Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grove Press: Brother Alive by Zain Khalid

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Union Square & Co.: A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga) by Melissa Blair

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo


Indigo May Expand Abroad; Revamping Large Stores

In two years, Indigo Books & Music may expand outside Canada, and the retailer is currently reconfiguring many of its large-format stores to have small shops focused on "in-house brands like Indigo Kids, Indigo Tech and Indigo Home," CBC reported. The comments were made by CEO Heather Reisman at Indigo's annual meeting on Tuesday.

Concerning international expansion, Reisman did not say where Indigo might open. As for the revamped stores, she said, "The new physical format store will feel like you can meander through a series of shops, each one anchored by books." Indigo said it will begin selling Apple products such as iPads and Apple TV in 40 stores next year.

Although the company has been pleased about sales of high-margin non-book products, including gifts, toys and lifestyle items, Reisman said, "Books will remain at the heart and soul of this company, and as long as there are people on the planet who want to buy physical books, we are deeply committed to physical books, both in store and online."

Harper: We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

La Casa Azul Opening Up Pop-Up Shop in La Marqueta

La Casa Azul Bookstore, which opened in East Harlem in New York City last May, will operate a Summer Pop Up Shop at La Marqueta, an historic marketplace and East Harlem landmark.

The pop-up shop will open on July 6, with a celebration featuring live music and cupcake decorating classes, and remain through August 17. The 200-square-foot stall will be open from Tuesday to Sunday, and specialize in books and programming for children. A storytime session is scheduled for Saturday mornings, and on Fridays the shop will host art-making classes.

Aurora Anaya-Cerda, owner of La Casa Azul, said she shops frequently at La Marqueta for coffee, artisanal breads and other goods, and submitted an application to the city after becoming familiar with the market and its vendors. The application was officially accepted this week.

Anaya-Cerda estimates that the pop-up shop will carry some 300 books, roughly half bilingual children's books and the other half pertaining to topics like farmer's markets, gardening and urban life. La Marqueta also features two bakeries, a small bodega, a coffee shop and a farmer's market stand. --Alex Mutter

Tundra Books: The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour (The Adventures of Miss Petitfour) by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block

Indies Helping Calgary Flood Victims

Several independent bookstores are offering help to those affected by flooding last week in Calgary, Alberta, Quill and Quire reported.

Calgary's own Pages Kensington, which was not flooded, has offered to replace ruined books at cost and has set up accounts for people whose books have been damaged to which donations can be made.

Galiano Island Books, Galiano Island, B.C., and Ella Minnow Children's Bookstore, Toronto, Ont., are splitting the proceeds of their sales this Saturday with Owl's Nest Bookstore in Calgary, whose business has suffered because of the flooding. In turn, Owl's Nest plans to help Pixie Hollow Books in High River, which lost its entire inventory in the flood.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 05.16.22

B&N: 'Book Inventory Not Down Substantially'

Barnes & Noble plans to open five stores and close 15-20 in the current fiscal year; in the past year, B&N opened two stores and closed 18. The company also said that despite speculation to the contrary, it hasn't reduced book title inventory "substantially" in the past two to three years.

This and other information was given by B&N in a conference call with stock analysts after its quarterly and fiscal year results were announced on Tuesday (transcript courtesy of

Concerning inventory, Mitchell S. Klipper, CEO of B&N Retail, added, "We're always adjusting the titles up and down as we see fit based upon the sales trend. We may have taken out the depth of some of the titles but not the individual titles, so I don't know where that is coming from. As we've expanded into some of these other areas like Nook and toys, we have rearranged the stores to accommodate the titles, so probably down 1%, 2%, 3% over the last couple of years potentially. Some stores have actually gone up. As far the market share, it stayed about the same over the last couple of years."

The Wall Street Journal explored the issue today, quoting publishers and others speculating that book inventory is down, one reason for reduced sales at the retailer. But others said that improved merchandising had helped sales. B&N noted that its prediction of bookstore sales to decline in the high single digits this year is predicated in part on the lack of sales of Fifty Shades of Grey titles, which accounted for 4%-5% of sales last year. In addition, a drop in sales of Nook devices and more people reading e-books have been factors, B&N indicated.

