Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Harper: Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

Mira Books: Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

Little Brown and Company: The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook

Bloomsbury: Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Soho Crime: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

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

News

AAP Sales: 2015 Store Sales Rose 1.8%

Publishers' trade book sales at physical retail stores rose for the second year in a row in 2015, climbing 1.8%, to $4.15 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers' StatShot Annual. Physical store sales comprise about 26.2% of publisher revenue and included more than 610 million trade books during the year.

The AAP cautioned that its data "reflect how publishers get books into the marketplace, not retailers' revenue from consumers. While StatShot Annual channel sales data can provide directional information about trends, the data is limited for trade books, as much of the business occurs through wholesale and distribution."

Online continued to be the top sales channels for publishers' revenue in the trade category, comprising 37.4% of the market. Some 806 million units were sold online in 2015.

In terms of revenue, sales of all books in 2015 fell 0.6%, to $27.784 billion (mainly because of "a challenging year in the education markets"), but unit sales grew 0.5%, to 2.714 billion. In 2015, trade book sales rose 2.6%, to $15.8 billion, and trade book unit sales rose 1%, to 2.455 billion.

In trade, adult books was the category with the highest growth: up 6%, to $10.47 billion in revenue. For the second consecutive year, adult nonfiction books, which includes adult coloring books, was the category that sold the most units and provided the most revenue in the trade category. Within the adult books category, the fastest-growing formats in terms of units sold were downloaded audio (up 45.9%), hardbacks (up 15.1%) and paperbacks (up 9.1%).

Children's/YA books declined slightly in revenue, 3.4%, to $4.27 billion. The fastest-growing category in terms of units sold were board books, up 14%.

After peaking in 2013 at $3.24 billion, e-book revenue fell 1.2%, to $3.20 billion in 2014 and again in 2015 by 11.3%, to $2.84 billion. Unit sales also declined by 9.7%; e-books now make up 17.3% of the trade book market.

"StatShot Annual 2015 has confirmed print's marked return," said Tina Jordan, v-p of the AAP. "The paper book, just like the e-book, is here to stay. While young adult titles were very popular last year, in 2015 adult books led the charge with successes like The Girl on the Train and Go Set a Watchman. Those, and adult coloring books like The Secret Garden, helped the adult books category grow by nearly $90 million in revenue."

In contrast to AAP monthly figures, which are based on figures given to the AAP by some 1,200 publishers and distributed clients, StatShot Annual estimates the total size of the U.S. publishing industry by collecting sales data in dollars and units from nearly 1,800 active U.S. publishers, and estimates are made for publishers who do not participate directly, based on their company financial reports, government filings, Books in Print, press releases, third-party research services and other third-party sources.


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


Malaprop's Sales Down Following 'Bathroom Bill' Boycott

In the months since the North Carolina state legislature passed HB2, the "bathroom bill" mandating that transgender people can use only public restrooms corresponding to the gender indicated on their birth certificate, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, N.C., has seen a slump in sales, reported the Washington Post.

Malaprop's owner Emoke B'Racz told the Post that sales were down in both April and May and that the store's "business is off on a day-to-day basis." Tourists have been avoiding Asheville generally; some travelers who were unable to cancel their visits have even dropped by the store just to announce that they would not purchase a book there out of protest.

When two major authors, Sherman Alexie and Mark Z. Danielewski, canceled readings in protest of HB2, they could not have done it more differently, B'Racz said. Danielewski, whose most recent book is The Familiar, Volume 3: Honeysuckle & Pain, wrote B'Racz an apologetic note, while Alexie, who was promoting his children's book Thunder Boy Jr., gave no warning except for a tweet announcing that he would cancel all upcoming events in North Carolina. According to the article, B'Racz is "still furious" with Alexie, and feels that Alexie went about his boycott the completely wrong way.

"Lots of children were denied the chance to get to know him," said B'Racz, who added, "there are other ways of protesting and making an impact."

