BEA 2000: Show Daily
Staff -- 6/4/00
BEA Book Buzz | LMP Award Winners | Adult Unit Sales Rose 3% in 1999
Time Warner Content Deals | Pannell, Book Sense Winners | Heard on the Floor
BEA Book Buzz
While e-books and I-publishing dominated much of the conversation on the floor there was still plenty to be said about conventional ink-and-paper titles, even if the star book of the show, Harry Potter IV (embarg d by Scholastic until its July 8, 3.8-million-copy release) was nowhere to be found.
Even if no one could read Harry's adventures, booksellers with a taste for stories in the "man's battle with nature" genre did not go hungry. Several books in this growing category are on the horizon for the fall and will no doubt benefit from the summer release of the film adaptation of Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, starring George Clooney. "Adventure is not over," said Kathy Sandrock, community relations coordinator of the Borders Books and Music in Davenport, Iowa. "All of this other stuff is a cascade effect of what started with Titanic."
Sandrock was referring to The Last River: The Tragic Race for Shangri-la (Crown), the account of a real-life encounter with the Tibetan "Mount Everest of whitewater rafting," as expressed by first-time author Todd Balf. With a 100,000 first printing in the works, Crown has high expectations for this title, which the house is comparing to Isaac's Storm. "There are a couple of genres at work here: strong narrative adventure fiction and strong narrative historical fiction," explained Andy Martin, associate publisher at Crown.
Booksellers responded to the anticipated allure of adventures in cartographic crime promised in The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey (Random) by snatching up 600 galleys the first day of the show." We had to hold 200 back for the signing," said Random's Mary Bahr. Balf and Harvey share a background of writing for Outside magazine, which seems to be supplying many authors to the adventure genre. In fact, Norton, publisher of The Perfect Storm, announced a new Outside imprint, which will release an anthology this fall to kick off what editor John Barstow said will be at least a five-year partnership with 25 titles.
Abrams will set off on an adventure of its own this fall with an announced 150,000 first printing of the English-language edition of The Valley of Golden Mummies by Zahi Hawass. Heralded as "the most spectacular Egyptian archeological discovery since King Tut's tomb," the illustrated book chronicles the find of a 2,000-year-old cemetery in the Bahariya Oasis.
A lead title from FSG, The Talmud and the Internet by Jonathan Rosen, used the differences between his grandmothers, a Holocaust survivor and an upper-middle-class American, to explore the incredible human journey in a changing world. In a different vein, Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food, Taming Our Primal Instincts (Perseus) by Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan tackles a few basic human issues of its own.
In fiction, two Warner titles, Wish You Well by David Baldacci and The Letter of the Law by Tim Green see their authors venturing into new territory, as Baldacci steps away from the thriller and Green embraces the genre. The Thorn Birds' Colleen McCullough returns to Australia in Morgan's Run (S&S). Other bookseller favorites on the fall lists include Jane Hamilton (Doubleday), Barbara Kingsolver (HarperCollins), James Patterson (Little, Brown), Stephen Coonts (St. Martin's), Caleb Carr (Random) and Michael Connelly (S&S).
While not on hand with a new title, Michael Cunningham (The Hours) lent his star power to The Death of Vishnu, a first novel by Manil Suri; Norton teamed the two authors in a taped interview given out at the show. It wasn't planned, but Houghton Mifflin editor Janet Silver said readers of debut novel The Sugar Island by Ivonne Lamazares, the story of a girl's voyage from Cuba, calls to mind the Elian Gonzalez saga. Grove had galleys of Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre, a first novel that brings together art, sex and the Vatican of the 1600s. Not for the kids.
What children's booksellers were talking about--after Harry Potter--was Philip Pullman's much-anticipated The Amber Spyglass (Knopf). Pullman enthralled Friday's breakfast attendees with a reading from the forthcoming book, the conclusion of the his Dark Materials trilogy; the first in the series won an Audie Award Friday night for Listening Library. In picture book news, Ian Falconer's Olivia (Atheneum/Schwartz) was top pig; Jennifer Anglin of Enchanted Forest in Dallas, Tex., described the perky porker as "Eloise meets Lilly." Breakfast Peter Sis's Madlenka (FSG/Foster), a tour of a city block through a child's eyes, was also a bookseller favorite. For those who'd had a hard day on the floor, My Little Red Toolbox by Stephen J. Johnson (Harcourt) gave them a chance to hammer out their frustrations.
In a first, on Friday BEA featured the actual publication of a book--an e-book--courtesy of Hope Springs Press and SoftLock, a digital distributor. SoftLock will e-merchandise Hope Springs' Web reference books, beginning with Betsy Dance's First Aid Yourself: Essential Breast Care Websites, in which Dance tells the story of one woman's fight with breast cancer; it provides hundreds of hyperlinks to breast cancer sites. In an unusual twist, buyers may pay more than the retail price of $14.95; by adding an extra dollar, the publisher and distributor each match the contribution, resulting in a $3 donation to the Cancer Research Foundation of America.
LMP Award Winners
Bowker presented the 10th annual LMP Awards yesterday.
The Person of the Year is John Sargent Jr., head of Holtzbrinck Publishers.
For editorial achievement: Michael Pietsch of Little, Brown for adult publishing; and Wendy Lamb, Delacorte Press, for children's publishing.
For sales and marketing achievement: adult publishing, the sales and marketing department of Crown Publishing Group, for Isaac's Storm; and for children's publishing, the winner was the sales and marketing department of S&S's children's publishing division, for the relaunch of the Eloise books.
The publicity department of Hyperion won the award for publicity achievement in adult publishing for The Hungry Ocean. The publicity department of S&S's children's publishing division won for publicity achievement, children's publishing, also for the rebirth of the Eloise series.
