Tag Archives: HarperCollins

Tim Dorsey “Serges” Into Town Next Wednesday

In what is sure to be a repeat of our greatest author event ever, the hilarious Tim Dorsey brings his Serge Storms fugitive tour once again to New Albany on Wednesday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m.

Electric BarracudaIf you know Dorsey, you love him – both as an author and as a man. His visit with us in 2008 was without doubt the most successful and appreciated literary event we’ve ever held. Now, with his 13th book out, Tim chose to come back and present to us Electric Barracuda.

I won’t offer up a review today – I’ll wait until next week for that. Andy has written an outstanding review but I’ll just tell you that this one has more than a few surprises and, as always, I am bereft that I again have to wait a year for another adventure with Serge, Coleman, and the rockin’ cast of characters that weird Florida provides just when you need them.

DETAIL: The book talk and signing begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. At 7, we’re having a post-event reception for Tim at La Rosita Mexican Grill just a few blocks down the street. That will be a ticketed event. Those who pay for and reserve for that event in advance will move to the head of the autographing line in the store and then spend some more quality time with the author afterward. Single tickets include a copy of the book and a voucher for the reception and cost $37.50, taxes included. Couples tickets include a copy of the book and 2 vouchers and cost $47.50, taxes included.

The main event is free and open to the public. We have an ample supply of all of Tim’s books and you are welcome to bring your collection for autographing after the first line of purchasers have had their time with Tim. Call the store to reserve for the after-party or for more details (812) 944-5116 or e-mail newalbanybooks@gmail.com.

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Children’s Book of the Week: The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater … That Grandma Knit

The CBotW feature is proving to be very popular, providing great gift ideas for parents, uncles, and other adults looking to help build a child’s library. This week we feature The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater … That Grandma Knit, a Blossom Street Kids picture book by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney, illustrated by Vincent Nguyen.

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater ... That Grandma Knit

Macomber is the author of more than 150 romance and contemporary women’s novels, including the Blossom Street series, from which this spinoff children’s book comes. From her office above a bookstore in Port Orchard, Washington, she has committed to creating at least 3 new books each year, so it’s amazing that she found the time to fit this in. Mary Lou Carney is a Hoosier from Gary, Ind. and is a senior editor at Guideposts magazine and the author of about a dozen children’s books.

Vincent Nguyen makes his living as a conceptual artist for motion pictures and he brings that camera’s-eye view to the illustrations in this heart-warming story from HarperCollins of the love between a grandson and his Grandma.

Bonus material is included from long-time knitter Macomber in the form of a knitting tutorial for kids and a full design template (but not a pattern, per se) by Susan DeRosa of Amazing Threads for experienced knitters who might want to replicate the sweater in this story.

8-year-old Cameron can’t wait to open his present from Grandma. She always gives the best presents. But when his birthday finally rolls around, he is more than disappointed at the homemade sweater his Grandma gives him. Before Grandma’s next visit, Cameron tries everything he can to either destroy the sweater or relegate it to the dustbin, but to no avail.

Still unappreciative of the sweater that he was forced to wear, by listening to his grandmother tell the story of how she selected the colors (the green stripe reminded her of Cameron’s showing his soccer prowess on the green of the playing field; the orange stripe of how much Cameron loves to eat oranges), Cameron comes to understand just how special the “truly terribly horrible” sweater is. In the end he knows that Grandma, indeed, gives the best presents.

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater … That Grandma Knit
by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney, illustrated by Victor Nguyen
HarperCollins (HC) $16.99


Don’t forget that on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. we will be hosting Lori Leroy for the Southern Indiana book launch of The Inadequate Conception: From Barry White to Blastocytes: What Your Mom Never Told You About Getting Pregnant. If you or a friend or family member have ever faced issues of infertility, you’ll definitely want to meet Lori and hear her upbeat take on how to survive the heartaches of trying to have a baby.


We’re still entering by hand all the previous subscribers to our e-mail newsletters. You can help us out. If you know someone who would enjoy some or all of these daily books blog posts, send them a link and encourage them to subscribe. Many of you have told me you miss the way I used to keep you up to date with things at the store and in the industry, so we’re dedicated to providing you with new and interesting content.

If you’re already subscribing, you know the daily e-mail tells you in the subject what you’ll be reading about and the e-mail itself is only a digest of the rest of the post. You can even manage your subscription so that you receive it only once a week, though you might miss out on some announcements, sales, and breaking news that way.

