Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 13, 2005


Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Quotation of the Day

Updike's Uplifting Elements of Fiction

"You imagine a reader and try to keep the reader interested. That's storytelling. You also hope to reward the reader with a sense of a completed design, that somebody is in charge, and that while life is pointless, the book isn't pointless. The author knows where he is going. That's form. As to style, you find words that will deliver the image without stopping the action entirely. Writing ficiton is like music. You have to keep it moving. You can have slow movements but there has to be a sense of momentum, of going someplace. You hear a snatch of Beethoven and it has a sense of momentum that is unmistakably his. That's a nice quality if you can do it in fiction."--John Updike in a Q&A with Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg in last weekend's Wall Street Journal.

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen


News

Building Retrofit Forces Builders Booksource Out

Builders Booksource, whose main store is in Berkeley, Calif., is closing its San Francisco store, which is located in Ghirardelli Square, at the end of the month. The store's building is being retrofitted for earthquakes and will reopen as a hotel. Builders Booksource has had the store in San Francisco nearly 10 years; its Berkeley store was founded in 1982. Builders Booksource sells books, reference material and software for contractors, designers, do-it-yourselfers and others with an interest in building, architecture, engineering, construction, etc.

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The Scott County Times welcomes Gary and Linda Wyatt, who recently moved to Sebastopol, Miss., and last week opened the Well Christian Bookstore, which sells Bibles, books, music, children's items, church supplies and gifts. Linda told the paper: "People are just now learning about us. There are a lot of churches and Christian people in the community, so if they support us, we'll be fine."

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Los Angeles Weekly takes a tour of five new and used stores, including Creation (the former AMOK), Libros Revolucion, the Vedanta Center's bookstore, the Iliad and Harmony Gallery/Counterpoint Records & Books.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins


NBA Finalists Feature a Few Familiar Figures

With a flourish--John Grisham making the announcements at William Faulkner's Rowan Oak home in Oxford, Miss.--finalists for the National Book Awards were named yesterday. The winners will be honored November 16 at a dinner hosted by Garrison Keillor in New York City.

The finalists:

Fiction:

  • E.L. Doctorow for The March (Random House)
  • Mary Gaitskill for Veronica (Pantheon)
  • Christopher Sorrentino for Trance (FSG)
  • Renè Steinke for Holy Skirts (Morrow)
  • William T. Vollmann for Europe Central (Viking)

Nonfiction:

  • Alan Burdick for Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion (FSG)
  • Leo Damrosch for Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Joan Didion for The Year of Magical Thinking (Knopf)
  • Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn for 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers (Times Books)
  • Adam Hochschild for Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves (Houghton Mifflin)
Poetry:

  • John Ashbery for Where Shall I Wander (Ecco)
  • Frank Bidart for Star Dust: Poems (FSG)
  • Brendan Galvin for Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2005 (Louisiana State University Press)
  • W.S. Merwin for Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Vern Rutsala for The Moment's Equation (Ashland Poetry Press)

Young People's Literature

  • Jeanne Birdsall for The Penderwicks (Knopf)
  • Adele Griffin for Where I Want to Be (Putnam)
  • Chris Lynch for Inexcusable (Atheneum)
  • Walter Dean Myers for Autobiography of My Dead Brother (HarperTempest)
  • Deborah Wiles for Each Little Bird That Sings (Harcourt)

And later today: the somewhat delayed Nobel Prize in Literature. . .

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Oates, Rendell

Today on the Today Show:

  • Peter Manseau discusses his book about his unusual family, Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son (Free Press, $25, 0743249070).
  • Elizabeth Marquardt laments on the conditions of children in divorce in her new book, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (Crown, $24.95, 0307237109).
  • Bob Pletka, author and compiler of My So-Called Digital Life: 2,000 Teenagers, 300 Cameras, and 30 Days to Document Their World (Santa Monica Press, distributed by IPG, $24.95, 1595800050), is joined by some of the students who participated in the project he organized.
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Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show, Carole Radziwill, author of What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love (Scribner, $25.95, 0743276949).

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Today on the Bookworm: Joyce Carol Oates, author of Missing Mom (Ecco, $25.95, 006081621X). As the show describes it: "Oates says this novel was written as a tribute to her mother, who died last year. Clearer, simpler, less literary than Oates' other books, it was meant to be a novel her mother would have enjoyed. Oates intended to publish it under a pseudonym. Her editor loved the book, and Oates agreed to let him publish it under her own name--which provokes this conversation about naive and sophisticated readers."

