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Author Richard P. Powell died on December 8, 1999. There was no national day of mourning - on the contrary, most newspapers failed to announce his death in their obituaries. And yet here was a writer who left behind a substantial body of work, produced primarily in the 1940s to 1960s, some of it the fodder of bestseller lists and movies. The Young Philadelphians (Paul Newman) may ring a bell, and there was the King himself, Elvis Presley, strutting his stuff in Follow That Dream, not to mention some Powell-concocted characters fending their way through Woody Allen's Bananas.
No question Powell was a gifted writer, both in the mystery genre, where he cut his teeth, and mainstream fiction, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that many of you have never heard of him. Also, I'd guess that few who do know of him would include him in a top 100 list of collected writers. What's interesting about Powell, however, is that he's making a comeback on the heels of the considerable efforts of his daughter, Dorothy Powell Quigley, to republish his better books and, in some cases, seek movie deals.
This is intriguing from a bookseller's perspective: Some Powell first editions have begun to spike in value and become difficult to find. (A word to the wise: There are still plenty of opportunities out there.) One wants to explain the phenomenon, of course. Is this a case of a great writer somehow fading into obscurity and being accidentally rediscovered decades later by modern readers? Or can this renewed interest be attributed solely to his daughter's tireless mission? If I was putting money on it, I'd say it was the synergy produced by daughter Dorothy and Powell's body of top quality work. In any case, I think you'll find Catherine Petruccione's interview with Quigley captivating - and don't forget to use the bibliography at the end of the article to launch your book scouting efforts!
Contributing Editor Jill Hendrix is back at work today, presenting Part IV of her 4-part series on how to prepare a business plan for a clicks-and-bricks bookstore. Online sellers take note: "Clicks" points to online bookselling businesses, bricks to open shops. There is much valuable information in her series for both. Look for the next article in her A-Z Guide in about a month. The topic will be naming your store.
To date, we've been somewhat quiet about the recent morphing of BookThink's 50/50 into BookThink's Quarterly Market Report of Common, Profitable Books, so I think it's high time to make some noise. Beginning immediately, BookThinkers may subscribe to both the Gold Edition and QMR for the special price of $59.99 (ordinarily $79.98.) Continuing with our past practice, both new subscribers and subscribers with current subscriptions may take advantage of this offer. For the latter, we'll simply extend your subscriptions a full year beyond your current expiration dates. More information here.
New content is being added to BookThink's MySpace site. We're still looking for friends, and if you're interested in contributing, please contact BookThink's MySpace Editor Anita Ashland at email@example.com.
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