Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 8, 2013


Sourcebooks Jabberwocky: The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julia Patton

Shadow Mountain: Christmas Jars Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoet

Katherine Tegen Books: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Canterbury Classics: Compact Novel Journals

Katherine Tegen Books: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Quotation of the Day

Steve Bercu's 'Favorite Industry News of the Week'

"It may go without saying, but my favorite industry news of the week is the Amazon publicity stunt announced on the 6th. I admire their nerve in offering another demonstration of their interest in using indie relationships to capture market share. Of course, the failure of the 'offer' to include 26 sales tax jurisdictions might just be a coincidence, and setting a two-year term for commissions before taking our customers was a considerate touch. I think I will just stay with Kobo."

--Steve Bercu, co-owner of BookPeople, Austin, Tex., and president of the American Booksellers Association, in his bimonthly letter to ABA members.

Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


News

General Retail Sales in October: Gains Tempered by Caution

Although sales numbers were up in October, retailers expressed caution as the holiday season approaches, noting that "consumer confidence has dipped, in part because of slow employment growth, and shoppers have gravitated toward bargains in recent months," Reuters reported. For the month, Thomson Reuters said that sales at stores open at least a year increased 3.7%, which was better than analysts' expectations for a 2% gain.

The International Council of Shopping Centers is forecasting same-store sales will rise 3%-4% in November, but anticipates modest growth for the holiday season, according to chief economist Michael Niemira.

The Wall Street Journal noted that retailers "reported better-than-expected sales in October as steep discounts and promotions helped drive traffic, a trend that is likely to continue through the critical holiday season."

"People were watching a dissolving quarter in September and were nervous about whether it would continue into October," said Rebecca Duval of BlueFin Research Partners. "The promotional levels were very high and that kind of worked in terms of driving traffic."


Other Press: Bookselling Without Borders Scholarship


Amazon Source: U.K. Indie Booksellers Skeptical, Too

Wednesday's unveiling of Amazon Source, a program through which indies and other retailers can sell Kindle e-readers and accessories, prompted a near unanimous response from independent booksellers in the U.S.--a blend of suspicion, irritation and sarcasm. The same has been true overseas, where U.K. indies anticipate a similar offer from Amazon, which already has a partnership with the Waterstones bookstore chain.

Sheila O'Reilly, owner of Dulwich Books in London, told the Bookseller: "I think I would search my heart and find that morally I just couldn't stock the Kindle. I know Amazon employ lots of people in this country but they also have head offices in Luxembourg and Ireland for tax avoidance reasons and I couldn't ignore that. If it was more of a level playing field between Amazon and independents, then maybe I would think about it, but it isn't."

David Dawkins, manager at Pages of Hackney bookshop in East London, said Amazon "has made a point of aggressively diverting people's habit of using the high street. The company has made it clear that is what they want to do and I would be very surprised if this signals a change in policy towards independent retailers and the high street. I also wouldn't want our customers to think that we were doing trade with 'the bad guys.' I think we may lose quite a lot of  respect if our customers thought we were sleeping with the enemy."

Noting that independent bookshops "are less than enthusiastic about teaming up with their capricious rival," the Guardian reported that Nic Bottomley, co-owner of Mr. B's Emporium, Bath, said, "I'd have no interest in selling Kindles because we don't do business with Amazon, and especially since its e-book business model is proprietary. Once you buy a Kindle you have to buy your e-books from Amazon, and we favor a more open model.... I'm just a firm believer that we should concentrate on what we do well as independent booksellers. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what Amazon is doing, but I'm certainly not going to become their direct business partner."


Ingram Publisher Services: Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Dundurn Press


Iconic Chapters Store in Toronto to Close

Chapters will be shutting down its Runnymede Theatre-turned-bookstore in Bloor West Village early next year because it has to vacate the premises by March 31, the Toronto Star reported. Since the store opened in 1999, Toronto's commercial and housing real estate market has experienced "such a boom," said Drew McGowen, v-p of real estate and development at Chapters Indigo.

Describing the location as "an icon," he said, "It's a great store that's served the neighborhood incredibly well.... We're at the end of our lease and the landlord can get far, far more money than we are able to pay."


Disney-Hyperion: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


BEA Launching 'Publisher Discovery Zone'

BookExpo America is teaming up with Freeman Exhibit Services to offer exhibitors a new pre-fab package "that substantially lessens the overhead costs associated with traditional booth build out" and is specifically designed for new and emerging publishers to participate in the BEA show. Booths will include a table, chair and display units "to simplify the ordering process and reduce hidden costs for shipping and drayage," BEA explained.  

