Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 26, 2016


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

News

Books, Inc. Opens Today in Santa Clara, Calif.

Congratulations to Books, Inc., whose newest store, in Santa Clara, Calif., opens this morning in the Santa Clara Square Marketplace, a new mixed-used project encompassing office space, 1,800 apartments and retailers such as Whole Foods, Sur la Table and Lula's Chocolates, whose stores open today, too.

With 4,000 square feet, the Santa Clara location is one of Books Inc.'s larger stores, offering a wide selection of new books, magazines and gifts. Store manager Cheenie Durham said that children's storytimes and book clubs are ready to meet and that a variety of author events will begin in September.

The new Books Inc. is located at 2712 Augustine Drive #120, Santa Clara, Calif. 95054; 408-727-1500.


Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Grand Re-Opening for Quail Ridge

Quail Ridge Books hosted a grand opening last weekend in its new location in the North Hills area of Raleigh, N.C. Grand is the right word: the beautifully designed 9,000-square-foot bookstore has a newly built second story and balcony overlooking the main floor. The store incorporates some items from its longtime home in the Ridgewood Shopping Center, including the many signed photographs of visiting authors that had been displayed in the bathrooms.

Above: the opening party. Below (l.) the new storefront; (r.) story hour in the children's department.


Other Press: Bookselling Without Borders Scholarship


2nd & Charles: Opening Set for Richmond, Va.

Books-A-Million has set a July 30 opening date for the new 2nd & Charles location at the Tuckernuck Square shopping center in Richmond, Va., with festivities that will include Harry Potter-themed activities, photo opportunities with costumed characters, a gaming tournament, face painting, crafts and more. The 2nd & Charles chain buys and sells new and used books, CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays, video games, game systems, vinyl records, comic books, electronics, toys, collectibles and other items.


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


Amazon: U.K. Drone Testing; New Warehouses

Limited by the FAA in the U.S., Amazon has found approval for drone delivery testing in the U.K. The company said it has entered "a partnership" with the U.K. government to test "beyond line-of-sight operations in rural and suburban areas, testing sensor performance to make sure the drones can identify and avoid obstacles, and flights where one person operates multiple highly-automated drones."

Paul Misener, Amazon's v-p of global innovation policy and communications, said the testing "brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the U.K. and elsewhere around the world."

The New York Times noted that "United States regulators have been reluctant to permit drone delivery because of safety concerns. Amazon wants to be able to fly its drones at night and miles beyond the sight of operators. The company said it has developed 'sense and avoid' technology to prevent collisions, which it has not been able to broadly test in the United States."

The move, it continued, "puts pressure on the FAA, which had recently rebuffed requests by Amazon, Google and other drone makers to advance their delivery plans. The tech behemoths and other drone makers have aggressively lobbied the FAA to authorize the devices to significantly reduce costs to transport goods by airplane, freight and trucks."

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Houston will be the site of Amazon's seventh fulfillment center in Texas. The online retailer currently operates facilities in Coppell, Haslet, Dallas, Fort Worth and Schertz, with another one under construction in San Marcos.

"We are pleased but not surprised that a great company like Amazon continues to expand in Texas, bringing more than a thousand new jobs. Texas is committed to maintaining a strong business climate that allows companies to prosper, innovate and expand. I predict this will not be the last Amazon facility we will see here," said Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

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In Pennsylvania, Amazon will open a second fulfillment center in the Lehigh Valley region, in Palmer Township. The Morning Call reported that, according to Governor Tom Wolf, the 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse is "the first of a $150 million investment the company is making statewide." Amazon's fulfillment centers in Pennsylvania include a one-million-square-foot warehouse complex in Breinigsville, Upper Macungie Township, that opened in 2010.


Disney-Hyperion: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


Obituary Note: Tim LaHaye

Tim LaHaye, co-author of the bestselling Left Behind series, died yesterday of a stroke, which his family described as him having "graduated to heaven." He was 90 and was also the founder and president of Tim LaHaye Ministries and founder of the PreTrib Research Center.

The Left Behind series, consisting of 16 novels published between 1995 and 2007 by Tyndale House Publishers and written with Jerry B. Jenkins, have sold some 80 million copies. The series has been made into four movies and inspired several computer games. LaHaye also wrote some 60 nonfiction titles.