If you Twitter or use Facebook, you might just want to be alerted via social media instead of or in addition to e-mail. I’m @NewAlbanyBooks on Twitter and you can follow “Destinations Booksellers” on Facebook.

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This Just In: Agathe von Trapp’s Memoir

I want to let you know about the recent death of Agathe von Trapp, the oldest daughter in the von Trapp family made famous by the movie The Sound of Music. After the break, some advice to a major newspaper has compelling relevance to the book biz.

These are a few of my favorite things: Books, movies, and sports. And while it’s not my favorite movie, I do thoroughly enjoy re-watching “The Sound of Music” whenever it’s on. I even sing along, and my first “professional” singing gig had me singing “These are a Few of My Favorite Things.” You know … when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad. I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel sooooo baad.

Oldest of the Trapp Family children

Died Dec. 2010.

Just before the end of 2010 we learned of the passing of Agathe von Trapp at the age of 97. Fortunately, Agathe completed a memoir that was released by HarperOne in September, 2010. just months before her death on Dec. 30.

The Trapp Family Singers, out of necessity, had a great if peripatetic career after they escaped from Austria and Agathe, blessed with a keen memory, tells the family’s story openly and honestly. Right now, the book is very hard to get, but I’ve brought in about a half-dozen copies, knowing that many of you have a deep affection for the movie, at least.

Speaking of the movie, it was based on the Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway play starring Mary Martin as Maria. Of course, in the movie, the part of Maria, governess and then stepmother to the von Trapp children, was played by the lovely Julie Andrews.

Memoir of Agathe von TrappAgathe addresses the movie and reveals that neither she nor her siblings were very pleased with the liberties taken by the play’s book and the screenplay. Over the years, though, as Agathe met thousands of people who had come to know and love her family, primarily through the film.

Maria Trapp actually sold rights to the family’s story for $9,000, to a German film producer, and the family earned nothing from the subsequent hugely successful play and film. There’s even a children’s book (we have it, too) from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” and of course, the family does not benefit from that.

That last part’s not strictly true. Mary Martin arranged for the Trapp family to get a small royalty from the profits of the stage play. Agathe said it was greatly appreciated.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know the von Trapp family escaped from Salzburg via a pass in the Alps to neutral Switzerland. You would know wrong!

In fact, the family, perhaps under some pressure, but not with Nazis in hot pursuit, simply boarded a train to Italy.


Memories Before and After the Sound of Music
HarperCollins (2010)
PB Original $13.99


Lessons from a pro: Among the things I follow on Twitter are a few journalism sites. Many of you know I have a past in newspapers and I like to keep up with that industry, too.

Charles Madigan, formerly a journalist with the Chicago Tribune, penned a letter in the Columbia Journalism Review to the new CEO of The Tribune Co. Many of his points were well taken by me, a practicioner and owner/manager in another industry beset with challenges.

Using his thoughts and phrases, let me apply some of them to our industry – bookselling.

A significant anniversary that nearly coincides with your arrival should not be allowed to pass without notice. Robert R. McCormick took control of the Chicago Tribune in 1911 after its owners had decided to shut it down as a lost cause. He would not allow that and spent much of his troubling, controversial life building a strong Chicago institution.

Yes, many booksellers are shutting down, deciding it’s a lost cause. I’m similar. I won’t allow New Albany to do without Destinations Booksellers and am committed to spending the rest of my “troubling, controversial life” building a strong New Albany institution.

Start with that simple question, “What is Tribune about?”

The answer should be, “Tribune is about news.” Every one of your thoughts should flow from that conviction.

With proper substitutions, Destinations Booksellers is about books. But why? I believe a locally owned and operated bookstore is an essential element in building a sustainable community. Every one of my managerial thoughts flows from that conviction.

You must develop a much deeper awareness of customers … It was a huge mistake to think of print as a near-dead medium (embracing the rhetoric of people whose own fortunes were connected to its failure) just as it was a huge mistake to think of the Internet and technology as enemies. The “either/or” model was just flat wrong. It’s time to transform thought about this.

I’ve never bought into the idea that the printed book and the physical bookstore are “near-dead,” and while I believe our role is unique, I embrace technology. I just want to make sure I know what business I’m in, and all too many of the businesses with “book” somewhere in their titles, online and otherwise, see books as a commodity. If “1 unit of book” can produce $1, they’ll sell it. Nevermind that we don’t sell “units.” We sell ideas preserved, and maintaining viable channels where ideas can percolate is the business we’re in. If creators can’t be nurtured, given exposure, and enriched because the sales channel is dominated by “unit sellers,” then we all lose.

