Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Forge: Remembrance by Rita Woods

St. Martin's Press: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Quirk Books: Forking Good: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of the Good Place by Valya Dudycz Lupescu and Stephen H Segal, illustrated by Dingding Hu

DC Zoom: Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Le, illustrated by Andie Tong

Workman Publishing: Halloween Titles by Various - Click here for more information!

News

Notes: New York to Review Nexus Again; Justice Buys Store

Yesterday New York Governor Eliot Spitzer indicated that he is seeking legislative approval "to clarify what constitutes nexus for online retailers selling to New York State residents," Bookselling This Week reported. "The provision, which is contained in the state's Executive Budget-Briefing Book, stipulates that online retailers that have certain selling activities in the state, such as Amazon.com, should be required to collect and remit sales tax for sales made in New York State."

The American Booksellers Association applauded the proposal. COO Oren Teicher commented: "If approved, this provision would play a significant role in leveling the playing field for all the state's businesses and help secure needed revenue to support essential local services."

Last year, Governor Spitzer had planned to put a measure into effect on December 7 that would have forced e-tailers with nexus in New York State--in Amazon's case, its affiliates--to collect sales tax on purchases made from New York, but backed down during a bleak period for him politically (Shelf Awareness, November 16, 2007).

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Congratulations to Kelly Justice, who has bought the Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., where she has been manager since 2000. She bought the store from Louise "Boo" Smythe and Jim Smythe.

In an e-mail to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance listserv, Justice wrote:

"For those of you who have quietly encouraged and helped me out with this and kept it to yourselves until I was ready, I thank you for that time.

"For those who have been an inspiration to me through the last 19 years of bookselling for other owners, I appreciate it.

"For those of you who wish to send congratulations now, they can be forwarded to my padded cell."

Justice celebrated in style last night with a store event co-sponsored with River City Cellars featuring a wine tasting and an appearance by Ferenc Mate, whose new book is A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Albatross, $24.95, 9780920256565/0920256562).

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Effective immediately, Gary E. Baker has become v-p, IT delivery services, at Borders Group. Baker has been director, IT transformation services, at AlixPartners. Earlier he worked at EDS for five years and was managing director and process executive, General Motors global purchasing and supply chain and global business services. He has also worked at Arthur Andersen and started both a technology and an investment company. He is co-host of the Internet Advisor program on local radio WJR 760 AM.

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Lori Glazer has been promoted to v-p, executive director of publicity for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's trade and reference division. She was formerly v-p, executive director of publicity, at Houghton Mifflin, where she has worked for 17 years.

 


GP Putnam's Sons: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid


Powell's City of Books to Become Metropolis of Books

Powell's Books, whose main City of Books store in Portland, Ore., has 75,000 square feet of selling space, plans to expand again, by at least 10,000 square feet--and maybe 20,000.

The project would add at least one floor of retail space--and maybe two or three--on the southeast corner of the City of Books block at West Burnside Street and 10th Avenue. Demolition won't start until January 2010, and a reopening is planned for November 2010. The store and coffee shop will maintain regular hours during construction.

As part of the changes, Powell's Technical Books will move from its current home, two blocks away, into part of the new space. That building is owned by the Powell family and will no longer have a connection with the bookstore.

Emily Powell commented in a statement, "My hope is to continue inspiring and amazing visitors of the City of Books for years to come, an experience that my grandfather began and my father has cultivated for the past 37 years."

Powell's made the announcement "because we like to plan in the open," CEO Miriam Sontz told Shelf Awareness. The size of the new space will be determined during the next six weeks as the store and its architects do financial and design planning and forecasting.

The project, Sontz's fourth major construction project, "gives my next three years a certain focus," she continued. "I'm going on record saying this is my last construction project and Emily's first."

Sontz admitted to a certain daunting aspect to the project. "Is there such a thing as too large? Can you get too big?" she asked. Although there are no other bookstores to compare Powell's with in terms of store size, she said, "I think it can work on a number of levels."

As if all this is not enough, Powell's plans next year to implement a new store inventory control system that it will build. The store has used Square One for more than a decade, "way beyond the life of a computer system," Sontz commented.--John Mutter

 


800-CEO-READ is now Porchlight - Click here to learn more!


Karibu Closing: African-American Bookseller Had Six Stores

Karibu Books, the African-American bookstore chain with most of its stores in Prince George's County, Maryland, next to Washington, D.C., is closing. Its Pentagon City store in Arlington, Va., which opened in April 2006, has already closed. The Security Square store in Baltimore, Md., which opened in November 2005, and Forestville, Md., store are closing this coming Sunday. The Karibu stores at the Mall at Prince George's in Hyattsville, the Iverson Mall in Hillcrest Heights and the Bowie Town Center in Bowie are closing on February 10.

