Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Little Brown and Company: The Balcony by Jane Delury

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

Katherine Tegen Books: Another Quest for Celeste (Nest for Celeste #2) by Henry Cole

News

Happy Holiday Season for British Indies

British independent booksellers enjoyed a successful holiday retail season, with 79% saying they "achieved a like-for-like sales increase, a figure that is far higher than both last year's equivalent (46%) and 2012's (48%)," according to the Bookseller's Independents Christmas Trading Survey of 57 indies. By contrast, 7% said sales declined, while 14% remained level. Reported sales increases ranged from just over 1% to 37%. In a separate survey by the Booksellers Association of 80 bookshops, 55% reported a sales increase, compared to 43% the previous year.

More than 41% of respondents "thought e-books were less of a threat to their businesses than last year, but 52% thought they posed the same threat," the Bookseller wrote, adding that only 10% of bookshops said they sell e-books.


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Penguin: Imprint Closings, Expansions; Promotions, Departures

Penguin Publishing Group has made a series of "major organizational alignments, leadership changes, and promotions [that] draw upon our existing strengths, as well as the experience of many of our longstanding colleagues, and will position us well for future growth," wrote Madeline McIntosh, president of the Penguin Publishing Group, in a memo to staff.

Among the highlights:

Madeline Mcintosh
(photo: Michael Lionstar)

The Gotham and Hudson Street imprints will be discontinued after this summer, and their future titles and their backlists are moving to other Penguin Group imprints. McIntosh commented that both imprints "have had significant successes since their founding, but today there is too much overlap between their lists and others at Penguin."

The Avery imprint will expand its health-and-wellness publishing program. Editors from Hudson Street Press and Gotham will join Avery.

The Putnam and Dutton imprints will be aligned under a single leadership while maintaining separate editorial departments and distinct publishing lists and identities.

The changes have resulted in many promotions and some departures:

Brian Tart
(photo: Rich Hasselberger)

Brian Tart has become president and publisher of Viking, relinquishing his duties as president and publisher, Dutton, Gotham and Avery. McIntosh said that during his nine years at the head of Dutton, Tart "has built the imprint's success through a great aptitude for deciding what and how to publish, a close and attentive partnership with his authors and their agents, and a collaborative leadership style that brings out the very best in his entire team."

Clare Ferraro, president, Viking, Plume and Hudson Street Press, is leaving the company at the end of January. McIntosh said Ferraro, who has headed Viking since 1999, "will always have our gratitude for preserving and building on Viking's history, creating a legacy of literary and financial success of which we can all be proud, and which provides a solid foundation for the imprint's future growth."

Andrea Schulz
(photo: Michael Lionstar)

Andrea Schulz is joining Viking as v-p, editor-in-chief, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where she was editor-in-chief. McIntosh said that Schulz "has earned tremendous admiration among fiction and nonfiction writers, agents, and her peers for her editorial acumen, taste, and judgment, and as a supportive manager and mentor."

Kate Stark is joining Viking as v-p, associate publisher, and director of marketing. She will continue to perform those duties for Riverhead while relinquishing those duties at Putnam. She is, McIntosh said, "known for her creative, innovative, and very effective marketing leadership."

Ivan Held
(photo: Megan Maloy)
Ben Sevier
(photo: Rich Hasselberger)

Ivan Held, president of G.P. Putnam's Sons, is now president, Putnam and Dutton. McIntosh commented that within Penguin, Held "is particularly valued as a strong team-builder and a strong mentor, helping to increase the capabilities and confidence of staff across a range of disciplines and experience."

Ben Sevier has become v-p, publisher, of Dutton and continues as editor-in-chief. McIntosh called Sevier "an invaluable member of the Dutton team since 2007, respected by colleagues, authors, and agents alike for his proactive, forward-looking approach to achieving success for authors and the house."

Christine Ball, v-p, associate publisher, Dutton, will now serve in the same capacity for both Putnam and Dutton, overseeing both imprints' marketing and publicity teams. McIntosh said that during her time at Dutton, "the imprint has been recognized by agents, authors, media, and booksellers for its creative, innovative, and outstandingly executed marketing and publicity campaigns."

Plume will continue to be headed by editorial director Rachel Bressler, who will now report to David Rosenthal, president and publisher of Blue Rider. The two imprints, McIntosh said, "have often been linked informally through their many hard-soft publishing partnerships. Formalizing this relationship will allow them to benefit from a larger-scaled marketing and publicity team."

