Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 17, 2007

Red Lightning Books: Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas about Our Planet by Donald R Prothero

St. Martin's Press: The Awakening: The Dragon Heart Legacy, Book 1 (Dragon Heart Legacy, 1)

Houghton Mifflin: Igniting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology) by Robin Lafevers

Clarion Books: Speak Up by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Quotation of the Day

2007 in the Book Trade: 'Murky,' Yet Strangely Familiar

"It's about as murky a picture as I've seen. Sort of like last year and the year before."--Doug Dutton, Dutton's Brentwood Books, Los Angeles, Calif., as quoted in a Los Angeles Times story about the year in publishing.


Red Lightning Books: The Legend of Bigfoot: Leaving His Mark on the World by T.S Mart, Mel Cabre


Notes: Small Retailers Try Harder; Booksellers Make News

While economists continue to measure holiday retail sales figures like meteorologists watching a storm front, the New York Times reported that "most small retailers, which cannot afford either the price cuts or the expensive advertising, are doing something else this year: making a virtue of their size."

One example of creative marketing cited was Creekside Books & Coffee, Skaneateles, N.Y.,  where "owner, Erika Davis, recently started offering corporations a program for buying gifts for employees and clients. She held a wine and cheese evening in October to promote it and says the promotion could add about 5 percent to total revenue."


"Old booksellers never quit, " John Barringer told the Charlotte Observer in an article on his transition from retired owner of a Little Professor bookstore to "helping out" at a Habitat ReStore in Charlotte, N.C., which "turned to Barringer when they decided to start selling donated books. They had pallet after pallet in storage. Barringer guesses there were some 20,000 volumes."

"This is the kind of fun that bookselling used to be," said Barringer


Urban Think bookstore, Orlando, Fla., is "close to perfection."  The Tampa Tribune praised the shop as "a book lover's bookstore, with rows of literature and contemporary fiction, a section by Florida authors and cases full of books about travel, urban planning, pets, art, philosophy and poetry."

Owners Bruce and Medea Harris bought majority interest in Urban Think four years ago. "I'm a book nut," said Bruce, "and we used to go to Urban Think on date night. It has a hip, urban feel."


The Amargi Woman Academy has opened a feminist bookstore in Istanbul, according to the Turkish Daily News. Pinar Salek, one of the bookshop's founders, said, "The path we walk on will improve by meeting readers face to face, and discussing different books will direct us."


The Des Moines Register profiled a number of area indies, including the Book Store, Beaverdale Books and East Village Books. Customers had their say, including a Book Store patron who told the Register that knowing owner John Heitzman "is like having a book concierge to help select reading material from the thousands of books that get published each year."


The Idaho Mountain Express noted that "the holidays are heydays for booksellers" in a piece about upcoming book events in the region. Iconoclast Books and Chapter One were featured.


Spinning off a traditional Dickensian Christmas theme, several well-known authors were polled by the Guardian to choose their favorite books of the past, present and future.


"Our reason for opening a bookstore is simple--to live a life we feel worth living," Dennis Chan, co-owner of You He Book, Taipei, told the Taiwan Journal, which added that, "in a time when the decreasing interest in literature is so often lamented, independent bookstore You He Book is bucking the trend. By catering to art and style, the store has increased its profile due to its active participation in Taipei's literary scene."


The Boston Globe highlighted Brattle Book Shop's owner Ken Gloss and the "thousands of books for $1, $3, and $5 in the outside lot next to his Downtown Crossing store. For about 20 years, Gloss has moved overflow books to outside carts and shelves when titles are plentiful and demand is low (maybe Valley of the Dolls?). And like the old Filene's Basement markdown policy, prices are lowered over time. The $1 books that don't move are donated to various causes."


In an interesting variation on the prevailing theme of holiday book gift lists, the Boston Globe ventured north to sample regional cookbooks at the Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, N.H., where the Globe "was pleasantly surprised to find a shelf full of local cookbooks."


More Book Gift Picks:

The Detroit Free Press featured "books to warm up a Christmas morning."

Children's books that "bring us old, familiar messages just in time for the holidays" and "books that give kids a taste of other cultures" were showcased in the Los Angeles Times.

