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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hot This Week: March 25

The final installment of the Twilight Saga takes top honors on this week's DVD listing. It was a big week for rock fans, as new albums by Bon Jovi, David Bowie, and Eric Clapton all made their way onto the chart, as well as Dave Grohl's documentary soundtrack. The audiobook lists, on the other hand, saw little change from last week. The latest fantasy novel from Terry Brooks is the only new title in fiction, while a book from Facebook's COO takes over the top non-fiction spot.

  1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
  2. Taken 2
  3. Flight
  4. Here Comes the Boom
  5. End of Watch
  6. Playing for Keeps
  7. Sinister
  8. Wreck-It Ralph
  9. Hotel Transylvania
  10. Seven Psychopaths
  1. Bon Jovi, What About Now
  2. David Bowie, The Next Day
  3. Luke Bryan, Spring Break...Here to Party
  4. Passion, Let the Future Begin
  5. Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
  6. Mindless Behavior, All Around the World
  7. Eric Clapton, Old Sock
  8. Sound City: Real to Reel Soundtrack
  9. Mumford & Sons, Babel
  10. Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell and Angels
  1. The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
  2. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  3. Alex Cross, Run, James Patterson
  4. A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy
  5. The Striker, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  6. Bloodfire Quest, Terry Brooks
  7. Calculated in Death, J.D. Robb
  8. Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs
  9. Damascus Countdown, Joel C. Rosenberg
  10. The Dinner, Herman Koch
  1. Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell
  2. Sum It Up, Pat Summitt and Sally Jenkins
  3. Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  4. Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss
  5. A Higher Call, Adam Makos and Larry Alexander
  6. My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor
  7. American Sniper, Chris Kyle
  8. The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis and Anthony DeCurtis
  9. No Easy Day, Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
  10. Killing Lincoln, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

Monday, March 25, 2013

Universal Studios Releases Subject to 28-Day Window

We'd like to remind our customers that theatrical releases on DVD and Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment are subject to a 28-day "window" for libraries. When these titles become available to the general public, they cannot be sold to libraries until 28 days later. This includes titles such as Les Miserables, which will be available to libraries on April 19. Our website, buyer's guides, and weekly newsletter will always reflect the date titles are available to libraries.

Here is the announcement, originally posted on November 22, 2012:

Effective with Universal Studios Home Entertainment new release (Theatrical and Made For Video) titles releasing on January 8, 2013, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be moving all Libraries to a 28-day new release window. A distributor may not street a Universal Studios Home Entertainment title to library accounts during the 28-day window. For instance, a title that streets for sell-through on Tuesday, January 8th cannot be lent by libraries to their patrons before February, 5th, 2013. This 28-day window will not apply to TV and Catalog releases. All titles will continue to be distributed as the retail version.

Please contact your Midwest Tape sales representative if you have questions.

Friday, March 22, 2013

ACM Awards to Honor Dick Clark

Written by Jon Williams

Televised music awards shows usually focus more on performances than they do on the awards. At this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, however, a performance by two legendary artists has been put together to celebrate one of the night’s biggest honorees.

In 2009, George Strait was named ACM’s Artist of the Decade for the 2000s; Garth Brooks was given the same title for the 1990s. These two country music icons will perform together for the first time ever at this year’s ACM Awards ceremony in memory of the late Dick Clark, the late music mogul who passed away in 2012. The Artist of the Decade Award will be renamed in Clark’s honor. Clark had produced the show since 1979.

The Artist of the Decade Award has been awarded since the 1960s. In addition to Strait and Brooks, the title has gone to the band Alabama (1980s), Loretta Lynn (1970s), and Marty Robbins (1960s).

While Strait and Brooks may be the most anticipated performers of the night, they certainly aren’t the only ones. Other superstars appearing at the ceremony include Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan (who will host the show), Miranda Lambert, Hunter Hayes, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, the Band Perry, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson. Many of these artists were also nominated for awards; for a complete list of nominees, SmartBrowse ‘2013 ACM Award Nominees’ on our website.

The ceremony will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7. It will air live on CBS at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Edmonton Public Library Turns 100

Written by Kyle Slagley

One week ago today, the Edmonton Public Library in Alberta celebrated their 100th anniversary. According to their website, EPL has gone from a single location above a meat shop in 1913 to a 17-branch system with over 300 employees.

