Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout


Columbia's Village Books Relocating

Doug Wilson, co-owner with Becky Asher of Village Books, Columbia, Mo., "firmly believes that personal service is one reason it has done well, despite the unsteady history of small book dealers in a ragged economy," the Missourian wrote. Now celebrating its ninth anniversary, Village Books is in the process of moving from Paris Road to "a more robust location," and on November 1 will reopen at 2513 Bernadette Square near the Columbia Mall.

"Bookstores don't make a whole lot of money, but you can make a living out of it," said Wilson, who noted that Village Books has seen 18% growth this year. "I think a lot of it is just staying connected. And then just trying to be honest and real with people."

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

NCIBA Sessions: Children's Books; Joys of Bookselling

Last week during the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association conference and trade show, two sessions provided pointers to support frontline booksellers.

"Why is the children's section of the store so important?" asked Antonia Squire from the Reading Bug, San Carlos, Calif., who moderated the panel called "Is There a Monster Behind the Bookshelf? How to Navigate the Kids Section When You Think You Know Nothing About Kids Books." Panelist Maggie Tokuda-Hall, children's director at Books Inc., provided the answer: at the nine Books Inc. stores, she said, children's book sales range from 10% to 37% of all sales. "We hope [children's book buyers] come to us for adult books, too," said Tokuda-Hall, adding that managing children's books also helps stores build relationships with local schools, "not to mention, hopefully creating the next generation of readers."

Kids panel: Susan Peyrat, Mrs. Dalloway's; Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Books Inc.; and Antonia Squire, the Reading Bug.

Panelist Susan Peyrat from Mrs. Dalloway's in Berkeley, a self-described "grown-up book reader looking across the divide," said that Mrs. Dalloway's has an excellent children's expert and buyer, and about 25% of the store's sales are in children and YA titles.

So why, asked Squire, are kids' books sections so daunting for general booksellers? Perhaps, she speculated, it's because most of us who love books fell in love with reading as children and feel a strong sense of obligation to recommend the exact right book to the right child--or adult buying for a child or teen (or themselves).

Books Inc. tries to have a children's expert on hand at each store, Tokuda-Hall said, but she also suggested that for stores without such resources, shelf talkers with age-appropriate information are a big help. And she recommended that children's buyers talk with their colleagues about the children's books they're reading, as they would with adult books. "Talking about the great books we are reading is one of the best parts of working in a bookstore, anyway," Tokuda-Hall said.

When non-kid-expert booksellers like Peyrat hear about books from children's buyers, it gives them a frame of reference from which to help customers. Between shelf talkers and co-workers sharing their kids' book reading with colleagues, general booksellers can feel more confident in the kids' section.

Summer Laurie, a children's literature specialist at Books Inc., who is also the Children's Bookselling Alliance representative on the NCIBA board, offered resources for booksellers who want title- and age-specific information, including the free children's book listservs at NCIBA and the American Booksellers Association. Other resources mentioned were Books Inc.'s children's book blog, Hicklebee's website, School Library Journal and Ingram.

The Joys of Bookselling
At a session called "WAIT, We Can Do This for a Living?: Or How to Get Ahead in Bookselling," Pete Mulvihill, one of the owners of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, moderated a panel that included Alison Reid, an owner of DIESEL (now with four locations); Nick Petrulakis, manager of Books Inc. in Alameda; and Ray Lawrason, assistant manager of Copperfield's in Petaluma, Calif.

Booksellers Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple; Alison Reid, DIESEL; Nick Petrulakis, Books Inc.; and Ray Lawrason, Copperfield's.

Mulvihill started in bookselling as a temp at Green Apple. Reid, who said she was the first newspaper girl in Scotland, got her initial experience in college at Berkeley, where her roommate got her a job at a Waldenbooks. She went on to manage the Pegasus used and new bookstore on College Avenue. Petrulakis said he came into bookselling at Books Inc. after he had written "a really bad novel" and his wife suggested he might want to get ahead. Lawrason said he got his bookselling start at Book Ends in Napa, when he "just felt home" when, during the job interview, the owner asked what he was reading.

No one goes into bookselling for the money, the panelists all agreed, but they suggested that booksellers bring a sense of professionalism and ownership to the job. Mulvihill noted that everyone at Green Apple learns all things--from receiving to returning books. "You are not defined by your job title," he said, "but by your performance in that job."