Aileen Boyle is expanding her duties to become v-p, associate publisher, director, marketing and publicity, for Blue Rider and Plume; their existing marketing and publicity departments will report to her.

Megan Newman has been promoted to v-p, publisher, Avery Books. McIntosh commented that Newman "and her team at Avery have had an excellent track record over the past few years in particular, selectively publishing just the right books, and bringing them to market with intelligence and passion."

Caroline Sutton will now serve as editor-in-chief at Avery. She formerly led Hudson Street Press.

Brooke Carey has become an editor at Avery. She formerly worked at Gotham.

Lucia Watson has been promoted at Avery to executive editor.

Lindsay Gordon is now marketing and publicity director at Avery.

Charlie Conrad is becoming executive editor at Berkley. He was formerly executive editor at Gotham.

Lauren Marino, v-p, editorial director, Gotham, is leaving the company.

John Fagan, v-p, director of marketing, Penguin, Plume, and Hudson Street Press, will now focus solely on Penguin, including Penguin Classics and the Penguin brand.

Catharine Lynch, senior v-p, director, publishing management, is also now associate publisher, Penguin Publishing Group.

Nancy Sheppard, formerly v-p, marketing director, Viking, has become v-p, director, advertising and promotions, Penguin Publishing Group. McIntosh noted that Sheppard "has brought immense creative flair and excellent execution to Viking's list over the past 14 years."

Allison Dobson has been named to the newly created position of v-p, director, business development and strategy, Penguin Publishing Group. She formerly worked at Random House, where, McIntosh said, she valued Dobson's "business intelligence, her creative instincts, her roll-up-the-sleeves attitude, and her warm, collegial spirit."


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


Amazon: UMass Store, Tambor, Allen

Beginning with the fall semester, Amazon will be the campus bookseller for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, replacing an on-campus "textbook annex" run by Follett, the Boston Globe reported. A UMass spokesperson said, "This is about convenience and saving money for students."

Under the five-year deal, Amazon is paying UMass a 2.5% commission on most sales through the school's Amazon storefront. Amazon has agreed to pay at least $375,000, $465,000 and $610,000, respectively in the first three years of the contract.

For paper textbooks, Amazon will offer free one-day delivery to addresses on campus and residences in nearby towns. Students can also pick up texts that were ordered online at a campus Amazon facility that will open in June.

Amazon has similar deals with the University of California Davis and Purdue University and is negotiating with other schools.

---

On Sunday night at the Golden Globe awards, Transparent, an Amazon production, won awards for best musical or comedy TV series and for best actor in a musical or comedy series. In accepting the award for best actor, Jeffrey Tambor called Amazon "my new best friend."

On its Facebook page, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., wrote:
"Congrats to our friend and co-owner Jeffrey Tambor on his Golden Globe award last night! An amazing accomplishment."

---

In other Amazon news, the company grabbed headlines yesterday by announcing a deal with Woody Allen to write and direct his first TV series. Amazon ordered a full season, which is a change from its tradition of having consumers vote on pilots. The series has no name, and Allen himself professed to be baffled about it all. In a statement quoted by the New York Times, he said, "I don't know how I got into this. I have no ideas, and I'm not sure where to begin."


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


Man Booker Prize Alters Longlist Availability Rules

Organizers of the Man Booker Prize have made "significant tweaks" to this year's contest rules, relaxing the previous requirement for longlisted titles to be in stock within 10 days of the announcement (though they must be available for sale as an e-book), "placing time limits on the eligibility of titles published outside the U.K., and defining the term 'publisher' more closely," the Bookseller reported.

Some booksellers criticized the new rules for print availability, an issue that "sparked controversy last year when several longlisted titles were not available to sell in the stipulated time frame, leading some booksellers to accuse the prize organizers of failing to enforce their own rules," the Bookseller wrote.

"It's disappointing that the new rules have missed the opportunity to ensure that fans of the physical book can read the longlisted titles during the peak of media coverage," said Kate Skipper, buying director at Waterstones. "At a time when sales of physical books are proving more than resilient, this seems at odds with the way the market is moving.... However we trust that publishers will do the right thing for their books and their readers and ensure that any longlisted title is simultaneously available in physical and electronic form immediately after the announcement."

