Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

St. Martin's Press: See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem Into a Breakthrough Success by Danny Warshay

Harper: Free Love by Tessa Hadley

Walker Books Us: Ferryman by Claire McFall

Shadow Mountain: The Slow March of Light by Heather B Moore

Berkley Books: Women who defied the odds. These are their stories. Enter giveaway!

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

Quotation of the Day

'Buy Every Book You Read Next Year from a Bookshop'

"I claim to love books; and, more than that, to love bookshops. Yet for eight years I have poured money into a company that many booksellers regard as the greatest threat to their survival.... It is the time of year to make resolutions. You could resolve to eat less, or jog more. Or you could join me in making a simple pledge: to buy every book you read next year from a bookshop. I don't know about you, but Amazon has had quite enough of my money already."

--Laura Freeman in a piece for the Daily Mail headlined "Why I'm boycotting Amazon"

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay


Amazon: Judge Uses M Word; German Strikes; HQ Threat

After years of many in the book industry questioning why the Justice Department e-book agency model collusion suit against Apple and five publishers didn't also look into or consider Amazon's actions and market position, at least one judge hearing Apple's appeal has made some striking comments.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Dennis Jacobs, one of the three judges hearing the case in the Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, yesterday suggested Apple's negotiations with publishers spurred competition with Amazon by "breaking the hold of a monopolist.... It's like all the mice getting together to put a bell on the cat.'"

When Justice Department lawyers defended their actions, saying Apple could have broken the monopoly without violating antitrust provisions, Judge Jacobs asked, "Are you saying the Justice Department didn't notice that there was a new industry dominated by a monopolist?" Justice Department lawyer Malcolm Stewart responded: "We noticed a $9.99 price point, but we regarded it as good for consumers."

Gigaom added that Judge Debra Livingston "expressed skepticism" over Stewart's comparison of the pricing collusion with a criminal drug conspiracy in which Apple led. "When you're dealing with the illegal drug industry, you're looking at one of the few areas where the law doesn't look favorably on new entrants," she said.


Three-day strikes at five of Amazon's nine warehouses in Germany began yesterday and included some 2,300 workers, Reuters said. The strike spread to a sixth warehouse today. Amazon said that despite the disruptions, customers can order as late as December 21 to receive packages in time for Christmas and even as late as December 24 if they pay for express delivery.

The union Verdi has conducted partial strikes regularly against Amazon since May 2013, but this is the largest yet. At issue is how Amazon warehouse workers are categorized for collective bargaining purposes. Amazon calls them logistics workers and says they are well paid for that job. The union says they should be considered part of the mail order and retailing sector.


After a threatening note was found in a bathroom in an Amazon headquarters building in Seattle, police searched facilities and some employees were sent home early, but no bomb was found, Reuters reported. Police announced that officers "have not found any indications the threat was credible" but were investigating who left the note.

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

AAP Sales: Children's/YA Growth Spurt Continues

In the first nine months of the year, total net book sales rose 4.9%, to $12.1 billion, compared to the first nine months of 2013, representing sales of 1,209 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. Net book sales in September slipped 0.2%, to $1.4 billion. During the month, a 17.1% gain in higher ed course materials and 18.6% gain in professional books were offset by an 11.8% drop in adult books.

Among highlights for the year to date: children's/YA continued to grow, with sales up 22.4%, to $1.3 billion, and K-12 instructional materials have gained 13.2%, to $3 billion.

Total trade e-book sales have risen 5.6%, to $1.2 billion. Trade paperbacks were up 4.1%, to $1.5 billion. Trade hardcover sales slipped 0.9%, to $1.6 billion. (Note: trade excludes downloadable audio and children's board books.)

