Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 11, 2009

HarperLuxe: Dust Off the Bones by Paul Howarth

Flatiron Books: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Algonquin Books: Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Scribner Book Company: Milk Fed by Melissa Broder


Notes: Indie Synergy on Martha's Vineyard; Bracing for Conroy

Dawn Braasch of Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, Mass., and Susan Mercier of Edgartown Books were lauded by the Vineyard Gazette for having "tapped into some old Vineyard magic: a sense of cooperation, community and support" in their team approach to organizing and promoting author Richard Russo's appearance Friday at the Katharine Cornell Theatre to promote his latest novel, That Old Cape Magic.

"He’s a big author and he would like a big crowd," said Braasch. "The way you get a big crowd is, obviously, you collaborate, and do a venue outside the store . . . Publishing companies are less and less willing to send an author if you can’t prove that you are going to have a large crowd."

The two stores may be on the same island, but the booksellers do not view one other as competitors. "It’s funny because . . . I have always heard that the competition is between us and Edgartown Books," said Braasch. "To me our competition is not each other, it’s Amazon."

Mercier agreed: "We’re just two independent businesses in a community trying to do the right thing and make a living."

They are planning to team up for future events as well, according to the Gazette. "I’d like to see at least one [collaborative event] a year," said Mercier. "We are friends because we enjoy each other’s company, but in terms of the business, it [also] makes sense financially."


The Island Packet reported that today's release of Pat Conroy's South of Broad will be a bounty for local booksellers, who "said they expect a huge turnout of fans excited to read the latest tale from the author who grew up in Beaufort [S.C.] and owns a home on Fripp Island."

"Right now we're in the middle of unloading close to 200 boxes of books," said Lisa Estes, owner of Bay Street Trading, Beaufort. "We pre-sold close to 500 books, and they're being shipped as far away as Australia."

"Pat Conroy has this huge presence," said Connie McGraw, manager of Beaufort Bookstore. McGraw told the Island Packet that the shop "will have nearly 200 signed copies available today for purchase. Conroy signed 300 copies, 100 of which will go to customers who pre-ordered the book."

"It goes so far beyond Beaufort, but locally, there's hardly anyone who doesn't know of him, and many people know him personally," she added.

NBC Weekend Today's interview with Conroy and Bay Street Trading employees is scheduled to air Saturday morning, according to the Island Packet, and the author will be signing at the shop on August 29. "It's going to be hot, and there's going to be a lot of people," said Estes. 


Julia Roberts visited BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y., which will have a walk-in role in film version of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love," GalleyCat reported.

"They shot a scene of Julia out front," said the bookshop's general manager, Zack Zook, "She sees some book in the window and decides to come in the bookstore. There is a shot of her in the store purchasing books on divorce. . . . They took the signs down, but there are shots of the fiction section. People who are familiar with the store will recognize it."


"Hakim Hopkins says his life changed with a book," the Philadelphia Inquirer observed. "Now he's trying to change an entire community with a bookstore."

When Hopkins was 15 and in juvenile detention, he received a copy of Richard Wright's Native Son from his mother. "That book just took me out. I didn't know that a book could be that good. I became a book lover, and a thinker," said Hopkins, now 37 and running Black & Nobel bookstore. "It's not so much we sell books. We've become a light in the community."

Hopkins added that "the hip-hop brings them in." According to the Inquirer, "after the music outside lures people into the store, Hopkins gives out a promotional mixed tape with each book sale. 'There's a method to my madness. We're merging everything all together. Now it's cool to hang out in the bookstore.'"


Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a bestseller again, thanks to the film Julie & Julia, which opened last weekend. According to the Associated Press (via the Huffington Post), "On Monday, a $40 hardcover of Mastering topped the charts of and Barnes &, easily outpacing a $7.99 paperback of the book that gave the film its title . . . Knopf has ordered an additional 75,000 copies of Mastering, which on Monday was sold out on Amazon."

The Los Angeles Times reported that at Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif., Child's works were "flying off shelves . . . The bookstore even cobbled together a display table labeled What Would Julia Do? and featuring guides to Paris and 'all the cookbooks we could get our hands on,' [book department manager Justin] Junge said."

"It's all been selling like hot cakes," Junge added. "And it will carry on for quite some time. Julia Child has always been a great seller."


