged CD, 073932277X, $27.50).

On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, 1594200637, $25.95). Smith's latest novel is an analysis of modern family life and values through a clash between two radically different families. Her first book flashed White Teeth.

The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality by the Dalai Lama and Bstan-Dzin-Rgya-Mtsho (Random House, 076792066X, $24.95). After many years of research with top scientific minds and a lifetime of meditative and spiritual study, the Dalai Lama presents a thorough, fascinating argument as to why the final understanding of truth requires both science and religion. The audiobook is slowly chanted by Richard Gere (RH Audio unabridged CD, 0739322656, $29.95). Ommm...

Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion by Bruce Feiler (Morrow, $26.95, 0060574879). The book follows Feiler's journeys through the cradle of civilization to explore biblical places and events. Combination travelogue, bible commentary and current events commentary, it claims the Bible's moral vision transcends land, power and nationality.

It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider by Jim Henson "and the Muppets" (Hyperion, 1401302424, $16.95) goes on sale September 14. This behind-the-scenes look at Jim Henson's characters, creative spirit and life features program transcripts, personal letters, anecdotes and more. It is also available in audio format (Hyperion abridged CD, 1401383297, $17.98).

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