Preparing for Potter, Part 2
At least two bookstores in the U.S. are getting aboard the Harry
Potter express in a literal way: by running their own versions of the
Valley Booksellers in Stillwater, Minn., has teamed with Minnesota
Zephyr, a dinner train, to offer train rides with a Harry Potter theme.
The 40-minute rides through the St. Croix Valley include beer
and a light meal. While waiting for the train, participants may shop in
the store's version of Diagon Alley. Of course, boarding is at platform
Trains run at 11:30 Friday night and four times a day on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $19.95.
Reportedly CNN will be on hand to film.
The most extravagant event among extravagant events may be the Harry
Potter Fest planned in Peninsula, Ohio, where the area will be
transformed into "an Enchanted Village and the World of Harry Potter."
Blue Heron Bookstore will become Flourish & Blotts, and many other
stores will morph into other Potter emporia and hold contests and
activities, offer special menus and feature characters in costume.
The Potter Fest will include lectures on Harry Potter at the Ministry
of Magic given by a Kent State University professor; a Moonlight Hike
the Forbidden Forest (otherwise known as the Cuyahoga Valley
National Park); a Feast in the Great Hall (Happy Days Visitor Center);
a Start of the Term Ball that will last until midnight on Friday; a
Quidditch Match on Saturday; and last but not least, rides on the
Wizard Express (in less magical times this is the Cuyahoga
Valley Scenic Railroad).
In addition, in Duluth, Minn., Northern Lights Books will hold a Harry
Potter party at the city's train depot, where a train will roll in and
deliver books to fans.
NAIBA to Open Trunk Show in Central New York
For booksellers in central New York State who don't usually see
reps, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is holding a
Trunk Show, on Tuesday, July 26, in Syracuse, N.Y.
"The show is to be conducted like a frontlist appointment, but it's a
group frontlist appointment," NAIBA executive director Eileen Dengler
told Shelf Awareness.
Time Warner, Holtzbrinck, Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins and
Wiley will make formal presentations of their frontlists and talk about
publicity, marketing, promotions and author tours. Another 14
publishers, wholesalers and rep groups will have tables for
appointments and drop-in meetings. Some of the participants are sending
reps; some are sending telephone reps. Booksellers will receive catalogues in advance.
So far, 20 bookstores have signed up for the event. "It's nice for the
reps to see that many booksellers in one day," Dengler said.
The association has held workshops in the area that have drawn "a good crowd of booksellers" who expressed interest in this
kind of event. If it's successful, Dengler added, NAIBA may unpack Trunk
Shows next year in northern New Jersey and Maryland.
The show is free for booksellers, begins at 9 a.m. and will be held at the Holiday Inn Carrier Circle in East
more information, contact NAIBA at 877-866-2422 or via fax at
516-333-0689 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Secret Man Stays Secret
The Secret Man, Bob Woodward's account of Deep Throat, aka W. Mark Felt, has left several reviewers wanting to know more. In today's New York Times,
Michiko Kakutani called the book "an intriguing if not fully satisfying
portrait of the real-life relationship between Mr. Woodward and Mr.
Felt." The chief problem: "While Deep Throat's name has been revealed,
the mystery of his identity--his personality, the competing claims of
pride and guilt on his conscience--remain."
In the Los Angeles Times, Ronald Brownstein wrote that were
Woodward a journalism student, his professor would have handed this
book back "as incomplete." Stating that this account lacks "the energy
and freshness" of All the President's Men, he did note "occasional charms" such as the author's account of the "prickly" relationship the pair had in the early 1970s.
Both reviewers noted the importance of confidential sources to the
story--all the more striking at a time when Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time
face jail because of their refusal to testify about sources to a grand
jury investigating the outing of CIA employee Valerie Plame.
As Brownstein put it: "Though imperfect as memoir, The Secret Man
still reminds that anonymous sources, with all their impenetrable and
complex motivations, are sometimes the only way for the public to learn
truths the government and other powerful institutions would hide."
Lance Alert: Yellow Jersey After Four Stages
for his seventh straight Tour de France win, Lance Armstrong is the
leader after four stages. His sterling progress reminds us of a new
book out on the master of the Tour: Lance Armstrong's War: One Man's
Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals
on the Road to the Tour de France
by Daniel Coyle (HarperCollins, $25.95).
