Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 22, 2014

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

Quotation of the Day

'Reverse Showroom' Conversion

"There are two ways to your wallet: Your brain and your heart.... I thought if anything was going to break me out of the cold, hard, logic of showrooming, it would be a warrior-like conviction to save all local businesses from the menace of online retail.

"But I didn't have to hate Amazon. I just had to love a store.

"And that, I guess, is worth more than money."

--Mónica Guzmán in a Seattle Times column recounting her conversion, at Third Place Books, Ravenna, "from what's known as a 'showroomer' to what's known as a 'reverse showroomer.' "

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar


AAP Sales: Children's/YA Keeps Jumping

In the first five months of the year, total net book sales rose 3.9%, to $2.652 billion, compared to the first five months of 2013, representing sales of 1,209 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. 

Among highlights: children's/YA continued to soar this year, with sales up 30.5%, to $695.9 million. Sales of adult fiction and nonfiction fell 3.6%, to $1.726 billion, and sales of religious presses slipped 0.1%, to $230.2 million.

Total trade e-book sales rose 7%, to $669.7 million. Trade paperbacks were up 6.3%, to $793.4 million. Trade hardcover sales were down 0.2%, to $867.1 million. (Note: trade figures exclude downloadable audio and children's board books.)



% change

 Children's/YA e-books

 $110.2 million


 Children's board books

 $29.1 million


 Children's/YA paperbacks

 $246.8 million


 Religious e-books

 $28.5 million


 Children's/YA hardcovers

 $283.3 million


 Downloaded audio

 $60.7 million


 University press e-books

 $5.6 million


 Religious paperbacks

 $36.5 million


 University hardcovers

 $16.6 million





 Adult e-books

 $531 million


 Adult paperbacks

 $511.7 million


 Professional publishing

 $219.1 million


 University paperbacks

 $17.4 million


 Religious hardcovers

 $131.4 million


 Mass market

 $126.6 million


 Adult hardcovers

 $452.4 million


 Physical audiobooks

 $21.3 million



William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Amazon: Campfire, Downton Abbey, Strike in Germany

For at least five years, Amazon has held a weekend gathering of writers and Amazon staff, including CEO Jeff Bezos, in Santa Fe, N.Mex., and in typical Amazon style, all attendees at the "Campfire" have been sworn to secrecy, the New York Times reported.

"There are impressive dinners, accompanied by live music," the Times wrote. "There is horseback riding, skeet shooting and lazing by the pool. In the mornings, there are formal talks on highbrow topics. One guest fondly recalled that the swag included down vests, fleeces, shoulder bags and small suitcases to carry all the loot home. Getting back to mundane reality was postponed for the attendees who took one of the private jets. (Others say they took scheduled flights.)"

This year's Campfire took place over the weekend, and some authors who have supported Hachette in the Amazon-Hachette dispute and who have attended in the past were not invited this year. They include James Patterson, who told the Times, "I wasn't invited again, and I wouldn't have gone if I had been. I would feel very odd being there." He added that the event had been "terrific."

Still, Neil Gaiman and his wife, Amanda Palmer, a Hachette author, did go this year. Gaiman wrote to the Times: "The many Hachette authors here this year, like my wife, have enjoyed having a chance to have a full and frank exchange of opinions with the Amazon folk."


Amazon's sponsorship of the fifth season of Downton Abbey, which began last night in the U.K., caused Amazon Anonymous, which is campaigning for a living wage for Amazon warehouse workers, to urge viewers to protest on social media, according to the Bookseller.

Amazon is identified as the series sponsor "in brief clips as each section of the popular drama commences, showing actors behind the scenes in a period drama similar to Downton Abbey so absorbed in stories on their Kindle e-readers that they miss their cues."

Amazon Anonymous wrote in one e-mail: "A programme about social inequality is being sponsored by a company that creates inequality. By paying their c.e.o. millions whilst treating their warehouse workers terribly, by avoiding paying their fare share of tax, and by driving independent businesses out of business Amazon are taking us back to the 1920s."

The fifth season of Downton Abbey makes its debut in the U.S. in January.


Workers at four of Amazon's nine warehouses in Germany have begun a two-day strike, part of the "long-running dispute over wages" between the company and the union ver.di, the AP reported. The union has called several short strikes in the past.

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Eric Price Joining Melville House

Eric Price is joining Melville House as v-p, new business development. He was formerly director of sales and marketing at Quercus Books and earlier was the longtime associate publisher and COO of Grove/Atlantic, where he started just before it was bought by Morgan Entrekin.

