Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 11, 2009

Workman Publishing: Paint by Sticker: Plants and Flowers: Create 12 Stunning Images One Sticker at a Time! by Workman Publishing

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

St. Martin's Press: Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover by Graham Boynton


Notes: Busman's Holiday; Columbia Fulfillment Moving to Perseus

Paul Hanson, manager of Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, Wash., is taking an unusual busman's holiday this week: he's managing Riverwalk Books, Chelan, Wash., while owner Libby Manthey and her family are in Hawaii for her son's college graduation. Had Hanson not volunteered to take over at Riverwalk, Manthey had planned to shut the store for the week, since it's mainly a family-run operation.

As Hanson wrote in the PNBA Newsletter, when he learned of Mathey's plans to go to Hawaii and close Riverwalk Books, "I quipped that I could always come and watch her store for a week. We had a good laugh at that . . . and then thought for a moment. Our bookstores do have the same inventory control system. I've been in the business for a more than a few years, sold many a book in my day, and have even worn the barista cap in my varied past so the espresso could keep flowing. We looked at each other and realized this really was a great idea."

The switch is all the more amusing because Hanson is the immediate past president of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. When he gave up the post this spring, his replacement was . . . Libby Manthey.

Hanson is tweeting about what he called "our misadven-- . . . I mean adventures" at ehbcPaulHanson.


"So many readers begin a passionate love of books in the aisles of good bookstores," observed the New Directions newsletter in the first of what it termed occasional columns featuring "bookstores around the nation whose shelves are filled with the books that spark a lifelong devotion to great reads." The most recent issue showcased Michael Fox, owner of Joseph Fox Bookshop, Philadelphia, Pa.

"My fondest memory of books is my father's love and passion for them," said Fox. "He struggled through the depression, served in World War II, never even finished high school but his passion for good books caused him to open the store and not a night would go by that he didn't find time to read into the late hours. I don't have that luxury. . . . My proudest accomplishment as a bookseller is staying in business under the onslaught of the chains and online competition while maintaining the integrity of the bookshop."


The English Major Bookstore, Memphis, Tenn., was described as the "perfect place to browse for a good read without worrying about pocketbook woes or stumbling over crowds" by the Daily News.

"Today, a lady called it her escape," said owner Karin Morley, adding, "This is my starter store, and I really believe that. It may not be the best location, but it's the best location for what's going on right now."


WTAP-TV in Parkersburg, W. Va., reported that second hand shops "are thriving among their competition" despite the bad economy.

"It's not like your typical used book store," said Marianne Monaghan, owner of Books and Art bookshop, noting that last month had been the shop's best April to date. "Often you find books stacked on the floor and they're dirty. Our books are clean and well organized. We do special orders, we are happy to order new books or used, whatever you need. We can find it for you. We know our books."

The Philippine Daily Inquirer provided an updated "Timeline and Readings" regarding the Great Book Blockade of 2009 (Shelf Awareness, May 4, 2009), including a link to a "Position Paper of the Book Development Association of the Philippines Re: Tax and Duty Free Importation of Books" and a Facebook group established by Louie Aguinaldo, called "Filipinos Against the Taxation of Books by Customs." Manuel L. Quezon III also wrote an opinion piece for the Inquirer, titled, "A conspiracy of officials."


Columbia University Press is closing its warehouse in Irvington, N.Y., this summer and will have all its fulfillment operations handled by Perseus Distribution. The press called this "part of an overall effort to improve print economics while facilitating electronic delivery," particularly short run digital publishing, POD and e-books in a variety of formats. Some 25 jobs will be lost.

In a statement, Jim Jordan, president and director of Columbia University Press, praised "the dedicated staff" of the warehouse and said the change "will allow us to continue to acquire and publish outstanding scholarship in all our core fields and to remain the strong force we have become in international academic publishing."

The press distributes titles for 11 publishers, including the University of Tokyo Press, the European Consortium for Political Research and Edinburgh University Press.


Stuart Carter has been promoted to worldwide Amazon Czar (we kid you not) at Diamond Book Distributors, where he will work with Amazon U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Japan, Germany and China to manage the global supply chain and create worldwide promotions. DBD v-p, sales and marketing, Kuo-Yu Liang commented, "To say it as plainly as possible, Stuart's job is to sell as many books for our publishers through Amazon worldwide as possible."

