Archive for December, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

We wish we had gotten it together to create a fun holiday greeting. We didn’t, so we’ll just steal this one from those creative folks at Chronicle Books (love the use of the company logo and the dancing CEO).

Happy holidays to all our wonderful EarlyWord readers (try to imagine the EarlyWord bird swooping into the scene).

Starring the Chronicle staff, in order of appearance:

Laura Bagnato, Marketing Designer
Alex Sheehan, Special Sales Manager
Nion McEvoy, Chairman & CEO
Ben Laramie, Industrial Designer
Dean Burell, Managing Editorial Director
Anna Carollo, Marketing Design Coordinator
Jack Jensen, President
Emily Craig, Marketing Designer
Kelly Abeln, Marketing Design Fellow

If you want to find out more about the creation of this stop motion video, check Chronicle’s behind the scenes blog post.


Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Word of mouth must be working for Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. Let us know, in comments below, what your readers are saying. Are the excruciating descriptions putting them off, or are they loving the ultimate triumph (a subject we explored in an earlier post)?

Unbroken is now at #3, from #5 last week, on USA Today‘s best seller list, making it the second best selling nonfiction title after George Bush’s Decision Points.

Holds in libraries are growing. Libraries have increased their copies by as much as ten times the initial order, to try to keep up with demand.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Retail Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-11-16)
ISBN / EAN: 1400064163 / 9781400064168

RH Large Print; 9780375435010
RH Audio; 9780739319697

UPDATE: Procrastinators Guide: MidWinter ’11

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

UPDATE: Unfortunately, one of our favorite ALA meetings, The Collection Management in Public Libraries Discussion Group did not make it on to the conference scheduler. Below is the info — hope to see you there!

Monday, January 10. 2010
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
San Diego Convention Center, Room 24 A
2011 Collection Management in Public Libraries
Discussion Group

Issues for the Fresh New Decade
Lively discussion at Midwinter in San Diego! We will be discussing technology, budgets, and other practical issues for collection development in public libraries.


Fellow procrastinators; MidWinter begins two weeks from tomorrow.

We need to make this easy. Below are a few steps to take right now, followed by things you can do mañana.

1) Sign up for the following free events

Take a procrastinator’s advice and do it now; space is limited.

AAP Author Breakfast
Monday, January 10, 2010
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Hilton Bayfront Hotel, Sapphire A Ballroom, One Park Blvd.
Veterans of the AAP events will tell you that it almost doesn’t matter who the authors are; it’s always fun and discovering new authors is the best part (plus, you’ll get Advance Readers Copies). This one features SIX, including Jacqueline Winspear, whose  A Lesson in Secrets is coming from Harper in April. It’s free, but you have to RSVP to Becca Worthington at the AAP to reserve your spot.

Publisher Title Presentations
Get  jump on the Spring/Summer seasons and an inside look at what the library marketing reps are particularly excited about, as well as a chance to load up on major galleys. Two of the largest trade houses offer title presentations:

Saturday, January 8, 2011
10:00 AM – 11:15 AM — Adult Titles
11:30 to 12:30 — Children’s Titles
San Diego Convention Center, Room 26 A/B
Please RSVP by emailing Bobby Brinson so there will be an adequate number of galleys, tote bags and goodies.

Random House, Inc.
Sunday, January 17th
Adult Titles: 11:15pm – 12:15pm
Convention Center, Room 31B
(RH is not asking for an RSVP this year)

2) Check ALA’s listing of special events. Put the ones you don’t want to miss on your schedule

Below are two that are not on ALA’s special events list:

RUSA Book and Media Awards
Sun, January 9th
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Manchester Ballrooms A&B
Celebrate the genres with the Reading List and other RUSA award announcements. Even better, enjoy cocktails with fellow RA librarians.

Gala Author Tea
Mon., Jan. 10
2-4 p.m.
Convention Center, Room 29 A-D
You’ve missed the cutoff for advance tickets, so you will want to get to the session early to try to nab an on-site ticket ($55).

3) Don’t forget to schedule meetups with friends

4) Mañana

Make a list of galleys not to miss. A prime time to pick them up is on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., during the Spotlight on Adult Literature (more info. in ALA’s listing of special events).