By category for January-September 2014:



 % Change

 Children's/YA e-books  

 $186.3 million  


 Children's board books  

 $62.6 million  


 Downloaded audio  

 $119.3 million  


 Children's/YA paperbacks  

 $470.1 million  


 Children's/YA hardcovers  

 $542.7 million  



 $3 billion  


 Univ. press e-books  

 $9.9 million  


 Higher ed  

 $3.4 billion  


 Religious hardcovers  

 $226.3 million  


 Religious paperbacks  

 $67.1 million  


 Religious e-books  

 $48.8 million  


 Professional publishing  

 $524.9 million  





 Adult e-books  

 $959.9 million  


 Adult paperbacks  

 $972.4 million  


 University hardcovers  

 $31 million  


 University paperbacks  

 $39.5 million  


 Mass market  

 $259.1 million  


 Adult hardcovers  

 $874 million  


 Physical audiobooks  

 $46.9 million  



Chronicle Books: Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Good News at the First Nielsen Children's Book Summit

At the first Nielsen Children's Book Summit, held in New York City last week, conference co-chair and founder of Bookigee Kristen McLean asked attendees to consider the changed landscape from less than a decade ago. "There were no iPods, iPads, iPhones; the challenge was indies versus chains; and we all watched TV in real time together," she said.

Themes that dominated the day were the tablet revolution; the phenomenon of co-viewing and co-gaming between parent and child; the consumer power of children (especially ages 7-12); the imperative for holistic media strategies (especially the use of book trailers, and the impact of movie releases and games); and the strength of YA properties.

Keynote speaker Ray Junco flanked by conference organizers Jonathan Stolper, senior-v-p, Nielsen, and Kristen McLean, CEO of Bookigee.

Rey Junco, associate professor and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, debunked the myth that "young people no longer know how to interact with each other," citing research that online interactions "help build social capital." Facebook helps facilitate students' participation in offline activities, as well as richer engagement with their friends; Twitter users get better grades and are less likely to drop out. Junco believes these findings line up with Erik Erikson's work on identity development, and that Facebook assists kids in both academic and social integration.

The good news all day long for publishers: kids still prefer print books, and teens especially prefer print books. Nielsen president Jonathan Nowell showed the audience the data, stating that while the overall book industry is flat, 2013 was the best year to date for children's books, and "2014 is on track to be the best year yet," and is likely to show a 12% growth over 2013, with every category and format contributing. In-store, in-person book purchases continue to be the most common way people purchase books (62% in-store, versus 23% online, 4% via an app or directly on a device, and 12% "other").

In her recap of the data, McLean pointed out that almost 80% of children's books are still purchased in print, and that there is growth opportunity in board books, which saw a 22% increase in sales since last year. McLean also emphasized that 15% of nonfiction titles are purchased as gifts, and roughly 27% of nonfiction was purchased by adults who said they bought it for themselves.

Smarty Pants' Stephanie Retblatt (l.) and teen panelists.

Stephanie Retblatt, director of Smarty Pants' qualitative research practice, gave an ethnographer's insight into the research her group had done with 10 families that include children 12 and under, using video footage and then live conversations with four families at the conference. She described the effects of the "tablet takeover," likening the iPad to a "lifestyle concierge: a personal portal to access anything and everything [children] want." These families' examples testify to the Nielsen data that 36% of children's book buying (and many other purchases, to hear these families describe it) come from the children themselves. One mother equated technology with creativity; her nine-year-old uploaded a video to YouTube of a Rainbow Loom pattern he'd created, the Quadruple Sailor's Pinstripe.

Nicole Pike, analyzing the data collected about gaming for Nielsen Games, said kids who game also read: "92% of kids and teens claim to game on a weekly basis; 68% say they read for pleasure on a weekly basis." The big change is that 89% will play free games, while only 30% play games for which they must pay. For those considering rushing out a book-based video game, Pike cautions, "It's not enough just to leverage the franchise--kids want the quality. The ones rushed out quickly are the most often returned."

