Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman


Notes: George Carlin; Store Changes; Word on The Shack

Comedian George Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, died late Sunday. He was 71.

Best known for his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," Carlin had an amazing way of playing with language and pointing out linguistic absurdities. He also wrote several hilarious books. Hyperion says it is in good shape on stock for them:

  • When Will Jesus Bring the Pork ($13.95, 9781401308216/140130821X)
  • Brain Droppings ($6.99 mass market, 9780786891122/0786891122; $13.95 trade paper, 9780786883219/0786883219)
  • Napalm & Silly Putty ($13.95, 9780786887583/0786887583)
  • Three Times Carlin: An Orgy of George ($13.95, 9781401302436/1401302432)


Sad news from Southern California: Adventures for Kids, Ventura, Calif., is closing, mainly because of the economy.


On BiblioBuffet, SIBA's Nicki Leone tries to answer the question of what would be the perfect online bookstore. For starters, she writes, "I want my perfect bookstore to treat books like books first, and product second." Read more at


La Bloga profiles Aurora Anaya-Cerda, founder of La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem in New York City, which has an online presence and eventually will open a bricks-and-mortar store (Shelf Awareness, April 22, 2008).

La Blaga notes: "Some of Anaya-Cerda's favorite books are: The Alchemist, Rain of Gold, The House on Mango Street and Bless Me, Ultima. She's a collector of bilingual children's books and 'is an avid reader of all things Frida!' "


The New York Times traces the rise of The Shack by William P. Young, calling it "the most compelling recent example of how a word-of-mouth phenomenon can explode into a blockbuster when the momentum hits chain bookstores, and the marketing and distribution power of a major commercial publisher is thrown behind it."

Initially considered by Christian publishers as too secular and trade publishers as too Christian, The Shack, "a story of redemption and God's love," was published by Young and two friends, and now, after it established a following, Hachette is co-publishing.

The Times notes The Shack's bestseller status on its own list as well as at Borders and Barnes & Noble. Like the Wall Street Journal's story on The Story of Edgar Sawtelle last week, the Times doesn't note the book's status as an independent bestseller: The Shack is No. 6 on the Indie Bestseller trade paperback list.


Cal State San Bernardino hosted the Inland Empire Summer Reading and Book Faire last weekend. This year's theme was "the troubling disappearance of independent bookstores."

Fair director Eric Kessler, a reference librarian at the San Bernardino Public library, told the Press-Enterprise that "placards shaped like tombstones and bearing the names of defunct bookstores were placed throughout the university's campus."


Time on your hands this summer? The Telegraph picked its "50 best ever summer holiday books," hoping to prevent your vacation from being "blighted by Summer Reads Syndrome. You spend nearly an hour of sweaty indecision among the front tables, before buying some thick new hardback hyped as the read of the summer. Then--once you've lugged it to a beach miles from a decent bookshop--it turns out to be a disappointment."


Are those "brainstorms" or "thought showers" in your business meeting forecast? Apparently, the King's English is now the preferred form of communication for British bureaucrats and buzz words are out. CNN reported that the Local Government Association "sent out a list of 100 'non-words' that it said officials should avoid if they want to be understood." Among the offending terms are synergies, stakeholders, sustainable communities, empowerment, coterminosity and revenue stream.

"Why do we have to have 'coterminous, stakeholder engagement' when we could just 'talk to people' instead?" asked Simon Milton, the association's chairman.


The Motley Fool suggested that a "dose of disruption may be what the traditional publishing industry needs to snap it out of some of the poor decision-making that seems to go on, and that disruption seems to be on its way."


Effective immediately, Jennifer Northcutt has been named fiction buyer for Borders and Waldenbooks, reporting to Micha Hershman, merchandising director, fiction and diversity. Since 2006, Northcutt has been the young adult buyer in the children's group and earlier was assistant buyer and held several roles at Borders stores and the corporate office.

In a statement, Kathryn Popoff, v-p of merchandising and trade books, called Northcutt "an extremely energetic and creative individual with a proven ability to handpick titles that our customers will love. As the young adult buyer, she managed some of the biggest titles, implemented new marketing techniques and fostered dynamic growth of the young adult fiction category. She has the right combination of skills and experience to foster growth in the general fiction category and I'm delighted she's taken on this new role."


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Roswell Johnson Saves the World! (Roswell Johnson #1) by Chris Colfer

Image of the Day: Surfer's Code

Shaun Tomson, 1977 World Champion on the International World Surfing Tour and one of the top surfers of all time, hopped off his board long enough to talk about and sign copies of his book, written with Patrick Moser, Surfer's Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life (Gibbs Smith) at the Book Works, Del Mar, Calif. For owner Lisa Stefanacci, "the two lessons that resonated best with me were 1) never turn your back to the ocean and 2) you can't fight a riptide." Tomson, his wife, Carla, and his mother are on the left; Book Works staff members are on the right of the wave.


Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

B&N Recommends Eathan Canin's America America

Barnes & Noble has selected Ethan Canin's America America (Random House), which goes on sale today, as its next B&N Recommends title. B&N Recommends titles are chosen by company booksellers and are promoted heavily both in stores and online. B&N recommends each title "unconditionally, believes is 'unputdownable' and is especially appropriate for book discussion groups."

In a statement, CEO Steve Riggio said, "The newest novel from the acclaimed author of Emperor of the Air and The Palace Thief, America America is a classic American story. This powerful tale will resonate with readers as it tackles the timely issues of truth, politics and family."

B&N described the book this way: "Starting in the Nixon era, America America follows Corey Sifter's progress from his modest roots in western New York to a glittering world of money, ambition, and politics. Corey's entrée into this realm of promise is the patronage of Liam Metarey, son of a ruthless social baron who amassed a fortune in the early 1900s. Through Corey's narration, we are drawn into the triumphs and trials of the Metarey family as Liam attempts to orchestrate a presidential nomination for Senator Henry Bonwiller. Tracing the rise and fall of a politician and a family, and the passing of an idealistic era, Canin's novel moves between the present and the past as Corey chronicles his growth to middle age, his marriage to one of Liam's daughters, and his career as publisher of his hometown newspaper. Layered with Corey's poignant recognition of what it means to be flawed and fallible, Canin's masterfully crafted plot lines converge to bring this complex tale to its startling, inescapable conclusion."


Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Baby Thief

Today on Fox & Friends: Dr. Eric Berg, author of The 7 Principles of Fat Burning (Action Publishing, $24.95, 9781888045550/1888045558).


Today on Just In with Laura Ingraham: M. Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About (Overlook Press, $24.95, 9781590200636/1590200632). 


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Barbara Bisantz Raymond, author of The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption (Union Square Press, $12.95, 9781402758638/1402758634).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Douglas Brown, author of Just Do It (Crown, $21.95, 9780307406972/0307406970).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show, the Readers' Review focuses on One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty (Harvard University Press, $13.50, 9780674639270/0674639278).



Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 1:

Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World by David Maraniss (S&S, $26.95, 9781416534075/1416534075) examines a politically eventful yet often overlooked Olympics.

Death Angel: A Novel by Linda Howard (Ballantine, $26, 9780345486547/0345486544) features a woman fleeing her crime lord lover after stealing his money.

The Last Patriot: A Thriller by Brad Thor (Atria, $26, 9781416543831/141654383X) chronicles the worldwide struggle to uncover an ancient Islamic secret.

A Summer Affair: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown, $24.99, 9780316018609/0316018600) tells the story of a Nantucket glass artist having an affair with her friend's husband.

Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais (S&S, $25.95, 9780743281645/0743281640) continues the Elvis Cole series.

Now in paperback:

Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail by Danica McKellar (Plume, $15, 9780452289499/0452289491).

Walking Ollie: Or, Winning the Love of a Difficult Dog by Stephen Foster (Perigee, $12, 9780399534294/0399534296).

4th of July by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Grand Central Publishing, $13.99, 9780446179669/0446179663).


Birthing the Elephant: Roxanne Coady's Business Launch

Birthing the Elephant: the woman's go for it! guide to overcoming the big challenges of launching a business by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman (Ten Speed Press, $15.95, 9781580088879/1580088872) is part portable success coach, part step-by-step guide through a small-business launch, a What to Expect When You're Expecting for aspiring women entrepreneurs. Birthing the Elephant offers a practical road map to the rocky emotional terrain women entrepreneurs will face during the critical first 22 months of their start-up and shows them smart moves to make and pitfalls to avoid. Besides checklists, action steps and a resource guide, the book presents advice from cosmetics company founder Bobbi Brown, maternity-wear pioneer Liz Lange and more than 25 other entrepreneurs and experts, including Roxanne Coady, founder and owner of R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn. Here are sections of the book featuring Coady, one of our favorite booksellers:

If there's one thing we've learned from our interviews, it's that if your psyche has a cold, your business will sneeze! Time and again, your strengths and weaknesses will be exposed and tested--especially in the early days of your start-up. No one knows this better than Roxanne Coady, the founder of R.J. Julia Booksellers, an award-winning independent bookstore and a beloved landmark in Madison, Connecticut.