In the top 20 on Amazon yesterday, the book by the former Outside
magazine editor is a first-hand account of Armstrong's preparation for and
competition in last year's Tour de France. Several reviewers and
readers have praised the book for presenting Armstrong in a
straightforward way and revealing the pressures and complexity of the
bicycle racing milieu. As Dan Giesin put it in the San Francisco Chronicle
: "Not quite a paean to Armstrong, Coyle's book is more of a
revelatory glimpse of the workaday world of professional cycling, 21st
Media Heat: Freak Eater, Freak Economist
Tomorrow morning the Today Show
chews the fat with Tucker Shaw, author of Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of My Mouth
(Chronicle, $14.95), an account of, as the title suggests, everything he ate in 2004with 2,500 photos to digest.
Scheduled for tonight on Charlie Rose
are Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors of the freak bestseller, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
(Morrow, $25.95). Perhaps for balance, another guest is Francis Fukuyama, a historian whose most recent book is State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
(Cornell University Press, $21).
Today Diane Rehm
chats about a timely topic with Geneva
Overholser, professor of journalism at the Missouri School of
Journalism and co-editor of The Press
(Oxford University Press, $65), part of the Institutions of American Democracy Series.
Today Leonard Lopate
James McWilliams, author of A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia University Press, $29.95).
Rozanne Gold, whose Low Carb 1-2-3: 225 Simply Great 3-Ingredient Recipes (Rodale, $16.95) should help Americans eat a little better.
Judge Robert L. Carter, an instrumental force in the Brown v. Board of Education decision and author of A Matter of Law: A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights (New Press, $24.95).
Adrienne Miller, the literary editor of Esquire whose new novel is The Coast of Akron (FSG, $25).
Yesterday All Things Considered
considered the popularity of books with religious themes. Martha Woodruff reported
Bookstore, Rep Group Stitch Together Unusual Deal
Talk about reps going to extremes to get a foot in the door.
In a rare pairing, Parson Weems, the northeastern commission rep group
headed by Chris Kerr and Sean Concannon, and Good Yarns, a bookstore
and onetime knitting supplies shop in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., are
uniting. The rep group has bought the assets of Good Yarns from
longtime owner Rosemary Edelman, who has retired, and will move its
offices to the back of the 2,500-sq.-ft. store. (Parson Weems's main
office had been in Hoboken, N.J., but rent was about to double.) The new
business entity is known as Rivertown Books, Inc.; the store will
continue to be known as Good Yarns.
After closing last week, Kerr told Shelf Awareness that he's
been "delighted by the response of customers and the staff." The four
staff members are staying on, and "the customers are very enthusiastic
and acutely conscious of their commitment to their village store."
More than 30 years old, Good Yarns is "a nice, little community
bookstore," Kerr said. "It's not an aggressive store doing a lot of
outreach, but it does have a lot of goodwill." In fact, in some ways,
the store is out of another era, with no Web site, no computer
inventory control systemnot even a cash register. Ironically Good
Yarns didn't see reps and mainly bought new titles by request.
So if ever a store is ready for rationalization, it's this one. Parson
Weems, with its technical knowledge and what Kerr called "our obsession
with terms," aims to streamline (or create) systems and help make
cost-effective buying decisions. The store recently became an ABA
member, is joining Book Sense and Booksense.com and will start using
WordStock in two weeks.
Concannon, the president of Rivertown Books and supervisor of buying
for the store, is no newcomer to retail. In his spare time, he runs an
Internet business selling used, out of print and rare titles and will
move that into the store, too. (The 5,000-book collection has an
emphasis on art, history, classic fiction and regional titles.) Before
joining Parson Weems eight years ago, he opened stores for Tower Books
and Records in such far-flung places as Mexico City, Buenos Aires and
Tel Aviv and was the buyer and general manager of the Tower store in
Philadelphia. Kerr will be the secretary/treasurer and be involved in
marketing and advertising.
The new owners are beginning to refixture the store and buy more
new titles. Another item on the agenda: a Harry Potter party, a first
for Good Yarns. The store will donate money to participating Rivertown
libraries for each of their residents who buy a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
"Retail friends think we're barking mad," Kerr continued. "Our
publishing friends are delighted and can't wait to come out and help.
Our clients say good luck and have fun but not too much fun." Parson
Weems hopes to showcase some of those clients, most of whom have done
no business at Good Yarns in recent years.
Good Yarns is located at 8 Main St., Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. 10591; 914-478-0014. Web site to come!