EPL has been the first library in Canada to take quite a few milestone steps. EPL was the first to use a computer-based circulation system, the first to offer patrons online access to their catalog, and the first to operate out of a streetcar – the predecessor to the bookmobile.

Edmonton has scheduled events all throughout 2013 to celebrate their centennial. There are photo displays on the history of the EPL system, outdoor festivals with live music, games, and activities, barbeques later this summer, and comedian Rick Mercer will perform free for all EPL cardholders in June.

Stop by their website to get more information on the events they have planned and get some ideas for your library’s next big celebration!

Congratulations to the staff of Edmonton Public Library and to the Edmonton, AB community on 100 years!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hot This Week: March 18

The final installment of the Twilight Saga makes its debut on this week's DVD list. Luke Bryan headlines the CD chart, followed by a new album of previously unreleased tracks from rock icon Jimi Hendrix. Among this week's new fiction titles are books by Patricia Briggs, Clive Cussler, and Karen Kingsbury. Debuting atop the non-fiction list this week is the memoir of basketball coaching legend Pat Summitt.

  1. Taken 2
  2. Flight
  3. Here Comes the Boom
  4. End of Watch
  5. Hotel Transylvania
  6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
  7. Sinister
  8. Seven Psychopaths
  9. Alex Cross
  10. Looper
  1. Luke Bryan, Spring Break...Here to Party
  2. Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell and Angels
  3. Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
  4. Mumford & Sons, Babel
  5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
  6. Rihanna, Unapologetic
  7. Florida Georgia Line, Here's to the Good Times
  8. Imagine Dragons, Night Visions
  9. NOW That's What I Call Music 45
  10. The Lumineers, The Lumineers
  1. Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs
  2. The Striker, Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
  3. The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
  4. Alex Cross, Run, James Patterson
  5. A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy
  6. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  7. Damascus Countdown, Joel C. Rosenberg
  8. The Chance, Karen Kingsbury
  9. Calculated in Death, J.D. Robb
  10. The Dinner, Herman Koch
  1. Sum It Up, Pat Summitt and Sally Jenkins
  2. Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss
  3. Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  4. My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor
  5. American Sniper, Chris Kyle
  6. The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis and Anthony DeCurtis
  7. No Easy Day, Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
  8. Killing Lincoln, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  9. Coolidge, Amith Shlaes
  10. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand

Friday, March 15, 2013

Take Patrons Out to the Ballgame

Written by Jon Williams

The weather is slowly getting warmer and the days are growing longer. We’re just a few days away from the official start of spring…and already more than a month into Major League Baseball’s spring training. The World Baseball Classic, the sport’s answer to the Olympics, is in full swing, with the U.S. team plays tonight with hopes of advancing to the third round. The regular season begins on March 31 with a game between the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros, with everyone else opening on April 1 or 2.

Everything about baseball captivates our creative imagination: the pace of the game, the larger-than life characters that play it, the hot, hazy days and long, sultry nights in which it’s played, the smell of grass and leather…I could go on. So it’s no surprise that the national pastime has inspired some of our finest storytelling. It’s a game that translates naturally to audiobook, with the narrator’s voice reminiscent of a broadcaster relating the action of the game over the airwaves.

Here are a few baseball-related audiobooks to whet your patrons’ appetites for Opening Day:

Selected Shorts – Baseball: A fine place to start, this collection features eleven pieces of short fiction about baseball from notable authors and fans of the game.

Moneyball by Michael Lewis and The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri: The Yankees became known as the “evil empire” by being able to outspend other clubs for the services of the best available players. Teams without New York’s revenue are forced to look at other means to build their teams. Here are looks at two such teams—the Oakland Athletics (Moneyball) and the Tampa Bay Rays (The Extra 2%)—who found success despite having payrolls a fraction the size of their competitors.

Ball Four by Jim Bouton: Bouton, a pitcher with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros at the time, kept a diary throughout the 1969 season. Ball Four is the result, a book that shined the light for the first time on what life was really like as a Major League Baseball player. Controversial at the time, earning the ire of Bouton’s peers, the book was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Non-Fiction books in 2011.

Cardboard Gods by Josh Wilker: Talk to any baseball fan of a certain age—I’m one of them—and you’ll hear memories of a youth filled with collecting baseball cards and trading with their friends. In Cardboard Gods, Josh Wilker entwines memoir with baseball history, explored through a handful of cards from his formative years.

