Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans . . ."
--Johnny Horton, Battle of New Orleans

I don't want to go off on a Andy Rooneyesque rant, but this may be one of the few times it is necessary. Unless you've been locked in a biosphere with Pauly Shore for the past year, you must be aware that J.K. Rowling's new web site, Pottermore, has been unveiled. There had been much speculation on its content for the past couple of months. Could it be a giant web-based role- playing game like World of WarcraftTM? Or could it be a collection of short stories or unreleased materials set in the PotterverseTM? Rumors were rampant. [Cue the Debbie Downer sound effect.]

No, unfortunately, it is just another blatant money grab by J.K. Rowling. I guess with the movies winding down she concocted this scheme to generate maximum profit for herself from her e-books. Sure, there will be new artwork and a few other bones for Potter fans, so she did put some window dressing on the site, but let's face it, Pottermore is no more than a portal to sell more product and an opportunity to cut out the people who helped her become the richest woman in Great Britain. Yes, you read right. J.K. Rowling is even richer than the Queen of England. In fact, you know you are really filthy rich when you buy an adjacent property for $6 million dollars and level the house on the lot so you can expand your garden.

Of course, the apologists have already begun the spin and this is my personal favourite, ". . . J.K. Rowling has made sure everyone's getting a slice of Pottermore." No, Alexander McNabb, not everyone is getting a slice of Pottermore. Bookstores, who are the most responsible for her success, have been completely frozen out. These booksellers were the ones who held the midnight release parties, these were the booksellers who defended her when busybodies wanted to ban her titles, and finally, these were the same booksellers who recommended her books to their customers. It's no secret that the bookselling business is hurting right now. So excuse me if I take umbrage at the fact that J.K. Rowling has decided to give bookstores a swift kick to the groin as a reward for all of their efforts. I can hear the excuses, "But Mick, these stores were making tons of money off of her print books." Again, that is a myth. With on-line retailers selling Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows (9780545139700) 14.99 at a loss, I know for a fact that one of the local bookstores was making a penny on each copy. Cheeky.

"So as punishment, Ms. Rowling, I subtract 50 points from Gryffindor."

Odds & Sods

Alan Furst, author of Spies of the Balkans (9780812977387) 14.99 stopped in here and signed our copies. He was really a great guy and he writes a good yarn. These copies are sold on a first come, first served basis . . .

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (9781594744761) 17.99 by Ransom Riggs is getting some good buzz. The publisher is out of stock until July 1. And with the holiday weekend coming up, we probably won't have it back in until the end of next week . . .

Backorders for George R.R. Martin's Dance with Dragons (9780553801477) 35.00 are starting to pile up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the bestselling show
Is there life on Mars . . ."
--David Bowie, Life on Mars?

Things Overheard in a Michigan Bookstore: "I'm looking for Ann Coulter's autobiography. I think it's called Demonic (9780307353481) 28.99."

Things to Do in Ann Arbor: Tonight, Nicola's Books will be hosting Loreen Niewenhuis, author of A Thousand Mile Walk on the Beach: One Woman's Trek of the Perimeter of Lake Michigan (9781933987156) 16.95. Loreen's book has been the surprise regional bestseller of the season for us. I believe we have sold out of her title at least three times now. We do have copies in stock. If you're looking for a national author, Alan Furst will be signing copies of Spies of the Balkans (9780812977387) 15.00 tomorrow night.

Things to Read About on the Internet: Authors can be an ornery bunch and these classic putdowns are worth reading: As several writers noted, I have never understood the fascination with Jane Austen. Her Pride and Prejudice (9780553213102) 4.95 had to be one of the most boring books that I have been forced to read. Nathanial Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (9780553210095) 3.95 would be a close second.

Things to Do in Petoskey: I see that McLean & Eakin Booksellers is having not just one but two literary giants in their bookstore on the same day. Jaimy Gordon, winner of the NBA for Lord of Misrule (9780929701837) 25.00 hc and (9780307946737) pb 15.00, will be motoring up to Petoskey with her former student and National Book Award finalist Bonnie Jo Campbell to do a joint signing. Ms. Campbell will be promoting her new title, Once Upon a River (9780393079890) 25.95. This event will take place on August 11 and you can learn more about it here: . It will give you a good excuse to visit this four season resort community.

Things to Read for Boring History Nerds like Myself: Yeah, I would recommend Jonathan Steinberg's Bismarck: A Life (9780199782529) 34.95, but even I will admit that the audience for this title is very limited. However, for that special someone who is a history buff, this would be the perfect gift. *wink* *wink*

Odds & Sods

We always do well with the Pocket NaturalistTM wildlife foldouts this time of year. And now, the biggest name in birds, Sibley, has joined the fray with their foldout, Sibley's Backyard Birds of the Upper Midwest (9781935380641) 7.95. The Bird is the word . . .

