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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

September 9, 2018

Have No Fear (Unless You're the President), Bob Woodward's Trump Book Arrives Tuesday
 
Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward. Many of you may be wondering why, if reporters and reviewers from the media have read and written about this new political bombshell of a book, you can't bu y a copy until Tuesday. Well, the short answer is somebody cheated - no one in the media should have been able to buy the book before Tuesday either. Fear has a strict on-sale date, set by its publisher, and bookstores found to sell the book early face harsh consequences (I've heard of stores that, in similar instances, were cut off by the publisher, meaning their account was frozen and ordering privileges revoked).  
 
The reason for all the fuss is that publishers are trying to be fair, making sure all stores have the book on hand before the book is released. With most publisher warehouses located in the East and the Midwest, bookstores out West receive shipments a day or two later. So if the warehouse ships books to everyone on a Wednesday, for instance, books will arrive in stores around the country over the course of several days, depending on their location. But everyone will have stock by Monday, which means Tuesday's on-sale date works for everybody. What's frustrating for booksellers is that by the time this book is allowed to be sold, the media will have been talking about it for a full week. This means eager readers rush to bookstores to buy their copy only to be disappointed when told to come back later. Good publicity for a book is what publishers strive for, and booksellers usually benefit from the added interest generated by that publicity, even if the attention hits a day or two early. But media "leaks" starting an entire week in advance are unusual, and they put booksellers in an awkward position. Moreover, a week later, when the book finally hits the shelves, reader interest may well have waned.  
 
All that said, Fear will sell a ton of copies anyway. Woodward is a respected reporter and author with two Pulitzers on his mantle, and President Trump is fueling interest by making a public spectacle out of trashing the book. The author draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, perso nal diaries, files, and documents. The result is a revealing focus on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One, and the White House residence. Woodward has an uncanny ability to get people in power to talk to him, even if it's not always in their best interests, and that faculty only adds to Fear's appeal.  
Exuberant Autobiography Of NY Fashion Maven   
 
Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with  Photographs by Bill Cunningham. This entertaining memoir, published posthumously, is written with same verve and irreverence with which the author lived his life. Cunningham was a legendary New York Times photographer and columnist whose passion for fashion and high society made him an icon in those worlds during the mid-20th century. His lifelong fascination with women's couture began at age 4, when he donned his sister's pink party dress, and it never abated. After dropping out of Harvard at age 19, he began making and selling hats while sneaking into fashion shows at every opportunity. It was a heady time, and Cunningham paints an engaging portrait of a stylish and bygone era.
 
  In a starred review, Booklist wrote: "Cunningham's almost unbearably charming memoir - unearthed by relatives after his death, in 2016, and covering his life through the 1960s - sends readers winging through the twentieth century in style....[It] documents his unparalleled eye and appreciation for fashion's magic, mystery, and illusions; style's potential to invent and transform. As both the very personal autobiography of an icon and a valuable social history, this wins."  
 
One of the many Bill Cunningham photographs included in Fashion Climbing
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WHY THE COLUMN?
Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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