Shelf Awareness for Friday, January 9, 2009

Disney-Hyperion: Cold Hearted (Villains) by Serena Valentino

Shadow Mountain: Raised in the Kitchen: Making Memories from Scratch One Recipe at a Time by Carrian Cheney

St. Martin's Press: A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe

Amulet Books: Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Gallery/Scout Press: Together We Will Go by J Michael Straczynski

Insight Editions: Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig's Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend by Joshua Greene

Henry Holt & Company: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Abrams Books for Young Readers: Beyoncé (the First Names Series) by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl, illustrated by Tammy Taylor

Custom House: Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang

Flatiron Books: Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Quotation of the Day

Indie Survival 'All Depends Upon Us, the Consumers'

"These kinds of shops are facing a long, bloody battle--and one which, without significant reinforcements, they are likely to lose. As we hear of the travesty of another brilliant independent going down, we'll mourn the loss, wring our hands and damn Amazon and the supermarkets and Waterstone's. Yet perhaps the most important detail we'll probably keep under wraps: the last time we actually spent any money there. Murder One closing its doors for the final time is undoubtedly a .38 shell for independent bookshops, but whether it's body blow or a warning shot all depends upon us, the consumers. No one, no matter how iconic or established, can exist on fond memories alone: just ask Woolworths. Use these shops now, because it doesn't take a master sleuth to deduce what will happen if we don't."--Stuart Evers, writing in the Guardian about the closing of a legendary Charing Cross Road bookshop.


Big City Press: America Volume 1 by Mike Bond


Notes: New B& President; Xlibris Sold

Effective February 2, William J. Lynch, Jr., becomes president of Barnes & Lynch had been executive vice-president of marketing and general manager of From 2004 to 2008, he was CEO and co-founder of, a wholly owned subsidiary of IAC, and from 2000 to 2004, he served as v-p and general manager, E-Commerce, for Palm Inc., where he oversaw Palm's web properties.


POD publisher Author Solutions has added rival Xlibris to its stable of self-publishing imprints, which includes iUniverse and AuthorHouse. According to the New York Times, Author Solutions' chief executive Kevin Weiss said that last year the company "published 12,000 titles and sold more than 2.5 million copies of its books . . . the title count for the combined company would have been about 19,000 in 2008." Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


Reflecting the troubled economy and generally "dismal holiday retail season," several booksellers who spoke with Bookselling This Week reported "a significant drop in sales, although for some, things didn't turn out to be as bad as initially expected."

"Our decline started in September," said Chris Morrow, general manager and co-owner of the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., who was prepared for a disappointing Christmas. "We were hoping for better, obviously. Our transaction count was down, but our average ticket was way down. There was a fair amount of people around, but everybody was buying much less than they had in the past."

Dorothy Dickerson, owner of Books & More, Albion, Mich., told BTW sales that had been off significantly "picked up in the last few weeks, but not quite soon enough."

At Legacy Books, Plano, Tex., Kyle Hall, director of marketing and events, observed that gift card sales ran counter to the season's downward trend. According to BTW, "customers put an average amount on Legacy Books gift cards upwards of $40, which was just about the same as the store's average transaction amount." Hall added, "Our averages climbed even higher in December, which shows that we definitely had strong holiday shopping at the bookstore. We definitely feel like we made Santa's 'nice' list."

Sara Beahler, owner of Prairie Moon Books, Sheldon, Iowa, reported a 5%-10% increase over last year's holiday sales. "We didn't run sales or anything like that," said Beahler. "We just gave a lot of customer service and did a lot of special ordering. We also had an extensive sideline collection."

Bad weather was an additional challenge faced by the Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash. "It was as challenging a season as I ever hope to see," said owner Peter Aaron. "We had the double whammy of economic hardship, and we got clobbered by bad weather. We had five snowfalls in a two-week period. Between the economy and the weather, we got pasted."

Allison Hill, president and COO of Vroman's Bookstores, Pasadena, Calif., called it "a strange holiday season, but a good one. We were significantly down going into the last week before Christmas. Then the last week was really strong, and the last two days were like nothing we've ever seen."

Kathy Simoneaux, co-owner of Chester County Book Company, West Chester, Pa., noted that "customers who were coming in were spending; it was just that the customer count was down."

Sarah Pishko, owner of Prince Books, Norfolk, Va., observed that "the holiday season was weak, with sales down about 11 percent. Aside from the struggling economy, Prince Books also had to contend with construction in the downtown area and two big box stores that opened nearby."

Despite all the challenges, Ellliott Bay's Peter Aaron said his staffers' spirits were still high: "We're smiling. We're still fighting on."