Simon Key, co-owner of the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, London, called the new rule "just pathetic. It is supposed to be the biggest book prize of the Commonwealth but actually the publishers are completely dictating the rules.... We can sell e-books through Hive but we can't display them or say to customers 'come and see them.' The digital availability is of very little use to us."

Also in force this year is a new rule stating that books originally published outside the U.K. must have been released no more than two years before the U.K. pub date in order to be eligible. There are also eligibility rule clarifications regarding "who counts as a publisher and who as a self-publisher; with self-publishers not eligible to enter for the prize," the Bookseller noted.


Waterstones Bookseller Killed by Falling Sign

Margaret Sheridan, a "much-loved" bookseller at the Waterstones store in Blackpool, died Monday after being hit by a falling sign, the Bookseller reported. She was 68.

A spokesperson for the chain said: "Waterstones confirms that a tragic accident at its Blackpool shop has resulted in the death of one of its booksellers. Margaret Sheridan was a much loved and well respected colleague. We offer our deepest condolences to her family."


Chicago's RoscoeBooks: Holiday Baptism by Fire

Last March, Erika VanDam decided to leave her career in marketing to open an independent bookstore in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago, Ill. Her goal was to have the store open for business by Thanksgiving, and she met that goal, with five days to spare: on Saturday, November 22, RoscoeBooks was up and running.

RoscoeBooks is an approximately 1,400-square-foot, general-interest bookstore with almost a third of its inventory dedicated to children's books. The neighborhood, VanDam explained, has over the past 10 years become a magnet for families with school-age children.

"It felt like something I would have to do to bring in traffic in this neighborhood, and it's been working," said VanDam. "And part of the thinking with children's books is: children don't use e-readers. There will always be a market for children's books."

Before opening RoscoeBooks, VanDam had had no bookselling experience. Her earlier career, in fact, involved selling ad space for a billboard company. About a year and a half ago, VanDam had a child, and after returning to her marketing job after maternity leave, she became acutely aware that that job was not the right fit.

Owner Erika VanDam at Roscoebooks

"Owning a bookstore was always a bucket list kind of thing," she recalled. "Something I'd like to do after my 'real' career was over. But I started thinking about it, and thinking maybe it could actually work in the neighborhood in which I live."

And so far, VanDam reported, her neighborhood has responded extremely well to the new bookstore. "Honestly it's been the best kind of surprise," she said. "It's really wonderful. Clearly we opened at the right time of year; we had buzz going into the busiest time of year."

The store's first month of business was a rush and something of a baptism by fire. VanDam and her staff of four--two managers and two booksellers--were so busy simply selling books and ironing out the kinks of the day-to-day business that they have yet to host an event.

"One of my reps joked that December was about just keeping your head down and selling books," recalled VanDam. "Our focus for the holidays, for the first six weeks, was to learn how to run the store."

One of the fun surprises of the holiday season, VanDam reported, was seeing what titles sold best. In the children's book department, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers proved immensely popular and had to be reordered several times, and B.J. Novak's The Book with No Pictures also sold very well. As for adult books, Amy Poehler's Yes Please sold briskly, and though many people asked for Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, VanDam was unable to get it in stock for most of the holidays. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the popularity of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. VanDam remarked: "I figured everybody already had it."

With the holidays over, VanDam's focus is on launching the store's events program. She is starting up a children's story hour, gauging customer interest in book clubs and finding authors to bring to the store. And though she has no concrete plans yet, VanDam is eager to partner with local schools for things like book fairs. "I am open to and love the idea of having partnerships like that with schools and other neighborhood organizations," she said. "It's part of our goal of becoming an esteemed part of the community." --Alex Mutter


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Mercy Seat
by Elizabeth H. Winthrop 

In Jim Crow-era Louisiana, a handful of townspeople contemplate the impending execution of 18-year-old Willie Jones. As they consider their own roles in the young black man's fate, some with regret, others with a certain sort of vicious pride, author Elizabeth H. Winthrop builds a taut, yet tender portrait of racism, justice and our legal system in The Mercy Seat. Winthrop’s skillful plaiting of multiple viewpoints into an aching, quietly powerful tale is both impressive and effective--you will see yourself in one or more of the characters, and it will make you uncomfortable. But you'll thank Winthrop for the opportunity, which might be the most wondrous work of The Mercy Seat in the end. This is Winthrop's break-out book. --Stefanie Hargreaves, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers 

