Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 26, 2005


Bloomsbury Publishing: The Road to Grantchester by James Runcie

DC Ink: Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo

University of California Press: Essential Reading on Climate Change: Ocean Outbreak and A Sea of Glass by Drew Harvill

Other Press: The Helicopter Heist: A Novel Based on True Events by Jonas Bonnier, translated by Alice Menzies

Ballantine Books: The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

News

Bookselling Notes: Smooth Sailing; Gurr Boards Hastings

The Miami Herald sails into the world of maritime bookstores, profiling Bluewater Books & Charts, the Ft. Lauderdale store that recently expanded into 9,000 square feet of space and has sales of $5 million a year, about half of which are on the Internet or through catalogues. Owners Vivien Godfrey and John Mann credit 10% annual growth to baby boomers who want to sail long distances and to new technology, particularly GPS, for making navigation easier.

---

The Oprah effect, via Broadway.

Oprah is putting her name and more than $1 million behind the musical version of The Color Purple, which had gotten mixed reviews in Atlanta and is set to open in New York City in December, according to today's New York Times. The marquee will read: Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Color Purple. Oprah starred in the movie version of Alice Walker's novel.

---

Books-A-Million, which is flirting with being delisted by Nasdaq, rallied somewhat on Friday, closing at $8.58 a share, up 4.6%. Expect a restatement of results sometime soon.

---

You never know what you'll find when you travel to one of the world's largest bookstores.

Congratulations: Nancy Bass, co-owner of the Strand bookstore in New York City, married Senator Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) Saturday in Cannon Beach, Ore. The two met when Bass went on a business trip to Portland to meet with Michael Powell, owner of Powell's Books and powells.com. The marriage was announced this summer (Shelf Awareness, July 13).

---

Bookselling blast from the past.

Hastings Entertainment has named Danny Gurr a member of the board of directors of the multimedia retailer. A management consultant and interim president and COO of Cost Plus, a casual home living and entertainment products retailer, Gurr is perhaps best known in the industry as president and CEO of Lauriat's Books, positions he held from 1991 to 1998. Lauriat's owned and operated several chains and folded in 1999. Since then, Gurr has headed Dorling Kindersley, Quarto Holdings and Make Believe Ideas.

---

Like several of its megachurch brethren, the Cathedral of Praise has moved into large quarters and set up a bookselling operation. The new World Ministry Center in Monclova, near Toledo, Ohio, is a 120,000-sq.-ft. former corporate headquarters that includes a bookstore and "trendy coffee shop," as the Toledo Blade put it.

---

The next issue of Ruminator Magazine will be its last. Founded in 1986 as the Hungry Mind Review by David Unowsky and the Hungry Mind Bookstore, St. Paul, Minn., the quarterly has been a critical success and seen subscriptions increase but is not self-sustaining, editor Susannah McNeely told the Associated Press. The magazine has a circulation of 20,000 and is distributed in some 150 bookstores.

Hungry Mind bookstore, later renamed the Ruminator, closed last year.

---

Reminder: The Book Industry Study Group's annual meeting and fall conference takes place this Wednesday, September 28. The focus of several panels: a preview of the organization's used book study and a discussion of the global data synchronization network (GDSN). For more information, call 646-336-7141 or visit BISG's Web site.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Polite Society by Mahesh Rao


Media and Movies

Coming Soon: Capote, Golf, Prize Winner

The following movies will be released this Friday:

Capote
, based on the biography by Gerald Clarke (Carroll & Graf, $17, 078670912X) and directed by Bennett Miller (The Cruise). Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as Truman Capote while investigating the brutal killing of a Kansas family for his famous "non-fiction novel," In Cold Blood--with the assistance of Harper Lee (Catherine Keener).

'Tis the Time for Truman in Tinseltown: Another movie about Capote has been pushed until early next year so as not to compete with Capote. (It's difficult to imagine him being upset about all the attention.) Called Have You Heard?, the film is based on George Plimpton's oral biography Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (Anchor, $16.95, 0385491735).