"We have heard from our customers that seeing and meeting new and emerging publishers is critical to their experience at BEA," said show manager Steve Rosato. "We also recognize that the cost of BEA is a barrier to entry for many small publishers. This new turnkey package significantly and substantively renders this a non-issue while also providing our existing exhibitors with added choice. The new booths will be carved out in several areas on the show floor which will provide even more opportunity. We will be presenting these plans to our customers in the immediate weeks and months ahead and we look forward to working with them to make this initiative a huge success."


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: Lilac Lane by Sheryl Woods


Notes

Bookseller Video: S&S Authors Celebrate Indies

In anticipation of the holiday season and Small Business Saturday, Simon & Schuster has created a video featuring an S&S authors speaking in support of independent booksellers and the shop local movement. The bookstores include Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.; Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif.; the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah; Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo.; Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, Redondo Beach, Calif.; Rainy Day Books, Kansas City, Mo.; Square Books, Oxford, Miss.; Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.; and Watermark Books, Wichita, Kan.

The publisher is also working with the American Booksellers Association to offer banner ads and an edition of the video to indie booksellers who wish to carry it on their websites or in-store monitors.

"We were impressed by the ABA's great success with last year's Shop Local campaign and really wanted to provide our own extra support to this year's efforts," said Liz Perl, S&S senior v-p, director of marketing. "Our authors were willing and eager to participate and support their retail partners, and the video gives voice to the deep gratitude they feel for local bookseller."

"On behalf of independent booksellers, we thank and congratulate our friends at Simon & Schuster for this creative tool for showcasing and promoting the value of independent bookstores," said ABA CEO Oren Teicher.


Save the Date: Brooklyn's Indie Bookstores Calendar

The idea for a calendar featuring a different Brooklyn bookstore each month was initially hatched by Jonas Kyle, co-owner of Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers, and buyer Susan Willmarth, Bookselling This Week reported.  

"We realized we could do it because there are enough booksellers in Brooklyn for every month of the year," said Kyle, who worked with architectural photographer Paul Warchol and designer Jason David Brown to produce and print the calendar. "My theory is the more bookstores, the better. When more people know about them, it's better for all of us."

The calendar is on sale at the participating bookstores: Spoonbill & Sugartown, WORD, Human Relations Books, powerHouse Books, BookCourt, The Newsstand, Desert Island, Freebird Books & Goods, Community Bookstore, Molasses Books, Unnameable Books and Greenlight Bookstore.


GBO Picks The Collini Case

The German Book Office has selected The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach, translated by Anthea Bell (Viking, $25.95, 9780670026524) as its November Book of the Month.

A bestseller in Germany that led to changes in German law dealing with war crimes in World War II, the first novel has special resonance because it is by a prominent defense lawyer and author of popular short stories who is also a grandson of Baldur von Schirach, a member of Hitler's inner circle.

The GBO described the book this way: "The Collini Case is named after Fabrizio Collini, who is an elderly man, recently retired after 34 years at Mercedes Benz. He's led an unremarkable life until the hot summer day when he walks calmly into one of Berlin's most exclusive hotels and brutally murders prominent industrialist Hans Meyer. Then he walks downstairs and tells the receptionist, 'Room 400. He's dead.' He sits down in the hotel lobby and waits to be arrested.

"Caspar Leinen has been a qualified lawyer for exactly 42 days when he signs on to be Collini's defense lawyer. A not-guilty verdict would make a remarkable start for his career, but how can he defend a man who admits to the murder but won't say why he did it? As Collini's case grows in notoriety, Caspar knows his career is at stake. Desperate for a lead, he begins to investigate Collini's past. In doing so, he makes a shocking discovery that could not only win Collini his freedom, but also expose a terrible secret at the heart of the German justice system. If he goes public with his knowledge, Caspar will lose a dear friend and the last link to the only happy part of his childhood. If he doesn't, Collini will spend the rest of his life in prison."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Cynthia Rylant on All Things Considered: Weekend Edition

Today on Fresh Air: Margaret Talbot, author of The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century (Riverhead, $18, 9781594631887).

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Tonight on Bill Moyers & Company: Heidi Boghosian, author of Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance (City Lights Publishers, $18.95, 9780872865990).

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This weekend on NPR's All Things Considered: Weekend Edition: Cynthia Rylant, author of God Got a Dog, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/S&S, $17.99, 9781442465183).

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Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends Weekend: Brian Kilmeade, co-author of George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution (Sentinel, $27.95, 9781595231031). He also on Fox News Sunday.

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Tomorrow on Huckabee: Hill Harper, author of Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones (Gotham, $27.50, 9781592407248). He's also on Sunday's Weekend Today Show with Chris Wallace.