Malaprop's owner Emoke B'Racz, author Charles Frazier and general manager Linda-Marie Barrett. (photo: Jon Mayes)

On the same night that Alexie would have read in Asheville, several local writers, including Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, and Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, appeared at an event protesting HB2 that raised $5,000 for local LGBT groups. Store manager Linda-Marie Barrett, meanwhile, has written pieces protesting the bill and describing the store's plight in both Shelf Awareness and the New York Times.

"I don't think we should be punished for the government's stupidity," B'Racz told the Post. "I think we should protest the government's stupidity every chance we get."


Siglio Press: The Stampographer by Vincent Sardon


Amazon Opening Location in University of Illinois Bookstore

In what may be the first arrangement of its kind, Amazon is opening a staffed pickup location at a university inside the university's bookstore.

The company said yesterday that Amazon@Illinois, a 2,200-square-foot space, will open this fall in the Illini Union Bookstore on the campus at Urbana-Champaign. At the center, students will be able to pick up and return Amazon orders.

"We are excited to partner with Amazon and add this level of service for students, faculty, and staff on campus," said Renée Romano, vice chancellor for Student Affairs at Illinois. "The Illini Union Bookstore location is perfect to offer convenience and security in the heart of campus."

With roots going back to the 1920s, the Illini Union Bookstore describes itself as "one of the largest independent college bookstores in the country."


PuddleDancer Press: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg


Rick Pascocello Becomes Literary Agent

 

Rick Pascocello

Rick Pascocello, who worked for 23 years at Penguin Random House, most recently as v-p, executive director of marketing, has joined Glass Literary Management as a literary agent. He will focus on a range of nonfiction, including memoirs, biography, history, narrative, business, sports and popular culture, as well as mainstream and literary fiction.

Alex Glass commented: "I've known Rick Pascocello for 20 years and I couldn't be more thrilled to bring him on as my first agent hire. His knowledge of marketing and promotion and his ability to work closely and creatively with writers to sell books is unsurpassed in our industry. I have no doubt those skills will translate into great success representing authors."


Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Obituary Note: Carolyn Whitaker

A memorial service was held yesterday for literary agent Carolyn Whitaker, who ran London Independent Books, an agency she founded in 1971, and died June 17, the Bookseller reported. She was 79. Children's fantasy author Elizabeth Kay, who worked with Whitaker for nearly 30 years, said, "There have been too many tributes to name all those who have offered their condolences, but she launched many writing careers with her honest and uncompromising criticism and remarks such as 'Get rid of the parents!' when she was dealing with children's fiction. I think Bruce Crowther summed her up the best, though. 'She had an unerring eye for what was good, what was bad, what was padding, and she always spoke her mind.' She will be very much missed."


Notes

Image of the Day: Running for Literacy

The ILA Steps to Advance Literacy 5K took place this past Sunday morning on the Boston Common, in conjunction with the International Literacy Association 2016 conference July 9-11, 2016. Charlesbridge Publishing organized a team to participate in the race and to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the picture book Lola at the Library. The publisher is also hosting a fundraiser for ILA and Reach Out and Read in conjunction with the race and conference; info is available here. Donations will be accepted through this Friday, July 15. 

The participants, decked out in Lola Loves Literacy team T-shirts, were (l.-r.) Megan Quinn, senior director of sales; Brent Farmer, president; Melanie Meeker, director of administration and hr; Jacqui Teruya, sales associate; Cindy Ritter, marketing, publicity & promotions assistant; Sarah Taylor, design assistant; Lauren Barrett, sub-rights coordinator/associate; and Rachel Doody, sales and marketing assistant.


Happy 10th Birthday, Beaverdale Books!

Congratulations to Beaverdale Books, Des Moines, Iowa, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday with cake and champagne, giveaways, specials, a sidewalk sale, children's storytime and authors in the store.

