Friday, January 29, 2010

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*
"This s**t would be really interesting
if we weren't in the middle of it . . ."
--Barack Obama quoted from Game Change (9780061733635) 27.99
Channel 13 Community Access TV Presents: BOOK TALKERS

(Camera pans Double D's basement and settles on a life-size cutout of Oprah Winfrey with Double D and Stoner B seated on either side.)

Stoner Bill: Hey Dudes and Dudettes! We are now on Day 319 and counting on our Oprah Book Club watch. C'mon Oprah, pick a new one, I need something to read! Anyway, here's your host with the most . . . Doctor Delaaaaaaay!

Double D: (smiling) Thanks for that wonderful introduction, Bill. Lotsa big news in the book biz. Shockingly, the Newbery Award winner Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me (9780385737425) 15.99 and the Caldecott winner Jerry Pinkney's The Lion & the Mouse (9780316013567) 16.99 were fairly popular books that were still available. Good work librarians! Unfortunately, the 'bad news for booksellers' was that the Coretta Scott King Award winner Bad News for Outlaws (9780822567646) 17.95 by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson was in the more traditional vein of award winners and it is out of stock at the publisher. You win some, ya lose some. Well without further adieu, we present to you: Stoner Bill's Book Spotlight . . .

Stoner Bill: Duuuuude, have you seen this book called Morecock, Fartwell, & Hoare (9780312545352) 14.99 by Russell Ash. It is hi-lari-ass. It's a collection of true names that has kept me and my little bro' in stitches. Am I right?

Henry: (off-camera) You are absolutely right, big bro'.

Double D: Is that the one with the pornographic names? I am shocked that you would be amused by a book that appeals to the lowest common denominator.

Stoner Bill: Denominator? Hey, I was told there would be no math.

Double D: Whatever. So that's about it for this week. Next week, we will interview former Michigander Steve Hamilton, author of The Lock Artist  (9780312380427) 24.99. As a little teaser, he has assured me that his next mystery will feature Alex McKnight. If you can't wait until then, Partners already has signed copies of The Lock Artist available for purchase, too.
Stoner Bill & Double D: (in unison) And remember: We love you Oprah!

Odds & Sods

For all the young truthers and conspiracy theorists, Audrey has alerted me to a new tween series that will come out the first week of the month for the rest of the year. Much like the TV show 24, the events in Gabrielle Lord's series is occuring in real time. Obviously, we already have

Conspiracy 365: January (9781935279495) 10.99 and Conspiracy 365: February (9781935279501) 10.99 in stock. "I'm running out of time . . ."

Self-proclaimed 'greatest living American author' Robert B. Parker passed away while working on his latest novel last week. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"Don't tell me what the poets are doing
Don't tell me that they're talking tough
Don't tell me that they're anti-social
Somehow not anti-social enough . . ."
--Poets, The Tragically Hip
1) SOMETHING ON . . . I was surprised on Monday when the first three calls I took were requests for John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and the Race of a Lifetime (9780061733635) 27.99. Apparently the authors and a McCain aide had been on 60 Minutes, and as much as I am a huge Andy Rooney fan, I had missed it. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the backstory on this title by now, but on Monday I had no idea what this was about, so as I'm want to do, I decided to check out and find out what the hub-bub was, bub. I usually check out their little star chart that they have for customer reviews first, and there were 20 five-star and 28 one-star reviews with nothing in-between. It was peculiar. My initial thought was that the Sarah Palin fans were giving it one-star critiques, but that didn't make any sense. The beauty of this book is that it skewers both sides of the political spectrum and thus, it would appeal to both liberals and conservatives alike. No, there was something more insidious going on here. I began reading the reviews:

Paintlady, who hasn't mastered the 'shift' key yet, said, "the publishers don't need to release this as a kindle . . . and i guess i don't need to buy it."
Rebecca Bowie, who has mastered the 'cap lock' key, added, "Not fair to rate 1 star when I've not read the book??? I am rating the PRODUCT. This PRODUCT is unsatisfactory to me because it is not available on Kindle."

And then there was this little gem from the appropriately entitled MrAdequate, " . . . [A]ccording to Harper Collins website, [it] will not be released until February 23rd. Hence, I can only assume it is terrible. Yes, I AM a childish political nerd with a Kindle . . ."

So I soon realized that every one-star review was a Kindle owner whining like a petulant child, which I actually found to be fairly entertaining. Personally, I applaud the decision by Harper Collins to delay the release of the e-book version. It makes business sense. We will have stock on Monday. Backorders are piling up like, well, one-star reviews of Game Change on . . .

2) FIREWORKS . . . Oprah is featuring Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Committed (9780670021659) 26.95 on her show today. It will be big . . .