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Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning: Anjelica Huston, author of A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York (Scribner, $24.99, 9781451656299).

Also on CBS Sunday Morning: Nick Bilton, author of Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal (Portfolio, $28.95, 9781591846017).

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Sunday on Meet the Press: Mark Halperin, co-author of Double Down: Game Change 2012 (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204401).

Also on Meet the Press: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781416547860).

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Sunday on OWN's Where Are They Now: Tori Spelling, author of Spelling It Like It Is (Gallery, $26, 9781451628593).


Movies: Winter's Tale

The first trailer has been released for Winter's Tale, based on the novel by Mark Helprin and starring Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. Indiewire reported that the book, "long considered unfilmable... has been kicking around Hollywood waiting for someone to take it on. And that someone is Akiva Goldsman, [who] has written the adaptation and is making his feature debut with the flick. And full credit to him, with the first trailer arriving this evening, it looks like he's poured all he's got into it." The film is scheduled for a Valentine's Day 2014 release.


Books & Authors

Awards: Scotiabank Giller; Dylan Thomas; Femina; Bad Sex

Lynn Coady won the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, given to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English, for her book Hellgoing: Stories. The jury said Coady's eight stories "offer a stupendous range of attitudes, narrative strategies and human situations, each complete and intricate, creating a world the reader enters as totally as that of a novel, or a dream. Yet the book as a whole is also magically united by Coady's vivid and iconoclastic language, which brims with keen and sympathetic wit."

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American Claire Vaye Watkins won the £30,000 (about US$48,247) Dylan Thomas Prize, an international award sponsored by Swansea University that is "open to any published author in the English language under the age of 30," for her short story collection Battleborn, BBC News reported. Chair of the judging panel Peter Florence said the winner "has some of Dylan Thomas's extraordinary skill in the short story form of giving you a perfect vision of a complete world and that's extraordinarily rare."

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Richard Ford's Canada won for best foreign novel in France's prestigious Femina Prize, which is awarded in three categories by an all-woman jury, France 24 reported. The other category winners were Leonora Miano for best French novel for La Saison de l'ombre (The Season of Darkness) and the best essay prize went to Jean-Paul and Raphael Enthoven for a work titled "Dictionnaire amoureux de Proust."

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This year's shortlist for the Literary Review's Bad Sex Award, "Britain's most dreaded literary prize," has been announced. A "winner" will be named December 3. The shortlisted titles are:

My Education by Susan Choi
The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood
House of Earth by Woody Guthrie
Motherland by William Nicholson
The Victoria System by Eric Reinhardt
The World Was All Before Them by Matthew Reynolds
The City of Devi by Manil Suri
Secrecy by Rupert Thomson


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
Lighthouse Island: A Novel by Paulette Jiles (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062232502). "A century and a half into a worldwide drought finds Earth to be a bleak, dry, decaying urban landscape, precarious for everyone but especially for Parentless Dependent Children like Nadia. Nadia is a loner, a lover of books in a television-addicted world, who dreams of escaping to Lighthouse Island, an improbable haven of trees, rain, and wilderness somewhere to the northwest. This dystopian novel is beautifully written and Jiles' scenes of Nadia navigating the crumbling cityscape and her surreal interactions with the many desperate characters are vivid, shocking, and often darkly funny, all the while lit by Nadia's energy, guile, and hope." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781608195213). "Men We Reaped is one of the rare nonfiction books that seem destined to become a literary classic. National Book Award-winner Ward intertwines the story of her life growing up poor and black in rural coastal Mississippi with the lives of five young men she was close to--including her brother--who died within a two-year span soon after she finished college. Ward writes with fire and passion as she captures the day-to-day systemic injustices and struggles that she and her family faced. Also clear is the deep love and roots that tie her to the people and place where she was raised. This book will break your heart, make you think, and get you angry. In the tradition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this is memoir at its finest." --Caitlin Caulfield, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

Paperback
Because I Said So! The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids by Ken Jennings (Scribner, $15, 9781476706962). "Did your mom ever tell you not to swallow your gum because it would stay in your stomach for seven years? Ever wonder if that was true? In his new book, Jennings, the witty, charming, Jeopardy! champ, gets to the bottom of the old wives' tales your parents told you and uncovers the truth. If you've got kids, read this so you can lie informatively, and if you don't have kids, read this so you can undermine your friends who do!" --Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
Read Me a Story, Stella by Marie-Louise Gay (Groundwood Books/PGW, $16.95, 9781554982165). "Stella, the sweetest little red-haired girl, again wins over readers' hearts as she reads books to her little brother. Whether in the backyard, near a pond, or up a tree, Stella has a book nearby. The illustrations show a love for life, and for fun." --Paula Primavera, Covered Treasures Bookstore, Monument, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Brahmin: Julia Spencer-Fleming

photo: Geoff Green

Julia Spencer-Fleming's mysteries featuring Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne have won the Anthony and Agatha and have been Edgar and Romantic Times Reader's Choice award nominees. The eighth book in the series is Through the Evil Days (Minotaur, November 5, 2013). Spencer-Fleming is on Twitter, Facebook and readerSpace, and she blogs with the Jungle Red Writers.