The winner for graphic design achievement was the Random House cover department.
Adult Unit Sales Rose 3% in 1999
Unit sales of adult consumer books rose 3% in 1999 to 1.07 billion, according to results of the 1999 Consumer Research Study on Book Purchasing that were released at a June 2 press conference. The gains offset the 3% decline in unit sales reported in 1998. Unit sales of children's books, however, fell 1.1% last year to 481 million units.
In the adult segment, units were up in all three formats, led by the hardcover category, where units rose 4%. Unit sales of trade paperbacks and mass market paperback both rose 3%.
The trend towards more books being bought in nonbookstore outlets continued in 1999, as unit sales through both chains and independent bookstores had a 39.8% market share in 1999, compared to 41.9% share in 1998. The market share of the major chains fell from 25.3% to 24.6%, while the share of independents slipped to 15.2% from 16.6%. The decline in the chains' market share was attributed to the closure of Lauriat's and the Crown Books bankruptcy. And the ABA's Avin Domnitz predicted that with the growing success of BookSense, independent booksellers could begin to recapture market share as soon as this year.
The fastest growing channel in 1999, to no one's surprise, was the Internet, where market share increased from 1.9% to 5.4%. The only other channel to increase its market share was mass merchandisers whose share increased from 5.9% to 6.2%.
The decline in juvenile unit sales was due entirely to weakness in the coloring/activity book and educational workbook categories. Excluding those two segments, juvenile unit sales, led by sales of Harry Potter titles, rose 2% to 336 million.
Time Warner Content Deals
On the heels of Time Warner Trade Publishing's iPublish.com e-publishing venture, the company announced that it has taken a minority stake in BookFace.com, a Web content firm that offers consumers free and copyright-secure online access to titles, supported by advertising revenue. The site generates advertising revenue for publishers and authors from the free browsing and consumers can also purchase the books through the site's partnership with Amazon.com.
TWTP will also offer its own titles through the BookFace.com site, which debuted during BookExpo. BookFace.com also announced content deals with HarperCollins, Random House and Penguin Putnam. The content deals supplement the site's initial offering of about 1000 public-domain and small press titles.
Laurence Kirshbaum, CEO and chairman of TWTP, and a BookFace.com advisory board member, told PW that BookFace.com will be offering "hundreds" of Warner titles by the fall, "and we'll rev it with even more titles" by the spring of 2001. Kirshbaum said the site was ideal for genre fiction: "It's like a library market. It helps consumers who read a lot and can't spend as much as they would like," and he emphasizedg that browsing "will help our print sales."
Tammy Deuster, BookFace.com CEO, told PW the site will soon announce more content deals. "There's no barrier to shelf space. We can offer millions of books to billions of readers." Deuster also pointed to the site's copyright security technology. BookFace.com technology quickly delivers individual pages to the reader though a standard browser without downloads. The document never resides on the consumer's hard drive.
Besides offering full text access for free, the site also offers editors' picks, a regularly updated listing of the most popular titles on the site, annotations and discussion boards.
Pannell, Book Sense Winners
The 1999 Lucile Micheels Pannell Awards, honoring booksellers who make a difference in young lives, were presented at the Children's Book and Author Breakfast on Friday morning. Nancy Stewart of Ingram Book Company presented the award for a children's bookstore to Terri Schmitz of the Children's Book Shop of Brookline, Mass. Julie Norcross of McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Mich., accepted the award in the general bookstore category. Each winner received a check for $750 and a framed piece of original art; Schmitz took home a painting by Susan Jeffers; Norcross received a painting by David Weitzman. The award is given in honor of children's book enthusiast Pannell, who served as a teacher, librarian and bookseller in both Wisconsin and the Chicago area.
The Book Sense Children's Book of the Year (formerly the Abby Award) was awarded to The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau, illus. by Gail de Marcken (Pfeifer-Hamilton). The prize is $5,000 and a commemorative trophy.
--Jennifer M. Brown
Heard on the Floor
Some of the Hottest Giveaways: green Harry Potter IV hats from Scholastic; Workman's hot pink mod totebag; black T-shirts promoting Knopf's American Rhapsody by J Eszterhas and The Outlaw Bible of American P try from Thunder's Mouth; Gumby and Pokey buttons from Chronicle; the faux Kate Spade bag from Talk Miramax; Olivia Post-It pads; Captain Underpants whoopie cushions; and condoms in four Day-Glo colors, promoting a book called Safer Sex.
The Hills Are Alive. At Friday morning's children's breakfast, speaker Julie Andrews Edwards confessed that during a vacation in Switzerland some years back, she was moved by her surroundings to reprise her bravura performance of the title song in The Sound of Music, something she said she'd never done before or since. She checked carefully to make sure she was alone on the mountaintop, then belted out her number, only to discover a group of Japanese tourists coming 'round the mountain, cameras clicking.
Calm Before the Storm. One exhibitor compared the good mood of so many BEA attendees with the Phony War of 1940--the period at the beginning of World War II before real fighting broke out in Western Europe. "So much is happening, but we don't know where the industry's going," he said. "We could be in for some major convolutions."
Not a New York Story. One convention-g r feared the worst when she discovered that she'd left her wallet in the cab on the way to the Martin Amis party Friday night. She called the cab company (to no avail), decided to put her faith in the kindness of strangers, and proceeded on to several more parties. Checking her phone machine back in NYC a few hours later, she was amazed to hear that someone had not only found the wallet, but tracked down her home number, left her a message, and was staying at her very own hotel. And he wasn't even with the BEA.