"We all want to work with people who want to work," said Petrulakis. At Books Inc., Petrulakis said he learned to appreciate the willingness to work when owner Michael Tucker showed up with 10 minutes' notice to help him clean the basement when sewage leaked into it. "Michael was not above that," he said.

"If you are looking to really move forward," said Lawrason, "then you can't be just a cog." Because no one can be all things, he suggested, booksellers should become the "go-to" person for things they excel in, like point-of-purchase procedures, handselling or returns. "What you want to do is become part of the life's blood of the store," he said.

Mulvihill advised booksellers to make suggestions to their managers and storeowners to help improve systems, but to also respect that the manager or owner might want their efforts concentrated in ways that fit their overall managerial goals. And, he suggested, booksellers should be sure to toot their own horns every once in a while, because managers and owners sometimes get too busy to notice what a great job you are doing for them.

The pay might not be great, but the panelists agreed that being a bookseller is worth more than the paycheck. "We live a fairly rich life," said Reid, with a nod to the perks of the job, which include working with interesting and interested people and the chance to meet some of your favorite authors. --Bridget Kinsella

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Kauai's Blue House Booksellers Moves

After two years as part of Small Town Coffee Co., in Kapaa on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Blue House Booksellers has moved into its own 720-square-foot space on the second floor of the Dragon Building in Old Kapaa Town, the Garden Island reported.

Founded by Anni Caporuscio in 2011 after Borders closed, Blue House is the only bookstore on the east side of Kauai. (Caporuscio is also co-owner of Small Town Coffee.) Selling new and used titles, the store focuses on new releases, Kauai authors, guidebooks, beach reads, classics, greeting cards, children's books and art supplies. Caporuscio said, "Our two biggest sections are contemporary fiction and a massive kids selection."

The store is also beginning events, including a weekly children's reading hour, several writing classes, and has plans for an art class and adult reading hours.

Blue House Booksellers is located at 4504 Kukui Street, Suite 7, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746; 808-822-4111.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Survey Says: Reading Devices Lead to More Reading, Posting

Some 40% of adults, including 46% of those between 18 and 39, own an e-reader or tablet, double the percentages of two years ago, and 60% of college graduates own an e-reader, a USA Today and poll has found. Respondents consisted of 1,000 adults; a supplemental poll resulted in a total of 819 e-reader and tablet owners.

Among other findings:

  • 27% of readers polled have used Facebook, Twitter or book websites to comment on a book, and 50% of those under 40 who own a reading device have used social media to comment on a book.
  • 62% of households with annual income of at least $75,000 own at least one reading device.
  • 35% of those with reading devices are reading more than before.
  • 51% of respondents say a lack of time keeps them from reading more books, while 16% say they don't read more books due to lack of interest, and 14% because of a lack of quality books.
  • Among those who read more because of their reading devices, 23% said they read more science fiction or fantasy, 16% more mystery and crime, 14% more romance and 14% more nonfiction.

And perhaps most important:

  • 3% of respondents say books often play a role in making new friends or finding a romantic partner, while 7% say this happens sometimes.

Amazon Opening Three Warehouses in Poland

Amazon has confirmed plans to open at least three warehouses in the western parts of Poland--two near Wroclaw and one near Poznan, Bloomberg reported. The company said it had picked the sites because of "Poland's central location in Europe, proximity to Amazon's European clients and access to a skilled workforce." The company also said the moves are part of an expansion to serve customers in every European country, including Russia and Ukraine, and that it will not close any other warehouses because of the openings.

There has been speculation that these warehouses and two others rumored to be under consideration in the Czech Republic are partly responses to efforts to unionize some workers at the company's German warehouses. The union ver.di has already held several short strikes at two Amazon warehouses in Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig; the latter is near the Polish border. The three new warehouses are in the largest Polish cities near Germany.

Amazon is carefully referring to the new facilities as "logistics centers." In its fight with the union, it maintains that its employees are "logistics workers" and says that they are paid above-average wages for such positions. The union maintains that the workers' pay should be measured by standards for mail order and retail workers.