---

The Greatest Game Ever Played, directed by Bill Paxton and starring Shia LeBeouf. Based on the book by Mark Frost (Hyperion, $15.95, 0786888008), this true story chronicles the rise of golf amateur Francis Ouimet and his 1913 U.S. Open match against British champion Harry Vardon.

---

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is based on the book by Terry Ryan (S&S, $13, 0743273931). Directed by Jane Anderson and starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson, this domestic drama follows a housewife and mother of 10 struggling to make ends meet and keep her family together while her husband drinks away his paycheck. By entering many contests under different names, she wins appliances, products and cash enough to support the group.

GLOW: Atria Books: Right After the Weather by Carol Anshaw


Media Heat: Naked Chef, Zadie, Carole Radziwill

This morning the Today Show unveils Jamie Oliver, whose new book is The Naked Chef Takes Off (Hyperion, $19.95, 1401308244). Oliver will be a staple of the show every day this week.

Also on the Today Show: a cheery Darla Shine, author of Happy Housewife (Regan Books, $24.95, 006085902).

---

Today WAMU's Diane Rehm calls to the mic Brandt Goldstein, author of Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President--and Won (Scribner, $26, 0743230019).

---

Today Oprah talks with Carole Radziwill, widow of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s cousin and author of What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love (Scribner, $25.95, 0743276949).

---

Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

Journalist Kathy Gannon, author of I Is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror: 18 Years Inside Afghanistan (PublicAffairs, $25, 1586483129).
Nuala O'Faolain, who will have stories about her new novel, The Story of Chicago May (Riverhead, $24.95, 1573223204).
Louise Erdrich, who will riff about The Painted Drum (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060515104).
Hilary Spurling, whose new portrait is Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse: The Conquest of Colour: 1909-1954 (Knopf, $40, 0679434291).

---

On Charlie Rose tonight: the author of On Beauty (Penguin Press, $25.95, 1594200637), Zadie Smith.

---

Reminder: Tonight PBS's American Masters airs the first half of Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home about Bob Dylan. Part 2 will ramble on tomorrow night.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: First Cosmic Velocity by Zach Powers


Books & Authors

Mandahla: The Lincoln Lawyer Reviewed

It's always risky when an author with a successful series decides to write a stand-alone. There's usually some resistance from fans, and bookstore buyers can be hesitant. Harlan Coben has written great books since he stopped the Myron Bolitar series, but I do I miss Myron and Win Lockwood. Dennis Lehane wrote the brilliant Mystic River and Shutter Island after penning a bestselling series, but wouldn't we like to read about Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro again? The latest big name to step beyond a popular character is Michael Connelly, and although he did it successfully once before with Terry McCaleb in Blood Work, I was skeptical. Not being a fan of legal thrillers (except for John Lescroart's), I expected numerous boring cross-examinations. But The Lincoln Lawyer (Little, Brown, $26.95, 0316734934, October 3) hooked me by the end of the first chapter. With Mickey Haller, called "The Lincoln Lawyer" because his office is the back seat of a Town Car, Connolly has created more than the typical world-weary defense lawyer with con-artist, drug-dealing, drunk-driving clients.

Haller explains himself with cynicism overlaid with justification: "There was nothing about the law I cherished anymore. Much of society thought of me as the devil but they were wrong. I was a greasy angel. I was the true road saint. I was the oil in the machine." After he takes on a high-paying client, he's afraid that his greatest fear--"I always worried that I might not recognize innocence"--has been realized. When his investigator asks if he might have found an innocent man to defend, Haller replies: "That would be a first. If I had only known it this morning I would have charged him the innocent man premium. If you're innocent you pay more because you're a hell of a lot more trouble to defend."

Not only does the lawyer think he has an innocent client, he also thinks he has a franchise client, one who will be paying Haller's bills through a long trial. Of course, his initially smooth path veers quickly into a tangle. Along the way there is the pleasure of sentences like "the place was overrun with cameras and the media and gadflies, all crowding around Robert Blake and his lawyers as they tried to spin a not guilty verdict into innocence."

