Day 3 at BookExpo America -- BEA in High Gear Features Titles, Authors, and the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports

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Big crowds were moving through the trade show floor all day Saturday collecting galleys, autographs, and totebags.

Popular stops for booksellers included Hyperion Books for Children where copies of Michael Chabon's novel, Summerland, were going quickly. Chabon, after winning the Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay, has written an ambitious crossover fantasy novel for young adults and adults. Also at Hyperion, Eoin Colfer, the charming Irish author of Artemis Fowl, was greeting booksellers with the second installment of the three-book series, Artemis Fowl: Arctic Incident.

Sleeping Bear Press was featuring another intriguing title, Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nellie by National Book Award-winner Gloria Whelan (author of Homeless Bird), illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, to be published in September. Very young readers will be thrilled to discover Mouse House: An Extravagant Lift-the-Flap Hide-and-Seek Adventure from Handprint Books, distributed by Chronicle Books. After Mark Teague's entertaining presentation to booksellers at a Thursday session, everyone selling books to children is eagerly awaiting the August publication of his new book from Scholastic, Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School.

Nonfiction titles on all subjects were interesting booksellers. Of note were The Cancer Monologue Project, edited by Tanya Taylor and Pamela Thompson from MacAdam/Cage, to be published in October. Carroll & Graff is promoting Bill Harris' The Hellfighters of Harlem, the story of an black regiment in World War II. And after the tremendous sales of the hardcover edition of The Beatles Anthology from Chronicle, booksellers have high expectations for the paper edition coming in the fall.

Why Terrorism Works by Alan M. Dershowitz will be published by Yale University Press in September. From Harvard University Press, in October, comes Consciousness and the Novel by David Lodge. The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook will be published by Meredith Books in September.

Many celebrated fiction writers will have new novels later in the year, including Paul Auster -- The Book of Illusions from Henry Holt; Alice McDermott -- Child of My Heart from FSG; and Tim O'Brien -- July, July: A Novel from Houghton Mifflin.

In August, journalist Germaine W. Shames will make her fiction debut with a novel set in the heart of the conflict in the Middle East: Between Two Deserts, from MacAdam Cage. Also in August, The Heaven of Mercury by Brad Watson, from Norton, marks a first novel from the award-winning short story writer.

Authors Take Center Stage

The Saturday morning Book & Author Breakfast headlined a trio of inspiring authors. Stephen Carter spoke of how, after writing seven works of nonfiction, he chose to write the novel The Emperor of Ocean Park (Alfred A. Knopf) that provides a larger vision of ways of interacting that "gets beyond the barriers of skin color" and that "treats love as constancy," not simply desire.

Reynolds Price, author of Noble Norfleet (Scribner) described how, when he writes, he becomes someone else for a short while: "The magic of transformation is part of the pleasure of any writer."

And Queen Noor of Jordan said that "faith in god and one's fellow man … and trying to make a difference in this world" is at the center of her book To the Kingdom: A Memoir (Talk Miramax Books). She expressed her hope that the memoir would serve as a tribute to her beloved husband and counter misconceptions about Islam, which, she explained, was about charity, justice, social responsibility, and healthy lifestyles, among other things.

At the Saturday luncheon, Pete Hamill, Roone Arledge, and Christopher Reeve were the featured speakers. In Hamill's novel Forever (Little, Brown), the main character has been alive since the 1700s, and Hamill expressed the hope that the story would get readers to think about how we live and "get people to live more kindly and decently."

Among the events described in Roone (HarperCollins), Arledge related how his network's coverage of the 1972 Olympics in Munich became coverage of the terrorist attack by Palestinians against Israeli athletes that led to the deaths of many. He said, "We used passion to get the story right."

Christopher Reeve spoke movingly about his new work Nothing Is Impossible (Random House), which takes a look back at the last seven years of his life, his advocacy of stem cell research, and his concept of hope, which, he said, has changed over the years.

Also at the Saturday lunch, Association of American Publishers President Pat Schroeder presented the Curtis Benjamin Award to Barney Rosset, founding publisher of Grove Press. In presenting the award, Schroeder praised Rosset for publishing works that broke down the walls of literary censorship.