B&N president and CEO William J. Lynch noted that the core of the company's digital business lies with owners of Nook dedicated e-reading devices, which it will continue to manufacture. "The majority of the content sales come from non-tablets, from the black-and-white e-readers," he said. "It's been our primary customer acquisition vehicle for content. There's some selection bias too in that, in that those people who buy single-purpose e-readers are the ones who are the biggest readers."

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

A Whale of a Tale Finds New Port

Pannell-winner A Whale of a Tale Children's Bookshoppe, Irvine, Calif., has moved to a new location "only five miles" from its previous location and will open July 10, owner Alexandra Uhl announced. The new address is 15 Hubble, Suite 110, Irvine, Calif. 92618. The phone number remains 949-854-8288.

Uhl had said last month that she intended to move and will operate with reduced hours but will continue to host popular school and library events.

Vintage: Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

Pew Report: 'Digital Natives' Still Print-Bound

Even though Americans aged 16-29 are heavy technology users, they are still more likely than their older counterparts to use and appreciate libraries as physical spaces, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, which found that a majority of those polled in the under-30 category said it is "very important" for libraries to have librarians and books for borrowing, and relatively few thought libraries should automate most services or move them online.

"Younger Americans' reading habits and library use are still anchored by the printed page," said Kathryn Zickuhr, research analyst at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and a co-author of the report. "Some of this stems from the demands of school or work, yet some likely lies in their current personal preferences. And this group's priorities and expectations for libraries likewise reflect a mix of traditional and technological services."

Other notable results from the survey:

  • 75% of younger Americans have read a printed book during the past year, compared to 64% of older adults.
  • 85% of 16- and 17-year-olds read at least one print book in the past year, making them significantly more likely to have read a book in this format than any other age group.
  • 60% of younger patrons say they go to the library to sit and read, study or watch or listen to media, compared to 45% of library visitors 30 and older.

Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley


Image of the Day: Sunday Afternoon at the Chapel

photo: Adrian Mendoza

Last Sunday, Books, Inc., which has a dozen stores in the Bay Area, held its first Sunday Afternoon at the Chapel event. The program starred (r.) Carl Hiaasen, whose new book is Bad Monkey (Knopf), in conversation with author Christopher Moore. The Chapel, a new music/bar/restaurant venue in San Francisco that's owned by the landlord of Books Inc.'s Alameda location, created a Bad Monkey cocktail for the event.

Clinton Book Shop: Happy 10th, Harvey!

Tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, N.J., is throwing a "happy bookselling birthday" party for Harvey Finkel, who bought the store 10 years ago. The party will feature "fun, food, discounts, trivia & more."

The store wrote: "It has been an amazing decade of ups and downs with so many changes happening in the book industry; however, even in the darkest days, Harvey's passion held and the doors remained open. We hope that you will have the opportunity to stop in and show your appreciation on this very special day."

Cleveland Public Library's 'Reading Nest'

The Reading Nest, a new site-specific installation by artist Mark Reigelman, is currently on display outside the Cleveland Public Library. Colossal reported that Reigelman "obtained 10,000 reclaimed boards from various Cleveland industrial and manufacturing sites and worked with a team of people over 10 days to construct the nest which was completed earlier this month."

"For centuries objects in nature have been associated with knowledge and wisdom. Trees of enlightenment and scholarly owls have been particularly prominent in this history of mythological objects of knowledge," Reigelman noted on his website. "The Reading Nest is a visual intermediary between forest and fowl. It symbolizes growth, community and knowledge while continuing to embody mythical roots."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Americanah (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307271082).


Tomorrow on CNN's Your Money: Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781451646078).

This Weekend on Book TV: Ben Mezrich

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, June 29
1:15 p.m. Christopher Wolf, author of Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9780230342170), at Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.    

4:15 p.m. Luis Fleischman, author of Latin America in the Post-Chávez Era: The Security Threat to the United States (Potomac Books, $29.95, 9781612346014). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:15 a.m.)