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Yesterday Fresh Air spoke with Ruth Rendell, who talked up her latest book, 13 Steps Down (Crown, $25, 1400098424).

This Weekend on Book TV: Families, Race, Fallujah

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's Web site.

Saturday, October 15

12 p.m. History on Book TV. At an event hosted by the Women's National Democratic Club in Washington, D.C., Bonnie Angelo discussed family life at the White House, the subject of her latest book, First Families: The Impact of the White House on Their Lives (Morrow, $25.95, 0060563567).

7 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in 2002, law professor Frank Wu talked about racial identity, which he explored in Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White (Basic Books, $16, 046500640X).

8 p.m. After Words. Bing West, former Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, discussed his book No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah (Bantam, $25, 0553804022). He is interviewed by Mark Mazzetti, defense correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)


Deeper Understanding

Shelf Maker Talk: Indies, Others Show Durability

Ted Baylis has one of the most unusual but reliable perspectives on new book retailers of all kinds. As the head of Franklin Fixtures, the main supplier of book display fixtures, he's one of the first people to be contacted by prospective booksellers or booksellers planning to expand. Because the company has branched into "any place that sells books," Baylis has a fix on trends and growth in everything from traditional bookstores and libraries to visitor center stores in the National Park Service, educational toy stores and gift shops, for example.

Franklin Fixtures was founded 30 years ago to work with the old Paperback Booksmith chain and for a time, most of its clients were independents. But, of course, in the 1990s, indies were hurt badly by the expansion of bookstore chains and the growth of online retailing. The people who got into bookselling then were often unprepared, Baylis said. "In the 1990s, we got calls all the time from people who just got downsized and had kids in college who wanted to open 1,500-sq.-ft. stores in strip malls." For the most part, "they were killed."

But these days new independents booksellers are stronger. The booksellers now opening stores are "better financed, better organized and better business people" than many of their predecessors, Baylis said. "B&N and Borders are basically aircraft carriers and can't move too quickly," while the newer indies "are creative and move like PT boats or destroyers. They find niches where the demographics aren't right for big stores but support modest stores. It's a lot harder for those who want to do it, but it's doable." The newer booksellers also have been able to bring "a lot more personality" to their stores.

Some college bookstores carry few or no trade books and have a range of non-book products, but they are an important market for the company. For college stores, Franklin Fixtures makes general book fixtures, tables and cash registers and outsources some of the more unusual fixtures such as steel shelving for textbooks, glass displays and trendy clothing display fixtures.

Franklin Fixtures has been blessed by the Christian market, which Baylis characterized as "very active for us," even as the independents are being squeezed by secular chains that carry many more religion titles than in the past and by big evangelical churches that have opened their own stores. "They're having to reinvent themselves."

He added that in one key way Christian bookstores are different from their secular brethren. "For many, they don't care about making money because it's a mission," he explained. "Some are very business-like and organized, but some put themselves in the hands of the Lord--that's how they see it."

Libraries have been a strong market for the company because "many libraries are using retail display techniques in ways to make them more user friendly and fun." At one library recently, he said, the company converted "a lot of shelving into display fixtures, and their circulation numbers went through the ceiling." Many libraries want new arrivals, fiction, CDs, DVDs and audios--"all the stuff the patrons don't remember they have"--put in front. Adopting certain bookstore approaches and "using some retail techniques and display signage" also makes a big difference, Baylis said.

Museum gift shops tend to be about 2,000 square feet and offer a different merchandising mix from some of Franklin Fixtures's other clients. To museum stores, "we preach the concept of doing more little kiosks--in effect, setting up mini stores around the museum in the way the Metropolitan Museum of Art has." At these mobile fixtures, museums display a variety of merchandise, many related to nearby shows or exhibitions.

"Some museums have been reluctant to be what they consider crassly commercial," Baylis continued, "but now many not-for-profits are recognizing the value of having a profitable store. Good store design, good fixturing, good visual merchandising and good cross merchandising can help make a profit. For a long time, it was a cute little thing in the corner."

Gift stores sell "a little bit" of books. By contrast, national park stores "have a lot of books."

One longtime Franklin Fixture market appears to have gone the way of the horseless carriage. "We used to love the music world"--Franklin Fixtures made display fixtures variously for LPs, 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs, Baylis said. "We've been rooting for mini CDs, but I think they'll all go away."

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