The Great American Novel by Philip Roth: In 1943, the Port Ruppert Mundys were the worst team in the Patriot League. What, you’ve never heard of the Patriot League? That’s because, as a Communist organization, it has been eradicated from the history books. That’s the premise of this hilarious novel from Philip Roth, the recently retired author of other great American novels like Goodbye, Columbus and American Pastoral.

Blockade Billy by Stephen King: When the New Jersey Titans lose both of their catchers, they call up Billy Blakely to fill in. It turns out Billy is a phenomenal player who quickly captures the adulation of the fans…but Billy may not be who he seems to be. It’s a baseball yarn with a twist that only Stephen King could provide. King also has another novella tangentially related to baseball, A Face in the Crowd, written in collaboration with Stewart O’Nan.

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella: Baseball fans know the classic baseball movie Field of Dreams. This is the novel the movie was based on, in which an Iowa farmer, inspired by a disembodied voice, plows under his cornfield to build a baseball diamond for the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson and a few other notables from the past.

For more novels that became classic baseball flicks, also check out The Natural by Bernard Malamud and Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris.

What baseball tales are your favorites? Are there any that are particularly popular with your patrons?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Magic on the Silver Screen

Written by Kyle Slagley

I remember watching a TV special with magician David Copperfield when I was a kid. I watched the basic illusions with interest: I watched him make an army tank disappear and I watched him fly through hoops, proving there were no wires. The trick that really got me was the one that involved me. He and James Earl Jones asked people to go up to the TV and then correctly predicted the outcome of this trick.

Of course, I realize now that the trick is just simple math, but for a young kid enthralled by one of the numerous TV specials by the Master of Illusion, it was pretty awesome. Polished theater magic like that of Copperfield has faded in recent years, replaced instead by people like David Blaine who specialize in endurance feats, or Criss Angel of the rough and gritty street magician variety.

Fortunately, for those who prefer the glitzy, sequined, spray-tanned variety of magic, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opens in theaters this week. Burt Wonderstone (played by Steve Carell) and his partner Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) are a fading magician duo in Vegas who must repair their dying act and friendship to keep from being unseated by rising star Steve Gray (Jim Carrey).

Burt Wonderstone joins a line of magician films that dates all the way back to the 1950s. In 1953, Tony Curtis and then-wife Janet Leigh starred as Harry and Bess in the classic biopic Houdini.  The film follows Harry’s career from circus performer all the way to his death of a ruptured appendix in 1926. With an 83% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes, this film has aged rather well.

Next up is one of the few films that truly give Hugh Jackman the credit he deserves. Released in 2006, The Prestige chronicles a professional battle between rival magicians Robert Angier (Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale). The cast also includes Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and even David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. It’s a love story, a mystery, a war, and scientific discovery all in one. In a word: fantastic.

Also a very well done magician drama, The Illusionist stars Edward Norton as the renowned performer Eisenheim. Eisenheim packs theaters across Vienna with his feats that blur the boundary between the tangible and the supernatural. Eventually Eisenheim’s own skill and love for a highborn woman lead him to undermine the royal house in Vienna.

Although it’s not necessarily a movie about magicians, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus follows the immortal Dr. Parnassus and his traveling show, showing participants an imaginary world controlled by Parnassus’s mind. This film got a lot of attention when it first came out because of Heath Ledger’s accidental death halfway through filming, but the film itself is definitely noteworthy on its own for its captivating visuals and quality acting.

Finally, for those who like their magic quick-witted with a dash of humor: The Great Buck Howard. Buck (John Malkovich) is a famous mentalist who seems to have unknowingly lost his pizzazz. Malkovich’s biting comedy, paired with Emily Blunt’s lovable charm as his publicist, makes this a film you’ll be able to go back to time and time again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hot This Week: March 11

Taken 2 takes #1 on this week's DVD list, with End of Watch and Sinister appearing for the first time. A number of newcomers make the CD chart, and we welcome Adele back to the list as well. Popular authors J.D. Robb and Jodi Picoult debut in the top two fiction spots, while a new book about the American diet takes over the non-fiction list.