As the Des Moines Register noted, the store, founded by Alice Meyer, has "knit together readers and authors in Des Moines and become a community gathering place... It's become a venue to find a good novel but also to pose for engagement photos or hold a baby shower. Library events and book signings, storytelling group performances and college poetry readings are held at the little strip mall location of comfy, stuffed chairs and soft music."


Wanted: An Indie Bookstore in Winston-Salem, N.C.

In a Winston-Salem Journal piece headlined "Missing downtown: Our own bookstore," guest columnists Ed Wilson and Emily Herring Wilson expressed their support for Bookmarks, a nonprofit literary organization that is exploring the possibility of a gathering place that combines an independent bookstore, offices, a space for Bookmarks-sponsored events as well as programs with other organizations.

The city "has much to offer locals and visitors, and anyone who hasn't already found a favorite place to meet friends will find one, or more, just by walking around. But something's missing: books," the Wilsons wrote, adding: "Let's consider what an independent bookstore would add to the local scene, where downtown has become a destination, and whether you walk, bike or drive there you'll find something happening. This summer, our local nonprofit literary arts organization, Bookmarks, now hosting the largest annual literary festival in the Carolinas and bringing famous authors to give free public readings and to teach in the schools, is ready to take the step that's been in their dream all these years: Bookmarks, with our support, is ready to open a downtown bookstore (sites with onsite parking are still being considered) where you can browse, read, buy, talk, have your coffee or wine, and treat yourself to a few hours of stimulation and relaxation. As well as take pride in ourselves: Winston-Salem: the City of Arts, Innovation and Books....

"If you want some variety from bars, billiards, ballet and buskers, try books. To make it happen, go to the website of Bookmarksnc.org and check out the best new thing in town: Winston-Salem is going to have an indie bookstore!"


Personnel Changes at Penguin, Crown, Chronicle

Ryan Murphy has been promoted to digital marketing manager for Penguin Books. He joined Penguin in 2012.

Nora McCarthy has been promoted to marketing coordinator for Penguin Books. She joined Penguin last year as a marketing assistant after working in the film and TV industry.

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Juliana Horbachevsky has joined the Crown Publishing Group as senior publicist, Harmony Books. She was formerly a publicist at Abrams.

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Eunice Choi has joined Chronicle Books as sales assistant, independent special sales.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jules Feiffer on Diane Rehm

Today:
Fresh Air: Jessi Klein, author of You'll Grow Out of It (Grand Central, $26, 9781455531189).

Tomorrow:
Diane Rehm: Jules Feiffer, author of Cousin Joseph: A Graphic Novel (Liveright, $25.95, 9781631490651).

Daily Show repeat: Chuck Klosterman, author of But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past (Blue Rider, $26, 9780399184123).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan (Holt, $30, 9781627790628).


Movies: Lean on Pete; Blood Father

Steve Buscemi will star in Lean on Pete, a film adaptation of Willy Vlautin's 2010 novel that is being written and directed by Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years). Deadline reported that the project "has long been a passion project for Haigh," who "has emerged to become one of the U.K.'s most interesting filmmakers."

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The first trailer for Blood Father, directed by Jean-François Richet from a script by Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff that was based on Craig's 2006 novel, Deadline reported. The project stars Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks and William H. Macy. Blood Father hits theaters August 12.



Books & Authors

Awards: Guardian Children's Fiction; Center for Fiction First Novel; Sunburst

This year's longlist for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize has been released. The shortlist will be announced in mid-October, with a winner named November 17. The longlisted titles are:

Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart
Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Sweet Pizza by G.R. Gemin
Hell and High Water by Tanya Landman
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

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The Center for Fiction has announced the long list for the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. The winner, who will be announced on December 6, receives $10,000, and each shortlisted author receives $1,000.