On your nightstand now:

Lee Child's Never Look Back, Paul Doiron's Massacre Pond and Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal. A perennial favorite, a recent favorite and a new find.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Freddy the Detective by Walter R. Brooks. What do you get when you give a brilliant, slightly bored pig the Complete Sherlock Holmes? A porcine Nero Wolfe, with Jinx the cat as his daring Archie Goodwin.

Your top five authors:

Lois McMaster Bujold, who has the most brilliant characters. Steve Hamilton, whose prose I deeply envy. Charles Dickens (but not Oliver Twist!). Margaret Maron, who has been a role model for my own writing. May I include a poet? John Donne.

Book you've faked reading:

You know that Very Important Book that comes out every year from some daring MFA graduate who lives in the Village and gets profiled in the Style section of the New York Times? Yeah, I fake all of those.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther series. This Vermont-based police procedural begins with Open Season; the 24th novel, Three Can Keep a Secret, was just released this October. Tough and tender hero, twisty crimes, unsentimental rural settings. Hands down, the best mysteries you're not reading yet.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Coming Out by Danielle Steel. What a gorgeous cover--like a John Singer Sargent painting. As for the novel inside... after the first three paragraphs I donated it to the library book swap table. Kept the cover, though.

Book that changed your life:

A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony by John Demos. I read this as a sophomore at Ithaca College. It (and the seminar) so captivated me, I went on to change my major from acting to history (with a concentration in 17th-century English and American history.) From there, I went to a master's program for museum studies/history, where I met a student from Maine... well, you get the picture. If not for Demos, I might be an unemployed actor in New York City instead of an author in New England. I think the Puritans would have approved.

Favorite line from a book:

"All children, except one, grow up." --From Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

I find most good books just get better with rereading. The anticipation of what you know will happen is half the fun. That being said: The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser, one of most original romances I've read in recent years. I honestly didn't know if the Napoleonic-era infantryman and the earl's daughter would come to a happy ending after their adventures, and it made my first reading intensely emotional.


Book Review

Review: Communion Town

Communion Town: A City in Ten Chapters by Sam Thompson (Bloomsbury, $25 hardcover, 9781620401651, December 3, 2013)

Sam Thompson's Communion Town, longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, comprises 10 stories loosely linked by their glimpses of urban life and the darkness of their themes. Thompson is intent on showing "how each of us conjures up our own city," and there's considerable variety, if at times a slightly frustrating opaqueness, to these stories.

If Thompson excels at anything, it's in creating a convincing atmosphere that's different from story to story. A sense of dread looms over several, including the eponymous opener, where the horrifying details of a terrorist attack carried out in an underground station by a group called the Cynics are mostly hinted at. It's clearly not safe to walk the streets of Thompson's imagined city at night, when the serial killer known as the Flâneur of Glory Part is abroad in "The Good Slaughter." In "The Rose Tree," a group of characters huddle in a bar against an unnamed terror. "You go out there, it'll find you," says one to a visitor who decides to brave the danger.

Two standout stories feature distinctive detectives. In "Gallathea," Hal Moody, a hard-boiled private eye in the noir tradition, is hired by a woman to search for herself. He tracks her throughout the city, his pursuit impeded at nearly every turn by a pair of thugs known as the Cherub boys, who gleefully administer a beating at each encounter. "The Significant City of Lazarus Glass" centers on the Sherlock Holmes-like character Peregrine Fetch, whose pursuit of the title character, a former detective suspected of murdering other detectives in ingenious ways, isn't quite what it appears to be. But not all is mystery and chills in Thompson's city. The narrator of the elegiac "The Song of Serelight Fair" meets a beautiful woman while working as a rickshaw driver; their love affair inspires him to discover his talent as a songwriter.

