Archive for July, 2009

Get Your NurtureShock

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Po Bronson took career books to a new level with the best selling What Shall I Do With My Life? Coming this fall, he and co-author Ashley Merryman do the same for child-rearing books in NutureShock. The book explores current studies to debunk accepted wisdom about what makes kids happy and successful (hint: constant praise can backfire).

I’ve read the ARC and found it fascinating (who expects a book on raising kids to open with a Cary Grant anecdote?), so I’m pleased that the publisher, Twelve is offering copies to EarlyWord readers (see ad, at the right).

To request an advance copy, email Twelve, with “NurtureShock ARC” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your full mailing address, so they know where to send it. Requests will be filled on a first-come basis. Expect 2 to 3 weeks for delivery.

E. Lynn Harris Dies

Monday, July 27th, 2009

As reported by multiple news sources, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, E. Lynn Harris died on Thursday while on business in L.A.

No cause of death has been reported. His personal assistant said that he collapsed in his Los Angeles hotel room and could not be revived.

He was 54.

Unable to get his first novel, published, Harris self-published Invisible Life in 1991 and sold it from the trunk of his car. It was later picked up by Anchor Books; a hardcover 5th Anniversary Edition was published in 1999. He went on to publish ten NYT bestsellers. His most recent book, Basketball Jones, was published by Doubleday in January. His memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, came out in 2004.

Two NYT Critics Love COLD

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Now at #109 on Amazon, Bill Streever’s new book about life at polar and scientific extremes, Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places, is the happy beneficiary of two prominent New York Times reviews–and both critics love the book. Dwight Garner weighed in on Friday, July 24th in the daily Times, while Mary Roach, the much-praised author of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, reviews it for the cover of the New York Times Book Review on Sunday, July 26. According to World Cat, 126 libraries have Cold. But of the four major systems we checked, two didn’t have it, and the other two had substantial holds on fewer than 10 copies.

Streever’s travels to the coldest places on our warming planet spark reflections on hibernation, frostbite and life in a snowpack, among many other intriguing topics. Garner praises his writing as “flinty and tough-minded, with just enough humor glowing around the edges to keep you toasty and dry,” calling the book “an unusual and welcome addition to the literature of cold weather and the great north.”

Roach, meanwhile, heartily embraces Streever’s quirky science: “Streever reminds us that everything is molecules — bouncing energetically off one another in heat, sticking closer together and moving sluggishly in cold. As he makes clear, the sluggishness can spell trouble, whether it’s affecting your nerves (freezing digits go numb because synapses are too cold to fire), your blood, your car.”

And although Roach cautions that the book is “structured more like a blog,” with chapters that “aren’t united by easily discerned themes,” she declares “the book is so interesting it doesn’t matter.”

Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places
Bill Streever
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2009-07-02)
ISBN / EAN: 978-0316042918 / 0316042919


Google Makes Librarians ‘Queasy’

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Google Books engineering director Dan Clancy participated in a panel discussion at the Boston Public Library this week, according to the Boston Globe, to respond to librarians’ concerns about Google’s role as the proprietor of more than 10 million digital books, of which 1.5 million are currently available online free of charge.

Panel organizer Maura Marx, executive director of the Boston nonprofit Open Knowledge Commons, raised the concern that “people are very uncomfortable with the idea that one corporation has so much power over such a large collection of knowledge.’’ But Clancy appears to have said little to allay librarians’ “queasy” feelings (as one panelist put it), in a conversation that centered on Google’s complex settlement regarding payments to authors and publishers for out of print works.

The morning after the event at Boston Public Library, Clancy and Jon Orwant, who directs the Google Books operation in Cambridge, described an ongoing project that vastly outstrips Google’s controversial settlement, which

involves “around six’’ scanning centers around the world scanning “thousands of books a day.’’ At the same time, Google is building partnerships with publishers that allow Google Books to host the publishers’ content. In the Google model, digital books will be independent of any particular electronic reading device, such as Amazon’s Kindle….

“Will we be done when we have 40 million books? 50 million books?’’ Clancy said. “We don’t know yet.’’

Responding separately to recent complaints about reader privacy issues by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Clancy promised that “whatever we ultimately build will protect readers’ privacy rights,” pending approval by the court reviewing the current settlement, according to Publishers Lunch (subscription only). Clancy points to a FAQ page for further questions, adding “we don’t yet know exactly how this all will work,” the site reports.

Bezos Apologizes for Hitting ‘Delete’

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos apologized yesterday for the company’s decision to delete unlicensed editions of George Orwell’s books from the Kindles of those who’d unwittingly bought them. “Our ‘solution’ to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles,”  Bezos wrote in the company’s Kindle customer forum. “It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.”

