Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 31, 2017


HarperCollins: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Johns Hopkins University Ptess: Playboys and Mayfair Men by Angus McLaren / A Year of Writing Dangerously by Keith Gandal

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

Quotation of the Day

P&P's Graham: 'Widen Exceedingly Narrow Profit Margins'

"First, to do more to help indies widen exceedingly narrow profit margins, whether by improving terms through ongoing discussions with individual publishers, developing new sources of financing, exploring cost-cutting options, sharing best practices among stores, or other measures. Second, further improve IndieCommerce and better educate stores about how to use online services. Third, promote diversity throughout the bookstore business. And fourth, encourage all of us in ABA to more intensively scan and discuss future trends in the book industry."

--Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., who joined the ABA Board earlier this year, discussing his key goals in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


News

Hudson Group Opens 'Indie-Inspired' Concept Bookstore

Hudson Group, which operates a host of travel retail stores including Hudson News and Hudson Booksellers, has opened its second Ink by Hudson bookstore, in Tucson International Airport in Tucson, Ariz. Ink by Hudson, which launched last year at Dallas Love Field International Airport in Dallas, Tex., features a "contemporary style and indie-inspired design and ethos," with a book inventory made up of bestsellers, small press titles, classics, prizewinners and books by local authors or with a local focus. The stores also carry toys, stationery, clothing, artwork and assorted travel items. The Tucson International store is 1,000 square feet and features a "Tucson-inspired" design that includes weathered wooden beams and imagery of the Southwest. The Tucson Festival of Books, the third-largest book festival in the U.S., is also incorporated in the design.

The creation of Ink by Hudson stores was spurred on in part by both the "print revival" and leveling-off of e-book sales over the past few years as well as the resurgence of independent bookstores, Hudson said. Other Ink by Hudson stores are slated to open later in 2017 and beyond.

"Ink by Hudson represents the latest evolution of the Hudson Group's flagship bookselling brand, Hudson Booksellers, which continues to indicate strong customer demand for books and bookstores in the airport environment for over 25-plus years," the company said.

Hudson Group operates more than 950 stores in 83 airports, train stations and other transportation hubs in the U.S. and Canada. The group is a subsidiary of Dufry AG, the travel retailer with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.


Zondervan: To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation) by Tamera Alexander


MyBookBox Owners Plan Texas Bookstore

Sisters Jessica Tresp and Chelsea Green, the owners of MyBookBox, an online book subscription service, and Green's husband, Colin Green, plan to open Bibliobar, a bricks-and-mortar bookstore and bar, in late spring 2018 in the North Dallas, Tex., area. The trio aim to stock some 5,000 books--both adult and children's trade fiction and nonfiction--as well as gift items. The store will have a bar that will offer wine, local craft beer, locally roasted coffee and light fare.

Bibliobar will host author readings, signings and food pairing events, along with weekly story times for children. The store also plans to host several book clubs for all ages as well as partner with local organizations to hold community events focusing on local activism and learning about different cultures around the world and at home.

Bibliobar owners Jessica Tresp, Colin Green and Chelsea Green

"Our family has always loved to read and discuss our latest discoveries together, and we are excited to be opening a bookstore, a place where we can share that love with other families around the Dallas-Fort Worth area," the owners said. "We want our store to be a place for families to gather and experience the joy of a new book."

Chelsea Green has lived four years in New York City, working for HarperCollins and "learning all she can about publishing and building relationships across the industry." Earlier, she was a bookseller for seven years, in Garland and College Station, Tex. Her husband--and now business partner--Colin Green, was a bookseller for six years. Jessica Tresp has been an event planner and bartender in the Dallas area since graduating from Texas A&M University.

MyBookBox is a monthly subscription service that includes two books from customers' selected genres. The chosen books are new releases; usually the children's books are hardcovers and adult books are paperbacks. The books are "amazing reads from talented authors," and come with a "special gift" and exclusive content for the books.


Obituary Note: Lorraine Zimmerman

Ray Bradbury with Lorraine Zimmerman at Fahrenheit 451 Books in 1982.

Lorraine Zimmerman, owner and co-owner of three California bookstores, died on July 12, Laguna Beach Indy reported. She was 76.