There's a veiled quality to most of these stories, and at times their connective tissue (other than the recurring names of neighborhoods like Glory Part or the Three Liberties) feels more elusive than explicit. The narrator of the Lazarus Glass story asks where the detective lives, "if not in a memory city, a city that is less a physical place than a world of codes and symbols." If you enjoy the work of decoding, there are pleasures awaiting you here. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: Sam Thompson's first novel offers 10 stories linked by their focus on some unusual events in a single town.


Ooops

Another Finalist for Indie Small Biz of the Year Award

There are actually three indie booksellers in the running for Independent We Stand's 2013 Independent Small Business of the Year Award. In our report earlier this week, we missed Partners Village Store & Kitchen, Westport, Mass., which is also one of the 25 semifinalists for the award. Our apologies and a little electoral advice: vote early, vote often.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: How Books Find Me--Small Press Edition

Books find me. Every season offers new adventures for any reader, but perhaps even more so for those of us who are lucky enough to ply the book trade. I know you have your own tales to tell, but here are three stories illustrating how small press books sometimes find me.

The Reader
In August, publicist and marketing consultant Mary Bisbee-Beek let me know that one of her clients, Lindsay Hill, would be visiting Saratoga Springs, where I live. She also offered to send me an ARC of his upcoming novel, Sea of Hooks (McPherson & Co.). The book arrived and I devoured it. Sea of Hooks immediately became one of my favorite reads of the year.

When I met Hill for coffee a few weeks later, we had a long conversation about writing and books and publishing and life. I was intrigued by his novel's structure, which builds subtly and brilliantly in brief sections. Like this one:

PUZZLE PIECES
The puzzle is the game where something shattered comes back together through your hands, and isn't it really the puzzle itself that decides? Isn't it the puzzle that gets to say which piece fits with which?

"This is really the story of the book; the essence of what the editing process was for me," Hill recalled. "The 5,000-plus titled 'sections' had, within them, a finished 'picture puzzle.' The job was to find the ones (ultimately 1,000-plus) that fit together and that made a coherent whole. This took many years, even before I submitted the manuscript to Bruce McPherson. Bruce was of tremendous help in further refining and adjusting the narrative frame to include what was needed and discard what was not. We also had important conversations about the book's ending. Throughout, the demands of 'the puzzle' guided me. It was a joyful creative process, and Bruce's involvement made it even more so."

The Writer
I met Robert Sullivan, an executive editor at Life Books, in 2006 at an author event for his book Our Red Sox: A Story of Family, Friends, and Fenway. Seven years later, our paths crossed again when he wrote to tell me about a new and very personal project he was working on with illustrator Glenn Wolff, titled A Child's Christmas in New England (Bunker Hill Publishing). Sullivan has blogged about the genesis of this book.

We also discussed it recently over lunch in Providence, R.I., during NEIBA's fall conference. I was particularly intrigued by the unusual, almost unintentional, path this book took to print. After initially sharing the story with family members "because only they could tell me if I had got it right," he sent it to other New England friends. Gradually the question came back to him: "Is this a book?" Sullivan's initial response: "I said I didn't think of it that way." But after several more conversations and publisher recommendations, a copy was sent to Bunker Hill Press, where managing director Carole Kitchel Bellew responded enthusiastically and "almost immediately we made plans to publish."

While considering illustrations, Sullivan wondered if he could reunite with Wolff. They had previously teamed for Flight of the Reindeer and Atlantis Rising. "I knew he could elevate the book," Sullivan recalled. "I also knew we were dealing with a small publisher--not the case with the earlier collaborations--and it would be foolhardy for him to take it on for upfront money. But he read it and wanted to do it, and did it splendidly. We both have had fun already.... It is, finally, the thing I had in mind for the kids. That others might now read it seems a little funny, but I do hope they enjoy it."

The Publisher
Sometimes it's just an unexpected conversation that helps books find me. A couple of years ago at the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association trade show in St. Paul, Minn., I had a long conversation about the challenges and rewards of small press publishing with Steve Semken of Ice Cube Press, based in North Liberty, Iowa.

In an era when anyone can hang a shingle declaring themselves an independent publisher, it's important to recognize and congratulate Ice Cube Press, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Semken recalled that in the beginning the role of publisher "latched on, I think, because deep down, I cared about writing." Two decades later, despite the dizzying array of changes the book trade has experienced, he still has faith in the traditional approach: "In this day and age of the doom and gloom of the book industry, I feel pretty lucky to be around and still doing well.... To me, publishing is a storytelling business, and the human race will always be addicted to stories."

And where are those stories to be found? Often, in the world of indie bookstores and publishers. "I consider my press a natural partner with independent booksellers," Semken noted. "We're both in pursuit of sharing unique writing with passionate readers."

It's nice to work in a world where books find me. --Robert Gray, contributing editor


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