Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 20, 2009


St. Martin's Press: Humans by Brandon Stanton

Andrews McMeel Publishing: Cat Ninja, Volume 1 by Matthew Cody, illustrated by Yehudi Mercado

Berkley Books: In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce

Candlewick Press (MA): Stink and the Hairy, Scary Spider by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Scholastic Press:  The Captive Kingdom (the Ascendance Series, Book 4) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Disney-Hyperion: The Mirror Broken Wish (Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao

Editors' Note

Happy Inauguration Day

If you're like us, today you'll be watching TV broadcasts from Washington, D.C. Here's to a president who, among many other promising things, even before taking office has ignited so much interest in his own books and the books of others.

 


Berkley Books: Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst


Quotation of the Day

The Book: 'Still the Best Transportation Device'

"Well, I own a bookstore, and when kids come into contact with books, I see them loving them. But I think we have to be a little more passionate about getting books to children--which includes putting books in our own hands. I see a lot of parents not reading, but instead spending hours and hours on computers. It sends a strong message to kids that books are not important. The book is still the best transportation device to take us through time, to new worlds and ideas. Once you've tasted it, it's hard to give it up. I think we just need to give kids more opportunities to taste it."--Peter H. Reynolds, children's author and illustrator, co-owner of the Blue Bunny bookstore, Dedham, Mass., and co-founder of educational media firm FableVision, in a Boston Globe interview.

 


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.10.20


Letters

E-Book World: Quandaries and 'One Hell of an Exciting Time'

Our good friend M.J. Rose, author most recently of The Memorist and The Reincarnationist, marketer extraordinaire and the woman behind Author Buzz, offers a glimpse of the electronic future in this account of part of her day last Friday morning:

Shelf Awareness arrived in my mailbox at 8:18 at which time I opened it and started reading. I got to the bottom and read your article about the new book from Morrow, The Miracles of Prato. Despite the buzz you mention on the Net, I haven't heard about it. With more than 10,000 novels published a year, most of us still don't hear about most of them--which is a marketing problem that has yet to be solved. But some of us are working on it.

The book you described is totally my kind of read--art and suspense. Perfect. I'm taking the train into the city in an hour. So while I'd love to drive to my fave indy on the way, I didn't because it's really cold out and the bookstore isn't on the way to the train station. Also the book won't be in the store until the 27th, and even if it was, I limit how many hardcovers I buy by authors I've never read before. (I buy from 5-10 hardcovers a month as it is, and that's already an expensive enough habit.)

So instead I clicked over to Amazon, hit the trusty little one click and before I got up to get my bag ready for my train ride, the book was on my Kindle (which I got for Christmas and am in awe of).

According the receipt in my mailbox, it took less than one minute to arrive.

At 8:40 with some time to spare I started reading The Miracles of Prato.

Thanks for the recommendation. It looks like a book I'm going to love--and probably blog about so a few more people find out about it.  

So this is how the world works now. While part of it scares me--I love books and bookstores and the people who work in them and I don't want any of that to change--for someone who lives, eats and breathes storytelling, this is one hell of an exciting time to be a reader and a writer.

 


BINC: Book Auction to Benefit BINC - Click Here!



News

Schwartz Closing; Two Locations to Continue with New Owners

Sad news and hopeful news from Milwaukee, Wis. The Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, which have four stores in and around Milwaukee, are closing on March 31. But if all goes according to plan, two of the stores will reopen as separate businesses owned by current Schwartz managers.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, sales at Schwartz fell 17% in 2008 "on top of a substantial decline" in 2007.

Schwartz's sister company 800-CEO-READ, which specializes in business books and sells to businesses and organizations, will continue to operate under the leadership of founder Jack Covert and president Todd Sattersten. Its first book, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time by Covert and Sattersten, appears on February 5.

Daniel Goldin, general manager of Schwartz, plans to open a bookstore called Boswell Book Company--Boswell's for short--in the Schwartz location on Downer Avenue in Milwaukee. Goldin has worked at Schwartz since 1986 as a buyer, head buyer and in other roles. He will use the Boswell image used by Schwartz.