A Washington Post profile of Japanese retailers in New York City highlighted the offerings of Kinokuniya bookstore, featuring "enough English-language books (covering kimono to kitsch, Mishima to Murakami) to satisfy all manner of Japanophiles," and Book Off, which "carries a wide and eclectic selection of used manga (comics), language books and CDs."


In a letter to the editor published in the Elmira, N.Y., Star-Gazette, customer Paul Kingsbury mourned the recent loss of the Community Bookstore, owned by Karen Nisco: "What set the Community Bookstore apart was that it was a nice place to take a break--to sit around the table for a few minutes and talk about the news of the day with Nisco and whoever else might stop in was a refreshing and rejuvenating experience. Perhaps the best thing supplied by the bookstore was always free of charge: You could always get a friendly smile and an enthusiastic wave as you walked by. Elmira has lost a bit of its warmth with the closing of the Community Bookstore. I know I'll miss it."


"Although it has had different owners over the years, Jenny's Book Exchange has been a fixture in Fletcher [N.C.] for more than four decades," the Pisgah Mountain News reported. Paula Bolick, who has owned the bookshop for the past six years, said her philosophy is "that this is really not a place of work. It is a place of joy. I enjoy my customers. It's just not work. I never say I go to work. I just come to the store."


Obituary note: Eminent theologian Father Richard John Neuhaus died Thursday. John Sherer, publisher of Basic Books, observed, "Father Neuhaus was a man of great kindness, passion, and intelligence. His books have been major contributions into the world of ideas and a source of inspiration and hope to countless readers. Basic Books has always been proud to be his publisher and it was a privilege to call him our friend." His final book, American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile, will be published in March.

An obituary in today's New York Times noted that, "In the last 20 years, Father Neuhaus helped give evangelical Protestants and Catholics a theological framework for joining forces in the nation’s culture wars."


Putting its faith in the power of books, the city of Salinas, Calif., "is now turning to libraries in hopes of curbing gang violence. The mayor of Salinas is pushing a literacy campaign that would make the city the first in the country to require every student to have a library card," according to KSBW News.


"While it may deliver the fatal blow, the financial crisis is only the proximate cause of the book publishing industry’s difficulties The deeper cause is structural and its symptoms have been visible, though largely unacknowledged, for years," wrote Jason Epstein in his Daily Beast essay, "An Autopsy of the Book Business."


Chelsea Green has compiled a list of books to help readers "emerge from the coming year happier, healthier, and more independently sustainable--financially, environmentally, and emotionally." See "Surviving Tough Times in ‘09: Twelve Books That Will Help" on the publisher's website.


Need help with New Year's resolution #1? The Wall Street Journal featured "Diet Books for the New Year: Sassy Water and Lemon Juice."


"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." The sentence would-be novelist Jack Torrance types maniacally and repeatedly in Stephen King's The Shining is now an 80-page book, thanks to the efforts of New York artist Phil Buehler. The Guardian reported that Buehler, "who describes himself as 'a big fan of Stanley Kubrick and Stephen King,' has self-published a book credited to Torrance, repeating the phrase throughout but formatting each page differently, using the words to create different shapes from zigzags to spirals."

Turkey has "rehabilitated" poet and playwright Nazim Hikmet and will restore the citizenship he was stripped of "for his Marxist beliefs in the 1950s after he fled the country, having spent years in Turkish prisons," according to BBC News, which added that "Hikmet, who died in exile in Moscow in 1963, revolutionised Turkish poetry during the 1930s and has had his work translated into some 50 languages."


Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.: The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook

BEA & ABA: Joint Initiatives for NYC Show

BookExpo America and the American Booksellers Association are launching a program of initiatives intended "to help ease the economic challenges facing booksellers who wish to attend the 2009 trade show; to invigorate the convention; and to give booksellers and other industry professionals who attend BEA more networking opportunities," according to Bookselling This Week.

Among the notable changes:

  • BEA will offer limited free convention attendance to ABA bookstore members.
  • ABA will bring its annual Day of Education, which has a program similar to the Winter Institute's, back to the convention facility. The Day of Education this year will take place on Thursday, May 28, the day before the exhibit floor opens, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.
  • BEA will offer a concurrent retailer education track to encourage "cross over" attendance. For the past two years, ABA has been conducting its panels and forums off site.

By holding the Day of Education at the convention center, ABA and BEA noted that the Editor & Bookseller Buzz Forum can now be featured in its traditional time slot on Thursday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. and BEA's Opening Night Keynote on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ABA's annual Celebration of Bookselling, previously a ballroom event, will be marked by a series of nightly events at Hotel ABA, the Brooklyn Marriott. All other ABA functions, including the Indie Next List Lunch on Friday, May 29, will be held at the Javits Center, as will the newly revamped Indies Choice Book Awards (at a time to be determined).