Carter has worked at DBD for six years and been sales manager to Amazon U.S., Levy, Target, Hudson News and Hastings. Earlier he worked at Waldenbooks, Bookazine, Golden-Lee and HMS Host.


Vintage: Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Maria Celeste Arraras, Make Your Life Prime Time

This morning on the Today Show: Janice Lieberman, author of How to Shop for a Husband: A Consumer Guide to Getting a Great Buy on a Guy (St. Martin's, $22.95, 9780312549985/0312549989).

Also on Today: Mariel Hemingway, author of Mariel's Kitchen: Simple Ingredients for a Delicious and Satisfying Life (HarperOne, $32.99, 9780061649875/0061649872).


This morning on CNN's American Morning: Richard Haass, author of War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781416549024/1416549021).


Today at noon on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show: Henry Zook, owner of BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Chris Doeblin, owner of Book Culture in Manhattan, talk with Jonathan Friedman, media columnist for MarketWatch, about "the state of bookstores, what folks are doing to combat the downturn, and reasons why this is happening in general."


Today on NPR's All Things Considered: Edmund L. Andrews, author of Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown (Norton, $25.95, 9780393067941/0393067947).


Today on the View: Steve Harvey, author of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment (Amistad, $23.99, 9780061728976/0061728977).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Tamara Draut, author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead (Anchor, $13.95, 9781400079971/1400079977).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Selena Roberts, author of A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez (Harper, $26.99, 9780061791642/0061791644).

Also on Today: Maria Celeste Arraras, author of Make Your Life Prime Time: How to Have It All Without Losing Your Soul (Atria, $21, 9781416585817/1416585818).


Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: James Van Praagh, author of Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us About Life (HarperOne, $24.99, 9780061778148/0061778141).


Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Kate Kelly, author of Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street (Portfolio Hardcover, $25.95, 9781591842736/1591842735).


Tomorrow on NPR's All Things Considered: Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of Boy Alone: A Brother's Memoir (Harper, $25.99, 9780061136665/0061136662).


Tomorrow on the Bonnie Hunt Show: Bethenny Frankel, author of Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting (Fireside, $16, 9781416597988/1416597980).


Tomorrow night on Larry King Live: Lisa Nichols, author of No Matter What!: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love (Wellness Central, $24.99, 9780446538466/0446538469).

Also on Larry King: Elizabeth Edwards, author of Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities (Broadway, $22.95, 9780767931366/076793136X).


Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley

Books & Authors

Awards: Bernstein Book Award Winner; SIBA Finalists

Jane Mayer, a staff writer for the New Yorker, has won the New York Public Library's 2009 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism for The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday), according to the New York Times. The prize, which honors a journalist whose work has brought public attention to important issues, carries a $15,000 award.


The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has determined the finalists for the 10th annual Southern Indie Book Awards. Winners will be announced on the Fourth of July and will be celebrated at SIBA's trade show in Greenville, S.C., September 25-27. Check out the finalists here.


Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job>

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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


All Other Nights: A Novel
by Dara Horn (Norton, $24.95, 9780393064926/0393064921). "All Other Nights is a picture of the Civil War I've never seen before--Jew divided from Jew, just like the rest of the country. Eccentric and highly memorable characters, tragedy, deep romance, and an intricate plot make this a thrilling read that I will be recommending to a broad swath of customers."--Lilla G. Weinberger, Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif.

I'm Sorry You Feel That Way
by Diana Joseph (Putnam, $23.95, 9780399155284/0399155287). "Diana Joseph has never chosen the path of least resistance, or the straight and narrow. She writes of her mistakes with candor, no regret, and a wry sense of humor that will resonate with all of us who have grown up to find that things haven't turned out the way we had imagined it. One couldn't ask for a better traveling companion."--Lyn Roberts, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.


On the Divinity of Second Chances: A Novel
by Kaya McLaren (Penguin, $14, 9780143115182/0143115189). "This beautifully realized story tells of a family's quest for meaning in lives gone awry. Told alternately from the perspective of each character, the narrative unravels a lifetime of buried feelings, regrets, and lost desires as McLaren deftly chronicles this family's downward spiral and ultimate redemption through forgiveness."--Brianne Kuhle, Lindon Bookstore, Enumclaw, Wash.