"Eric was right there with Morgan when he was building what turned out to be one of the greatest American indie publishing houses ever--if not the greatest," Melville House co-founder Dennis Johnson said. "So we're absolutely thrilled to have someone not just of Eric's stature on our team, but someone of his obviously brilliant mix of skill and passion."

Melville House co-founder Valerie Merians said that Price was hired in large part to help the company maintain the growth it has had since 2008, when it moved its sales and distribution to Random House, now Penguin Random House Publisher Services. "We've grown every year since, and we felt we had to deepen the company in several key areas if we wanted to continue that, while simultaneously maintaining ourselves as a mission-driven indie. Eric really knows how to do that, and Dennis and I felt he was a really simpatico spirit."

And Price said, "As the publishing landscape consolidates, it is exciting to be able to work for a publisher that continues to have a strong independent voice and has a growth strategy that is committed to publishing books that add to our cultural discourse. In addition, I'm looking forward to once again working with the wonderful and dynamic people at Penguin Random House Publisher Services, who are dedicated to providing wide and effective distribution of important literary voices."

Full disclosure: Shelf Awareness publisher Jenn Risko had a hand in this appointment. In June, Merians and Johnson had hired Paul Kozlowski, the beloved veteran publisher and bookseller, but the week before he was to start, Kozlowski suddenly died. Johnson wrote a very poignant remembrance of Kozlowski, mentioning that he was about to start working at Melville House. "That piece prompted several people to write to me," Johnson recalled. "One of them was Eric himself, just to kind of commiserate about how sad it was. We'd never spoken before. But then a couple more people wrote to me, including a bookseller and one of our sales reps at Random House, saying, 'Do you know Eric Price?' Then Jenn just wrote to me and cc'd Eric and bluntly said, 'You two should talk.' We did what we were told!"

ABA's Ellie Chang Retiring at End of Year

Ellie Chang, chief financial officer of the American Booksellers Association for more than 25 years, is retiring at the end of the year, Bookselling This Week wrote.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher commented: "It will be impossible to imagine ABA without Eleanor Chang. She has been an indispensable member of the ABA team for more than 25 years. Because of Ellie's outstanding work, ABA's finances have always been carefully managed and we have had a perfect streak of totally clean letters from our auditors. Under her tutelage, the association has established an investment policy that has served us extraordinarily well: we have bought and sold property; we have operated an insurance company that provides coverage to hundreds of ABA members; and we have accurately accounted for every penny of ABA's assets.

"My predecessors and I have relied on Ellie to do so many things, and we are forever in her debt. She and I have worked together for 24 years, and not only has she been a valued and trusted colleague, she has also become my good friend. I will miss her. So will ABA."

And we at Shelf Awareness have always found her cheerful and helpful, a delight to see at ABA events. We wish her well.

Isis Books and Gifts 'Not Changing Its Name'

"Events unfolding in the Middle East have forced Denver-based bookstore Isis Books and Gifts to ponder Shakespeare's age old question: 'What's in a name?' " 9NEWS reported, adding that the "literature for sale in the bookstore also embraces various religious theologies, unlike the Middle Eastern terrorist organization."

Noting that the store has had "people comment on our Facebook page, 'you should change your name,' " owner Karen Harrison said the shop "has been a Denver institution since 1980. We named our business after the Egyptian goddess. Our bookstore specializes in books and items featuring... traditions such as Buddhism, Goddess spirituality, Shamanism, Qabalah and more that, here in the Western world, are sometimes considered alternative."

Harrison has also been "approached by other business owners that share the ISIS name to lobby their local congressman to refer to ISIS as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, instead," 9NEWS noted. She addressed the name change question directly on her shop's Facebook page: "Of course our answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! Please sign the petition below to try to get media to stop referring to terrorists by the sacred name of an ancient goddess who is the antithesis of everything these terrorists stand for."

SIBA: Fall in Love Discovery Show

More than 200 booksellers and as many authors joined publishers, wholesalers and other publishing professionals in lively Norfolk, Va., for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance's "Fall in Love Discovery Show" this past weekend.

Beginning Friday, September 19, the conference featured three days of events, exhibitions, seminars, signings and education seminars. Day one was highlighted by meetings covering national bookstore day, Indies First Small Business Saturday, and several fascinating writer panels--culminating in a wake for Matt Bibb, a longtime SIBA participant and former Chapter 11 bookseller.

Saturday's highlight was a Thanksgiving for James Patterson Lunch, in which the celebrated author and friend of independent bookstores spoke about imbuing a love of reading in children. Wanda Jewell, executive director of SIBA and emcee of the event, said of Patterson, "He's making a concrete difference, and I think he's knows that, and now I hope now he knows how grateful we are."

James Patterson SIBA
James Patterson chatting with SIBA booksellers.