There is no plausible reason anymore for Tribune to be running publications in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Florida, Pennsylvania, or anywhere but Chicago. The arguments about synergies and efficiency and gigantic advertising footprints have all collapsed. They were strategies that made sense in an era that ended a decade ago.

People in those places despise you. They cannot wait for you to fail. They wish you only ill. No one can be a worker focused on customers in that atmosphere. Their days will be consumed by rumors of cuts to come and resentments of cuts already accomplished.

Maybe it’s a stretch, but it could be said that “there is no plausible reason anymore for “B” to be running bookstores in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Florida, Pennsylvania, or anywhere but where they live … and breathe.

Recall that when Tribune owned the New York Daily News (and there were historic reasons for that relationship that transcended shareholder value) the buzz in New York was that all of the Daily News profits were shipped to Chicago and dumped into Lake Michigan.

The buzz here is that dollars vital to this community are regularly shipped to Ann Arbor, New York, and Seattle and dumped into the Hudson River and Puget Sound, and sinkholes in Cincinnati, Bentonville, and Beijing.

The atmosphere has changed so radically that an argument can be made that only local markets in advertising and news can help news companies return to stability for the long term.

What is certain is that Chicago can never care as much about Los Angeles, Baltimore, or anywhere else as it cares about itself. And caring about one’s self is a crucial component of success. All great news companies deserve local ownership.

What is certain is that Seattle can never care as much about New Albany, Floyds Knobs, Sellersburg, or anywhere else as it cares about itself. And caring about one’s self is a crucial component of success. All great booksellers deserve local ownership.

In this era in which we all anticipate living to, say, ninety-five years of age, an institution that has a readership that averages someplace in the forties or fifties could well have thirty to forty more years of loyalty to tap. A desperate rush to get teen and young readers now is unlikely to change anything. In my lifetime, I have not found more than a handful of people who read the newspaper regularly as teenagers. Not in any generation.

Of course, the younger generation will age. (OMG! No!) It may well mature into newspaper readership, or at least a part of it. This doesn’t warm the hearts of investment counselors, but then it doesn’t have to if you are no longer publicly held.

Meanwhile, you must demand that all of your customers be treated with respect, including people over fifty. People should not be viewed as declining assets. They are living customers, voting every day with their purchase of the paper. It is an important demographic. This number is easier to understand once you realize that the biggest magazine in America is the one produced by the AARP, the advocacy group for people over fifty, which has a circulation of 24.4 million.

Granted, newspaper circulation numbers have been falling for years, but there are decades left of potential business for print products. Writing print readers off now would be foolish. They are also your most solid revenue producers.

Newspaper readers tend to be traditional. They expect a complete package. Opening an array of foreign bureaus would be prohibitively expensive. Presenting creatively collected foreign news, from carefully selected stringers, wire services, and other publications would be efficient. The important part of the formula would involve thought, which gets back to the people who will report to you. No one should present an argument that readers who want something more complete should turn elsewhere. Don’t give people reasons to leave!

Just substitute “books” where appropriate. Lesson = learned.

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Coming Events and Store Communications Changes

I spent my birthday pondering Sunday’s blog post. I’m committed to providing a daily posting, no matter what, and I’m counting on guest bloggers to make that happen.

During the past 8 days, I’ve been populating the blog with content. But very, very few people have even been alerted that it exists. Almost none of the hundreds of subscribers to the store’s e-mail newsletter know about it. That’s soon to change.

In fact, we’re ending the e-mail newsletter and replacing it with subscriptions to these blog posts. It’s my responsibility to make them interesting enough to read. But importantly, I must make the digests and headlines informative enough that subscribers can know in a jiffy whether any given post is one they want to read.

For the record, here are the events we have scheduled in 2011. More details will follow.

Saturday afternoon, Jan. 22 – Author Lori Leroy will celebrate her Southern Indiana/Metro Louisville book launch for Inadequate Conception.

Saturday afternoon, Jan. 29 – Gary Yeagle and Marlene Mitchell will discuss their new novel, Seasons of Death.

Wednesday evening, Feb. 2 – Media lawyer Jon Fleischaker will give a presentation on censorship and the First Amendment, sponsored by the Media Law Resource Center Institute and Destinations Booksellers.

Wednesday evening, Mar. 2 – International favorite Tim Dorsey returns to New Albany with his latest in the Serge Storms series, Electric Barracuda. A special ticketed event follows the free booksigning and author talk.

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