Do you find this reassuring? We’d love to hear from you in our comments area.

Target Makes Books

Friday, July 24th, 2009

We’ve seen articles on how Starbuck’s, Costco, Barnes and Noble, Borders and the Indie Next program get behind certain titles and turn them in to best sellers.  Now it’s big-box retailer Target’s turn. (One day I dream of seeing a similar article about libraries.)

According to the New York Times, Target’s “Bookmarked” program has had a big affect on sales of several midlist titles (Target Can Make Sleepy Titles into Bestsellers).

Of the titles mentioned in the article,  Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, is the only one showing heavy holds in the libraries we checked (20 to 1 in one case). The current selection, The Wednesday Sisters by Meg White Clayton shows just a few holds.

On their Web site, Target lists their “Club Picks” as well as “Breakout Books” (titles in both categories get special endcap displays in the stores). You can also sign up for their free newsletter, alerting you to new picks (we will monitor new selections and report on them here).

Sarah’s Key
Tatiana de Rosnay
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin – (2008-09-30)
ISBN / EAN: 0312370849 / 9780312370848


For Target’s description of The Wednesday Sisters, click here.

The Wednesday Sisters
Meg Waite Clayton
Retail Price: $23.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2008-06-17)
ISBN / EAN: 0345502825 / 9780345502827

JULIE & JULIA tie-ins

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Opening two weeks from today, Aug. 7, is Nora Ephron’s Julie and Julia, starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Stanley Tucci (see the trailer at the right, under “Books To Movies — Trailers,”  if you haven’t already).

This movie comes with two tie-ins, both on the NYT Paperback NonFiction list. The Julie & Julia tie-in is at #3 and My Life in France is at #8.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
Julie Powell
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books – (2009-07-01)
ISBN / EAN: 031604427X / 9780316044271


My Life in France (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Julia Child, Alex Prud’Homme
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Anchor – (2009-06-23)
ISBN / EAN: 0307474852 / 9780307474858

The book that plays a central role in the movie, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1, appears to now be sporting a belly band to tie it in to the movie. It’s not on bestseller lists, but we do see holds in libraries. We predict that once the movie hits, many will be inspired to try their hands at mastering the entire book.

Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Fortieth – 40th – Anniversary Edition)
Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck
Retail Price: $40.00
Hardcover: 752 pages
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf – (2001-10-16)
ISBN / EAN: 0375413405 / 9780375413407

LOVELY BONES Trailer to Debut

Friday, July 24th, 2009

It’s a sign of the importance of comics in the movie business; film news is breaking from Comic-Con, continuing through the weekend in San Diego.

Entertainment Weekly reports that director Peter Jackson showed a 4.5 minute trailer for The Lovely Bones and that it will appear before showings of Julie & Julia, opening in theaters August 7.

The Lovely Bones is scheduled to open Dec. 11. A movie tie-in edition is listed, but the cover is not yet available.

The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold
Retail Price: $14.99
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books – (2009-10-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0316044938 / 9780316044936

New WHITEOUT Trailer

Friday, July 24th, 2009

While we’re on the subject of movies, a new trailer has appeared for Whiteout (release date: Sept 15), based on the comic series by Greg Rucka. What’s different? “Something Big” is under Antarctica’s ice.

No tie-ins have appeared yet. The original four comics are the basis for the movie; the collected edition is still available.

Whiteout Volume 1: The Definitive Edition (Whiteout (Oni Press)) (v. 1)
Greg Rucka, Steve Lieber
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Oni Press – (2007-08-01)
ISBN / EAN: 193266470X / 9781932664706

Rather Like The Cheshire Cat

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Alice Johnny

Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Lewis Carroll fans have been eagerly awaiting the trailer for Alice in Wonderland, scheduled to open March 5, 2010.

A teaser trailer hit the Web yesterday, but it was quickly taken down (YouTube’s message reads, “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by the Walt Disney Company.”)

UPDATE:  Just found a version we could embed, but, for a better experience, view this larger, clearer HD version that just appeared on YouTube. Enlarge it to the full screen (click on second button, bottom right).

USA Today Adds Kindle Sales to Bestseller List

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Starting today, USA Today’s bestseller list will include e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle. “The move reflects both the growth of e-book sales and Kindle’s role in that market,” said the announcement in USA Today.