Patterson was introduced by Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group, who said, "I want to thank you for your support during this difficult time. This has been a very challenging year for Hachette Book Group. Every display I've seen, every promotion, every time you single out a Hachette book and put it up front in your store and make sure people know about it... has really meant the world to us. In difficult times, you find out who your friends are."

Saturday evening featured a Parapalooza event with author Tim Federle (Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and Better Nate Than Ever, Simon & Schuster), among others, and dinner with speakers Rick Bragg (Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, HarperCollins), Charles Martin (A Life Intercepted, Center Street), Francine Bryson (Blue Ribbon Baking From a Redneck, Clarkson Potter) and One Book, One SIBA author Lalita Tademy (Citizens Creek, Atria).

Emoke B'Racz of Malaprop's shows off the Bibb Award.

The last day of the show included exhibitors, panels and several prizes, including the new "Bibb Pick" (in honor of Matt Bibb), which is the favorite indie bookstore voted on by authors in attendance at SIBA. The inaugural winner: Malaprop's Bookstore/Café in Asheville, N.C.

The conference was brought to a close with the Moveable Feast of Authors & Signings, in which 17 authors joined attendees to discuss their books.

Jamie Fiocco, owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., and president of SIBA, summarized the show: "The number of attendees is up, the number of exhibitors is up, the number of authors are up. The membership of SIBA is up. We're thrilled we have a big show and especially two years in a row."

Next year's SIBA fall trade show will celebrate the organization's 40th anniversary and include a consumer portion. --Christopher Priest

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Banned Books Week

neil gaiman, weird al, George RR Martin, banned books weekBanned Books Week, September 21-27, is underway, and across the country, bookstores and libraries are hosting discussions, creating displays and promoting awareness. (The Columbus State Library has even created a "Which Banned Book Are You?" quiz.)

Of course, authors are involved, too. Sherman Alexie, one of the most frequently challenged authors in America, did a video for Open Road Media in which he discusses censorship. And you may recognize the gentlemen in the photo above....

Happy 30th Birthday, Maria's Bookshop!

Congratulations to Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo., which is celebrating 30 years of independent bookselling this week, starting today. Among the events: "30 Years of Favorites," an extensive list of bestsellers as well as the store's all-time favorite books and authors at a 20% discount; anniversary commemorative mugs that are free with a $30 purchase; displays of works in the store by current and past employees; and a sidewalk celebration outside the store on Friday, the 26th, that includes refreshments and free books with all purchases.

Peter Schertz, who owns the store with his wife, Andrea Avantaggio, commented: "It's a privilege and at the same time a big responsibility to be at the helm of a business like Maria's Bookshop as it celebrates 30 years. The groundwork laid by Dusty Teal, Mary Anne Griffin, and a talented group of booksellers over the years has resulted in a connection to the community that is unparalleled. We have a responsibility to honor and maintain that connection. Maria's Bookshop would be nothing without the support of the community."

Starry Re-opening for Santa Monica's Books & Cookies

Diana Ross and four of her children, including newlyweds Evan Ross and Ashlee Simpson, gathered to celebrate the re-opening of daughter Chudney Ross's Santa Monica, Calif., children's bookstore, Books and Cookies, at a new location, Us Weekly reported.  

"Books and Cookies is a bookstore, but it's more," Diana Ross said. "Chudney has created a nurturing environment and a loving environment where learning takes place."

Chudney Ross added: ''It's so important to have my family here. My family is number one."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Naomi Klein on Climate Change

This morning on the Today Show: Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, co-authors of How Google Works (Grand Central, $30, 9781455582341). Eric Schmidt will also appear today on the Diane Rehm Show.


Today on Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends: Douglas Brunt, author of The Means: A Novel (Touchstone, $26, 9781476772578).


Today on NPR's On Point: Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781451697384). She will also appear tomorrow night on the Colbert Report.


Today on Fresh Air: Ron Perlman, author of Easy Street (the Hard Way): A Memoir (Da Capo, $26.99, 9780306823442).


Today on the View: Lara Spencer, author of Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $25.95, 9781617690952).


Today on Tavis Smiley: Nicholas Kristof, co-author of A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity (Knopf, $27.95, 9780385349918).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Jenny Nordberg, author of The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan (Crown, $25, 9780307952493).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Theresa Caputo, author of There's More to Life Than This: Healing Messages, Remarkable Stories, and Insight About the Other Side from the Long Island Medium (Atria, $16, 9781476727080).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Justin Silver, co-author of The Language of Dogs (Gallery, $24.99, 9781476734125).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Jeff Hobbs, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League (Scribner, $27, 9781476731902).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Richard Branson, author of The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership (Portfolio, $29.95, 9781591847373).