Christianity Today ranked Left Behind "among the landmark titles that have shaped evangelicalism. LaHaye and Jenkins not only had readers rethinking the rapture, but also the potential popularity of Christian novels. The book launched a series that launched a marketing empire that launched a new set of rules for Christian fiction. The series spent a total of 300 weeks--nearly as long as the Tribulation it dramatized--on the New York Times's bestseller list."

Mark D. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Tyndale House, said, "Tim LaHaye's history as a published author is intertwined with the entire history of Tyndale House. His first book, Spirit-Controlled Temperament, was published 50 years ago in 1966. It was the very first book published by Tyndale House apart from the Living series of Bible paraphrases. And Tyndale's highest-selling series of trade titles has been the Left Behind series.... Tim was a wonderful Bible teacher and pastor and an inspiration for our entire industry. We will miss him."


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


Higher Minimum Wages: Booksellers Prepare, Part 3

Shelf Awareness continues a multi-part series on how booksellers are reacting to a range of laws boosting the minimum wage that have been enacted in various states and municipalities around the country. Last week, we examined how booksellers in California and Washington, D.C., are dealing with new state and local wage requirements. Today we talk with booksellers in New York State. More this week on how bookstores in Seattle, Wash., are responding to minimum wage hikes.

This spring, New York adopted a multi-tiered plan to raise the minimum wage to different totals and at different speeds across the state. New York City, Long Island and Westchester County will all eventually reach $15 per hour, while the rest of New York State will cap at $12.50. Large employers (11 or more employees) in New York City will hit $15 per hour on December 31, 2018; all businesses in Long Island and Westchester will reach that level by 2021; and the rest of the state will reach $12.50 per hour by the end of 2020.

Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., has more than 10 employees and is therefore on the "big employer" roadmap for reaching $15 by the end of 2018. Owners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting have mapped payroll raises through 2019 and, in order to stay ahead of New York City's minimum wage, recently increased the store's starting wage from $11 per hour to $12.50 per hour.

"Greenlight is profitable and even with this significant increase in operating costs, we will probably be okay," said Fitting. "But if we were a flat business, or if we have a bad year, who knows how it would affect things or if it would be a cost we could sustain."

Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting at Greenlight

Stockton Bagnulo and Fitting are also investing in a second location, and the store's payroll costs will shortly increase from 16% to 25% of sales. The owners are currently assessing costs across the board to see where any money can be saved, but so far the pair haven't found much. In fact, the best savings they've found is using narrower ribbons for gift-wrapping, which has halved the store's gift-wrapping costs. Stationery and gift items account for about 12% of the store's sales, and Stockton Bagnulo and Fitting are evaluating pricing on non-book items to see if they can improve margins. Any margin that would have been rolled over into discounting will now be repurposed into payroll. But with books being a set cost, Fitting said, the two are in something of a bind. If publishers were to review their terms of sale to see if there is anything they can do to improve booksellers' cost of goods, it would be "very timely," she said.

While she agrees that paying people a livable wage is a necessity, Fitting said that she did not think that the needs or interests of small businesses were adequately considered in minimum wage law formulations. She said she wishes there had been more observation and study as to how the changes impact small businesses, or that small businesses were given tax credits to help ease the blow.

"We believe it's important to pay people a living wage, and we agree that this is the right thing to do," Fitting added. "Whether it is sustainable with the cost of doing business, and the rent climate here in New York City, remains to be seen."

Fitting pointed out that now would be a very good time for booksellers to work on spreading the conversation about New Localism with their local officials, chambers of commerce and other support networks. In places where wage increases are being considered or where they've already been signed into law, officials need to make sure they aren't simultaneously incentivizing online businesses that don't pay living wages or directing traffic away from their local businesses and local tax base, Fitting added.

 

Suzanna and Dick Hermans, Oblong Books and Music

Oblong Books & Music, with two locations, in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., is part of the "Greater New York State" region that will go up to $12.50 per hour. Though the increase in payroll costs will have an effect on the store, co-owner Suzanna Hermans said she felt that the rate of increase for upstate New York is not terrible. Hermans is looking into possibly devoting more space for sidelines and non-book items, and will look at hours to make sure Oblong is not over-staffed. Hermans added that one of the unfortunate consequences of the wage increase is that she will most likely not hire any high schoolers in the immediate future: normally, she likes to have at least one high schooler on staff.