Check out these special offers and signings from adult publishers:

HarperCollins, booth 2016

Macmillan, booth 2026

OverDrive, booth 1017 — check out their new eBook Apps and presentations like, “Best Practices to Maximize Download Circulation”

Penguin Group, booth 1917

Random House, booth 1816

Wiley, booth 1541 (Sam the Cooking Guy there on Monday at 2 p.m.; giving away copies while they last) and a 20th Anniversary Dummies celebration on Saturday (dessert reception at 4 p.m.)

See you there!

Animorphs Returning

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Yea!!!!! Scholastic announces they are re-launching the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate in May.

In the series, five kids are given the power to morph into animal forms by alien beings. Applegate’s gift was to take have these stock series characters fight evil while vividly capturing each animal’s attributes (what kid, or adult for that matter, wouldn’t want to fly like a condor or swim like a dolphin?)

In my library, the copies are old, yellowed and ratty (they were published between 1996 and 2001). I would have tossed them years ago if our kids weren’t still taking them out.

Looking for Katniss

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Speculation is rife
on who will win the coveted lead role of Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming movie of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008).

The L.A. Times quotes producer Nina Jacobson this week, who says auditioning will begin in the new year. There’s lots of interest, but,

“There are no front-runners yet…It really comes down to finding that person who can capture the physicality, the vulnerability and the toughness. She’s a paradoxical character and you need somebody who has the range to capture all of those dimensions.”

Directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit), the movie is set to begin shooting in the spring.

No, But I Read the Book

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The entertainment news site BuzzSugar just posted a Winter Reading List: 15 Books to Read Before They’re on the Big Screen slideshow, useful for real and virtual book displays.

One caution, however, many of the movies have no cast or directors yet, so it’s anyone’s guess whether they will actually see the light of the big screen and one is opening today (True Grit, which is getting fantastic reviews and bringing new attention to the book; see our coverage, as well as yesterday’s NYT review).

You might prefer to use two of our Movies Based on Books lists (in links, at the right and continuously updated), Upcoming — with Tie-ins and In Production. If you want to go way out on the edge, check our Film Rights Acquired listing.

The BuzzSugar list leads with Jennifer Egan’s The Keep (the author’s A Visit from the Goon Squad has emerged as the top fiction pick on the Best Books ’10 lists).

It was optioned back in October, with Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish-language Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, signed to direct, but no news since.

Librarians’ Favorite Book Recommendations, 2010

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the responses to our Favorite 2010 Books to Recommend challenge. We asked you to give us your own passionate book recommendations (not reviews, but an expressions of true love) and you came through. It’s like eavesdropping at the new book shelves.

We want more! Please add to the list (click here and add to the comments).

Here’s a few that sold me:

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love
Kristin Kimball
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scribner – (2010-10-12)
ISBN / EAN: 1416551603 / 9781416551607

Corinne Chronopoulos: The Dirty Life tells the true story of a NYC journalist who falls for an organic farmer while writing a story about him. This may sound like a cliche story line – city girl goes to the country – but it is actually a story about where our food comes from and the choices we make when we eat. Kimball is a fantastic writer and I really loved hearing about how two people struggled to bring a piece of land alive and produce food for themselves and their community. This book made we want to be a farmer and changed the way I consume.


An Irish Country Courtship: A Novel (Irish Country Books)
Patrick Taylor
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Forge Books – (2010-09-28)
ISBN / EAN: 0765321742 / 9780765321749

Linda: I loved An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor. This series is one of my favorites for escapist reading. The author evokes life in a Northern Irish village in the mid-1960′s with wonderful characters and an exceptional ear for dialogue. There’s even a glossary at the end clarifying unfamiliar local expressions.


Turtle in Paradise
Jennifer L. Holm
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers – (2010-05-11)
ISBN / EAN: 0375836888 / 9780375836886

Susan: I like books that make the reader want to do further research into a specific time or event. This semi-autobiographical novel about a young girl who is shipped off to her mother’s family in Key West during the Great Depression has a wonderful cast of characters, real buried treasure, and an ending that will knock your socks off.


Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books)
Cherie Priest
Retail Price: $15.99
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tor Books – (2009-09-29)
ISBN / EAN: 0765318415 / 9780765318411

Debbi: Steampunk, zombies, airships & pirates, Seattle a long time ago, crazy inventors, single mother wanting only the best for her teenage son and highly poisonous materials floating around… completely unlike anything I’ve read before, quite outside my usual interests and I LOVED it.

The Book I Can’t Stop Talking About

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Hold on to your seats, I am about to recommend a business audio. It is true that I rarely write about books (or audiobooks) for grown-ups, but I can’t stop talking about Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Tony Hsieh
Retail Price: $29.98
Audio CD: Unabridged
Publisher: Hachette Audio – (2010-06-07)
ISBN : 9781607882305

What is our experience as librarians with the business book category? Do we read them because the Director went to a “who moved my cheese” seminar and found a way to force the staff to read a book not of their choosing? Because the Four Hour Work Week has an appealing title and is on best seller lists? Did a friend recommended Freakanomics?

Business books are a genre I read for fun after a pile of picture books. My first reading of Managing The Non-Profit Organization by Peter Drucker was when I worked as a retail manager for a children’s museum. I was intrigued by the way he laid out organizational structure, interpersonal relationships and above all the difference between a for-profit entity and a non-profit.

I heard the rumors that everyone who worked on Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson quit their job and went to something else, following “their calling.” Within a year of reading it, I, too, quit my job in publishing, enrolled in graduate school and started my career as a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. That’s what a thoughtful examination of how we evaluate our work will do… instigate change.

What is about Delivering Happiness? I’m not in a rut at work. I have high expectations of interesting developments, my managers encourage and support new ideas, curriculum and projects (like the recent BookFest@Bank Street). They expect me to stretch and grow, to mentor and teach, to be passionate about our work and to enjoy the daily work of teaching.

So here comes Tony Hsieh examining and sharing what makes a great place to work. He lays out how serendipity, exciting hard work, kindness, generosity, passion and personal growth can all be part of a corporate strategy for success. Hsieh’s presentation jells with my own philosophy of work life. To be passionate, to encourage others, to be of service, to blow off steam in productive but fun ways, to find ways small and big to improve how we do things to serve our students and teachers, and to do more with less, to learn that obstacles or misaligned philosophies are growth opportunities.

Hsieh’s passion for “delivering happiness” is palpable on the audio edition of the book. He sounds almost amazed at where life has taken him, he generously shares his mistakes and errors in judgement as well in a sure-why-don’t-we-try-that attitude. The audio includes the voices of others on his team who grew Zappos with him as well as Jeff Bezos after the Amazon buy-out. (More complicated than that… read the book).

It confirms my own business philosophy and articulates how I can grow within my organization as well as partner with those outside who share our core values.

Needless to say, I’ll be giving it to many friends this holiday.

Now There’s Proof; Picture Books are Not Declining

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Back in October, the NYT ran an article that made me crazy. If you’re not familiar with it, the title alone indicates why; “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children.”

The article asserted that picture books are in a decline and that a major factor is parents, who want to push their kids into reading chapter books. I wrote a rebuttal, explaining why picture books are still important for children; thanks to all of you who chimed in.

This week, Publishers Weekly‘s cover story carries a headline we can all toast, “Don’t Write the Obit For Picture Books Yet.” It also presents encouraging stats that refute that NYT‘s basic premise,

“The evidence: BookScan figures show that last year, picture books represented 10.8% of the overall children’s market—virtually the same as in 2005, when they represented 10.7%.”

The article goes on to quote publishers’ views of the market (definitely not declining) and gives an insightful look at the history of children’s book publishing and retailing. Great reading for the holidays!

A New Way to Manage Collections

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

We are all dealing with the sad truth that we must do more with less. A key component for libraries is to figure out how to most effectively spend materials budgets and make use of existing collections.

Many librarians have spent hours gathering information from their ILS, with the goal of analyzing their collections. Unfortunately, this can take so much effort that precious little time is left for the actual analysis. Rather than an ongoing process, it becomes a once-a-year chore.

Last year at MidWinter, I learned about a collection development toolkit developed by a Scottish librarian and now used by 50% of public libraries in the UK and being introduced into the North American market.