In 1976, Zimmerman bought the legendary Fahrenheit 451 Books in Laguna Beach, which she sold in 1988. After moving to Northern California, in 1995, she opened Collected Thoughts Bookshop in Berkeley. After selling the store in 2004, she became a partner in Berkeley's University Press Books.

In 1989, after selling Fahrenheit 451, she told American Bookseller magazine: "Discussing books with customers and local writers; sponsoring literary events; having a finger on the pulse of current American thought through the knowledge of forthcoming books and my customers' requests; having the ability to disseminate hard-to-find information--these were the daily rewards of bookselling."

University Press Books partner Sorayya Carr noted: "Lorraine brought in literature from trade presses and children's books... and we continue to devote one window display, fondly known as 'Lorraine's window,' to these kinds of books."


Sidelines Snapshot: Pins, Putty, Socks and More

With summer kicking into high gear, Shelf Awareness has asked independent bookstores from around the country about their most popular sidelines:

"Socks continue to be one of our strongest sellers--it doesn't seem like we can have a sock that does poorly," reported Alison Keyes, head gifts and stationery buyer for Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif. Though the store's "bread and butter" sidelines continue to be tote bags, scarves, candles, cards and journals, Keyes has seen socks and enamel pins become extremely popular recently, with the latter in particular taking off in the last six months. Other sidelines that have continued to do well include Pusheen plush stuffed toys, infographic posters made by Pop Chart Lab and insulated water bottles from S'well and Corkcicle.

Keyes said she believes socks continue to be so popular because there is something for everyone, from knee-high socks for teenagers to dress socks for adults, and a price point of around $10 makes them a good gift addition to go along with a card or a book. At present, Keyes has three small sock sections, each featuring a different vendor, around the store. And while enamel pins began to rise in popularity last year, within the last six months many different vendors who "didn't get into them before" are now offering enamel pins.

"Socks continue to surprise me," Keyes added. "When I thought it was going to phase off, we brought in a second line. There's breadth in that market and room in that market. I think for enamel pins we're seeing the same thing."

At Innisfree Bookshop in Meredith, N.H., manager Beverly Newton had never carried Popsockets phone grips or fidget spinners before this summer. Initially reluctant to carry fidget spinners due to their apparent saturation of the market and the almost-overwhelming number of vendors selling them, Newton eventually placed a small opening order. She was pleasantly surprised to find that they sold well and have continued to do so after subsequent reorders. For Popsockets, Newton also tested the waters with a small opening order, and those have continued to move.

"They're standard in the field, but not standard for us," Newton said of Popsockets and fidget spinners. "One concern about picking up a product like that is they're everywhere."

Along with a variety of greeting cards from 35-40 vendors, some of Innisfree Bookshop's perennial sidelines include jigsaw puzzles, Lego and Laser Peg construction sets, and plush toys of moose, bear and loons, animals iconic to that region of New Hampshire. Many of the store's bestselling jigsaw puzzles come from White Mountain Puzzles, a puzzle company in New Hampshire, and feature scenes and images from the region.

"We're never out of moose, bear and loon year-round, not just in summer," remarked Newton. She added that White Mountain Puzzles were particularly popular with summer visitors and tourists. "A lot of what they do is what you'd look out the window and see."

Carmichael's Bookstore has three locations in Louisville, Ky.: the original store on Bardstown Road, a second store on Frankfort Avenue, and a Carmichael's Kids children's store that opened in 2014. According to manager and buyer Kelly Estep, the two general-interest stores carry a smaller selection of book-related sidelines while the children's branch offers significantly more nonbook items. At the former two stores, enamel pins have been a recent addition that have done very well, while at the children's store, Estep has been virtually unable to keep Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty in stock over the last six months.

"Part of that was a little bit of a supply problem on their end," said Estep, "but it's experienced some incredible growth in the past year. I can't believe how much of that we sell."

Other recent successes at Carmichael's Kids have been Tenzi, a simple, fast dice game that was a hit with the store's staff, and Plus-Plus puzzle sets. Things like magic trick sets and spy glasses are perennially popular there, as are Out of Print socks, which have yet to make it to the other Carmichael's stores. Out of Print onesies have been such a hit that Estep is going to bring in a wider variety of onesies. At the two adult stores, meanwhile, cards are a staple of the business, as are Le Pen pens, Blackwing pencils, Paperblanks journals and Pomegranate jigsaw puzzles.