Talk about catching fire, everyone must have read Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (9780439023528) 8.99, and now they've moved on to the second book in the series, Catching Fire (9780439023498) 17.99. We have just received our re-order. Get 'em while they're smokin' hot . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"I began an earlier book with the sentence 'The First World War was a cruel and unnecessary war.' The American Civil War, with which it stands comparison, was also certainly cruel, both in the suffering it inflicted on the participants and the anguish it caused to the bereaved at home. But it was not unnecessary . . ."
--John Keegan, The American Civil War (9780307274939) 16.95
 1) SWEET IS THE NIGHT . . . We're having a hard time keeping Adam Mansbach's Go the F**k to Sleep (9781617750250) 14.95 in stock and now, I hear he will be on David Letterman tomorrow night. I think I can safely say that David will eat this one up. Sometimes I wonder if the internet will be the ruination of the human race. Seriously. And then something like this comes along and totally redeems it: . Why yes, that really is Samuel L. Jackson reading Go the F**k to Sleep . . .

2) LIVIN' THING . . . I have been remiss. Even though the book has been around since 1938, I have never read Mr. Popper's Penguins (9780316058438) 6.99. And now, after being subjected to a daily barrage of TV commercials, I've learned that it's a major movie vehicle for Jim Carrey. Jim Carrey makes me go 'Meh.' Also the gags in the movie trailer look a tad dated. I know a soccer ball kicked at a man's groin is usually comedic gold, but after you've seen it several times it loses its charm. However, and I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I find penguins to be the most adorable animal in the world. I can watch March of the Penguins over and over again. For God's sake I have penguin placemats on my dining room table. My favourite Looney Tunes cartoon is when Bugs Bunny is taking a little penguin to Antarctica and the starving stowaway sez, "Penguins is practically chicken." So yeah, I'm doomed. I will eventually see this movie . . .

3) SHANGRI-LA . . . I was yelling at the television whilst watching Cash Cab the other day. The question was: "What was the name of the mythical land in the James Hilton novel Lost Horizon (9780671664275) 6.99?" I shouted myself hoarse screaming, 'Shangri-La,' at the TV screen. Of course even with a mobile shout out the contestant still got it wrong. Maybe he wouldn't have been kicked out of the Cash Cab if he had read Mitchell Zuckoff's Lost in Shangri-La (9780061988349) 26.99. I thought Ghost Soldiers (9780385495653) 16.00 by Hampton Sides recounted the most dangerous rescue of World War II. This one may have it beat. An American plane goes down in the jungles of New Guinea and there are three survivors. Unfortunately, they have landed in the territory of the Dani, which is a tribe of cannibals. They make peace with the tribe, but then everything goes to hell when their paratrooper 'rescuers' arrive on the scene. This won't be a Jim Carrey vehicle, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's made into a movie.

Odds & Sods

It always makes my job a lot easier when I can say with confidence that a regional book is well done. M. Christine Byron and Thomas R. Wilson's Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike (9781933926308) 35.00 is one of those books. In fact, it's been long time since I've seen a book come down the pike that in my opinion is underpriced. This book is one of them . . .

In case you're interested, we do have copies of Steve Hamilton's Misery Bay (980312380434) 24.99 that have been signed by the author. First come, first served.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me . . ."
--Hunter S. Thompson
1) FAR OUT . . . I wish I were Ann Pachett. As usual, her newest novel State of Wonder (9780062049803) 26.99 has been garnering five star reviews from just about every critic. In fact, has chosen it as one of their Best Books of the Month for June. Dr. Marina Singh's colleague has been lost in the wilds of the Amazon jungle and Dr. Singh is sent by the CEO of her company to find him. First Marina must meet her former teacher, Dr. Annick Swenson, who had destroyed Marina's medical career many years ago. The Dr. Swenson that Marina knew has changed and she begins to realize that the doctor may have been in the jungle a little too long. (Think Colonel Kurtz). Several reviewers have compared her latest foray to Heart of Darkness (9780451531032) 4.95 by Joseph Conrad, but as a more feminized version without the violence. No word yet if Francis Ford Coppola is purchasing the movie rights . . .