Obituary Note: John Mitzel

John Mitzel, owner of Calamus Bookstore, Boston, Mass., died on Friday from complications from an earlier cancer treatment, according to Lambda Literary. He was 65.

Besides owning Calamus, Mitzel wrote 10 books and was, wrote, "a fount of knowledge when it came to Boston's gay history, as well as an active participant in shaping that city's queer cultural identity."

He co-founded the paper Fag Rag in 1971, and worked at the late Glad Day Bookshop for 16 years before founding Calamus Bookstore in 2000.

"John was the person who made so many gay and lesbian authors known to the general public," recalled Penguin sales representative Karl Krueger. "He introduced them. In those years (1975 to 1994?), G&L titles were separated from the mainstream and rarely got media or any attention at all. John was the source. He knew every one of them. If you were a gay author in Kenya, he knew about you and was most likely the only bookseller who had your book. Glad Day Books played a huge role in the community in those years. Everyone went there, everyone shopped there, everyone went to the author events he hosted. I will remember him as a man who lived his belief in writers in my community. Thanks to John, I discovered authors I never would have known and I'm grateful for his passion."

Calamus Bookstore will host an event celebrating Mitzel's life on Friday, October 11, at 7 p.m. at the store, whose address is 92B South Street, Boston, Mass.


Image of the Day: DeMille Sells Out

Nelson DeMille, whose newest book is The Quest (Center Street/Hachette), is flanked by Books & Books Westhampton Beach owners Jack McKeown and Denise Berthiaume on the left and his editor Kate Hartson on his right. The store made a last-minute venue change, from the Westhampton Free Library to the Westhampton Beach Elementary School, to accommodate the sellout-crowd. 

GBO Picks In Times of Fading Light

The German Book Office has selected In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge, translated by Anthea Bell (Graywolf Press, $26, 9781555976439) as its October Book of the Month.

The GBO described In Times of Fading Light, which won the German Book Prize in 2011, as "a fascinating portrait of a family set against the backdrop of the collapse of East German communism. It's the story of the Umnitzer family from 1952 through 2001, told through a series of snapshots. Here are Wilhelm and Charlotte in 1952, returning to newly Soviet Berlin from Mexico. Here is Christmas 1976, as Irina struggles to welcome her son Alexander's new girlfriend into the family. Here is Alexander as a child, visiting his great-grandmother in Russia in 1959; as a young man, weathering his first days of compulsory military service in 1973; and at middle age, reeling from a diagnosis of cancer, traveling through his grandparents' old stomping grounds in Mexico, in the fall of 2001. And, again and again, here are scenes of Wilhelm's monumental ninetieth birthday party, on October 1, 1989, mere weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"With wisdom, humor, and great empathy, and drawing on his own family history, Eugen Ruge majestically traces the stories of both this particular family and the GDR, while exploring the tragic intertwining of politics, love, and family under the East German regime."

Ruge was born in the Soviet Union, where his father had fled in 1933 (and been exiled to Siberia during the Great Purges). After his family moved to East Germany in 1956, Ruge studied mathematics and became a member of the research staff at the Central Institute of Geophysics in Potsdam and a writer, contributing to documentaries made at the state-owned DEFA Studios. He emigrated to West Germany in 1988 and is a writer, translator, director and teacher.

Bell has translated many works from German and French.

Ken Rhodes Promoted at NBN International

Ken Rhodes has been promoted to managing director of NBN International. Before joining the company last year, he was general manager of Bloomsbury. An academic and specialist book distributor, NBN International has headquarters in Plymouth, England, and is owned by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

Book Trailer of the Day: The Paris Architect

The Paris Architect: A Novel by Charles Belfoure (Sourcebooks Landmark), in which, during World War II, architect Lucien Bernard accepts the dangerous commission of designing hiding places for Jewish families in private homes.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elizabeth Smart on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Elizabeth Smart, co-author of My Story (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250040152).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Al Sharpton, author of The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership (Cash Money Content, $22, 9781936399475). He will also appear on E!'s Entertainment News.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol (HarperWave, $27.99, 9780062241795).

TV: These Things Happen

HBO is developing These Things Happen, a half-hour comedy based on the first novel by TV writer-producer Richard Kramer (Thirtysomething, My So-Called Life), reported. The project will be produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Prods, with Kramer writing the script and executive producing.