9 p.m. Alfredo Corchado, author of Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness (Penguin, $27.95, 9781594204395).

10 p.m. After Words. Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War interviews Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Savior Generals: How Five Commanders Saved Wars that Were Lost--From Ancient Greece to Iraq (Bloomsbury Press, $28, 9781608191635). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. & 3 a.m.)  

11 p.m. Allen Guelzo, author of Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Knopf, $35, 9780307594082).

Sunday, June 30
2 p.m. Ray Monk, author of Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center (Random House, 9780385504072).

4:45 p.m. Jessica Wapner, author of The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level (The Experiment, $25.95, 9781615190676), at Powell's City of Books, Portland, Ore.        

6 p.m. Book TV in London presents Simon Jenkins, author of A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation (PublicAffairs, $16.99, 9781610392310). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Book TV in London presents Peter Ackroyd, author of Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I (Thomas Dunne Books, $30, 9781250003621, October). (Re-airs Monday at 2:30 a.m.)

7 p.m. Anita Raghavan, author of The Billionaire's Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund (Business Plus, $29, 9781455504022).

10 p.m. Ben Mezrich, author of Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire--and How It All Came Crashing Down... (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062240095).

10:45 p.m. Curtis White, author of The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers (Melville House, $23.95, 9781612192000).

Books & Authors

Awards: Maxwell Perkins Winner; PEN/Ackerley Shortlist

Robin Desser, v-p, editorial director of Alfred A. Knopf, has won the Center for Fiction's 2013 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction. The award will be presented at the Center's Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner in New York City on December 11.

Center for Fiction executive director Noreen Tomassi said: "Robin Desser works with many of the finest authors writing today and embodies the qualities of a Perkins Award recipient--she is an inspired editor, a great champion of the art of fiction, and an admired colleague among her peers in the world of publishing."


Finalists have been named for the PEN/Ackerley Prize for Memoir, which is presented annually to a "literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the U.K. in the previous year." A winner will be announced July 17. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Wolf Pit by Will Cohu
Aftermath by Rachel Cusk
Bageye at the Wheel by Colin Grant
Leaving Alexandria by Richard Holloway

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 2:

Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451627695) is the posthumous memoir of the legendary actress.

Unbreakable: My Story, My Way by Jenni Rivera (Atria, $25, 9781476746074) is the posthumous memoir of the Mexican-American singer.

Paris Twilight by Russ Rymer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780618113736) follows a cardiac anesthesiologist in 1990s Paris.

World of Warcraft: Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde by Michael A. Stackpole (Gallery, $26, 9781416550679).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Norwegian by Night: A Novel by Derek Miller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780547934877). "Sheldon Horowitz, an 80-year-old Korean War veteran, has a touch of dementia and goes to live with his daughter and son-in-law in Norway, where he becomes further disoriented. One day, what sounds like violence breaks out in the upstairs apartment and a young boy's life appears to be at risk. Sheldon becomes the boy's protector/abductor, fleeing in disguise through the countryside as exiled Serbian war criminals and Norwegian cops give pursuit and the old man's Marine sniper skills come back to him. A wild, compelling, politically complex, and sometimes funny tale that is a very rich read, this is highly recommended." --Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

Flat Water Tuesday: A Novel by Ron Irwin (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250030030). "Rob, Connor, John, and Chris are the 'God Four' crew of the famed varsity boat at the Fenton Prep School. These four, along with their coxswain, Ruth, form a tight group with one common goal--to defeat their strongest rival, the Warwick School. This beautifully written novel explores the camaraderie, competition, joy, sorrow, and unbelievable guilt that follow this crew team from their youth to adulthood. Irwin skillfully weaves the past with the present in this story of pain and forgiveness that brings the reader to a heart-wrenching conclusion. A compelling read with a poignant message." --Beverly Bartczak, The Fine Print, Lakeside, Ohio

Taipei: A Novel by Tao Lin (Vintage, $14.95, 9780307950178). "Taipei follows Paul, a young writer living in New York, over a period of several months as he wanders and stumbles his way through a world of drugs, anxiety, ennui, and desperation. Lin chronicles these experiences in a style that retains his recognizable dryness, but with an intense, thoughtful dedication to the articulation of Paul's thoughts and feelings. Taipei achieves a complexity only hinted at in Lin's previous work and finds an ideal balance between irony and sincerity. Funny and deeply intelligent, this new work by a 'deadpan literary trickster' is also genuinely moving." --Ami Tian, Ravenna Third Place Books, Seattle, Wash.