The countdown has begun for the September 15 release of "local author" (He lives in Rye Beach.) Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, and checked in with coastal New Hampshire booksellers regarding their preparations.

RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, plans to be open at midnight the day of the release and offer 20% off the cover price for customers who pre-pay before September 15. "We might have a few more things in the works, so stay tuned for details," said Michele Filgate.

Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, will also hold a midnight opening. "We are celebrating the publication of The Lost Symbol and we've been designated the official source for signed copies," said Dan Chartrand. reported that "Brown will be signing copies for the bookstore, to be available after September 15."


Margot Rosenberg, co-owner of the Dog Lovers Bookshop, New York, N.Y., has launched A Book and a Dog, a new blog devoted to the companionship books and dogs provide. Drawing upon her experience as a bookseller as well as a writer on--and practitioner of--book care and repair, Rosenberg plans to report on encounters with fellow book lovers as she and the bookshop's staff canine, Phoebe B. Dackel, explore the city. She said she will also chronicle the satisfaction of restoring books and a host of other topics, ranging from the hopeful (how to create a better world for books and dogs) to the practical (tips on caring for books in home, business, and community settings).

In addition, the blog will chart the progress of Rosenberg's new book, a sequel to The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New: A Simple Repair Manual for Book Lovers, which she wrote with bookselling partner Bern Marcowitz.


Zachary Steele is the former owner of Wordsmith's Bookstore, Decatur, Ga., which closed earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, March 3, 2009). Next month, he will be attending the AJC Decatur Book Festival not as a bookseller, but as the author of a satirical novel, Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO. Steele told the Journal-Constitution that the visit will be "a little strange," but "enough time has passed that I don't feel that it would be that particularly awkward. I've got my writer's hat and I've got my former bookstore owner hat. I'll be wearing my writer's hat."

Although he doesn't rule out the possibility returning to the bookstore business someday, Steele admitted that "it certainly won't be any time soon." For now, he prefers the role of customer: "I'm more at ease going into bookstores now. I love bookstores. I can't imagine anything making me not want to go into a bookstore.”


Believe it or not, Americans are "are optimistic--more optimistic, in fact, than they were back in November 2008," according to GalleyCat, which reported on the results of a survey from the Pepsi Optimism Project. Included among the findings is the fact that "the one 'optimism booster' cited by more respondents than any other--88%--was 'books.' Unfortunately, that's not broken down by categories, so it's not quite clear whether fiction or non-fiction lifts people's spirits, so you should probably read a little of both, just to be on the safe side."


Columbus State University opened a new bookstore in downtown Columbus, Ga., Monday. The shop, operated by Follett Corp., "will be open to the public but will cater to CSU's fine and performing arts students," according to the Ledger-Enquirer


Book Industry Charitable Foundation: Double your donation!

Barnes & Noble to Buy Barnes & Noble College

Barnes & Noble, the publicly traded company whose major stockholder is Len Riggio, is buying Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, the private company owned by Len Riggio that manages college bookstores, for $460 million. (The total price is $596 million but includes B&N College's cash on hand.)

In a related move, B&N will secure a new $1 billion, four-year revolving credit facility, which replaces the two companies' existing credit lines. B&N will finance the purchase through $250 million in seller financing as well as from the new credit line and cash on hand.

Founded in 1965, B&N College has long been held by the Riggio family and was not included when B&N's trade bookselling division went public in 1993. With the purchase, B&N acquires the Barnes & Noble trademark, which it leased from B&N College. B&N College will be a wholly owned subsidiary of B&N, and its headquarters will remain in Basking Ridge, N.J.

B&N College manages some 624 college bookstores serving four million students and sells textbooks, course materials, trade books, insignia items, dorm supplies, etc. During the fiscal year ended May 2, its revenues were $1.8 billion and sales at stores open at least a year rose 1%. Its biggest competitor is Follett, which manages some 800 college bookstores. B&N is bullish on the college market, saying that U.S. college enrollment is projected to grow from 15.3 million students in 2000 to more than 20 million in 2015.

Because of the Riggio family's interests in both companies, a special committee of the B&N board consisting of four independent directors that was advised by a law firm and financial advisor determined the value of B&N College and negotiated the deal.

