IPG Antes Up $25,000 for Bookseller Relief Fund
Making the first donation of its size by an organization other than a
booksellers association, Independent Publishers Group has contributed
$25,000 to the ABA's Bookseller Relief Fund--and in effect raised the ante for
others in the industry.
Set up after Hurricane Katrina to provide humanitarian relief to
booksellers affected by hurricanes and other disasters, the Fund
received a $25,000 "seeding" grant from the ABA and $25,000 from the
Southeast Booksellers Association; other regionals and individual booksellers have
contributed, too. Industry members who are not booksellers have made
donations to the fund--most notably Holtzbrinck, which gave $10,000,
and abebooks.com, which sent in $9,045--but not at the level of
booksellers or IPG.
"We wanted to do something to help," IPG president Mark Suchomel told Shelf Awareness.
"We also hope it keeps the ball rolling and suggests to other vendors
and people in the industry that these are people in the business who
need help and that we can do something about it."
Meeting in Chicago last week, the ABA board, which often has industry members share in discussions, had invited Suchomel to
visit and talk about his company, business and trends. At the end of
the conversation, he said he had one more thing he wanted to
discuss--and presented the board with a check for $25,000. "They were
really surprised, and many of them became quite emotional," Suchomel said.
Revitalized and Revamping, Kepler's Reopens Saturday
It's official. Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, Calif., has
signed a new lease with its landlord, the Tan Group, and is reopening
on Saturday, October 8. The store will hold a rally at 11 a.m., after
which it will open for business for the first time since the end of
"We're going to do it," Clark Kepler told Shelf Awareness. "This
has been the most amazing 30 days-plus in my life. I knew we meant a
lot and that what we did mattered, but I didn't know it was so profound
and that the response would be so enormous, broad and deep. It's really
humbling. Sometimes it's hard to ask for help, and here so many people
are coming forward to help."
He also thanked the Tan Group, saying, "I was just delighted with how
responsive they were. When we sat at the table, they really came
through. They deserve a lot of credit."
The "new" Kepler's will remain in its current site and be the same
size. The majority of its staff is returning, although employees will
take on some different functions, partly because Kepler's is condensing
its off-site office space and partly because the staff will be smaller
initially "to keep in check personnel costs," Kepler said. "As sales
rebound, we'll respond cautiously."
Kepler has been in touch with key vendors and is working "to buy
books immediately and get them into the store," adding
that reps and suppliers have been "really supportive." Coincidentally
the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association trade show
opens in Oakland this coming weekend, so Kepler's "will take the
opportunity to remind them we could use help."
At the rally this Saturday, Kepler's will sign up charter members to
its membership program, an important part of the new Kepler's. Opening
day charter members receive a 5% discount on books bought that day.
Yearlong benefits of Literary Circle membership include thank-you
gifts, advance notice of author events, backgrounders and reviews and
book discounts, depending on the membership level.
Also at the rally, Kepler's will hold a raffle for $500 worth of books.
As noted last month (Shelf Awareness, September 20 and 21),
Kepler's membership program will have a multitiered approach. Besides
the board with three prominent community members, there is a Patron's
Circle whose 17 members are reported to have raised $500,000. Now that
the lease has been signed, they are converting their pledges into
The board still has one vacant seat, which will go to someone with book
industry experience. "We're still looking for someone," Kepler said. (Interested readers should take that as a major hint.)
Kepler's is also planning a Benefit Week for November 1-6, during which
events will be held to promote the Literary Circle. The Week will
include membership signups at local schools; multiple dinner receptions
"around town" and other author events on that Thursday; "music and
books" on Friday; Senator Barbara Boxer's appearance on Saturday to
promote her political suspense novel, A Time to Run; and a Sunday Family Day.
Volunteer help on all levels is a major component of the renewed store.
For example, Kepler's is looking for volunteers to help set up the
store this week; solicit memberships on the phone, via e-mail and at
the store; do general office work; administer the database; and layout
and design Kepler's newsletter and other materials. The store is also
seeking people who can host author events at their homes and companies
that might underwrite special events.