Adults 18 and over purchase 79% of all YA books, Nielsen's study found. Retblatt put together a panel of seven New York City teens who shed light on their reading habits. All seven read "because they want to." Most leave their homes at 5 a.m. and return home sometimes as late as 9 p.m. They do homework on their "Notes" app on their mobile devices and read a print book during the remainder of their subway commute. All seek out bookstores as "peaceful" places where they can "discover" new books and "learn more about their friends." They're as likely to read books recommended by friends as by parents, and often read a book before they see the movie (e.g., Unbroken; The Fault in Our Stars; Hunger Games). All had a resistance to the term "young adult" books (even though they read them).  Virginia thought of YA as being "for 13-year-olds." Will, on the eve of turning 18, summed it up this way: "In your upper teens, you don't want to read YA books anymore." --Jennifer M. Brown

Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier

Mark Smith Joins Bonnier Publishing

Mark Smith, founder and former CEO of Quercus, will join Bonnier Publishing as CEO of its fiction department, the Bookseller reported. His company, Zaffre Publishing, will also be brought into Bonnier. Smith left Quercus last spring following its sale to Hodder & Stoughton.

In addition to Hot Key Books and Piccadilly Press, Bonnier Publishing Fiction will house Zaffre, which "will build an adult fiction business around women's fiction, romance, historical fiction, crime, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror and fiction in translation," the Bookseller wrote.

"The move we are announcing today completes our strategy of covering all types of publishing by the end of 2014," said Bonnier CEO Richard Johnson. "Bringing someone of Mark's reputation and standing in the industry to the group is a marker of our ambition to be a major player in the fiction market in the U.K., U.S. and Australia. Mark's experience will help, too, in all other areas of our group and he will immediately join the board of our U.S. company, Little Bee, which starts to publish next month."

Smith noted that he is "very excited to be building another publishing business and having Zaffre as part of the Bonnier Publishing Group feels like a perfect match of know-how and ambition."


Cool Idea of the Day: Celebrating December 10

Last Wednesday, the Book Table, Oak Park, Ill., found a perfect way to celebrate the date, with a window display featuring copies of George Saunders' Tenth of December and a gift card giveaway. The promotion had four components:

  1. Select and purchase a copy of Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders from our window display (while supplies last).
  2. Three lucky readers will find in their books a gift card to the Book Table for $10.12.
  3. Everyone else will get to read or give (or both!) one of the best books of all time.
  4. That's it. Hurry! Buy a book!

Personnel Changes at WORD Bookstores

At WORD in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J.:

Event director Jenn Northington is leaving to become director of events and programming for Riot New Media. She will continue to run WORD's Mystery Book Club and help with WORDs for Nerds.
Molly Templeton has been promoted to event director. She has been with WORD for three years, and has helped manage the Brooklyn store and overseen offsite events, including WORD's role as official bookseller at New York Comic Con.
Ashanti White-Wallace has become inventory director. She formerly worked at Boulder Bookstore, Boulder, Colo.
Kim Hooyboer, the former inventory director, is moving back to the West Coast.

Hachette to Distribute Asterix in U.S.

Effective January 1, Hachette Book Group will distribute the Asterix comic series in the U.S. Asterix has been available in the U.S. through a license to Sterling Publishing, which expires at the end of this year. U.S. accounts can continue to order Asterix through Sterling until the end of December.

Published in English by Hachette UK and in French by Hachette Livre, Asterix has been distributed into Canada by Hachette Book Group for the last four years.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Cleese on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: John Cleese, author of So, Anyway… (Crown Archetype, $28, 9780385348249).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Stanley Tucci, co-author of The Tucci Table: Cooking With Family and Friends (Gallery Books, $30, 9781476738567).


Tomorrow on the Talk: Anjelica Huston, author of Watch Me: A Memoir (Scribner, $27.99, 9781476760346).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Phil Klay, author of Redeployment (Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594204999).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Seth Meyers: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General (Holt, $30, 9780805096682).

TV: The Crow Girl

"Another Swedish book trilogy has become a hot Hollywood commodity," noted in reporting that "a very competitive bidding war" resulted in Tomorrow Studios acquiring the TV rights to international bestselling book trilogy The Crow Girl, written by Erik Axl Sund (pen name for authors Jerker Eriksson and Håkan Sundquist). The books are scheduled to be published in the U.S. as a single volume in the spring of 2016.