Michael Connolly has written a stunning thriller.--Marilyn Dahl

Berkley Books: Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati


Books for Understanding: Katrina (and Rita)

Books for Understanding, the Association of American University Presses's online bibliographic resource of books related to current events and major news stories, has compiled nearly 60 u.p. titles concerning issues stirred up by Hurricane Katrina, including hurricanes in general, Hurricane Camille, geography issues in general, Gulf Coast and New Orleans area geography, emergency management, economic history and energy management.

The program started after the September 11 attacks, when scholarly presses received many requests for information about books on terrorism, Afghanistan and the World Trade Center. For the full Hurricane Katrina list and other information about Books for Understanding, go to the AAUP's Web site.


Deeper Understanding

Change: Book Standard Summit, Part 1

Digital downloads, e-books, technological change, reaching and understanding the consumer, alternative and traditional retail channels, the health of the book supply chain and the proliferation of new titles were among the major topics at the Book Standard's Summit 2005, held on Thursday in New York City.

One of the most-repeated statistics was mentioned early in the program by Jim King, senior v-p and general manager of Nielsen BookScan, who noted that 93% of all ISBNs of books whose sales were tracked by the company during 2004 sold less than 1,000 units. Some people gasped; others found this not necessarily bad news.

Some 1.15 million ISBNs (often representing several editions of one book) accounted for 13% of all sales during 2004, and the remaining 7% of ISBNs accounted for 87% of sales, prompting King to suggest that in 2004 that the old 80/20 rule of 80% of sales coming from 20% of titles had become a 90/10 rule.

King said he saw "a lot of opportunity" for publishers to boost sales of books selling between 5,000 and 50,000 annually--about 90,000 ISBNs in total in 2004. While blockbuster titles are risky because of their high advances and huge printings, publishers might leverage their more modest selling offerings by looking at "groups of titles" rather than individual titles. "There are different ways of framing backlist titles," he said.

A bookseller in the 1970s, King remembered that many customers came into the store looking for a particular title; he and his staff were often able to sell those customers an additional paperback or two or three. Despite today's stagnant sales and anecdotal evidence that readers tend not to make as many spontaneous purchases as in the past, King said customers have a "latent need" and will pay for more books than they intend to buy. "They are willing to part with their money to buy books, but they need guidance," he stated.

Al Greco, senior researcher at the Institute for Publishing Research, said the industry has to address consumer behavior in a "more sophisticated manner." Among the "pivotal" issues:

  • the average book buyer has an "unbelievable sense of the state of the economy."
  • consumers purchase consumer books with discretionary funds.
  • consumers' buying attitudes are affected by many factors, including interest rates, the availability of credit, employment levels, general consumer confidence, etc.

Among positive data for the industry from the past five years, Greco continued, is growth in population and income. But "unsettling" data includes a drop of 10% in the average number of hours spent reading by the population; a gain in title output of 63%; and a drop in book exports. The industry "needs to be able to measure the marketplace and consumer behavior" and should consider having "a centralized office to monitor changes in the economy."

In the middle of a title output bubble--with 20.2 new books appearing every hour--"we're not in crisis yet," he said. "And certainly some areas, such as elhi, Harry Potter, religion, are having exceptional years, but far too many people have forgotten the law of supply and demand. If supply keeps unabated and demand continues to fall--and used books sales are up, exports down, population up slightly--there could be a shakeout," he said.

Joseph Berkery, president and CEO of Berkery, Noyes & Co., said that "there is a lot of content out there that is not being used." Amazon has distinguished itself by having "reached users" and achieved "a broader use of the product," Berkery said. He also emphasized that it is "so important to look at users" and be able to understand "where they're going, what they want, how they gather information and materials and how you fit into it." He urged the book industry to be "intimate with customers."

For more coverage of the Book Standard's Summit, go to the Book Standard Web site. Also on the site, check out the coverage of the retail panel--and look for a surprise.

Watch this space for more Shelf Awareness coverage of the summit tomorrow.

Powered by: Xtenit