Details of the free BEA admission for ABA bookstore members, to be outlined in the coming weeks, include one additional free BEA pass to every store registered for ABA's Winter Institute.


Gallery/Scout Press: Together We Will Go by J Michael Straczynski

Books & Authors

Shelf Sample: Wildwood

British nature writer and environmentalist Roger Deakin published Waterlog in 1999, about his swimming journey across Britain, and finished Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees (Free Press, $26.95, 9781416593621/1416593624, January 2009) before his death in 2006. He was also a filmmaker, and brings a visual artist's eye to this "meditation on wood." Concerned about the plight of woodlands and forests, he wants us to see the beauty and value not just of trees in general, but of individual trees in their diversity and bravery. And not just trees: he explains how woodpeckers are adapted not only to go up trees, but to keep from falling backwards as they search for insects and larvae. In Languedoc, in search of ancient chestnut trees, he hears "invisible nightingales . . . singing in every bamboo and sandy sallow grove, in the walled cherry orchards"; in Kazakhstan, tracking down the origins of the domestic apple tree, he meets Barrie Juniper, who maps apples' genetic identities through DNA samples; in Ukraine, Deakin recounts the genocidal brutality of the struggle between Polish and Ukrainian partisans during World War II. Mixed with his passion for nature and his splendid prose is a dry wit that downplays risk, as when he was "heartened  to find that a track on our map actually exists" during a snowy trek through the Bieszczady mountains.

On the way from Prague to Lviv, in Ukraine, he writes:

Each bridge we cross over the mountain rivers is guarded by a lone soldier in a sentry box, and as we speed through the forest we pass timber yards stacked high with the trunks of beeches, and the bull-nosed lorries of foresters in smoky clearings. Every so often in a hillside town, the metal-clad domed roofs of an Orthoodox church glint across a valley. Then a long downhill run and a halt in a village station while a wheel-tapper works his way patiently along the train with his hammer, tapping and feeling the wheels for the heat of a jammed brake. He listens to the note of each wheel like a piano tuner. 'Now that's the job for me,' I think.

It is dark by the time we arrive in the city of Lviv and step into the big central hall of its imposing antique station. . . . Everywhere you go in Lviv you are watched by lions: lion faces carved in stone, grinning from the balconies of the old sixteenth-century houses in the splendid Italianate Rynok Square, silently roaring outside the opera house, rampant in every other shopfront. We stay at the George Hotel at one end of Mickiewicz Square and dine on borsch and huge casseroles of baked carp at a suave little café-restaurant near by. They have made a brave attempt at translating the menu, which offers such delicacies as 'meadows fried on butter' or 'frog tights coated.'

--Marilyn Dahl

From Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin. Copyright © 2007 by the Estate of Roger Deakin. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc, N.Y.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 03.01.21

Book Brahmin: Mary Bisbee-Beek

Mary Bisbee-Beek has worked in publishing since 1979. She was the founder and director of Beeksbee Books, an independent publicity and marketing consulting office, from 1992-2003. In the spring of 2003, she joined the University of Michigan Press as the director of publicity and the trade marketing and foreign rights manager. Last July, she joined Literary Ventures Fund as director of publicity and foreign rights.

On my nightstand now:

Jim Harrison's The English Major, Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri and Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams--all of these are for fun reading. For work, I've got a number of manuscripts and A Letter from Death by Lillian Moats.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Hard to pick just one but favorites that I still give as gifts include The House at Pooh Corner, Blueberries for Sal, A Wrinkle in Time, Harriet the Spy and all of the Ramona Quimby books!

Your top five authors:

Uh oh, there's that limit thing again. I've fidgeted with this question for weeks now and have decided to include the whole list: Richard Jones, Andrew Solomon, Ann Hood, Anne Tyler, Chris Bohjalian, Joe Coomer, Tim Farrington, Abigail Thomas, Sue Miller, Brad Kessler and Laurie Colwin.

Book you've faked reading:

Pride and Prejudice, and most textbooks that were ever assigned.

Book you're an evangelist for:

A Century of November by W. D. Wetherell.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I am happy to say that I've never fallen for this one.

Book that changed your life:

I have to say that there have been four books that have been pivotal to my work as a publicist, all of them demanded more than what might have been an initial expectation by their publisher but I was happy to work upwards of one or two years on each: A Stone Boat by Andrew Solomon, Spring Essence: The Poetry of Ho Xuan Huong, A Century of November by W. D. Wetherell and Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway.