I was impressed. In a few minutes, the product puts together information from a library’s ILS, showing what subject areas and genres (using BISAC codes) are circulating well, which ones are dated, which ones are declining, which books are likely to be worn out, based on age and number of circs (called a “grubby report”).  It even shows which specific authors are rising and which declining in popularity so libraries can adjust their standing orders accordingly. Furthermore, by aggregating collection usage data, users can see what is working well for other public libraries and make more informed decisions about what to buy based on the experience of other public libraries. Sold as an annual subscription service, it requires no hardware and can be used by any authorized user from a PC.

Along with June Garcia and Susan Kent, who were also impressed with the product, I’ve been helping introduce collectionHQ to North American libraries through demos at PLA, ALA and BEA. Already some 40 libraries have signed up.

In these times, libraries can use all the help they can get to maximize their dollars. More information on collectionHQ is available here and through free live webcasts (schedule here) as well as individual Web demos.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010


Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Patrick Anderson, mystery and thriller reviewer for the Washington Post, enthuses,

Peter James’s novels about Detective Superintendent Roy Grace have been bestsellers in England but have had little impact in this country. That could change with the publication here of the sixth in the series, Dead Like You. It’s a remarkably inventive story of sexual obsession, possibly the most engrossing thriller since Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs.

Anderson is right about James being big in the UK — Dead Like You went right to #1 on London’s Sunday Times best seller list in its first week of publication and enjoyed extensive review coverage there.

Dead Like You (Detective Superintendent Roy Grace)
Peter James
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books – (2010-11-23)
ISBN / EAN: 0312642822 / 9780312642822

Funeral Homes and Civil Rights

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

This morning, NPR’s Morning Edition reaches all the way back to a book published in February by Harvard U. Press and owned by just a few public libraries. In it, Suzanne Smith writes about A. G. Gaston, a little-known enterpreneur who was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. Like other black funeral directors, he used his wealth to pressure for change (threatening to withdraw his money from  the local bank if they didn’t get rid of their segregated drinking fountains).

To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death
Suzanne E. Smith
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press – (2010-02-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0674036212 / 9780674036215

MORE Best Books

Monday, December 20th, 2010

For those of you who just can’t get enough of Best Books lists, several more appeared over the weekend:

Entertainment Weekly, Top Ten:

Their top choice is Barry Udall’s The Lonely Polygamist , Norton, which was also a PW Top Ten, and was on the Kirkus and Washington Post lists.

At #9, is a book that hasn’t appeared on others; Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz, Twelve/Grand Central. It didn’t get reviewed widely and Entertainment Weekly was its champion, calling it a “compulsively readable debut.”

Rich Boy
Sharon Pomerantz
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Twelve – (2010-08-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0446563188 / 9780446563185

San Francisco Chronicle

  • Top 10 books of 2010
  • Best 2010 books by Bay Area authors
  • 100 recommended books from 2010
  • Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2010
  • Best poetry books of 2010
  • The Seattle Times

    27 best books of 2010

    For those of you who can’t stand to read yet another Best Books list, try Ron Charles’s take:

    CBS SUNDAY MORNING Filled with Books

    Monday, December 20th, 2010

    Books were all over CBS Sunday Morning this week, sending every one mentioned up Amazon’s sales rankings.

    #15 (from #240) The Gourmet Cookie Book, HMH

    #45 (from #61) Awkward Family Photos, Mike Bender, Three Rivers/Crown (video not available online).

    #86 (from #145) True Grit, Charles Portis, Overlook
    In a profile, Matt Damon, who stars in the Coen brothers movie of True Grit (opening on Wednesday), says he may be “only person in America who hasn’t seen the [1968 John Wayne] movie.” When Damon asked the Coen brothers if he should see it, they said, “Actually, the book is where you should go, because we’re not looking at it as a remake of that film as much as a strict adaptation of this great book.” Portis is also profiled today in the NYT.

    A story about book covers is not very insightful, although it’s fun to see some of the people behind several books.

    One of the covers discussed is for the forthcoming The Story of a Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon, featured recently in LJ‘s “PrePub Alert.”

    (no noticeable Amazonsales bump for this one).

    The Story of a Beautiful Girl
    Rachel Simon
    Retail Price: $24.99
    Hardcover: 352 pages
    Publisher: Grand Central Publishing – (2011-05-04)
    ISBN / EAN: 0446574465 / 9780446574464