What effect might Kindle rankings have on the USA Today bestseller rankings? Publishers Lunch (subscription only) compared the USA Today list (with sales through July 19) against the weekly Kindle Top 10 bestseller list (for the week ending July 18) and found that

“the most discernible impact is on lower-ranked fiction rather than the top of the list. Five of the Kindle Top 10 titles still declined in their position on the USAT list… taking the number 10, 12, 14, 44, and 48 slots…. The three gainers… hold the number 35, 81, 120 slots on the USAT list. Kindle sales for Michael Connelly’s The Scarecrow still weren’t sufficient to put him back on the USAT list at all, where he was last ranked at No. 114 on the list published July 9.

The books that were helped this week by Kindle sales included Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel, The Help, Lisa See’s literary novel The Shanghai Girls and Lisa Gardner’s suspense novel The Neighbor, added Publishers Lunch. It remains to be seen if, over time, romance novels start to appear higher on USA Today‘s list, given that they account for the strongest e-book sales by many industry measures.

While e-books for all devices claimed 4.9% of book sales in May, up from 3.7% in March, according to book audience research firm Codex-Group, there are no hard stats when it comes to the Kindle’s share of the total e-book market.  However, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has remarked that sales of Kindle e-books represent 35% of the total sales of those books available in both print and Kindle formats.

So far, USA Today is the first outside publication with which Amazon has shared its Kindle sales data. There’s no word yet on whether Amazon might provide information to other lists, or how USA Today bestseller list or any other will adapt to Barnes and Noble’s new e-bookstore offering 700,000 titles for platforms including the iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and PCs and Macs.

E-Book Loopholes for Librarians

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

In an exploration of the ramifications of Amazon’s recent decision to delete unlicensed Kindle e-books by George Orwell and reimburse the owners, The Wall St. Journal also looks in to how eBook issues might affect libraries.

Public libraries have wrestled with the question of whether Amazon’s terms of service allows them to lend Kindles. The Journal points to yet another ambiguity,

Scott Bloom, director of student services and curriculum for Milton-Union Exempted Village School District in Ohio, recently purchased 11 Kindles for his 1st through 5th grade students this fall. He bought more than 100 books — but only one license for each, even though he has put a copy on each of his Kindles. He has looked, but hasn’t seen any fine print from Amazon telling him that’s not allowed. Amazon declined to comment.

The Journal then notes that the Seattle Public Library offers downloadable ebooks from OverDrive and throws in a question about what would happen to library e-book collections if the company went under, or there was a massive loss of digital content. Clearly, the reporter hasn’t spent much time with librarians, who have found many adaptive approaches to these issues ever since the first magazine and journal databases began to supplement and replace collections of print publications decades ago.

Best Comic Books

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

As a tie-in to the upcoming Comic Con next week in San Diego, the San Francisco Chronicle offers a list of “The Best in Comic Books.”

Among the listings is Asterios Polyp, which has been rising on Amazon (it’s now at #117, which may be a record for a graphic novel).

UPDATE: Thanks to Brock Martin for reminding me that Watchmen went much higher in Amazon sales rankings (in fact, it is STILL higher than Asterios Polyp. A simple check of Amazon’s Bestsellers in Graphic Novels would have revealed that). So, let’s amend the statement to this being “a record for a non-movie-related graphic novel.”

Asterios Polyp
David Mazzucchelli
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 344 pages
Publisher: Pantheon – (2009-07-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0307377326 / 9780307377326


Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Wimpy Kid j4

The word is out — USA Today‘s “Book Buzz” column writes today that Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is coming on October 12th.

Many libraries have it on order with holds building. King County P.L. ordered 313 copies on 6/30 and currently have 107 holds; that’s likely to grow exponentially now that the news is out.

Since many libraries added the book before the title was announced, it appears on those catalogs as Diary of a Wimpy Kid #4.

Currently, the Amazon sales ranking is only #10,867 [UPDATE: Friday, 7/24 — now up to #7,714]. Expect it to rise rapidly.

In what may very well be a first, a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days ” 30-day ice cream truck tour begins August 3. It will be stopping at many public libraries, including my alma mater, Baltimore County PL (see site for locations).

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days
Jeff Kinney
Retail Price: $13.95
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books – (2009-10-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0810983915 / 9780810983915

New Teen Edition of THE SECRET

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

This fall, there will be a teen twist on Rhonda Byrne’s blockbuster self-help phenom, The Secret, which has sold millions of copies. The new book, The Secret to Teen Power, will be written by Paul Harrington, producer of The Secret DVD, with a bullish first printing of 500,000 copies. The new book will show “how teens can transform their own lives and live their dreams, by understanding and using the power they have in their hands,” according to publisher Simon Pulse, as quoted by the Associated Press.

No exact pub date, jacket or ISBN yet, but we’ll keep you posted.