"When you start a small business," Roxanne observes, "you are holding up a mirror to yourself. There's nowhere to hide. If you have a problem, you can't blame it on the shareholders. You can't blame it on your boss. You can't blame it on the corporate culture. You actually have less freedom than if you had a job. But you have a lot of autonomy: you can independently make decisions that impact your work or your family life.

When you have your own business, it's all about the yin and the yang, the ups and the downs. The good news is you have autonomy. The bad news is you're accountable. The good news is you've got, not freedom, but choices. And the bad news is, you're going to have to live with the repercussions of your decisions."


Just about all of us toy with the idea of leaving our jobs and striking out on our own. Whatever form such fantasies take, they often act as stress relievers. Sometimes, however, our dreams take firmer root in our hearts than we expect. And, as happened to Roxanne Coady, a combination of circumstances can unexpectedly bring a dream center stage.

"I was very, very happy in many ways at my firm," comments Roxanne about her position with a leading tax accounting company. "I was made national tax director, which was a big deal. I was young and no woman had ever held the job before. I had a great sense of accomplishment about it. I was very well treated, which is why my leaving came as such a surprise."

What induced Roxanne to give up a satisfying, high-paying job where she was well respected and given every opportunity? One of the main reasons was her acute awareness that "many women are, by nature, outsiders in the business world. I'm collegial. I like open communications. I was not very good at internal politics. And these qualities are not necessarily best suited for a happy day in the corporate world. All these things percolated," says Roxanne, "and led me to ask, 'What would be the perfect environment for me?' That got me thinking about my own business. What it was about was never an issue: it would always be about books."

Roxanne's passion for reading led to her dream of opening a bookstore where people could gather, connect, meet authors, and talk about ideas. Propelled by the twin engines of desire and circumstance, she gave six months' notice and embarked on a literary adventure tour, visiting bookstores all over the world. Ultimately, she bought and renovated a building in Madison, Connecticut--and, happily, became pregnant at the same time. Two months after opening her bookstore, she gave birth to a son. Named for her grandmother, R.J. Julia Booksellers is a nationally known independent bookstore--and Roxanne is admired as an innovator in a demanding, intensely competitive industry.


Your feelings may often have to play the role of silent partner when it comes to running your start-up. Acknowledge your inner emotional state, but don't let it prevent you from doing what you need to do to foster relationships and build your business.

"Balancing head and heart," as she describes it, has been a consistent theme for Roxanne Coady. When she first opened R.J. Julia booksellers, it was "all about heart," recalls Roxanne. "I wanted to do the right thing for the customer and my employees. When I worked in the accounting field, it was all about head. Because I went into a business that I was passionate about, I went too much in the direction of heart. I used too much money; I would actually have been better off if I hadn't had enough--I think I would have made some better decisions. I let things happen that I shouldn't have let happen."

When money got tight, Roxanne pulled in the reins and refocused herself. She realized that if her bookstore was to survive, she needed to fully utilize her financial background and put in place business concepts that were normal operating procedure in most enterprises. "I needed to analyze data in a kind of heartless way to determine what was working and what wasn't, what I could afford to do and what I couldn't. I went back to using all the data I knew how to use to run my business and make decisions. It didn't matter how I felt about things. I had to reconcile head and heart."

To get her business on a sound financial footing, Roxanne instituted cash flow spread sheets, budgets, job descriptions, and employee evaluations. Roxanne's more tough-minded approach paid off. In an industry where profit margins are historically low and most bookstores are not operated using traditional business concepts, R.J. Julia survived and thrived. Ultimately, it received Publishers Weekly's Bookseller of the Year honor.

For more information about Birthing the Elephant, visit



ABA Presidency Not Automatic; Iowa Flooding

In our item yesterday about Michael Tucker becoming vice president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression we passed on some inaccurate information. Although in practice, almost all ABA v-ps in recent memory became ABA presidents, the move is not "automatic." Our apologies for any confusion--and especially to Michael Tucker, who might have begun resting on his laurels yesterday.


We misread a report in NACS's Campus Marketplace about flooding at the University of Iowa: Greg Prickman, assistant head of Special Collections & University Archives, at the University's Libraries, tells us that most books--but not all--were removed from the library basement. The shelves were "cleared four to five feet in the basement, but books and other materials are still down there." Still, the removal of books "prevented any damage" and "cleaning efforts are proceeding well," he added, even though the library staff does not yet have access to the building.

As the waters rose, hundreds of university and community members formed human chains to pass collections to higher floors. Prickman commented: "A word to the wise for those who think nobody cares about books anymore." Check out photos available from the UI News Service.


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