On the Today Show, Cosmopolitan magazine's book editor chose "10 books that make perfect presents."

Coffee table books that are "big, they're bodacious and they look great with a big bow wrapped around them" were highlighted by Salon.

Slate picked "the best books of 2007."

The Washington Post listed "gift books we'd love to be on the receiving end of (to put it ungrammatically)."

A "bouquet of books could be perfect gifts for children," the Flint Journal advised.


What, no Anna Karenina? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog featured a video trailer for the going-out-of-business sale of Loome Antiquarian Booksellers, Stillwater, Minn., in which "the books act out their favorite literary death scenes."


University of Pittsburgh Press: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories by Caroline Kim

Bookstore Sales: After Strong October, 2007 Is Positive

Bookstore sales in October were $1.105 billion, up 8% from $1.023 billion in sales in October 2006, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have been $13.470 billion, up 0.3% from $13.429 billion in the first 10 months of 2006. This marks the fourth month in a row that bookstore sales were up over the same period last year--and the first time in 2007 that year-to-date sales have topped last year's comparable figures.

By comparison, total retail sales in October were $336,648 billion, up 6.5% over October 2006, and sales for the year to date were $3.318 trillion, up 3.9%.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.


Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Destroys the World (a Tristan Strong Novel, Book 2) by Kwame Mbalia

Ingram Adds a Half Dozen Publishers

Ingram Publisher Services is adding the following publishers for distribution:

North-South Books, the U.S. division (with headquarters in New York) of Nord-Sud Verlag in Zurich, Switzerland, which publishes children's books, including the Rainbow Fish series.
Patagonia (yes, that Patagonia), the outdoor clothing company that sells some books and calendars.
Lunchbox Lessons, which publishes lesson plans aligned with state and national standards. As an Apple Learning Interchange Affiliate, the company has worldwide reach.
Rvive Books, which reprints many lost and classic works of American literature and nonfiction, particularly from the late 19th and early 20th century.
St. Lynn's Press, Pittsburgh, Pa., founded in 2005, which publishes titles promoting a sustainable, healthy and globally conscious world, focusing on organic living, health and healing, dharmic business and eco-awareness.
Hilton Publishing, founded in 1996 by cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Hilton Hudson, which publishes titles on health literacy with a focus on minority issues. The company aims to educate people on achieving and maintaining the best health and wellness and working with healthcare providers.


Obituary Note: Caroline Stoufer

Caroline Stoufer, owner with her husband, Robert, of Buckskin Booksellers in Ouray, Colo., a former board member of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association and host of a Sunday afternoon music show on KURA, the Ouray School public radio station, died Friday, December 7. She was 53 and had battled cancer for two years.

Until the end, Stoufer "retained to a remarkable degree her positive view of life and her sense of humor," Lisa Knudsen wrote in the MPIBA newsletter. In the past year, Stoufer and local high school students made a film about her life, cancer and plans for her funeral called Just in Case I Die. Some 15 minutes of it was shown last week at a memorial service. (When it is completed, the film will be shown at another memorial service, likely in May.) Knudsen continued: "We cried and then laughed as Caroline declared to the camera, 'I'm way too much of a control freak to let anyone else plan my funeral.' "


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Giving Again

Today on Good Morning America: photographer Alison Jackson, author of Alison Jackson: Confidential (Taschen, $39.99, 9783822846384/3822846384).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Carolyn Jessop, author of Escape (Broadway, $24.95, 9780767927567/0767927567).


Today on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show: Peter J. Gomes, author of The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About the Good News? (HarperOne, $24.95, 9780060000738/0060000732).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Nigella Lawson, author of Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast (Hyperion, $35, 9781401322434/1401322433).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in a repeat: Bill Clinton, whose new book is Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307266743/0307266745).


Books & Authors

Punk Celebration of The Punk Rock Book of Lists

Authors Amy Wallace and Handsome Dick Manitoba and friends celebrated the publication of The Punk Rock Book of Lists (Backbeat Books, $16.95, 9780879309190/0879309199) last week at an appropriate spot: Manitoba's bar on Avenue B in New York City. Among the guests: Lenny Kaye, Ramones art director Arturo Vega, Punk Magazine's John Holmstrom, rock photographer Bob Gruen, Ramones manager Danny Fields, Andy Shernoff of the Dictators, Norton Records' Billy Miller and Miriam Linna. Here are Eric Davidson, Handsome Dick Manitoba himself and Bob Gruen.

Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Book Sense Picks:


Someone Knows My Name: A Novel by Lawrence Hill (Norton, $24.95, 9780393065787/0393065782). "This book is astonishing for its compelling storyline: A young girl is stolen from her African homeland, enslaved in America in the mid-1700s, freed by the British during the Revolution, sent to Nova Scotia, returned to Sierra Leone, then brought to England to testify in the efforts to abolish slavery. An exciting introduction to a brilliant Canadian writer."--Willard Williams, The Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, N.H.

Bless This Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces From Around the World by Adrian Butash (New World Library, $17, 9781577315919/157731591X). "Not since Earth Prayers from Around the World have I seen such a wonderful collection of graces. The words come from many traditions, from cultures past and present, but they all find a way to say in heartwarming language, 'For this meal, for this company, for our gifts, thank you.'"--Eric Robbins, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, Me.


The Lost Sailors by Jean-Claude Izzo (Europa Editions, $14.95, 9781933372358/1933372354). "Three men aboard an impounded freighter ponder their options and their life choices. Like a classic French noir, this waterfront homage to Marseilles could have been written by Joseph Conrad and Albert Camus--great characters, great writing!"--Nick DiMartino, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (Hyperion, $16.99, 9780786849000/0786849002). "Do not let the odd title put you off: This unusual, funny, charming, funny, book features fantastic characters, moving drama, and a plot that keeps you guessing. And did I mention it's funny?"--Melissa Manlove, The Storyteller, Lafayette, Calif.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


Book Brahmins: Valerie Koehler

Valerie Koehler, for close to 11 years owner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Tex., a general neighborhood bookstore, writes from her messy desk about the books which surround her. Here she answers questions we occasionally put to people in the industry:

On your nightstand now:  

At last count, 35 books! (It's a large, round table). Actively reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell, Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls by Meg Cabot, Audrey Wait! by Robin Benway, Intellectual Devotional (all year) and underneath the table, the Harper spring/summer picture book galley box.

Favorite book when you were a child:

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. I really wanted to live in the museum!

Your top five authors:  

In no particular order, Haven Kimmel, Ann Patchett, Marianne Wiggins, Mary Doria Russell and Lois Lowry.

Book you've faked reading:  

Many! Most notably, Wuthering Heights. I saw the movie starring Laurence Olivier about 50 times in high school but never got around to reading the book. And I really don't remember reading The Catcher in the Rye.

Book you are an evangelist for:  

Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins. For this fall, The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson. For everybody, Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings. I have personally recommended it so many times that it has been adopted our local school district.

Book you've bought for the cover:  

Fancy Nancy
by Jane O'Conner. And I wasn't wrong--every customer who has ever picked it up has bought it.

Book that changed your life:  

Gone With the Wind. I read it in three days over Christmas break in high school and that's when I knew that I craved stories and that I would never be bored so long as I had a good book. My know-it-all brother put it best when he said that reading was a way to be by yourself in a large room with a large family.  

Favorite line from a book:  

"He floated along thinking he would like to love the world as it was, and he felt a great deal of accomplishment for the occasions when he did, since the other was so easy. Hate took no effort other than to look about."--Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Book you have re-read:

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I really don't know why anyone else needs to address the subject. She expresses the feelings of so many women in a gem of a book that is like the perfect diamond. Other "stones" don't hold up to the clarity.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Bel Canto
by Ann Patchett. It unfolds in such a wonderful way. And this time, I know what music to listen to while reading. I have my own playlist for this book.

Best line from a customer:

Upon entering the shop, a young customer (probably no more than seven) yells (as only kids can do!) "I LOVE THIS PLACE!" And I do too.



Tale of The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The title of the fairy title book by J.K. Rowling that Amazon bought at auction last Thursday for nearly $4 million is called The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Our apologies for a slightly mangled title.


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