Karibu, meaning "welcome" in Swahili and owned by Simba Sana, Yao Hoke Glover III and Karla Wilkerson-Glover, started in 1993 on the streets of Washington and the Howard University and Bowie University campuses.

The bookseller used the motto "books by and about African people" and said its philosophy was "to empower and educate people by providing complete access to books by and about people of African descent." It said too, that African Americans are reading "at a larger rate than ever. Karibu believes if there is 'access,' people will buy."

In a conversation with Shelf Awareness two years ago, CEO Simba Sana said that Karibu was challenged by the task of going from a business with just "two of us doing everything" to one with more than 40 employees and six outlets. "We're at a critical stage of trying to mature and become a full-fledged company," he said. Karibu had just hired its first district manager, was "tightening up" management, trying to train employees better and improving technology and systems. Had its business solidified, it planned to open more stores as far away as Philadelphia, Pa., and Richmond, Va.

Karibu's mission, Sana continued, was "to create a black-owned and -operated cultural institution. Our focus is black culture, which is an unlimited resource that we as a people have failed to tap or exploit in a good way, and our culture has been a big contribution to this country. A lot of the problem stems from us having been slaves in this country. We don't reap the financial rewards from the culture we produce. We black retailers are trying to gain some control over our culture by influencing what people buy, and by being owned by black people from back room to front.

"Despite all the progress we supposedly have made, there is still so much backwardness in our community. So many things are not black owned. Even the hip hop guys' money pales in comparison to what the record companies and liquor companies make. Again black people have not perfected the art of creating systems to take advantage of the things they produce. Without culture, nothing else falls in place, whether it's economic or political."

He added that "sometimes black people need a place of their own, where white people can't go, places where we can just say things. Even if it doesn't change or influence things, to be able to say them is so important."

Sadly Karibu will no longer be able to offer that place.--John Mutter

 


Ingram Book Group: Prichard New President and CEO

David "Skip" Prichard has become president and CEO of Ingram Book Group, succeeding Jim Chandler, who is retiring but will remain in an advisory capacity.

Before joining Ingram last July as chief operating officer, Prichard was president and CEO of ProQuest Information and Learning and earlier was v-p of corporate and federal markets at LexisNexis.

In a statement, Ingram Book Group chairman John Ingram said that he and Chandler had begun planning for the transition two years ago and "we were lucky enough to recruit Skip last year." He praised Prichard for his "motivational style of leadership" and said, "Skip will be a valuable part of the coordination of our Ingram content companies--Ingram Book Group, Lightning Source and Ingram Digital Group--which are poised now to take advantage of opportunities in the new digital world, adding important value for our customers. Skip brings deep knowledge and a significant level of experience to us."

Ingram also lauded Chandler, who became CEO in 2004, who "took over for us during a time of transition when we were restructuring our business, and he did an excellent job of leading the effort to create a product- and service-rich organization that competes successfully in an extremely competitive environment."

During Chandler's tenure, among other things, the company launched Ingram Publisher Services and acquired Coutts Information Services.

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: A.J. Jacobs Lives Biblically

This morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., focuses on the Louisiana Hayride and features two interviews:

  • Diane Diekman, author of Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story (University of Illinois Press, $29.95, 9780252032486/0252032489)
  • Joey Kent, co-author with Frank Page of Elvis: The Louisiana Hayride Years, 1954-56 (Louisiana Hayride, 9780977830503)

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

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Tonight on Larry King Live: Steven Cojocaru, author of Glamour, Interrupted: How I Became the Best-Dressed Patient in Hollywood (Collins, $23.95, 9780060791360/0060791365).
Mehmet C. Oz, co-author of You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty (Free Press, $26, 9780743292566/0743292561), will also appear.

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (S&S, $25, 9780743291477/0743291476).

 


Oscar Nominations: Books Score Big

Movies based on books were among the major Oscar nominations, which were announced yesterday. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, February 24, but may be slimmed down because of the writers' strike.

No Country for Old Men, based on the Cormac McCarthy book, was nominated for best picture, best director (Ethan and Joel Coen), best supporting actor (Javier Bardem) and best adapted screenplay. Altogether the film garnered eight nominations.

There Will Be Blood, based on Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, won nominations for best picture, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best director (Paul Thomas Anderson) and best adapted screenplay. There Will Be Blood also had eight nominations.