Tomorrow on Live with Kelly and Michael: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General (Holt, $30, 9780805096682).


Tomorrow on the View: Andrea Martin, author of Lady Parts (Harper, $27.99, 9780062387288).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Tony Zinni, author of Before the First Shots Are Fired: How America Can Win or Lose off the Battlefield (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9781137279385).

Movies: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; Before the Fall

Ang Lee will direct Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, based on the novel by Ben Fountain. Noting that it is Lee's first project since the Oscar-winning Life of Pi, reported that the director is reuniting with Tom Rothman at TriStar for the movie. Simon Beaufoy wrote the script.

"I am very excited to be going back to work and to be collaborating with my old friend Tom Rothman," Lee said. "The most important thing to me is storytelling, and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is a story that immediately gripped me. I look forward to starting the creative process with this extraordinary team of collaborators."


Noah Hawley will adapt his novel Before the Fall and produce the film with John Cameron for Sony Pictures, reported, adding that Hawley "shared the Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries for hatching the FX television transfer of Fargo."

TV: The Bridge; A Time to Dance

The Hallmark Channel is developing original movies based on two of Karen Kingsbury's novels: The Bridge, which will be written by Jamie Pachino (Franklin & Bash), and A Time to Dance.

"Karen Kingsbury's unmatched inspirational storytelling is a perfect fit for a partnership with the Hallmark Channel brand,” said Michelle Vicary, executive v-p, programming for Crown Media Family Networks. "We've had extraordinary success working in collaboration with bestselling novelists, and we know this partnership will be especially rewarding for our viewers as they connect to Karen's remarkable stories on our network for the very first time."

Kingsbury noted that Hallmark "is a trusted name in TV and with my millions of readers. I am beyond thrilled to begin this partnership. My readers will count down the days till the first of these two future classic movies."

Books & Authors

Awards: BBC National Short Story

An all-female author shortlist has been announced for the BBC National Short Story Award. The £15,000 (US$24,520) winner and £3,000 runner-up will be named September 30. This year's BBC National Short Story shortlisted works are:
"Bad Dreams" by Tessa Hadley
"The Taxidermist's Daughter" by Francesca Rhydderch
"Kilifi Creek" by Lionel Shriver
"Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets" by Zadie Smith
"The American Lover" by Rose Tremain

Book Review

Review: The Ploughmen

The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan (Holt, $26 hardcover, 9780805099515, September 30, 2014)

The Montana of Kim Zupan's first novel is not Ivan Doig's land of hardworking ranchers and small-town plain folks. Nor is it the home of amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties. Set in the emptiness of east Montana, The Ploughman is the story of 77-year-old serial killer John Gload and Copper County Deputy Sheriff Valentine Millimaki. After a former accomplice ratted him out in a plea bargain, Gload is in jail awaiting trial. Recently hired, Millimaki is stuck on third shift to guard Gload and try to coax him to divulge where he buried his many victims.

In the quiet hours they spend together, a bond gradually forms between the two men--at first based on their similar farming childhoods, but later intensified by the shared isolation of their lives and their frequent proximity to death. Struggling in his unraveling marriage, Val suffers exhausting insomnia. With his tracking dog, Tom, he takes daytime assignments to find missing persons while his wife works as an intensive care nurse. He and Tom eventually find the lost--at least their remains. Gload, on the other hand, kills to support himself, robbing his victims and carefully scattering their bones like "a man running sawlogs through a mill. He was handy at his work and it afforded him a living."

An MFA graduate of the University of Montana, Zupan brings a moody darkness to his home state. In this way, The Ploughman is more Silence of the Lambs than This House of Sky. As Val's life unwinds and he broods over its meagerness ("a three room cabin at the end of a bad road... twelve hundred a month and an eleven year old Datsun"), he temporarily falls under the sway of Gload's fatherly camaraderie ("we're just a couple of hard-luck orphans, ain't we Valentine"). But the false friendship doesn't take--Gload is still a killer and Val a lawman intent on seeing him put away in the Deer Lodge Penitentiary for the rest of his life.

Zupan counterpoises the beauty of Montana's mountain ranges and vast wheat fields with its harsh loneliness that can nurture violence and depression. His story of Val and Gload, "like two trains going different ways," is an insightful glimpse into the characters of two men confronting life and death alone and up close. The Ploughman leaves us with a lingering sense that few can live untouched by the vast indifference of Montana. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas.

Shelf Talker: Set in the emptiness of Montana, Kim Zupan's first novel is a psychological story of a serial killer and deputy sheriff tied by similar childhoods and close relationship with death.

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