Estep added that for a long time the store's only sidelines were cards and journals, but in the last five years or so Carmichael's began experimenting with a wider variety of non-book items. Though the focus is still squarely on books, the stores have managed to become destinations for "offbeat, interesting gifts." --Alex Mutter



Notes

Image of the Day: YA Road Trip

At Books, Inc. in San Francisco last week, Mythbuster Adam Savage gets a signed copy of Kayla Cagan's YA debut, Piper Perish. Cagan was one of four Los Angeles YA authors--along with Maureen Goo (I Believe in a Thing Called Love); Zan Romanoff (Grace and the Fever); and Lilliam Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez)--who made a road trip for the store's "Not Your Mother's Book Club."


'Best Comic Book Stores in the U.S.'

To celebrate last week's Comic-Con in San Diego, Travel + Leisure magazine showcased "the best comic book stores in the U.S.," noting that the legendary convention "only comes once a year, but these book stores are here for your comic needs year round." To determine the rankings, Yelp "looked at both the quantity and quality of reviews for comics businesses. The results are limited to three businesses per state to ensure geographic diversity. So whether or not you're able to make it to San Diego this year, these are the stores where you can find everything you want, any time of year."


Pinching Books: U.K. Booksellers Tell All

Although "books are not generally a go-to item for thieves seeking high-value spoils," the Guardian reported that booksellers around the U.K. said "thieving is still a problem."

Theft is "part and parcel of what it is to be a bookseller--a certain percentage of books will wander off, and over time you know what they'll be," said Waterstones CEO James Daunt, who noted in particular a penchant for Kierkegaard, perhaps due to the character Renton in Irvine Welsh's novel Trainspotting. "You slightly wonder when it's always books by the likes of Sartre and Kierkegaard--there must be an awful lot of people working their minds out so much that they don't have any money. Whenever I'd go past Kierkegaard, I'd make sure they and Wittgenstein were all there, but often the odd one or two would be gone and it always made me smile."

Noting that thieves have an "ongoing love" for Tolkien--the shop's local author--as well as other fantasy staples, David Kelly of Blackwell's in Oxford said, "Books on GCSE and A-level reading lists are also always popular--we had a stage of keeping Cormac McCarthy's The Road behind the till to limit theft. One spring saw 15 taken from our shelves."

At the London Review Bookshop, John Clegg noted that philosophers are popular: "Our most-stolen authors, in order, are Baudrillard, Freud, Nietzsche, Graham Greene, Lacan, Camus, and whoever puts together the Wisden Almanack. The appetite for Greene (which seems to have died down a little now) was particularly surprising, but I suppose they identify with Pinkie."

Daunt observed that the "professional thief, rather than the shoplifter, will go for higher-value items."

The Guardian also noted that several stores reported "customers are more likely to leave behind a little extra for those who follow in their footsteps. Warwick Books says that it has had people hiding £5 notes in books, while Taylor, who now works at Chepstow Books and Gifts, says he has had a customer buy a book token and leave it behind in his favourite book "so that whoever bought it would have a bonus book to read.... Thankfully most readers are very honest and are keen for bookshops to stay in business."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Senator Al Franken on Colbert's Late Show

Today:
Fresh Air: Tom Perotta, author of Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel (Scribner, $26, 9781501144028).

Last Call with Carson Daly repeat: Bassem Youssef, author of Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062446893).

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Tyler Gage, author of Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life (Atria, $25, 9781501156021).

Daily Show: Al Gore, author of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Rodale, $25.99, 9781635651089). He will also appear on CNN's Town Hall.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Senator Al Franken, author of Al Franken, Giant of the Senate (Twelve, $28, 9781455540419).