  1. Taken 2
  2. Flight
  3. Here Comes the Boom 
  4. Hotel Transylvania
  5. End of Watch
  6. Seven Psychopaths
  7. Sinister
  8. Alex Cross
  9. Looper
  10. Ted
  1. Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
  2. Atoms for Peace, Amok
  3. Mumford & Sons, Babel
  4. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
  5. Hillsong United, Zion
  6. NOW That's What I Call Music 45
  7. The Lumineers, The Lumineers 
  8. Josh Groban, All That Echoes
  9. Rihanna, Unapologetic
  10. Adele, 21
  1. Calculated in Death, J.D. Robb
  2. The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
  3. Alex Cross, Run, James Patterson
  4. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  5. A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy
  6. Red Velvet Cupcake Murder, Joanne Fluke
  7. A Memory of Light, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  8. The Dinner, Herman Koch
  9. Guilt, Jonathan Kellerman
  10. Tenth of December, George Saunders
  1. Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss
  2. No Easy Day, Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
  3. American Sniper, Chris Kyle
  4. My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor
  5. Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  6. The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis and Anthony DeCurtis
  7. Killing Lincoln, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  8. Coolidge, Amith Shlaes
  9. Francona, Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy
  10. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand

Friday, March 8, 2013

There Is Still No Place Like Home

Written by Kyle Slagley

In a small town in Pennsylvania, nestled in the hills, is a cave, and in this cave are vaults. Vaults owned by some of the biggest organizations and companies in Western society. The security is extremely tight, the technology in this cave amazing, and the sheer size wondrous. One of these vaults contains the original filmstrip for one of the most beloved movies of all time—a movie about a young girl and her dog, from Kansas, who go on an extraordinary adventure.

By now you of course realize that I’m referring to The Wizard of Oz, which is big news these days thanks to the prequel Oz: The Great and Powerful, starring James Franco, which opens in theaters today.

The Wizard of Oz holds great memories for generations of people, but there are a few things most people do not know about this particular treasure. By the time Judy Garland graced the silver screen as Dorothy in 1939, there had been three film adaptations produced already as well as a stage musical written by the author Frank Baum himself.

Of course the ’39 film with Garland is the one we all remember and has been named the most-watched film of all time by the Library of Congress. Although MGM has ceased distribution of the film to any and all sellers for the time being, there are a few titles we have that might help supplement your Oz display.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (audiobook) – the classic by L. Frank Baum is now in the public domain, so there are a plethora of versions from which to choose. I read this book probably half a dozen times when I was a kid and the first time I was surprised at the differences between the book and the film. Audiobook versions to choose from include: Dreamscape, Tantor, BBC Radio, Blackstone, Naxos, Random House, and Yo Yo Libros.

The Wizard of Oz in music – As I mentioned before, Dorothy and Toto first appeared in front of large audiences as a stage musical in 1902. Fortunately, the music of the original musical has been preserved and was nominated for a 2004 Grammy for Best Historical Album. In 2011, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s New Wizard of Oz came out in London’s West End and ran for just over a year. For the younger kids, A Tribute to The Wizard of Oz is a collection of kids’ songs from and inspired by the movie and book.

And finally, submitted for your approval is a collection of animated adaptations, the first of which is The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. Who doesn’t love the Muppets?! Best of all, Ashanti and Queen Latifah star as Dorothy and Auntie Em, with Jeffrey Tambor as the wizard. Next in line is Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz, and finally an animated version from Lightyear Entertainment.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Becoming the Biggest Loser

Written by Jon Williams

Last week Kyle wrote about junk food and eating choices and told you about some related titles your patrons might find interesting or helpful. With obesity rates at an all-time high, there’s no doubt that health is in the public consciousness like never before. However, diet is only one part of that equation; the other is exercise.

NBC has turned exercise for weight loss into a form of entertainment with its hit reality series The Biggest Loser. Currently in its fourteenth season, this competition features contestants spending several weeks exercising and undergoing a series of physical challenges as they vie for the $250,000 cash prize. They have the opportunity to work out and learn about healthy living under the watchful eyes of celebrity trainers like Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels. My wife is a fitness professional, so this is appointment TV for us each week. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a compelling show; the contestants must deal not only with the physical struggles of losing weight and getting in shape, but also the emotional obstacles that led them to becoming overweight in the first place. With the season finale on March 18, the five remaining competitors have already undergone incredible transformations. Who will take home the prize?

Each trainer on The Biggest Loser brings a distinct approach and personality to the competition, and sometimes it takes a while before one of them (or a combination) can figure out exactly how to get through to someone. Sometimes they can’t get through at all, and those are usually the contestants that go home early. Likewise, not all trainers, and thus all fitness videos, are right for all viewers. Here are some options your patrons may be interested in checking out.