For Teen Readers
Transparent by Natalie Whipple (HarperTeen, $9.99, 9780062120168). "In a world where super powers are commonplace, Fiona is the only invisible girl on the planet. Her father, a powerful crime lord in Las Vegas, has used her powers for his own gain her entire life. When Fiona and her mother go into hiding, Fiona gets her first taste of normal life and realizes she can never go back. This gripping debut, which lends itself well to book clubs, will delight any young adult fan with its charming characters. Whipple tackles difficult subjects with a superpower twist." --Debbie Barr, 4 Kids Books, Zionsville, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Rathbones

The Rathbones by Janice Clark (Doubleday, $26.95 hardcover, 9780385536936, August 6, 2013)

"The bones tell their story," writes Janice Clark--the story of The Rathbones. The bones, sea, whales, crows, a family, a little girl, a missing brother: these are all part and parcel of Clark's amazing, fabulously entertaining debut novel, set in Naiwayonk, Conn., in 1859 and narrated in large part by the "small and dark" 15-year-old Mercy Rathbone. It's the tale of her cold Mama, Verity; her father, Benadam, gone these 10 years at sea whaling; her uncle Mordecai--and the bones of which most everything in Mama's room are made, as well as the "boat of bone" she's been shaping for years.

The Rathbones live in a huge mansion, a fantastical edifice like something out of Lemony Snicket, "built like a seaworthy ship," in sight of the sea, room after room after room. Mordecai lives in the attic, old seaweed hanging down from the inside of the roof, the upside-down hull of a brig. Then there are Mercy's pet crows, who can lift her up by her braids, as they do one night to save her from the "man in blue" who's sleeping with her mother. The next day, Mercy and Mordecai set sail in a small skiff for Mouse Island and their odyssey on the "route of the spermaceti" begins. Waves and rocks break up their boat; they are saved by the women of the island, some of the 17 wives of Moses Rathbone, whaler extraordinaire.

Moses... if he went away from the sea, "it pulled him back." He would swim with whales, listen to their beating hearts, their songs. He could see and identify a whale from miles away. He would leap onto a whale's back, like Captain Ahab, ride him, eye to eye, become one with him, then strike deep. His crew were Rathbones, on and on, boys and men--Harpooner, Boatheader, First Oar--borne by the women, year after year. But where were the girls? What were those "curls of dark hair" tossed into the sea? And what is significant about that strange song Mercy keeps hearing, the one about the "Mother who murdered me?"

Little by little, Mercy completes her family tree and her story, until in the end, "that which remained when all else had been hacked away and buried away, [was] reduced to irreducible bone, quiet and still." --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: Taste the sea's salt spray and hear the crows' caw in this dreamlike, lushly gothic debut novel, a New England kin to Absalom, Absalom.

Deeper Understanding

The Nitty Gritty: E-Reading Habits Two Years On

Since Jenn Northington's last "Nitty Gritty" survey of e-reading and e-book buying habits, the industry has seen Kobo partner with indie booksellers, the settlement of the Justice Department's e-book agency model lawsuit and the release of an increasingly large array of more powerful tablets and e-readers.

This year's survey, conducted in January via Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, asked readers seven questions:

  • Where do you get your e-books?
  • What device or devices do you use to read your e-books?
  • What dedicated e-reader or e-readers do you own?
  • What is your favorite thing about e-books and e-reading?
  • What is your least favorite thing about e-books and e-reading?
  • In your own words, what is DRM?
  • Do you know what bundling is, and if so, do you want it?