TV: Dietland

AMC has made "a straight-to-series order" for Dietland, based on Sarai Walker's 2015 novel, Deadline reported. The 10-episode series, a co-production of AMC Studios and Skydance Television, will premiere in 2018. The network acquired Dietland from Marti Noxon (UnReal) and Skydance TV last October, "putting it on a straight-to-series track under its model that involves the opening of a writers room and spending several months exploring a potential series before a greenlight." Noxon, who served as a consulting producer on AMC's hit series Mad Men, is executive producer, writer and showrunner.

"Day in and day out, we work to refine our search for unique voices and never-before-seen worlds. It is in that context that we proudly bring Marti Noxon back to AMC for the first time since her work on Mad Men," said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. He added that Dietland, "populated by unforgettable characters and unique storytelling approaches, will focus a wickedly entertaining lens on issues as diverse and divisive as dieting, dating, beauty and the many societal expectations that continue to dominate our culture and consciousness. We are so proud to be working with Marti, her team and Skydance on this topical, funny, relevant and poignant story." 


Books & Authors

Awards: Diagram Oddest Book Title

The Commuter Pig Keeper: A Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Pigs When Time Is Your Most Precious Commodity by Michaela Giles "hogged the limelight, garnering 40% of the public vote" to win the Bookseller's 39th annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. The porcine publication fought off "a late surge from Renniks Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors: The Premier Guide for Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors, which earned 32.7% of votes," the Bookseller noted. The winner receives the traditional "passable bottle of claret."

Tom Tivnan, Diagram Prize co-ordinator and features editor at the Bookseller, said: "Is it any wonder that Michaela Giles's title sowed the seeds of love amongst the Diagram electorate? Pigs have long been favorites of readers as the main characters in a broad section of works from E.B. White's Charlotte's Web to George Orwell's Animal Farm to Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal.... And it is a triumph that will surely resonate with celebrity pig lovers such as George Clooney and David Cameron."


Book Review

Review: An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock (Tor, $25.99 hardcover, 416p., 9780765389596, August 29, 2017)

In a vividly imagined debut, Curtis Craddock introduces the world of the Risen Kingdoms, where airships soar among floating island nations, sorcerers play deadly politics and a young princess and her gallant bodyguard must stand together for the sake of the future.

In l'Empire Céleste, a society ruled by powerful sorcerers, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs's two distinguishing characteristics, in her father's opinion, are her lack of magic and her malformed hand. Unlike the rest of her family, Isabelle has no "bloodshadow," a crimson shadow that feeds on human life and marks its owner as a Sanguinaire sorcerer. Only through the intercession of the king's musketeer, Jean-Claude, an act that cost him his reputation, did Isabelle escape smothering at birth. Her cruel father stopped forcing her powers to manifest when she was unable to prevent him using his bloodshadow to destroy the mind of Marie--Isabelle's onetime best friend, now a mindless servant.

As a young lady, Isabelle finds joy in mathematics and the physical science of her world, especially the aether that gives islands and ships their lift. She publishes scientific papers under the male pseudonym Martin DuJournal. No one takes any notice of her except Jean-Claude, who pretends to be a drunken fool for the purposes of gathering information and remains her devoted protector and father figure. An international spotlight, however, suddenly focuses tightly on Isabelle when Artifex Kantelvar--a part-human, part-clockwork religious representative--asks her to marry Principe Julio, a prince of Aragoth, the neighboring kingdom where Glasswalker sorcerers can step in and out of mirrors to travel from place to place.

Isabelle accepts the proposal and immediately becomes entangled in a dangerous netting of intrigue. Someone murdered the prince's previous fiancée, and an assassination attempt on Isabelle en route to Aragoth proves a plot is afoot. Clever Isabelle and steadfast, albeit aging, Jean-Claude must get to the bottom of the mystery to prevent a war between Aragoth's factions.

Sprawling and immersive, Craddock's Risen Kingdoms world is a gorgeous blend of steampunk and sorcery that draws its flavor from 17th-century French and Spanish history. Practical, brainy and strong-willed, Isabelle is a refreshing heroine, and Jean-Claude makes for a lovable counterpart with his dogged bravery and sardonic wit. With a dramatis personae roll as long as a musket barrel and a complex political landscape, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors could easily serve as the first of a long and fascinating series. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: In a world where nations float in the sky, a spirited princess and the musketeer who guards her must solve a mystery to avert a war.


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