Favorite line from a book:

"He judged men and he grew apples and it was a perilous autumn for both."--A Century of November by W. D. Wetherell.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner and almost anything by Laurie Colwin.

Publisher you think is consistently doing good work, from which you'd buy a book just because it was published by that house:

It would have to be Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. They consistently hit it out of the ballpark with their books! Every Last Cuckoo, The Future of Love and Breakfast With Buddha. If someone gave me a bag just filled with Algonquin titles, I could be a happy reader. And if they threw in a beach to read them on, all the better!


Grand Central Publishing: Seven Days in June by Tia Wiliiams

Lincoln Log, Part 3: Books About the 16th President

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, this coming February 12, Shelf Awareness is offering a selected listing of books related to the 16th president. Some are new, some are backlist, and all are recommended either by booksellers, librarians or proud publishers. This is the third part of a multipart feature, compiled with help from Tobias Mutter:


Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession by Russell McClintock (University of North Carolina Press, $35, 9780807831885/0807831883).

Published last year, "this is a groundbreaking look at how the North handled the secession crisis, and how it ultimately came down to President Lincoln himself to choose whether the future of the American republic would be determined through peace or the sword." Thanks to Dino A. Battista of the University of North Carolina Press.


Lincoln's America: 1809-1865
edited by Joseph R. Fornieri and Sara Vaughn Gabbard (Southern Illinois University Press, $32.95, 9780809328789/080932878X).

Heather Shaw of ForeWord Magazine described this book, published last fall, as "a collection of 10 original and new essays by historians from around the country. Although each of the essays include Lincoln in its title, the themes are less biographical, and more sociological; they examine the different ways society shaped the life and character of the 16th President of the United States."


The Words of Abraham Lincoln selected by Larry Shapiro (Newmarket Press, $11.95, 9781557048301/1557048304).

Newmarket said that "this new collection of quotations from Lincoln's speeches and writings, arranged chronologically, cover his broad life experience, including: the early years as a back country lawyer, his marriage and family, Lincoln as a humorist, the slavery controversy, the long Civil War period, the inspirational last years." Thanks to Harry Burton. Pub date is February 10.


The Murder of Abraham Lincoln
illustrated by Rick Geary (ComicsLit, $9.95, 9781561634262/1561634263).

Terry Nantier of NBM Publishing wrote: "This is a graphic novel in the Treasury of Victorian Murder series. It explores the 62 days between March 4 and May 4, 1865." Published originally in 2005.


Lincoln on Race and Slavery edited by Henry Louis, Jr. Gates and Donald Yacovone (Princeton University Press, $24.95, 9780691142340/0691142343).

Katherine C. LaVela of the Princeton University Press recommended this title, which appears February 10, writing that it "demonstrates that Abraham Lincoln was very much a man of his time--one who enjoyed blackface minstrel shows and used the 'n-word' in public addresses as late as 1862, but who also struggled very publicly with his changing ideas about slavery and race."


The Dark Intrigue: The True Story of a Civil War Conspiracy
by Frank van der Linden (Fulcrum Publishing, $35, 9781555916107/1555916104).

Haley Wallace of Fulcrum wrote about this 2007 title, "While this previously untold account took place during Lincoln's presidency and the Civil War, many of the same sentiments and circumstances are happening in the United States today. As a former Washington newspaper correspondent, van der Linden hopes that the book will cause readers to reflect that perhaps simply branding a war as 'a failure' may not be the best approach."


Abraham Lincoln's Extraordinary Era: The Man and His Times
by Karen Kostyal (National Geographic, $35, 9781426203282/1426203284).

The press wrote: "The official book of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum--vibrant with little known stories and rare archival photographs--gives new insight into the president who reunited a nation and captivated the world. In her foreword, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin writes, 'The idea behind this original look at our most written-about President is to place the events of Abraham Lincoln's life into the context of larger happenings in both the country and the world.' Every page reflects the humor, integrity, and unique style of leadership that made Abe Lincoln a legend." Thanks to Alison Reeves of the National Geographic Society. This book has just been published.


In Lincoln's Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans
by Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk (Bantam, $35, 9780553807424/0553807420).

Bantam called this book, which will be published later this month, "an unparalleled and dramatically revealing look at perhaps the greatest American President through vivid images of his actual handwritten letters, speeches, and even childhood notebooks collected for the first time in book form. Each manuscript is accompanied by commentary from distinguished names in literature, politics, and entertainment including essays by Presidents George Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ken Burns, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Sam Waterston and Steven Spielberg to name just a few. In addition, the book will serve as the official companion to the historic Library of Congress special exhibition celebrating the 200th birthday of Lincoln opening in February 2009: With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition." Thanks to Chris Artis of Bantam.