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Shortlists for the Sunburst Awards, sponsored by the Sunburst Award Society and honoring "the best in Canadian fantastika," have been announced. Winners will be named September 14, with adult fiction and young adult fiction winners each receiving C$1,000 (about US$762), and the winner of the short story category--a new category--receiving C$500 (US$381). The shortlisted titles are:

Adult Fiction:
The Little Washer of Sorrows by Katherine Fawcett (Thistledown Press)
Experimental Film by Gemma Files (Chizine Publications)
Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris)
Daydreams of Angels by Heather O'Neill (HarperCollins)
The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Young Adult Fiction:
An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet (Scholastic Canada)
Sight Unseen by David Carroll (Scholastic Canada)
The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett (HarperCollins)
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel (HarperCollins)
Boo by Neil Smith (Knopf)

Short Story:
"La Héron" by Charlotte Ashley (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
"The Glad Hosts: by Rebecca Campbell (Lackington's Magazine)
"Stuck in the Past" by Mike Donoghue (Abyss & Apex)
"Hide and Seek" by Catherine A. MacLeod (Playground of Lost Toys, Exile Editions)
"Two-Year Man" by Kelly Robson (Asimov's Science Fiction)
"Get the Message" by Peter Wendt (Second Contacts, Bundoran Press)


Book Review

Review: Playing Dead

Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood (Simon & Schuster, $26 hardcover, 9781476739335, August 9, 2016)

Elizabeth Greenwood had recently quit teaching public school in New York City to return to school herself, and her student loan debt had hit six figures. She was feeling desperate, trapped and bored with her day-to-day existence. When a friend made a joke about faking her death to get away from it all, she was intrigued.

The idea became the research project that consumed her time and imagination for years, and resulted in Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud. Greenwood explores the world of pseudocide from several angles. She speaks with several subjects of infamous botched cases, but fails to identify any successful fraudsters (by definition, they are hard to find). She visits with the investigators who pursue these attempted frauds on behalf of the insurance companies frequently scammed ("His workplace, in a way, is the DMV of death"), as well as with professionals in the field of helping people disappear. She also cozies up to a passionate "Believer" in Michael Jackson's epic prank: that the singer is not dead at all, but in hiding, sending coded messages to his fans. When Greenwood sits down with family members who have been left behind, she finds the most damage inflicted. Finally, in the Philippines, she sets out to purchase her own death certificate.

Initially Playing Dead asks: Is this deception possible in a modern era of closed-circuit cameras, digital signatures and the inerasable Internet? Is it better to fake death, or simply to disappear? Are those who get caught really "morons and idiots," as one specialist asserts? By the end of her journey, though, Greenwood asks different questions. Why are pseudocides overwhelmingly male? Is this an act of sacrifice or ego? "Is transformation without annihilation possible?" By the epilogue, she has reconsidered, for herself at least, which is preferable: a difficult life or a false death.

Along the way, she acquires a few tips: keep your first name when you take on a new identity. Stay in disguise. Don't bother with a surrogate body. Quit driving altogether. Disappear on a hike, not into the ocean. And whatever you do, don't assume you can return home to family and friends after just a few years dead. The exercise of seeking pseudocide for Greenwood, "acts as a gentle reminder that our realities are far from fixed."

This energetic exploration of a world many readers may not have ever considered is perhaps slightly macabre, but ultimately very human; it is a questioning of how we seek satisfaction in life, and when we cut and run. Greenwood's narrative voice is humble and approachable, but as an investigator she is tenacious, going the distance--to death and back--to bring this oddly fascinating story to her readers. Playing Dead will please those attracted to the eccentric, as well as anyone who has ever fantasized about leaving it all behind. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This engrossing inquiry into faked deaths introduces curious characters and a litany of questions about life.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Say You'll Stay by Corinne Michaels
2. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
3. The Contract by Melanie Moreland
4. Whispers of Love by Various
5. Mail Order Bride Collection (A Timeless Romance Anthology Book 16) by Various
6. The Gone Trilogy by Stacy Claflin
7. Hero to Obey by Various
8. Bad Teacher by Clarissa Wild
9. Noble Retribution (Jack Noble #6) by L.T. Ryan
10. Saint Peter's Soldiers (A James Acton Thriller Book #14) by J. Robert Kennedy

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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