"This is a very interesting time to be a book retailer," Goldin told the Journal Sentinel. "We know there's a lot of change coming, and I feel that you sort of need to start from scratch to do all the things you need to do to make a retailer work."

Goldin added that he wants Boswell's to be a community destination, to work with local groups and to offer good author events in the Schwartz tradition. We wish him best of luck. To our mind, Goldin is one of the nicest and most knowledgeable people--about books and, well, everything--we know in the book business.

Lanora Hurley, manager of the Schwartz store in Mequon, is planning to open a store in the same space called Next Chapter Bookshop. Before joining the company in 2002, she was a manager and buyer at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., and worked at a Borders in Columbus, Ohio. Hurley told the Journal Sentinel that she and Goldin plan "to split the authors that are coming to town."

Founded in 1927 by Harry and Reva Schwartz, Harry W. Schwartz has a long and colorful history. The first store was in the back of a beauty parlor, and Harry Schwartz sold banned and censored titles like Ulysses and Tropic of Cancer when others did not. The Schwartzes' son, A. David Schwartz, grew up in the family business, which he joined formally in 1963. He became its owner in 1972 and remained the owner until his death in 2004. He, too, championed free expression and literature. During his time, Schwartz had several other stores, including sites in Racine and the Bay View section of Milwaukee.

The four current Schwartz stores are in Milwaukee, Brookfield, Mequon and Shorewood. It also has an office in Milwaukee. Schwartz employs about 65 full- and part-time people.

In a letter to customers expressing their "immense sadness," Schwartz president Carol Grossmeyer, David Schwartz's wife, and chairman Rebecca Schwartz, his daughter, wrote, "Unfortunately, profound shifts in how people shop and equally great changes in the book industry left us and many other well-established bookshops with dwindling sales. Although David Schwartz successfully led us into the new century fighting for our ground, the winds of change became gales--and with David's passing in 2004, we were a wounded business. The most recent economic crisis was, for us, the final blow. David spoke frequently about the social profit of bookselling as the most important bottom line, the essential result being the positive impact the books have on a community. Nevertheless, to have such an impact a business must be viable, something that is no longer the case."

They added, "All of us at Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops take pride in the belief that we have brought you the best literature the world has to offer. We like to think that our bookshops have played a vital role in the intellectual life of our city. Our bookshops have hosted more than 200 authors a year during the past 10 years, and we hope we can take some credit for introducing new writers to the many enthusiastic readers. We’re equally proud of the Schwartz Gives Back program, which, with your support, has donated more than $460,000 to nonprofit organizations throughout the community."

 


University of California Press:  Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels by Tony Keddie


Notes: BookStream to Close; Canadian Book Sales Up 6%

Sadly after three years in business, BookStream, the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., wholesaler founded in 2005 with the goal of offering a flat 42% on all orders to all accounts with no minimums (Shelf Awareness, September 8, 2005), is closing, effective January 23. Throughout its existence, the company was unable to get credit from publishers, and in the past year, BookStream couldn't raise the capital necessary to continue funding its inventory to its standards.

In a letter to customers, president and CEO Jack Herr and executive v-p and CFO Rich Stone thanked booksellers in the Northeast for their "enthusiastic reception" and support as well as "truly remarkable support" from sales reps.

They also thanked their staff, including Ken Abramson, Carolyn Bennett, Carol Chittenden, Lily Bartels, Felice Farrell, Kim Soyka, George Bartels and Omari Jones.

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The number of books sold in Canada in the last three months of 2008 rose 6% compared to the same period in 2007 although revenues rose just 2%, according to BookNet Canada (via the Toronto Star).

In a statement, BookNet Canada CEO Michael Tamblyn said, "These are strong numbers considering both the economic climate and the winter climate this year. Canadian book-lovers were tested by economic uncertainty and terrible weather coast-to-coast in the last two weeks of December and still fought their way into bookstores."

Because the U.S. and Canadian dollars were almost par for much of last year, Canadian publishers and booksellers were under pressure to lower book prices to make Canadian prices in line with U.S. prices.