The Language of Liberty: The Political Speeches and Writings of Abraham Lincoln: Revised Bicentennial Edition
by Joseph Fornieri (Regnery Publishing, $34.95, 9781596980846/1596980842).

The publisher wrote about this just-published book: The author's "unique compilation provides a comprehensive selection of Lincoln's most important speeches and writings in their entirety, including the famous Cooper Union speech, both inaugural addresses, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Each chapter also includes major historical, political, and biographical events in Lincoln's life and the life of the nation for greater context. Timed to launch just before Lincoln's bicentennial birthday, The Language of Liberty is essential for anyone who wants to know more about America's rich history through the writings and speeches of one of her greatest leaders." Thanks to Jeanne F. Crotty of Regnery.


The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln
by Michael J. Kline (Westholme Publishing, $29.95, 9781594160714/1594160716).

Bruce H. Franklin called this "the first full-length story of the conspiracy to kill Lincoln as he passed by train through Baltimore on his way to his first inauguration. The detective Allan Pinkerton, aided by America's first official female undercover agent, Kate Warne, uncovered the plot: they were able to warn Lincoln's entourage in time for them to change their plans. Donning a disguise and accompanied by a heavily armed guard, Lincoln traveled to Washington by a special overnight train, making his way through Baltimore in the wee hours of the morning."


Mrs. Lincoln: A Life by Catherine Clinton (Harper, $26.99, 9780060760403/0060760400).

Published last week, this book was recommended by HarperCollins's Kevin Callahan. Doris Kearns Goodwin commented: "In this remarkable book, Catherine Clinton displays an emotional depth in her understanding of Mary Lincoln that has rarely been revealed in the Lincoln literature. This engaging, wonderfully written narrative provides fresh insight into this complex woman whose intelligence and loving capacities were continually beset by insecurities. It is a triumph."


Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by P.J. Lynch (Candlewick Press, $16.99, 9780763637231/0763637238).

The publisher wrote about this book, which was published in December: "Historians claim him as one of America's most revered presidents. But to his rambunctious sons, Abraham Lincoln was above all a playful and loving father. Here is Lincoln as seen by two of his boys: with the war raging and the Union under siege, we see history unfolding through Willie's eyes and then through Tad's--and we see Lincoln rising above his own inborn sadness and personal tragedy through his devotion to his sons. With evocative and engaging illustrations by P.J. Lynch, Rosemary Wells offers a carefully researched biography that gives us a Lincoln not frozen in time but accessible and utterly real." Thanks to Laura Rivas at Candlewick.


The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination by Gary Ecelbarger (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, $25.95, 9780312374136/0312374135).

Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, who has several titles listed here, wrote that this is "a rousing--yet authoritatively researched--account of one of the most dramatic, unlikely, and history-altering presidential conventions ever. . . . Lincoln emerges as a brilliant, determined, and lucky politician, and Gary Ecelbarger as a major force in Lincoln scholarship."


Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (Scholastic, $16.99, 9780439903547/439903548).

Tracy van Straaten of Scholastic wrote: "Based on Lincoln scholar Swanson's bestselling adult book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, [this] is an accessible look at the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and shows young readers Abraham Lincoln the president, the man, the father, the husband, the friend--and how his death impacted those closest to him." To be published in February 2009.


The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary
by Candace Fleming (Schwartz & Wade/Random, $24.99, 9780375836183/0375836187).

"If you are looking for a nonfiction book on Abraham Lincoln, this is it. The scrapbook format--featuring actual photographs, newspaper clippings, handwritten letters, and drawings--makes this a very accessible book for the older elementary or middle school child. Fleming also provides an excellent bibliography for young readers and websites to learn more about the Lincolns."--Judy Hanley, Book Ends, Winchester, Mass., on the Kids' Next Indie List for Winter '08-'09. Published October 2008.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Bestsellers's December Top 10 Titles

The following were the 10 top bestsellers during December on

1. Othello by William Shakespeare
2. Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky
3. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
4. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
5. Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
6. Time to Think by Nancy Kline
7. A Mercy by Toni Morrison
8. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
10. Cultivation of Christmas Trees by T.S. Eliot

[Many thanks to!]


Soho Crime: The Bombay Prince (Perveen Mistry Novel #3) by Sujata Massey

KidsBuzz: Wendy Lamb Books: Hello from Renn Lake by Michele Weber Hurwitz
KidsBuzz: Worthy Kids: 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis, illus. by Sally Wern Comport
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