(Grove Press, $26.00 hardcover, 9780802128188, May 8, 2018)

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Notes

Image of the Day: Bookmarks for a Milestone

Last Friday and Saturday, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash., celebrated its 115th anniversary with a 25% off sale, bookmark-making in the kids' department, birthday cookies and free tote bags to customers who spent more than $15. Pam Cady, manager of general books, reported that sales were up 120% (an appropriate number) over the same period last year. "We were so busy that we had to bring in an emergency extra register," she said. "Our marketing manager was passing out cookies with sprinkles on them with her tongs, and people were practically bringing in pack mules to carry out their book hauls." And many younger customers stopped by the kids' department to make their own bookmarks (above).


Media and Movies

TV: The Dovekeepers

A trailer has been released for CBS's The Dovekeepers, a two-part miniseries based on Alice Hoffman's novel, Deadline.com reported. The project, which stars Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan, Kathryn Prescott, Diego Boneta and Sam Neill, premieres March 31, followed by the second part on April 1.

"Alice Hoffman said when she went to Masada and learned that only two people and five children survived, she took it as the seed of a narrative and built this beautiful fictional story," said executive producer Roma Downey. "What attracted me is it had these amazingly powerful and courageous women. For many years as an actress myself, I was always looking for the story or scripts that really put women out front and center. This does that. It's profoundly moving."


Stage & Screen: This Song Will Save Your Life

Producers Kevin McCollum and Michael Novick have optioned stage and film rights to the 2013 YA novel This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. Variety reported that details of the developing adaptations have yet to be revealed, but "the story's music-infused setting--and the resumes of the producers who have optioned it--point toward musical projects. McCollum is the Broadway producer of Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights, Motown and the upcoming Something's Rotten!, while Novick was one of the original producers of FOX series Glee."



Books & Authors

Awards: Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Winner

The winner of the 2014 Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award, sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, is Sanna Stanley, writer and illustrator of such works as Monkey for Sale and Monkey Sunday. The grant, which gives $3,000 to mid-list authors "to honor their contribution and help raise awareness about their current works-in-progress," was created and is funded by children's book author Jane Yolen.

An honor grant went to Jane Mitchell, co-founder of the SCBWI Ireland Chapter and its previous regional adviser. She is the author of When Stars Stop Spinning and Chalkline, and focuses on the rights of women and young girls around the globe in her writing.

Yolen said she "wanted to give back to my peers and that's how the Mid-list Award was born. It's not a great deal of money, but it's a love note of recognition. SCBWI and I are saying, 'Please know that we love your books. We need your books. We remember your books. Don't quit. Write more.' "


Book Brahmin: Andrew Lovett

photo: Jim Poyner Photography

Andrew Lovett lives near York, England, with his family. His day jobs have included filing, data-inputting, retailing, quantity surveying, teaching, company directoring and a host of jobs in between that fall under the general umbrella of menial. Everlasting Lane (Melville House, January 13, 2015), his first novel, is based, in part, on his own childhood.

On your nightstand now:

This Isn't the Sort of Thing that Happens to Someone Like You, a short story collection by Jon McGregor; The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It by Owen Jones, a coruscating assessment of how the U.K. works (or, rather, doesn't); and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and all four sequels by Douglas Adams whilst I search for my "favorite lines" (see below). There are usually a half-dozen more but my wife had me tidy up at the weekend (so they're in a drawer).

Favorite book when you were a child:

As a boy, I avidly read the Adventure books by Willard Price and the English translations of the Asterix stories (I suppose you'd call them graphic novels nowadays) by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. I couldn't bear to return to them now--even for old time's sake--for fear they wouldn't live up to my fond memories of them.

Your top five authors:

This is hard. I don't love--in fact, I've not read--everything by that many people, the exceptions being J.D. Salinger and Aimee Bender. Three other writers I'd mention, though, would be Walter Tevis, Christopher Isherwood and Arundhati Roy.

Book you've faked reading:

I was about to claim that I would never sink so low but then came to mind a meeting with a new author at their launch party some years ago. My congratulations to the writer, still an acquaintance, were so excessively enthusiastic he can only have assumed I'd read my advance copy from cover to cover whereas, in fact, I'd only managed the first chapter (and loathed every page of it). I hate myself, of course, but, to avoid offence, I must steadfastly decline to provide the name of either the book or the author.