"I think that the speed in which they are going for upstate New York is fair," she said. "Looking at the schedule, it'll work. We'll find a way."

She stressed that the bigger issue, though, is that eventually "we're all going to be at $15." It will happen much sooner in some places than in others, but it is an issue that everyone in the industry will at some point have to face. "If publishers want to make sure we can survive," she continued, they will probably have to make some changes to terms or net pricing. As for removing the prices from books, Hermans said she had conflicted feelings about the idea, but she would be very curious to see if it's feasible.

"Philosophically I think almost all of us are for [raising the minimum wage]," said Hermans. "But we're going to need a lot of help to figure this out."

Christine Onorati, WORD Bookstores

Christine Onorati is the owner of WORD Bookstores in Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn, N.Y. At the moment, the minimum wages in New York City and in New Jersey are not so different: the New Jersey minimum wage rose to $8.38 per hour in 2015 and the New York City minimum wage currently stands at $9 per hour. Beginning next year, however, the New York minimum wage will increase at a very rapid pace. Many WORD employees, including part timers and some full timers, split their time between Jersey City and Brooklyn. In most cases, their salaries are based on location.

"I'm taking it one step at a time," said Onorati. "And, honestly, for both stores, we're focusing more on decreasing our number of part timers and increasing full time. Because I'm not sure how we can afford to raise all our part timers, especially those who work just a few hours handling our off-site events."

Onorati may have to start saying no to more off-site sales opportunities if the prospective labor costs become too high. She said she worries that having to be increasingly careful about the store's labor costs may curb her team's ability to think outside the box in terms of creating unusual opportunities to sell books. As for support from publishers, Onorati doubted whether there is a single solution. But, she said, if margins were improved, labor costs could of course be more easily absorbed.

"I have always taken pride in paying my employees on the higher end of the scale for our industry," said Onorati, adding that when considering the myriad challenges that independent businesses face today, she feared that retail as a career has become less and less viable. "But this increase for part timers will make it even more difficult for me to justify the costs. And I think it will be very hard for many bookstores to absorb these costs, which then will be one more obstacle in the path to profitability that bookstores face every day." --Alex Mutter


Notes

Image of the Day: Team Lonely Planet

Team Lonely Planet from the company's Oakland, Calif., office raised $3,425 for the 30th annual AIDS Walk in San Francisco this year. This was Lonely Planet's 10th year in a row participating as a company. More than 10,000 people participated in the walk, raising more than $2.13 million. Pictured (l.-r.): Natalie Nicolson, Karen Finlay, Syd Wayman.

Bookseller Doc of the Day: Welcome to the Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles "is far from being a secret. It's on every out-of-towner's itinerary, and you'd be hard pressed to go one month without seeing the store on someone's Instagram," LAist noted in showcasing Welcome to the Last Bookstore, a 12-minute documentary directed by Chad Howitt that chronicles the challenging path that led owner Josh Spencer--after he suffered life-altering injuries in an accident--to a place  where he "would come to nurture a passion in book-selling, which ultimately led to the Last Bookstore."

Earlier this year, the film toured the festival circuit, including the Newport Beach Film Festival to the AFI Docs fest. "The Last Bookstore struck me as such a paradox," Howitt said. "It was like seeing a magic trick. I just couldn't understand how it was possible. So I wanted to find out more about it."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gabriel Sherman on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Gabriel Sherman, author of The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country (Random House, $28, 9780812992854).

Tomorrow:
Dr. Oz: Drew and Jonathan Scott, authors of Dream Home: The Property Brothers' Ultimate Guide to Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544715677).

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


Movies: The Mirror Thief; The Goldfinch

Peter Chelsom will direct Martin Seay's novel The Mirror Thief with his writing partner, Tinker Lindsay (Hector & The Search for Happiness), Deadline reported. John Albanis has optioned the novel and will produce.