2) TURN IT UP . . . One of our good customers, Ellen Airgood, has written a new book called South of Superior (9781594487934) 25.95. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but another of our customers, Barbara Siepker, has already reviewed it. Here it is: "South of Superior is a pleasantly paced story that takes place in the UP of Michigan where towns are small, winters long, and hardships abound. Ellen Airgood has captured the beauty of the area, the isolation and cast of local characters. After her adoptive mother dies, Madeline returns to her birth place in search of her roots. The reader is drawn into the slower pace of life and its colorful characters as they extend a welcome in their inimical way giving her the space to form her own direction and roots that turn out to be re-opening the old long closed hotel." Sounds good to me. If you can, show Ellen a little support and stock a few copies of her first novel . . .

3) CHARMLESS MAN . . . Yesterday, I saw in the lamestream MSM that Ann Coulter was quoted as saying something something about killing libruls something something. I thought to myself, 'Hey, it must be time for a new Ann Coulter book.' I looked it up on my computer and sure enough, she has a new book called Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America (9780307353481) 28.99. "In our world there can only be triumph and self-abasement. Everything else, we will destroy."

4) GIRLS & BOYS . . . I mentioned that Adam Mansbach's Go the F**k to Sleep (9781617750250) 14.95 had gone viral weeks ago. Here's a little coda from Alex Chilton: Morning comes & sleeping's done / Birds sing outside / If demons come while you're under / I'll be a blue moon in the sky . . .

Odds & Sods

I always knew it was the end of every Holiday Season when the new mystery by Lillian Jackson Braun came out from Putnum Publishing. Not so much anymore. Ms. Jackson passed away June 4 at the age of 97. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. You may not have known that she also worked for the Detroit Free Press for thirty years. Our condolences to her family and friends . . .

Alex Prud'homme, author of The Ripple Effect (9781416535454) 27.00 will be featured on The Daily Show on Monday. Our supplies of fresh water are dwindling and time is running out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*
"If there are things that have to be done,
you should do them quickly . . ."
--Henry Kissinger, author of On China (9781594202711) 36.00 offering advice to the Military Junta that over-threw the legally elected government of Argentina in 1976. Upwards of 22,000 people would die or disappear at the Junta's hands over the course of the next 7 years.
This morning I skimmed through the latest edition of Shelf Awareness. As usual, I tried to ignore the litany of bookstore closings, their inexplicable promotion of Pennie from Costco's Book of the Month selection [which, by the way, is Mudbound (9781565126770) 13.95 by Hillary Jordan], and the daily addition of yet another actor to the cast of The Hunger Games (9780439023528) 8.99. Mercifully, there was nothing new on Borders' struggles. However, one pertinent item did catch my eye, David McCullough would be appearing on The Diane Rehm Show tomorrow to promote his new title, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (9781416571766) 37.50. At first glance, this seems like foreign territory for Mr. McCullough, who tends to not stray far from United States history, but then his list of Americans in Paris is a veritable who's who of greatness, including: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Samuel Morse. I thought Claude R. Marx of The Washington Times summed up Mr. McCullough well in his review, "A rich and enjoyable literary experience. There are reminders on every page why Mr. McCullough is one of the nation's great popular historians." Bill me for a copy . . .

[GEEK ALERT!] I realized it was all downhill from here on Shelf Awareness, so I decided to check the web and I stumbled upon this juicy little smackrel of honey. It's Wired's 10 Books That Will Fry Your Mind This Summer: . Since it's predominantly science fiction, I'm not sure if I would have gone with 'Fry Your Mind.' Personally, I think that 'Blow Your Mind' would have been a better choice. Of course George R.R. Martin's Dance With Dragons (9780553801477) 35.00, which releases on July 12, is one of the featured titles. And why not, the HBO series based on The Game of Thrones (9780553386790) 17.00 is the hottest thing in fantasy since The Lord of the Rings. I was surprised that Daniel Wilson's Robopocalypse (9780385533850) 25.00 didn't make the cut. Although Eric, The Partners Page Senior Apocalyptic Correspondent, enjoyed the apocalyptic part well enough, he thought the robot bit was a tad overdone.

Finally, released their list of the Most Well-Read Cities in U.S. You can see it here: . I can't believe there are three cities from Florida on it. C'mon, Floriduh?

Odds & Sods

Last night, The Daily Show re-ran Jon Stewart's interview with Annie Jacobsen, author of Area 51 (9780316132947) 27.99, which should sell well for Father's Day. We still have some copies in the secret stash. Also, in the secret stash for Father's Day, we have Howard Wasdin's Seal Team Six (9780312699451) 26.99. You might want to stock up . . .

Believe it or not, Jimmy Fallon's book, Thank You Notes (9780892967414) 12.00 has been selling like crazy. I know I'm surprised too . . .