Book you're an evangelist for:

For 14- and 15-year-old boys, I prescribe a heavy dose of Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. For everyone else, if you haven't already read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, I want to know why.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I honestly can't think that I've ever done this--you can't judge a book by it, you know.

Books that changed your life:

A flurry of books I studied at the age of 14, or maybe it was Miss Taylor who taught me English, opened my eyes to the glory of books and sowed the seed that made me want to be a writer. In no particular order they include Dubliners by James Joyce, A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain and Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood.

Favorite line from a book:

Oh, no, I'm a complete duffer at this sort of thing. I tend to lean toward scenes, I suppose--not that I could remember them verbatim--and have an atrocious memory for direct quotes and, so it turns out, no ability to successfully trace and, therefore, accurately record the ones that do come to mind (see Douglas Adams, above).

Two exceptions, though, are Salinger ("I have scars on my hands from touching certain people," from Seymour: An Introduction) and Shakespeare ("Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound./ Upon a wheel of fire" from King Lear). I mean, we've all had days like those, haven't we?

Oh, and "The End" from anything by J.K. Rowling. (Seriously though, she seems to be a lovely person.)

Which character you most relate to:

I've slightly outgrown Holden Caulfield, thank the Lord, so now it's Nick Hornby's everyman character who narrates pretty much everything he's written to date (Holden approaching middle age, perhaps?) who always feels horribly familiar.

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

I aspire to read Ulysses for the first time at least once.

What becomes of the broken-hearted?

We write novels.


Book Review

YA Review: Red Queen

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Harper Teen, $17.99 hardcover, 400p., ages 13-up, 9780062310637, February 10, 2015)

Victoria Aveyard's thrilling debut throws readers into a futuristic fantasy world of clashing countries, segregation and a rebellion that depends on a young thief.

In the country of Norta, the Feats of First Friday are held every month in city arenas. Champions with Silver blood compete against one another using their supernatural abilities to entertain audiences of other Silvers and the lowly, powerless Red bloods that serve them. Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red, knows these fights are meant as a reminder that any act of rebellion will lead to punishment or execution via the Silvers' many abilities--mind control, telekinesis and super strength among them.

To save herself and her war orphan friend, Kilorn, from conscription, Mare is pickpocketing Silvers in the small city of Summerton. There, a group of insurgents called the Scarlet Guard rise up against the Silvers, bombing a castle in the capital in the hopes of eliminating the Royal Court. She fails at her mission due to the ensuing riots, but an attempt to pickpocket a boy named Cal serendipitously lands her a job as a serving girl at the summertime castle of King Tiberias.

Mare learns Cal is the crown prince, set to marry another Silver girl, but that surprise is superseded by Mare's discovery that she possesses lightning talents that no Red has exhibited before. The court covers up her talents by posing Mare as a long-lost daughter of a Silver war hero, to be engaged to Cal's brother, Maven, which they hope will placate the rebels. But if one lie from the king can save her life, another lie may take it.

Class tensions run exceptionally high in this trilogy's first installment. Mare's suspicions keep her sharp throughout; even when she's aiding the Scarlet Guard in taking down the king, she remains wary of the rebels. ("Anyone can betray anyone," she often reminds herself.) She commits to the charade of Lady Mareena not for her own life, but to save her three brothers and Kilorn. Cinematic fights aplenty and deception amongst characters propel readers deeper into this world of power struggles. For the players who survive this first round, Aveyard sets the board for the sequel. A gripping, high-stakes game of power and betrayal, Red Queen is an easy pick for those seeking electrifying action and royal settings with a touch of romance. --Adam Silvera, children's bookseller and reviewer

Shelf Talker: This YA debut introduces a futuristic fantasy world in which a heroine with Red blood exhibits supernatural powers once exclusive to those with Silver blood.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. The Pact by Karina Halle
2. Two Old Fools on a Camel by Victoria Twead
3. Gone, Part Three by Deborah Bladon
4. Gone, Part Two by Deborah Bladon
5. Gone by Deborah Bladon
6. The Game Plan: A Neighbor from Hell by R.L. Mathewson
7. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
8. Fractured (Lucian & Lia Trilogy, Book 2) by Sydney Landon
9. Hard Limit (Hacker Series Book 4) by Meredith Wild
10. Accidently Married by Victorine E. Lieske

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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