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Saying that Barnes & Noble's holiday sales were "better than feared" and that the company may be able to capture greater market share because of Borders's problems, J.P. Morgan upgraded B&N stock to "neutral" from "underweight," the AP reported.

Morgan also said that B&N's "debt-free and cash-heavy position" should "help it weather softness in the market and capitalize on strategic investments if opportunities arise."

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Al Roker's new pick for the Today Show Book Club for Kids is Change Has Come, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, with the words of Barack Obama (S&S, $12.99, 9781416989554/1416989552). The text consists of excerpts from speeches Obama has given, including his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention and the election-night speech last November 4.

S&S has created a book trailer (with Obama's voice, set to music) that can be viewed on YouTube.

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Cool Idea of the Day: on ReadKiddoRead.com, James Patterson and librarian expert Judy Freeman list their favorite children's books, "the ones that leave kids wanting more and more to read." The site includes a blogging community, interviews with authors such as Julie Andrews, Jeff Kinney and Rick Riordan, an "almost can't-miss sure shot books for boys" section and online resources for adults.

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Walden Media has won the Association of American Publishers' 2009 Honors Award for its "inspired work in generating an appreciation for, and love of, good children's books." Walden has produced such films as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Because of Winn-Dixie, Holes, Charlotte's Web and Bridge to Terabithia and has an educational outreach program that emphasizes the books the movies are based on.

The award will be presented at the AAP's annual meeting March 11 in New York. The AAP is making a $5,000 donation to Reach Out and Read, which Walden Media chose. Reach Out and Read is a national program that promotes literacy with young children, particularly at pediatric clinics.

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Shelf Awareness has updated its listing of trade and consumer book fairs for this year. Check the schedule at shelf-awareness.com/news.html.

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"It's a fun business. I like the whole independence of it," Wally Bryant, owner of Books on Sale, Indianapolis, Ind., told the Star, which observed that in "6,000 square feet with wide aisles in a storefront in Southern Plaza Shopping Center, 100,000 books fill shelves and rest on tables . . . covering virtually every category of reader interest." Although Books on Sale carries some new titles, the bookshop focuses primarily on "gently used" books.

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Say it ain't so, Walt. Reading Trout Bookstore, Celebration, Fla., will close at the end of the month, according to MousePlanet, which noted that owners Amy and Adam Parrish "are expecting their first child this summer and, coupled with their 'day jobs' for the Disney Company, have found their plate becoming too full."

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Ever wonder what Sebastian Faulks's writing room looks like? The Guardian offered a peek, and Faulks observed that "the room is not as seedy as the picture makes it look, though I admit that the decor--if that's not too strong a word--is the subject of some hilarity to female interviewers. I don't care what it looks like, only how it works." Copies of Charlotte Gray in Danish prop up the desk, which was too low for the author to fit his knees under.

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Philip Turner, who began in the book business as an independent bookseller with Under Cover Books, has held executive editorial positions with Kodansha America, Times Books, Crown and Carroll & Graf and had been editorial director and v-p of Union Square Press at Sterling Publishing for two years, was laid off as part of the extensive cuts Barnes & Noble made last week (Shelf Awareness, January 15, 2009). Union Square is being folded into Sterling, which is owned by B&N. Turner, who can be reached at philipsturner@gmail.com, is already at work on installing his vision for what he calls "a purpose-driven imprint" in another venue.

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Little Threats by Emily Schultz


Obituary Note: Lucille Margaret Hedges Wood

Lucille Margaret Hedges Wood, a bookseller at Powell's Books, Dalton and elsewhere for many years, died on January 14, as noted in the Oregonian. She was 86.

Wood first was a bookseller in the 1940s in the book department of J.K. Gill Co., the book and stationery company that was once the largest bookstore in Portland, Ore. In the 1950s, she worked at Kroch's & Brentano's in Chicago, Ill., and then in the late 1970s at B. Dalton Bookseller in Portland, for Michael Coy. She then returned to J.K. Gill and retired in 1987.