Dancing with the Stars: Another reality series has spawned a series of fitness DVDs. Dance is a popular fitness option because it allows the participant to have fun and forget that they’re exercising. Zumba is another dance fitness craze, similar to belly dance, that is hot right now, as are ballet workouts.

10-Minute Solution: For patrons who are pressed for time—and who isn’t these days?—these videos are a great option. Each DVD contains a selection of complete workouts that can be done in just ten minutes, or combined on days that allow a little extra time.

Sit and Be Fit: For senior citizens and others with physical limitations, finding an exercise routine can be extremely difficult. Here is the answer. With these DVDs, viewers can learn how to exercise even while seated, limiting impact and pressure on joints.

Yoga is another popular fitness routine that can be gentle, with many options for modifications as participants become more advanced. Well-known fitness expert Denise Austin offers one well-rounded program suitable for beginners, while celebrity yogi Mandy Ingber encourages viewers to advance in their practice.

It’s never too early to get started with healthy habits, and with that in mind, there are even workout videos designed for children. Denise Austin offers a yoga video designed with kids in mind, and the Kideosyncrasy series combines music and movement to teach kids that exercise can be fun.

These are just a few of the fitness options Midwest Tape has available for you and your patrons; there are literally thousands more. SmartBrowse ‘fitness’ on our website for a complete list of what we have to offer.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hot This Week: March 4

This week sees few changes across all of our charts. Flight holds onto the top DVD spot for another week. Much the same is true for the CD chart, where Alabama Shakes and Rihanna managed to sneak back in. The latest Alex Cross adventure from James Patterson takes top honors for fiction, while in non-fiction, Clive Davis's memoir comes in strong but can't quite overtake American Sniper for #1.

  1. Flight
  2. Here Comes the Boom 
  3. Taken 2
  4. Hotel Transylvania
  5. Alex Cross
  6. Seven Psychopaths
  7. Ted
  8. Pitch Perfect
  9. Paranormal Activity 4
  10. The Bourne Legacy
  1. Mumford & Sons, Babel
  2. Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
  3. Josh Groban, All That Echoes
  4. NOW That's What I Call Music 45
  5. The Lumineers, The Lumineers
  6. Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls
  7. 2013 Grammy Nominees
  8. fun., Some Nights
  9. Rihanna, Unapologetic
  10. Taylor Swift, Red
  1. Alex Cross, Run, James Patterson
  2. A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy
  3. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  4. A Memory of Light, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  5. Guilt, Jonathan Kellerman
  6. Tenth of December, George Saunders
  7. The Dinner, Herman Koch
  8. Private Berlin, James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
  9. Touch & Go, Lisa Gardner
  10. Until the End of Time, Danielle Steel 
  1. American Sniper, Chris Kyle
  2. The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis and Anthony DeCurtis
  3. My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor
  4. Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  5. Killing Lincoln, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  6. Coolidge, Amith Shlaes
  7. Francona, Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy
  8. No Easy Day, Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer
  9. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  10. Going Clear, Lawrence Wright

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Customized Standing Order Plans!

Written by Kyle Slagley

At Midwest Tape we pride ourselves on being able to get you the titles your patrons want before you even have the chance to tell us you want them, while still giving you the flexibility and control over the purchases you need. The Customized Standing Order program is no exception to this philosophy; indeed, it may be the epitome.

Not only do we offer the most comprehensive selection of Standing Order plans in the industry, they come to you risk-free and you are never under any obligation to purchase titles. Unlike competitors, when you receive a Standing Order cart from Midwest Tape, you can choose to order all, some, or none of the titles – the choice is entirely yours.

Now, with the addition of over 20 new Standing Order plans, you can save even more time when you let Midwest Tape do the hard part for you! These new plans include Parents’ Choice DVDs, Animal Planet DVDs, Rap/Hip-Hop CDs, Religion & Spirituality Audiobooks, and many more. Let us save you time by choosing the best titles so you can get back to doing what you wanted to do when you became a librarian in the first place – help your patrons!

With 150 Standing Order plans, we’re here to help you make the best selections possible and get your patrons the titles they want. For a complete list of our available Customized Standing Order Plans, click here. Call us today at 1-800-875-2785 to speak with one of our selectors and let us design a Standing Order plan that’s customized just for you.