Numbers for Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble's Nook Book Store and Apple's iBooks service remained largely the same since last year, although iBooks has shown a small drop. The number of readers using Overdrive and library services has risen steadily since 2011, as has the number of those who resort to piracy. The relative cost of e-books, and Digital Rights Management strategies perceived as punitive and stringent, may be influencing factors for both. This year, e-books purchased from Google Play and e-books purchased from Google's indie partnership were combined into a single category, and show a marked decline since their peak in April 2011. Kobo, meanwhile, has seen a major jump in the last year, which coincides with the beginning of its partnership with the American Booksellers Association.

Dedicated e-readers remained the most commonly used devices. iPads have continued to rise, perhaps boosted in part by the release of the iPad mini, which is comparable in size to standard e-readers. The growth of smartphones has continued, and remained stronger than both the iPad and computer. Phablets--phones that bridge the gap in size between conventional smartphones and small tablets--may contribute to this surprisingly strong growth. Computers saw a marginal increase since last year, but have overall remained fairly stationary. Although the lowest of the four categories, it continues to be surprising that many responders read e-books on computers at all.

Although the Kindle remains the most common e-reader, it has dropped as the market continues to diversify. The Nook, meanwhile, has risen steadily since the first survey, despite industry reports of declining sales during 2012. After a dramatic drop from 2011 to 2012, the Sony Reader stabilized. The "other" category (which was weeded of answers that were not technically dedicated e-readers) has risen steadily; Kobo now accounts for 8% of that category, up from 6% the year before.

Northington once again wanted to know readers' favorite, and least favorite, things about e-reading. Readers' favorite things about e-reading were:

  • Portability, according to 447 out of 756 responses
  • Immediacy of digital formats, with 133 responses
  • The "wonders of technology" (backlit text, adjustable font sizes, searchable text, etc.), with 71 responses
  • Convenience, 51 answers.

Rounding out the list of was ease of access to otherwise hard-to-find books (19 answers); the relatively low price of e-books compared to print editions (16); the privacy of others not being able to see what you're reading (7); ease of discovering new books (5); and the relatively low environmental impact of e-books (2).

Readers' least favorite things about e-reading were:

  • The "perils of technology" (eye strain from looking at a screen for extended periods of time, having to charge batteries frequently, etc.), with 148 responses
  • The lack of a physical book, 133 answers
  • Formatting issues, such as poor page layout and bland design, 104 answers
  • Cumbersome functionality, 89 responses

Following those answers were DRM (57 answers); inability to share or lend e-books (46); region restrictions and other access issues (32); the increasing price of e-books (31); an inability to display e-books in a physical space (28); harder to concentrate while reading digitally (12); the guilt of having to buy from Amazon and other large retailers instead of  indies (9); no book covers (8); and the difficulty of organizing files and folders (7). Still, 19 responders said that there was nothing that they did not enjoy about e-reading.

Last, Northington asked readers what bundling is and if they wanted it, leaving the term deliberately vague. For those who may need a refresher, content bundling refers to paying  a single price for an assortment of titles (such as the very popular "Humble Ebook Bundle"), while format bundling refers to receiving multiple copies of a title in different formats (such as ePub, PDF, MOBI) with a single purchase.

There were 662 answers to the bundling question. While many readers did not know exactly what it referred to, 296 mentioned a specific type of bundling. 73 responders were in favor of content bundling, with 34 against, while 55 were neutral. For format bundling, 80 were in favor, with 22 opposed and 22 neutral.

Continuing the Nitty Gritty tradition, the raw data is available to all who wish to use it. It can be found here. --Alex Mutter

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Forever Too Far by Abbi Glines
2. Conquer Your Love by J.C. Reed
3. Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed
4. Life Code by Dr. Phil McGraw
5. Beauty from Surrender (Beauty Series #2) by Georgia Cates
6. The Impact of You by Kendall Ryan
7. Savor You by Emily Snow
8. Before Now (Sometimes Never) by Cheryl McIntyre
9. A Lost Witch by Debora Geary
10. The Genius and the Muse by Elizabeth Hunter

[Many thanks to!]

KidsBuzz: Katherine Tegen Books: Case Closed #4: Danger on the Dig by Lauren Magaziner
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