But not long afterward she began working again, at Powell's Books, until she retired for good in 2000. Powell's will hold a celebration of her life at 6 p.m., March 13. Rememberances can be made in Wood's name to the Make a Reader Foundation. There is also an online guestbook at oregonlive.com/obits.

Powell's Miriam Sontz, a longtime friend of Wood, noted that "when Bush won reelection four years ago, her observation was that she didn't want her life to end with Bush as President. She almost made it."

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Baptism by Fire

This morning on Good Morning America: Michael F. Roizen, author of YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty (Free Press, $26.99, 9781416572343/1416572341).

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This morning the Today Show will discuss Petfinder.com's The Adopted Dog Bible: Your One-Stop Resource for Choosing, Training, and Caring for Your Sheltered or Rescued Dog (Collins Living, $22.99, 9780061435591/0061435597).

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Today on Fox News's Hannity & Colmes: Bernard Goldberg, author of A Slobbering Love Affair (Regnery, $25.95, 9781596980907/1596980907).

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: James Lipton, author of Inside Inside (Dutton, $27.95, 9780525950356/0525950354).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Jabari Asim, author of What Obama Means: . . . for Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future (Morrow, $21.99, 9780061711336/0061711330).

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Mark K. Updegrove, author of Baptism by Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.95, 9780312388034/0312388039).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, $21, 9780743270755/0743270754).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: David Sanger, New York Times correspondent and author of The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (Harmony, $26.95, 9780307407924/0307407926). Sanger is also on Tavis Smiley today.

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Dilys and Edgar Nominees

The nominees for the 2008 Dilys Winn award, given to the mystery titles that members of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association most enjoyed selling during the year, are:

  • Trigger City by Sean Chercover (Morrow)
  • The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler (Bantam)
  • Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn (Mira)
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central)
  • Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow (Knopf)

The award, named for the founder of the first specialty mystery bookstore in the U.S., will be presented at Left Coast Crime March 7-12 in Hawaii.

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The Mystery Writers of America has chosen its nominees for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, TV and film published or produced in 2008. View the full list here. The awards will be presented to the winners at MWA's 63rd Gala Banquet, April 30, in New York City.

Happy birthday to Mr. Poe, who would have turned 200 yesterday! 

 


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:

Hardcover

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple (Little Brown, $24.99, 9780316031165/031603116X). "This funny and poignant story of relationships in Hollywood is fun to read, with characters who beg to be discussed, and it really captivated me. What a great book club pick!"--Lynda Schultz, Explore Booksellers & Bistro, Aspen, Colo.

The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780061650758/0061650757). "This masterful book covers my favorite topics (jobs, the environment, active citizenry, and politics), all of it from a politically astute activist with an impressive track record."--Jessica L. Lloyd-Rogers, Colette's: Good Food & Hungry Minds, North Bend, Ore.

Paperback

Two Rivers: A Novel by T. Greenwood (Kensington, $15, 9780758228772/0758228775). "The Vietnam war, discrimination, and family secrets combine in this story of forgiveness and redemption. Greenwood effortlessly balances tenderness and grit, resulting in a moving portrait of Harper Montgomery's efforts to make good on past actions and regain a sense of integrity."--Bev Denor, LaDeDa Books, Manitowoc, Wis.

For Ages 4-8

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763639594/0763639591). "A beautifully told story of a sad, lonely gorilla living in a zoo. Using sign language, he tells his keepers, 'I want a friend,' and the zookeepers give him a little kitten to care for. The illustrations express clear emotion in this perfect read for young children about friendship."--Kristi Tiedt, Butterfly Books, De Pere, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Ooops

Repeat After Us: Wilmington, Ohio, Wilmington, Ohio . . .

Out item on Friday about holiday sales in Wilmington (Shelf Awareness, January 16, 2009) misplaced that locale: the story was about Wilmington, Ohio, not Wilmington, Del. Our apologies for moving cities!


AuthorBuzz: Berrett-Koehler Publishers: Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit by Mary-Frances Winters
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