Eventually customers will notice some changes at the store, Kepler
said. Besides the membership program, Kepler's should, with help from
marketing and merchandising professionals, improve the display of
products in the store and increase the mix of products. During the
summer, the store had begun experimenting with DVD and music and had a
"good response," Kepler said. "A lot of great stores have a mix of
products, and we want to do more of that. We want customers to see
Kepler's as a great bookstore offering like-minded items."
The company also plans on developing its Web site, making it more user
friendly and marketing it better. Kepler noted that "a lot of customers
said they didn't realize they could buy books online at Kepler's."
Kepler's is seeking other venues for hosting large events. Kepler's has
held most events in-store, but this can be disruptive, which "doesn't
always serve us or our customers," Kepler commented.
Media Heat: Soldiers' Stories
Today Good Morning America pays attention to Holly Morris whose new book is Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for a New Kind of Heroine (Villard, $23.95, 0375508279).
Today on the Today Show, for sure: Donny Deutsch, author of Often Wrong, Never in Doubt (HarperCollins, $24.95, 006056718X).
Today Fresh Air hosts more than just another guest: Jason Hartley, author of Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq (HarperCollins, $22.95, 0060843667).
Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show, Robert Kaplan dictates his new book, Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground (Random House, $27.95, 1400061326)
Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 1
The following titles appear next Tuesday, October 11:
The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Grow, or Manage a Business by Martha Stewart
(Rodale Books, $24.95, 1594864705). In this handbook of successful
business practices (excluding insider trading tips), Martha outlines
steps for maintaining a competitive edge with any venture.
Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn (Atria Books, $25.95,
0743270363). Deadly CIA assassin Mitch Rapp battles a Saudi
billionaire, an ex-East German Stasi spy and more.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Knopf,
$23.95, 140004314X). Didion chronicles the year after the death of her
husband, John Gregory Dunne, while their only daughter lies unconscious
in a hospital, suffering from pneumonia and septic shock.
Pennie's Pick and Publishers' Perspectives
Pennie Clark Ianniciello, book buyer for Costco, advises customers read Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn (Atria, $25.95, 0743270363). In the current Costco Connection,
which goes to all the warehouse club's members, she wrote about her
pick of the month: "Feisty yet familiar 'friend' Mitch Rapp is back.
Rapp has fought his way through Flynn's previous novels doing what he
can to prevent terrorists from fulfilling their bloody wishes. This
time, however, the father of a dead terrorist is plotting a simple
revenge: an eye for an eye. But before he can deal with those who
betray him, Rapp must use his cunning and determination to save
In the magazine's cover story, several heads of houses "give their insight on the book biz." Among their observations:
"The challenge for publishers is to find a balance in a world where the
books that succeed do so in even greater numbers than ever before,
while recognizing that our audience has grown far more diverse, and to
learn how to successfully publish across the full spectrum of
interests."--Jack Romanos, president and CEO of S&S.
"I don't actually buy into the notion that America is reading less. It
just doesn't make sense to me, given our sales. . . . I am particularly
encouraged by our increasing ability to reach out to targeted audiences
through the Internet to market our books. We are able to notify
consumers in innovative ways that simply weren't possible 10 years
ago."--Jane Friedman, president and CEO, HarperCollins.
"I'm sure reading in America is still healthy. The NEA study concerned
'literary' reading, and their methodology was not clear to me.
Publishing is a mature business. It has not grown quickly over the last
decade, but it has grown. We publish many more titles every year in
this country and we sell more copies of blockbuster titles than we ever
have before."--John Sargent, CEO, Holtzbrinck.
"For our younger readers, we have a very powerful new weapon: portable
audio. As iPods and cellular phones and satellite radio become fixtures
for everyone, our audio books will be an educational and entertainment
alternative for people on the go. Ultimately, for the young and the
old-but-young-at-heart, books are the perfect panacea for our
increasingly complex society. The one challenge we all face is to
promote reading and literacy in our society."--Laurence Kirshbaum,
chairman and CEO, Time Warner Book Group.
"The book publishing industry is always looking at new ways to rekindle
an interest in reading books. We have launched new marketing strategies
and expanded our editorial programs to make reading more engaging and
inviting to readers of all ages. . . . Penguin Group (USA) has
pioneered a new, easier-to-read mass market paperback format, offering
the reader hardcover values at a paperback price, featuring a bigger
size, larger type and whiter paper."--David Shanks, CEO, Penguin Group.