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Between the Lines

The inside scoop on the book world

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COLD COMFORT January is bargain time at bookstores — and wound-licking time at publishing houses. Among the slow-selling holiday titles now on remainder tables: Vanity Fair’s Hollywood, Latina Beauty, the mock-fashion bio Gene Marshall, and Tina Sinatra‘s My Father’s Daughter. Some stores also expressed disappointment with Celine Dion: My Story, My Dream and even with the top-selling coffee-table book The Beatles Anthology (”It came out of the gates so fast that it raised our expectations unfairly,” says Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books in Oxford, Miss.). Yet despite the letdowns, booksellers reported a hearty holiday and cited a number of unexpected hits. ”It was a great Christmas, but there just wasn’t any one book that stood out,” says Margaret Maupin, a buyer for the Tattered Cover in Denver. One of the season’s surprise successes: The Sibley Guide to Birds. Joseph Ellis’ Revolutionary War history Founding Brothers was also a sleeper hit. There was strong demand for John le Carré‘s latest thriller, The Constant Gardener, as well, and Andre Dubus III‘s Oprah-certified trade paperback House of Sand and Fog continued its roll.

MOB RULE The Sopranos companion, just out from New American Library, will have company: In March, in time for the HBO hit’s new season, Simon & Schuster will bring out Jon MacksFuhgeddaboutit: How to Badda Boom, Badda Bing, and Find Your Inner Mobster. Despite the upside-down gun on the cover, however, the book will not be a Sopranos tie-in, which would be copyright infringement. ”I would say coincidentally the release of this book will coincide with HBO’s release of The Sopranos,” says S & S publisher David Rosenthal. And the gun ”might strike some as reminiscent, but I don’t agree with that interpretation.”