The TV project, which will be developed as a drama series, "already is attracting top actresses interested in playing the lead," wrote, noting that the The Crow Girl "centers on three women, the lead, a detective investigating the murders of abused children; a  psychotherapist who specializes in child abuse cases; and a woman she is treating who has suffered childhood trauma. The books, which have sold over one million units worldwide, have been hailed by critics as 'the best in the genre' in exploring the darkest corners of the human psyche."

Books & Authors

Awards: Folio Prize Nominees; Digital Book Finalists

The Folio Society has unveiled the 80 books nominated for consideration by judges for this year's £40,000 ($62,550) Folio Prize, which aims to "celebrate the best fiction of our time, regardless of form or genre, and to bring it to the attention of as many readers as possible." These works of fiction, published in the U.K. in 2014, were considered the best of the year by 235 writers and critics who constitute the Folio Prize Academy. A shortlist will be revealed February 9 and the winner named March 23.


Finalists for the 2015 Digital Book Awards, honoring the year's best apps and e-books, have been selected. Winners will be announced be announced at a dinner January 14 during the Digital Book World Conference & Expo in New York City.

Book Review

Review: The Rosie Effect

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster, $25.99 hardcover, 9781476767314, December 30, 2014)

At the end of Graeme Simsion's debut novel, The Rosie Project, the brilliant, socially inept genetics researcher Don Tillman had found true love in spite of his algorithm-driven, carefully calibrated Wife Project. When The Rosie Effect opens, Don and his free-spirited wife, Rosie, are living happily in New York City, where Rosie is a medical student and Don is a visiting scholar at Columbia University. Marriage has added significant complexity to Don's life, forcing him to abandon such long-held rituals as the Standardized Meal System; he has adapted to his new state, even participating in unscheduled romantic evenings with Rosie and a regular "boys' night out." Then Rosie tells him she's pregnant, and Don realizes that this will generate a long and complicated list of challenges.

Tackling the obstacle in his trademark logical style, Don attempts to conduct research on pregnancy, prepare himself for fatherhood and seek advice from all six of his friends, both in New York and back home in Australia. Before long, however, Don's actions lead to apprehension by the police, an unplanned apartment move, the risk of deportation and a professional scandal. Don tries to keep his troubles a secret from Rosie, but his lack of joy at her announcement and his clumsy attempts to prepare for parenthood cause a rift in their relationship. Determined to solve his problems (which are multiplying as quickly as his baby's cells), Don employs a few innovative (not to say desperate) ploys to win back Rosie's affections, show he's ready to become a father and save his reputation.

Simsion again employs the wacky, wonderful voice that made The Rosie Project a hit. Narrating his troubles in precise detail, Don lays out his reasons for everything, including stealthy observation of children at a local playground (to the distress of their mothers) and a custom-made soundproof crib he commissions with the help of his father. Several characters from The Rosie Project reappear, such as Don's womanizing colleague Gene (who, in the midst of his own crumbling marriage, offers Don ample well-meaning, if misguided, advice) and Don's friend Dave, who is dealing--not altogether successfully--with his own impending fatherhood.

The true pleasure of The Rosie Effect lies in the gap between Don's perceptions and his increasingly complex reality. By reading between the lines of Don's meticulous narration, readers will divine both the causes and eventual remedies for his troubles, while being privy to a host of sly jokes that go right over the hero's head. Although Don's errors (social and otherwise) cause some heartbreaking scenes, Don's impeccable logic--and Simsion's occasional deviations from it--ensure everything turns out right in the end. Heartwarming, poignant and often hilarious, The Rosie Effect is a worthy second chapter in Don and Rosie's story. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: The ultra-logical genetics researcher Don Tillman returns, attempting to prepare himself for fatherhood--with often comical results.

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