Associated Press

Just in time for an especially crowded fall, business seems to be picking up for books.

"I feel most people are cautiously optimistic, now that we seemed to have turned a corner," says Simon & Schuster Inc. Chief Executive Carolyn Reidy, who says the past two months have improved noticeably over a rough first half of 2009.

The Assn. of American Publishers, which had been reporting declines for much of the year, finally had some good news last week, announcing a 21.5% sales increase for June.

After months when Stephenie Meyer appeared the only author anyone wanted to read, publishers and booksellers have noted new hits such as Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice," Richard Russo's "That Old Cape Magic" and Pat Conroy's "South of Broad."

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