Odds & Sods

Beth Hoffman is the first-time author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (9780670021390) 25.95 and I've been hearing nothing but good things about it. Mary Ellen at Aria Books said, "It has a charming cast of characters that you will fall in love with and the city of Savannah makes a beautiful backdrop." Our own Debbie mentioned she couldn't wait to get home last night, so she could pick it up again. Perhaps a star has been born . . .
Steve Hamilton, author of The Lock Artist (9780312380427) 24.99 will be popping in here to sign stock tomorrow. And the usual rules apply for purchasing autographed copies . . .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*
"People say that life is the thing,
but I prefer reading . . ."
--Logan Pearsall Smith
1) LAST SONG . . . When I was a wee lad and just starting out in the book business, I have to admit I thought the Kirkus Review was entirely fictional. Sure their blurbs were on the backcovers of a lot of books, but I'd never actually seen an issue of their magazine. Eventually, many years later, I saw a copy of their magazine at the local library and I thought, "Wow, the Kirkus Review really does exist!" And with so many icons of the bookselling business falling by the wayside as of late, I was a bit distraught to see a week or two ago that this unabashedly positive bastion was shutting down for good. Now it appears, however, that word of their death has been greatly exaggerated. According to Shelf Awareness, there is a buyer in the works and Kirkus Review will be up and running once again. Finally, some good news . . .

2) VICTIM OF LOVE . . . For some inexplicable reason, Stephenie Meyer's mass market version of Twilight (9780316038379) 7.99 has really started selling this week. My guess is that readers who were sort of interested in the series but were waiting until after the holidays are beginning to purchase it. It would stand to reason that her mass market edition of New Moon (9780316075657) 7.99 will begin to sell soon, too. My favourite in her series is still the Harvard Lampoon's tradepaper parody, Nightlight (9780307476104) 13.95. But that's just the way I roll . .

3) CROCODILE ROCK . . . JD, our Penguin guy wanted me to remind you that we still have a few signed copies of Anthony 'It must be Prince Spaghetti Day' Howowitz's Crocodile Tears (9780399250569) 17.99 and Patricia Polacco's January's Sparrow (9780399250774) 22.99 in stock. Also, January's Sparrow has an African-American theme, and it should be a good seller for Black History Month (Februrary). Also, Jasper Ffforde is popping in today to sign our copies of his latest novel, Shades Of Grey (9780670019632) 25.95. As usual, it will be first come, first served . . .

4) KISS THE BRIDE . . . Just when I thought it was safe to go into a bookstore, Elizabeth Gilbert is back with her paean to betrothal, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage (9780670021659) 26.95. I will never forgive Ms. Gilbert for subjecting me to her movie Coyote Ugly, but even I must admit that she sells books. Lots and lots of books. No word on an Oprah appearance yet, but make sure you're well-stocked on this one . . .

Odds & Sods

It's beginning to feel as if there are just as many big releases from major authors right after the holidays as there were before the holidays. A case in point: Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass (9780307272409) 25.95 was originally scheduled to come out in September, but due to the glut of releases, the publisher chose to push it back until this week. What do you say about Anne Tyler? Her books are always a treat. I like character-driven novels and I would hazard to say that Ms. Tyler is the 'Queen of Characters.' Try her out . . .

Also, January is 'Buy A Diet Book' month. Right now, Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure (9781401927189) 19.95 seems to be the hottest one . . .

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Partners Bookseller Insider

I’ve been on hiatus for the past couple of weeks, but I’m back from vacationing in Belize, and as Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The fight is on and I’m stripped to the buff.” I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays. Great. Let’s get down to business...

I love Ursula LeGuin. Her masterpiece Lathe of Heaven (9781416556961) 15.00 is one of my all-time favourites. However, her resigning from the Author’s Guild over the Google settlement seems to me to be detrimental to both herself and her fellow authors. I’m not one to side with big corporations, but as Julie so succinctly put it, “Would you rather books fade into oblivion or be available and accessible?” I’m thinking available. However, I decided to do a little more research and found out that it wasn't as cut and dried as one would think — Google has different ways of classifying the seven million books they have scanned: whether or not they are in print, out of print, or have copyright protection. It ain’t great, but it does make more books more available to more potential readers. You can read LeGuin’s letter of resignation from the Author’s Guild at Ursula LeGuin’s Website — Author’s Guild Resignation. I did have to chuckle at her choice of words when she mentioned, “And now you have sold us down the river,” which, of course, reminded me of the hit song “Sold Me Down the River” by my second favourite Welsh group, The Alarm. Please enjoy:

Thanks, I needed that. Okay, now, not only is Simon & Schuster responsible for Karl Rove’s upcoming autobiography Courage & Consequence (9781439191057) 30.00, which will be released on March 9, but they are also releasing the book by President Barack Obama’s brother, Homeland (9781439176177) 25.00.  Yeah, that was my reaction too. Obama’s Kenyan half-brother? I like to think I’m fairly hip to what’s going on in the political arena, but this is definitely news to me. Is this kind of like Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy? And if so, should we expect him to market the Obama Bong?