Atonement, based on Ian McEwan's novel, won nominations for best picture, best supporting actress (Saoirse Ronan) and best adapted screenplay and garnered seven nominations overall.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, based on the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, was nominated for best director (Julian Schnabel) and best adapted screenplay.

Other movies based on books that had major nominations included Charlie Wilson's War (Philip Seymour Hoffman, best supporting actor) and Into the Wild (Hal Holbrook for best supporting actor).

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In related news, Charles Ferguson's documentary No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq was nominated for best documentary feature the same day the book based on it, called No End in Sight: Iraq's Descent into Chaos (Perseus, $17.95, 9781586486082/158648608X), was published.

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And Newmarket Press proudly noted that five of its shooting script and portrait books are for films that won 21 Oscar nominations altogether. They're shooting scripts for Atonement, Michael Clayton, Juno and The Savages as well as The Kite Runner: A Portrait of the Marc Forster Film.

 


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 29:

The Appeal by John Grisham (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385515047/0385515049) is the story of a controversial legal decision against a polluting chemical company.

The Reserve by Russell Banks (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780061430251/0061430250) follows the life of a 29-year-old socialite after the day in 1936 that her father dies and a mysterious, seductive artist lands his plane on the lake next to the family's Adirondack country home.

Light of the Moon by Luanne Rice (Bantam, $25, 9780553805116/0553805118) follows a young woman who travels to France after her mother's death.

Sizzle and Burn by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399154454/0399154450) is the third entry in the fantasy series Arcane Society.

The Purrfect Murder by Rita Mae Brown (Bantam, $25, 9780553803655/0553803654) is the newest feline detective Mrs. Murphy mystery.

Temples on the Other Side: How Wisdom from 'Beyond the Veil' Can Help You Right Now by Sylvia Browne (Hay House, $25.95, 9781401917456/1401917453) is a spiritual self help book.

New in paperback:

Snowfall at Willow Lake (Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 4) by Susan Wiggs (Mira Books, $7.99, 9780778324935/0778324931).

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer (Harper, $14.95, 9780060742768/0060742763). [Meyer is a keynote speaker at the ABA Winter Institute, which begins tomorrow.]

The Cleft by Doris Lessing (Harper Perennial, $13.95, 9780060834876/0060834870).

 



Book Review

Book Review: Comedy at the Edge

Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America by Richard Zoglin (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $24.95 Hardcover, 9781582346243, February 2008)


 
In one of his book's early and most telling anecdotes, Richard Zoglin describes a dust-up between Milton Berle and Richard Pryor when both were booked on the Mike Douglas Show in 1974. Sitting offstage, Pryor snickered audibly while Berle revealed that he'd once fathered a child out of wedlock. "Pick your spots, baby," an infuriated Berle lectured Pryor, but the younger (and likely stoned) comic just laughed him off. Pryor's reaction illustrates the key difference between the old "Take my wife. Please." comedy and a new generation of irreverent, politically charged and deeply personal comedians who came of age in the Vietnam era.
 
Starting with Lenny Bruce, the progenitor of the 1970s style of stand-up, Zoglin examines the careers, source material and personal lives of the funniest men (and a few women) to ever grab a microphone. Among the luminaries here: George Carlin, Robert Klein, Albert Brooks, Richard Lewis, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld. The names alone are enough to inspire a chuckle in the throats of anyone who has watched television in the last 30 years (and for those who remember Saturday Night Live in the '70s, this book is a time capsule in miniature). Zoglin also devotes time to the patrons of '70s stand-up, including Johnny Carson, the Smothers Brothers and Mitzi Shore, owner of the Comedy Store in Los Angeles.
 
Often using their own words, Zoglin shows how these comics combined current affairs with intimate personal experience to mine laughs and create biting social commentary in the process. Each comic found his or her own niche within this context: Pryor addressed race, Carlin railed against the status quo, Brooks lambasted show business and Williams pushed the limits of improvisational comedy to its extremes. Not surprisingly, given the confessional nature of their acts, the funniest, sharpest comics often drew from deep wells of inner turmoil, perhaps none as much as Richard Pryor, whose train wreck of a life was as tragic as his material was brilliant.
 
By the time Jerry Seinfeld found superstardom, Zoglin points out, comedy's edge had softened due in large part to how difficult it had become to shock an audience inured to sex, drugs and cynicism. A case in point: there are now only four of Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" that would still raise an eyebrow--and that's on network.
 
There is so much to recommend about this compelling and expertly written book. The author's note alone, where Zoglin describes when, where and how the comics spoke with him and about each other, is worth the cover price. The nostalgia--for an era of comedy that produced a galaxy of stars, many of whom still shine--is free.--Debra Ginsberg

 


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