For Young Adults

My Life in Pink & Green
by Lisa Greenwald (Amulet, $16.95, 9780810983526/0810983524). "Lucy Desberg fixes the local homecoming queen's hair crisis in her family's struggling pharmacy and, soon, finds herself giving makeovers to customers. Now, when her mother and grandmother seem to be losing faith, Lucy must find a way to save the pharmacy, go green with the Eco Club, and help her friend deal with a first crush."--Grace Firari, the Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Mandahla: Stompin' at the Grand Terrace

Stompin' at the Grand Terrace: A Jazz Memoir in Verse [With CD (Audio)] by Philip Bryant (Blueroad Press, $18.95 Paperback, 9780979650918, May 2009)

Philip S. Bryant's jazz memoir in verse is set in post-war Chicago's South Side, centered on his father, James, and Preston--two working-class men, friends, easing into middle age. "Music was their haven and oasis . . . It affirmed a spirit flowing within and between them and throughout the world." They spent their Saturday afternoons listening to jazz; it was their joy and their solace. They often disagreed on what constituted good music: "Is this music? It's all turned 'round backwards." This is Preston's reaction to Ornette Coleman, when all he really wants is to hear after a tough day is Ellington and Gonzales and Mood Indigo. Music was their starting point for larger discussions about the blues, how history is written, Greeks and Romans, the Bible, King's assassination. But dissecting and loving jazz is the core of their talks, like Preston's take on Lee Konitz: "Hell, he sounds like a nuclear physicist scratchin' one of them theorems on a blackboard. Might be brilliant watchin' it unfold, but damn if it's ever gonna move anybody." Bryant mixes prose with poetry as the story unfolds of friendship, family, food and church. Accompanying his writings are original compositions by jazz pianist and vocalist Carolyn Wilkins, and the book includes a CD that weaves Bryant's readings with Wilkins' evocative music. It's a captivating collaboration.

Bryant's poetry is smooth and lyrical, sometimes humorous, like his description of phlox, whose purple and white blossoms burst like cotton candy or caramel balls: "They're cheap! gaudy!/And a little bit sleazy/but I love them/just the same." For readers who like jazz, combining some tunes with these poems will create an engaging multi-layered experience. Listen to Miles and read this:

Birth of the Cool: Minnesota

I know, Miles,
you didn't have rural southern Minnesota
in mind when you
blew your classic mute
on your Birth of the Cool
sessions in New York, circa 1949.
But it's the way the paper-thin
ice forms on the edge of the lake
today in late October:
meeting at the cold, dark water's edge
--still open and free
though not for long--
with the ripples of these short, choppy
muted notes of yours
blown just out of reach
this cool windy autumn morning.

--Marilyn Dahl

Shelf Talker: Poetry and prose combine to tell the story of two blue-collar friends in Chicago's post-war South Side; included is a CD with Philip Bryant's smooth reading, accompanied by Carolyn Wilkins' fine jazz piano.


Deeper Understanding

BISG's Making Information Pay, Part 1

Leigh Watson Healy, chief analyst of Outsell Inc., a research and advisory firm for the media and information industry, and the keynote speaker at Thursday's Making Information Pay seminar, sponsored by the Book Industry Study Group, called this an "unprecedented time" for the book industry and business in general. She said that Outsell's survey of publishing executives found "various opinions about what is happening," ranging from the "most optimistic"--that "growth is coming later this year"--to the idea that "we're continuing to fall into black hole that will never end." In fact, she emphasized, "the truth is in the middle": the industry is going through a time of "unprecedented change, and things likely will not be the same."

Healy observed that "we are probably witnessing the shift from the mass market to the long tail" and "witnessing the last vestiges of the industrial age and truly moving to the knowledge age." The recession, she continued, "certainly is not the cause of these changes, but is accelerating a lot of change and causing structural shifts to take place."

In the longer term, "the world will be more global for the knowledge economy but is becoming more national and local for physical goods." She suggested that in these times, companies with "market share" and those that are "brand leaders" are doing well. "They have big names that carry weight with consumers and in distribution." The other types that are doing well are "the innovators and niche players with something unique to offer."

In business in general, companies that "supply information at the point of need" are also doing well. In the book industry, this could mean "breaking information out of books."

To succeed in this new environment, Healy said, "it's all about executing on content and the platform, on business models, and blending to make them more flexible." She stressed the importance of social media and communications for organizations. Companies need to "capture the power for the crowd" and "focus on the consumer," she added.


Several presenters at the seminar provided a wealth of statistics and other information that we are presenting tweet-style.