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RatPac Entertainment and Warner Bros. have hired John Crowley (Brooklyn) to direct The Goldfinch, based on Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winner. Deadline reported that the project "will be produced by Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force, along with RatPac's Brett Ratner, with James Packer executive producer. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy scribe Peter Straughan wrote the script."



Books & Authors

Awards: Eisner Comic; Daily Mail/PRH First Novel

The winners of the 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, presented during Comic Con in San Diego, can be seen here.

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Amy Lloyd won the inaugural Daily Mail & Penguin Random House First Novel Competition for her manuscript Red River, the Bookseller reported. As winner, Lloyd receives a £20,000 (about $26,255) advance as part of a publishing deal with PRH imprint Century, as well as the services of literary agent Luigi Bonomi.

Selina Walker, one of the judges and publisher of Century and Arrow at PRH, said: "The response to the competition and the number of entries was unprecedented, so whittling them down to just six was tough. But we did it, and our six shortlisted entries were of a really high standard and so varied in content that it's been a pleasure and a privilege to read and evaluate them. We are hugely pleased with our winning entry and look forward to publishing it in 2017--but all of our shortlisted authors have great narrative voices, an original way of looking at the world around them, and the ability to tell spellbinding stories. I congratulate them all and wish them the very best of luck with their novels."


Book Review

Review: The Terror Years

The Terror Years: From Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State by Lawrence Wright (Knopf, $28.95 hardcover, 384p., 9780385352055, August 23, 2016)

Few journalists are as conversant with the frightening post-9/11 world than the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Looming Tower, an account of the events leading up to that tragic day. In The Terror Years, a collection of 11 pieces from the magazine, Wright carries the story forward, displaying equally incisive investigative skills and comprehensive reportage to describe the West's fight against terrorism, the intractable conflict in the Middle East and the rise of al-Qaeda's even more ruthless progeny, ISIS.

Wright makes no secret of his disdain for the "long series of failures" that have characterized the United States' participation in the Middle East since 9/11. He explores both sides of the conflict in extended profiles of those involved. This includes Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian physician who took over leadership of al-Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden, as well as John P. O'Neill, the one-time head of the FBI counterterrorism section and bin Laden's tireless pursuer, who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, less than three weeks after taking over as the building's chief of security.

The collection's most poignant story is "Five Hostages," recounting the desperate, private efforts led by David Bradley, publisher of the Atlantic, to save Kayla Mueller and four other kidnapped journalists and activists. The beheadings of Mueller and three other hostages by ISIS in 2014 and 2015 first exposed most of the world to the depravity of that organization, "a proto-state that uses terror not just to conquer but to rule." But as Wright reveals in "The Rebellion Within," some former terrorists in Egypt, including one who provided the original intellectual underpinning for al-Qaeda's activities, have begun to question the wisdom of these barbaric tactics and the use of violence in general to achieve the movement's goals.

Because of the breadth and complexity of its subject matter, The Terror Years would have benefited from at least a brief chronology or the simple expedient of dating Wright's pieces. In some instances he does add helpful postscripts, as when he follows the essay "Captives"--an account of the 2006 kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and of Israel's Gaza military operation in 2008--with a mention of Shalit's exchange for 1,027 prisoners in 2011, as well as yet another clash between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Lawrence Wright's sobering journalism isn't likely to make his readers optimistic about a quick and painless victory in what he calls the "expensive and clumsy enterprise" that is fighting terrorism. But anyone who reflects on these thorough, thoughtful pieces will be better equipped to evaluate the prescriptions for waging that fight offered by those vying to lead it. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: New Yorker reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright offers a well-informed perspective on the fight against terrorism and the conflict in the Middle East.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Unexpected Reality by Kaylee Ryan
2. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
3. 21 Shades of Night by Various
4. Say You'll Stay by Corinne Michaels
5. Crystal Crowned (Air Awakens Series Book 5) by Elise Kova
6. Deep Redemption (Hades Hangmen Book 4) by Tillie Cole
7. The Billionaire's Beautiful Mistake by Elizabeth Lennox
8. The Contract by Melanie Moreland
9. Keep (Seaside Pictures Book 2) by Rachel Van Dyken
10. Romanced by a SEAL (Hot SEALs Volume 9) by Cat Johnson

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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