Booksellers as Political Activists

At "Main Street/Alliances/Political Advocacy," a panel about building effective alliances, booksellers were encouraged to recognize their potential political clout and were exhorted to organize.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), whose political memoir, Square Peg is being published by Basic Books in the fall, offered examples from his career of successful political coalitions of conservatives and liberals, including enacted legislation co-authored by Hatch and such Democratic senators as Edward Kennedy and Tom Harkin. Hatch said that such cooperation could also produce local political successes, and that booksellers could play significant roles in the process. "It's very hard for a senator or a congressperson not to meet with 10 or so booksellers, even for 15 minutes," he said. He encouraged booksellers to take the next step and become more deeply involved in the political process. "You all don't have to be mayors … and you don't have to be senators -- at least I wouldn't recommend it."

Two booksellers who did become mayors were on the panel -- Neal Coonerty, who in the mid-'90s served as the mayor of Santa Cruz, California, and Richard Howorth, who is currently the mayor of Oxford, Mississippi.

Coonerty, the owner of Book Shop Santa Cruz, described how the earthquake that devastated his community in 1989 spurred his political involvement. After the city's downtown was destroyed, Coonerty and others worked "to take some action to save their Main Street," which, he noted, "really is the fabric that ties people together." Because "I felt I wanted to focus the city government on rebuilding the downtown," Coonerty ran a successful campaign for mayor, a term in office that convinced him that "the issues that are decided in [government] are important…. It's important to get involved and to keep building that community that is there."

While the rewards of the job were profound, Howorth said that his background as an independent bookseller had also prepared him for the more difficult days in city hall as well. In both jobs, he said, "You have to be thick-skinned, you have to work hard, and you have to be connected to your community."

Looking ahead, both the panelists and members of the audience cited the ongoing fight to ensure the equitable collection of sales tax on Internet sales as a key issue facing booksellers. Panel moderator Oren Teicher, ABA COO, stressed that booksellers and others were not calling for new taxes, but were working, especially on the state level, to convince legislators that "government ought not to be in the position of picking favorites among retailers" by an inequitable enforcement of existing laws.

Those not attending BEA will be able to see the session on C-SPAN's Book-TV.

(Window) Dressing for Success…

Saturday's educational panels provided booksellers with not only savvy marketing ideas, but also the know-how to put what they learned to use in their stores. One such panel was "How to Leverage Your Publisher Partners for Maximizing In-Store Visual Merchandising," where panelists shared with attendees some successful events that draw from the community while bringing in book buyers.

Moderating the session was Peter Knapp, senior marketing manager, business books, from John Wiley & Sons. The panelists were Angie Coleman Shuck, senior marketing manager/director of promotions and advertising at Joseph-Beth in Lexington, Kentucky, and Elizabeth Rawson, head buyer for Books & Co. in Dayton, Ohio.

Panelists stressed to booksellers to be as creative as possible, since this can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful event.

Making Your Everyday In-Store Events More Irresistible and Profitable

At the session, "Making Your Everyday In-Store Events More Irresistible and Profitable," everything from the value of promotions and displays, to identifying trends in the book world before they happen were discussed. Moderating the session was P.J. Campbell, associate director of events at John Wiley & Sons.

The panelists were Elaine Petrocelli, owner of Book Passage, Corte Madera, California; Margaret Maupin, buyer and events director of Tattered Cover, Denver; Annette Muir, marketing and promotions manager at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati; Nancy Olsson, owner of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, North Carolina; Daria Lamb, owner of the Bookmark Café, Oyster Bay, New York; and Martin Goldsmith, author of Inextinguishable Symphony (John Wiley & Sons).

During the session, booksellers from several successful independent stores shared their ideas of successful tried-and-true events.

Kentucky Derby Party Is the Place to BEA

On Saturday, May 4, at BookExpo America, horseracing fans and revelers alike packed Room 1E04 in anticipation of the most exciting two minutes in sports, at the first-ever Kentucky Derby Party. Len Vlahos, director of and organizer of the fete, was delighted with the turnout. "It was the place to be at BEA," said Vlahos enthusiastically, directly following the party. "It was great company, a great race, and great publishers who sponsored it."

War Emblem was this year's Kentucky Derby winner. The sponsors of the party were Kensington Publishing Corporation, University Press of Kentucky, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill, Eclipse Press, HarperCollins, Bloomsbury USA, and PublicAffairs/Perseus Books Groups.