Movies: Burial Rites

A "complete Hunger Games reunion" is in process for the film adaptation of Hannah Kent's novel Burial Rites, according to The team of Jennifer Lawrence, screenwriter Gary Ross and producer Allison Shearmur will be joined by Lionsgate, which "has started negotiations for the package. The deal isn't done, but I'm betting that it gets done this week. This comes after Kent got a seven-figure deal for her first novel from Little, Brown," wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: Maine Readers' Choice Winner; Sami Rohr Finalists

A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash (Morrow) has won the inaugural Maine Readers' Choice Award, founded by the Maine State Library and the Maine Library Association to increase awareness and reading of adult literary fiction. The award was announced at the opening ceremony of the Bangor Book Festival.


The finalists for the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Non-Fiction, sponsored by the Jewish Book Council and honoring "emerging writers who articulate the Jewish experience, as determined by a specific work as well as the author's overall potential to make significant ongoing contributions to Jewish literature," are:
Sarah Bunin Benor, author of Becoming Frum (Rutgers University Press)
Marni Davis, author of Jews and Booze (NYU Press)
Matti Friedman, author of The Aleppo Codex (Algonquin Books)
Nina S. Spiegel, author of Embodying Hebrew Culture (Wayne State University Press)
Eliyahu Stern, author of The Genius (Yale University Press)

The winner of the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize will be announced in November. The winner and finalists will be celebrated at a ceremony in Jerusalem on January 21, 2014. The winner receives $100,000 and the runner up $25,000.

Book Review

Review: The Circle of Thirteen

The Circle of Thirteen by William Petrocelli (Turner Publishing, $26.95 hardcover, 9781620454145, October 22, 2013)

The Circle of Thirteen, the debut novel from William Petrocelli--co-owner of Book Passage, one of the West Coast's best-known independent bookstores--is equal parts mystery, thriller, dystopian fiction and feminist polemic--all of it compelling from first page to last. It opens in 2012 in Dallas, as a little boy crouches in a closet, clutching a medal his father earned fighting the Iraqis and trying to block out the voices in the next room. His father, Jack, is screaming that his mother, Linda, is no good because she is no longer attentive to the Reverend's teaching and is calling her girlfriend a dyke. The fighting ends with gunshots, leaving three people dead. Who is the killer? What are the ramifications of Jack's bullying behavior toward his wife and son? For how many years, and in how many ways, will this violence roil in the boy and then in the man?

The story moves on to 2082 and an explosion at the dedication ceremony of the new United Nations headquarters in New York City. Part of the ceremony was the unveiling of a sculpture dedicated to the "Circle of Thirteen," the founders of Women for Peace, who gave their lives to achieve world peace and justice. The 13 women, international icons, are imbued with heroic status for their insistence on "speaking truth to power" wherever they find injustice or violence. It seems likely that Patria, a misogynistic gang of terrorist thugs, would want to destroy the monument and the movement. Security director Julia Moro has been looking for Patria's leader; the search will take her deep into her own past, to places too painful to imagine.

To his credit, Petrocelli's richly imagined story--which also incorporates themes of climate crisis and economic disparity--does not indulge in a futuristic romp through new technologies; instead, he limits his fantasy to the vid-screen, a version of Big Brother watching you, except it's a two-way street, and a fetching (literally) robot named Toki, who lives with Julia. The novel's laser-beam focus is on women and their heroism--and in a story interwoven with an abundance of characters and plotlines, what stays with the reader is the bond between and among women of character, integrity and action. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: An indie bookseller turns author, with a multi-layered, multi-generational exploration of the half-life of violent beginnings and what they engender--and the women who try to counter them.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Out of Line by Jen McLaughlin
2. Jailing: The Prison Memoirs of 00040 by Clifford Irving
3. Nice Girl to Love: The Complete Three-Book Collection by Violet Duke
4. Carter Reed by Tijan
5. Promise Me Light by Paige Weaver
6. The Rogues of Ravensmuir Boxed Set by Claire Delacroix
7. BBW Romance Boxed Set by Various
8. My Alpha Billionaire Volume 1 by Tawny Taylor
9. Binding Arbitration by Elizabeth Marx
10. Safe with Me (With Me in Seattle) by Kristen Proby

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