In a statement, special committee chairperson Irene Miller, a former B&N executive, commented: "Reunifying the Barnes & Noble brand and reintegrating these highly complementary businesses has long been a top priority of the [B&N] Board. College has a leading position in a market with excellent fundamentals and will add a very predictable and growing revenue stream. . . . In addition, in a rapidly changing environment, both companies will benefit from a unified digital platform and brand, which will enable the combined company to capitalize on the growing online college textbook and electronic book markets."

B&N founder and chairman Len Riggio said: "Although both companies previously thrived as separate entities, owing to distinctions in their product offerings, the definition of textbooks and tradebooks has become increasingly blurred. This trend will accelerate with eBook offerings. Thus, combining both businesses on a single branded platform will enable the combined company to cross-promote print and digital offerings to all of our customers."


Grove Press: Shuggie Bain: A Novel by Douglas Stuart

Borders Adds Three Zone Vice Presidents

Borders Group has named three new zone vice presidents, who join Bill Christensen, who has been zone v-p for the Southeast since 2007:

  • Mike Steele is zone v-p for the West Coast region. Steele joined the company in 1987 as a bookseller at a Waldenbooks in Oklahoma City, Okla., and was promoted to district manager for Waldenbooks and Borders Outlet and senior manager of logistics and operations for the company's seasonal calendar business. Most recently he was director, store operations.
  • John Melnick is zone v-p for the Northeast. Melnick joins the company from Michaels Stores, where he was zone v-p for the past four years. Before that, he was a district manager for Michaels, and earlier was a general manager with Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse and worked at Service Merchandise Co.
  • Dave Marsico is zone v-p for the Midwest. For the past four years, Marsico has been market director for Meijer, the Midwest grocery retailer, and earlier worked at Kmart for 18 years, part of that time as v-p of the Super Kmart Center division.

Borders zone v-ps are responsible for managing district managers and store managers with a focus on creating and maintaining "an outstanding customer shopping experience."


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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: In Praise of Doubt

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Alana Stewart, author of My Journey with Farrah: A Story of Life, Love, and Friendship (Morrow, $23.99, 9780061960581/0061960586). She will also appear tomorrow on the Early Show and Larry King Live.


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld, authors of In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic (HarperOne, $23.99, 9780061778162/0061778168).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780060560058/0060560053).

Movies: Time of My Life

Allison Winn Scotch's novel, Time of My Life (Three Rivers Press, $14, 9780307408587/0307408582), is being adapted by Nicole Eastman (The Ugly Truth) for Superb Entertainment and the Weinstein Co., with Meryl Poster and Kate Schumaecker producing, Variety reported. 


Books & Authors

Awards: Jean Améry Prize

Nobel laureate Imre Kertész was awarded the €12,000 (US$17,047) Jean Améry Prize for essay writing, according to Hungarian Literature Online.

The jury, headed by Austrian writer and essayist Robert Menasse, stated: "The oeuvre of Kertész as an essay-writer works on the basis of Enlightenment thinking, which has learnt the lessons of the barbarism of Fascism and Communism, and works for a Europe that will either become an enlightened and free Europe or it will not exist at all." (via Words Without Borders).


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 18:

The White Queen: A Novel
by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781416563686/1416563687) is historical fiction about the English queen Elizabeth Woodville.

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks (Del Rey, $26, 9780345458520/0345458524) is another fantasy tale from the author of the Shannara series.

Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning (Delacorte, $26, 9780385341653/0385341652) continues the fantasy Fever series.

Hell's Gate: A Novel
by Stephen Frey (Atria, $25, 9781416549659/141654965X) follows a lawyer who moves from New York City to Montana, where a series of suspicious fires threatens to destroy his new hometown.

Now in paperback:

Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London (Pocket Star, $7.99, 9781416547082/1416547088).

Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm
by Jon Katz (Villard, $24, 9781400066292/1400066298).

The Bestsellers

Top 10 Titles on During July

The following were the bestselling titles on during July:

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
2. More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
3. World History: Connections to Today by Elisabeth Gaynor Ellis
4. 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye by J.D. California
5. American History in 100 Nutshells by Thaddeus F. Tuleja
6. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
7. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher
8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
9. Night by Elie Wiesel
10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The following were the bestselling signed titles on during July:

1. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
2. 'Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
3. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
4. Magnificent Desolation by Buzz Aldrin
5. A Reporter's Life by Walter Cronkite
6. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
7. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
8. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
9. Teacher Man by Frank McCourt
10. Breath by Tim Winton

[Many thanks to!]


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