First, from Jim King, senior v-p and general manager of Nielsen BookScan:

  • Over the past five years, sales of adult nonfiction were up overall 11.1% but declined in 2008. In adult nonfiction, travel was down 4.6%, biography and autobiography rose 34.1% and business was up 19.4%.
  • In biography, over the past five years, sales of personal memoirs rose 567%, travelers were up 516%, cultural heritage rose 175% and political bios were up 56%.
  • In the business category during the last five years, personal finance rose 122%, economics and general business was up 351%, finance jumped 103% and investments and securities were up 117%.
  • In the self-help category during the last five years, spiritual was up 224%, mood disorders rose 108%, general personal growth was up 183% and motivational and inspirational titles rose 51%.
  • Sales of adult fiction were up 8.9% during the past five years. In that category, general fiction was up 23.3%, graphic novels rose 52.7%, mystery and detective titles were down 12.7%, literary fiction rose 86.1%, historical fiction was up 24.1% and political fiction was up 157.7%.
  • In the first quarter this year, adult nonfiction sales were down 8%. Within that category, cooking was up 4.8%, humor rose 8.9%, travel fell 18.7%, business and economics were down 10.1% and biography/autobiography rose 7.5%.
  • Fiction has been "pretty much flat" during the first quarter. General fiction was down 3.4%, romance has risen 1.5%, mystery/detective was down 19.8%.
  • Children's book sales were up almost 9% in the quarter. ("Stephenie Meyer is still driving children's.") Children's fiction was up 10.4%, and children's nonfiction was up 2.5%.

Then from Kelly Gallagher, v-p of publishing services at R.R. Bowker, who focused on information about customers:

  • The average book reader last year was 45 years old. Some 65% of buyers are women, who tend to buy in higher volumes than men.
  • Of all Americans 13 or older, 50% bought a book last year. The average age of the most frequent book buyer is in the 50s.
  • The average price paid for a book last year was $10.08.
  • Unit sales for the year to date are down just 1.2%.
  • 31% of all books purchased last year were impulse purchases, and 28% of purchases involved readers planning to buy a book but not knowing what they wanted. Thus more than 50% of book buys are impulse purchases.
  • 41% of people earning more than $100,000 a year buy comics and graphic novels.
  • 41% of all books purchased are bought by people earning less than $35,000, and most people in the U.S. earn less than $35,000.
  • The average book reader now spend 15 hours a week online, more than for TV, providing "opportunities to provide information to them online."
  • In the trade, digital book sales grew 125% last year and represent 1.5% of the trade. Seniors are "leading the way" in the purchase of e-books. Digital book purchases by those 64 and over rose 183% last year. Seniors are also the largest users of Kindles.
  • 48% of e-books are still being read on computers. Kindles have a 22% market share; the iPhone has 20% of the market "with less than a year of having a good e-book app."
  • Last year for the first time online became the "No. 1 selling channel," and accounted for 21% of sales.
  • "The younger crowd are larger supporters of large chain bookstores."
  • Book clubs are still significant sales channels for reaching older readers.
  • The fiction market is predominantly female. The one area of fiction in which men predominate is science fiction, where 55% of buyers are male.
  • Stephen King's audience is "middle market." Sue Grafton appeals to an older, low income audience. Stephenie Meyer appeals mostly to younger, higher-income readers.
  • 67% of book buyers who were influenced by book reviews read them online, and 32% did so in print. Overall online ads were the "first level" of book awareness in 2008--54.1% of buyers of a book became aware of the book through online ads, including banner ads, Google ads and publishers' websites. (And likely e-mail newsletters, too!)

And finally Dave Thompson, v-p and director of sales analysis at Random House, offered some more information about trends in the market:

  • Direct mail catalogues continue to be very important for Harlequin in introducing readers to books, and the publisher has done an excellent job converting book club members and subscribers from catalogues to the web.
  • Readers first hear about books most often from "store displays" (44.4%). The second-biggest "awareness driver" already is online (including online ads and e-mails from retailers).
  • Kroger's book of the month program has been very successful.
  • Target has a far higher number of female buyers than Barnes & Noble.
  • Some 60% of mass market books are bought by people who earn less than $50,000 a year.
  • At Costco, some 33% of buyers of adult books earn less than $50,000 a year.
  • In grocery stores, 75% of book buyers are women and 83% of the purchases are impulse purchases and 83% of books sold are fiction--all the same demographics for mass market books.

[More on Making Information Pay presentations this coming week!]


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