Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Workman Publishing: Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley


University of Toronto Press to Distribute Douglas & McIntyre

Effective May 1, Douglas & McIntyre will be distributed in Canada by the University of Toronto Press.

Howard White, publisher of Douglas & McIntyre, commented: "With 40 years of distribution experience, and a well-earned reputation of passionate commitment to the Canadian publishing industry, UTP is best able to look after our customers and offer them the kind of excellent customer service they are accustomed to."

University of Toronto Press president John Yates said that the press will add customer service and fulfillment staff to meet the demands of the increased volume and will offer a new freight program allowing its distributed publishers to offer different freight options to their customers.

Douglas & McIntyre's current distributor, HarperCollins Canada, will accept orders until April 23, ship books until April 30, and accept returns until July 29 at its current warehouse or another location in Canada as designated by HarperCollins.

Last November, HarperCollins announced it was closing its Canadian warehouse and shifting fulfillment and distribution of HarperCollins Canada to R.R. Donnelly in the U.S.

Douglas & McIntyre is one of Canada's most prestigious independent publishers. In 2013, it was acquired by the owners of Harbour Publishing, Howard and Mary White, to form Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.

University of Toronto Press Distribution has more than 60,000 square feet of warehouse space and represents some 70 book imprints for distribution in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. Clients include scholarly, general and literary trade, children's and educational publishers.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox

BAM Special Committee Hires Financial Adviser

The Books-A-Million special committee of independent directors that is evaluating the proposal by the Anderson family to buy the company has hired Houlihan Lokey as its financial adviser. The committee, consisting of Edward W. Wilhelm and Ronald J. Domanico, has already hired King & Spalding as its legal adviser.

On January 29, executive chairman Clyde Anderson and his family offered to buy the 41.8% of the company they don't own for $2.75 a share, or about $17.3 million.

In April 2012, the Anderson family made a similar offer to buy the company, bidding $3.05 a share. At the time, it owned 53% of the company. In July 2012, the Anderson family withdrew its offer after meetings with the Books-A-Million board of directors and a special independent committee that had been set up to evaluate the offer.

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

Amazon's 'Ship to Cuba' Button Appears

Amazon "appears to be laying the groundwork to ship packages to Cuba," Reuters reported, noting that less than three months after U.S. and Cuban officials agreed to restore diplomatic ties, a "ship to Cuba" button was seen Monday by Reuters correspondents in Havana on Amazon's website, though no such option appeared during a U.S.-based search.

When the correspondents attempted to order an item and have it shipped to Cuba, however, this error message appeared: "Due to export controls and economic sanctions laws and regulations, we are unable to process transactions from your current location."

Reuters noted that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos "has family ties to Cuba. His adoptive father Miguel Bezos was born there and came to the United States at the age of 15."

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job>

BEA Editors' Buzz Panels: The Titles

Three committees of booksellers, librarians and other industry professionals have chosen the authors and books that will be the focus of this year's three editors' buzz panels at BookExpo America. The selected titles are:

Adult editors' buzz panel:
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy (Picador)
City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin)
Home Is Burning by Dan Marshall (Flatiron Books)
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Scout Press)
The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui's Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory by Julie Checkoway (Grand Central)

YA editors' buzz panel:
Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (St. Martin's Griffin)
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (Delacorte)
Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski (Putnam Books for Young Readers)
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus (S&S Books for Young Readers)
This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Middle Grade editors' buzz panel:
George by Alex Gino (Scholastic)
Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre (Nancy Paulsen Books)
The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon (Greenwillow Books)
The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB by Adam Shaughnessy (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Obituary Notes: Mal Peet; Rev. Malcolm Boyd

British children's author Mal Peet, who won a number of awards during his career, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Prize and the Branford Boase Award, died Monday, the Guardian reported. He was 67. His U.S. publisher, Candlewick Press, posted on Facebook yesterday: "We are very sad to announce that one of our beloved authors Mal Peet has passed away." His novels include Keeper, The Penalty, Tamar, Exposure, Life: An Exploded Diagram and The Murdstone Trilogy.

Peter Cox, his agent, said, "Mal was universally adored and admired by other writers. His talent was as prodigious as his warm, wide-open heart. I have lost a dear friend, and we have all lost an author of exceptional genius. His best and most exciting years were still ahead: his premature death is utterly tragic."


Episcopal priest and author Rev. Malcolm Boyd, "who challenged racism, war and religious complacency in the 1960s and '70s, and was one of the first prominent clergymen in America to acknowledge his homosexuality publicly," died Friday, the New York Times reported. Father Boyd wrote more than two dozen books, including the 1965 bestseller Are You Running with Me, Jesus?

Ideas Bookstore Rises in Phoenixville, Pa.

Shannon Chamberlin opened Ideas Bookstore, a new and used bookstore with an anthroposophic focus, in Phoenixville, Pa., on December 13. The 1,500-square-foot store is something of a hybrid between a traditional bookstore and a New Age bookstore--the majority of the store's general-interest books are used, while most of the store's new titles relate to anthroposophy, a branch of philosophy founded by the Austrian thinker Rudolf Steiner.

"I'm not quite sure how to characterize it," said Chamberlin. "We're not quite a traditional bookstore, not quite a New Age bookstore."

Anthroposophy serves, Chamberlin explained, as the philosophical basis for Waldorf Education and biodynamic agriculture, among other things. The original impetus to open the store, in fact, was to sell books on biodynamic agriculture--Chamberlin had no experience in bookselling or in retail, but she did have a master's degree in English literature and a background in education, as well as a passion for books and anthroposophy. Initially, she'd hoped to open the store in February 2014, but renovating the building and getting the required permits took much, much longer than she'd expected. In the meantime, Chamberlin kept collecting used books, and the store's inventory evolved.

"I had always planned to do some renovations," said Chamberlin. At first, the plans were fairly simple, but gradually they became bigger and bigger. "In a way, it became a complete renovation of the space."

She received a certificate of occupancy in December, and was able to open in time for the holidays. Her community, she recounted, has been extremely supportive, and holiday sales were very strong, despite opening with next to no warning. "We opened very suddenly, and nobody had really any idea," she said. "But word got around that we were here."

So far, Chamberlin reported, used books have been selling best. She's considered carrying more sidelines, but at the moment stocks only greeting cards. And although she has no restaurant or cafe in her store, she does offer organic coffee and tea for 50 cents per cup. "It was donation coffee and tea, but nobody was donating," she recalled. "So I turned into 50-cent coffee and tea."

Chamberlin at Ideas Bookstore

Chamberlin is the store's only staff member, but she would like to hire someone in the near future. Her biggest goal for 2015 by far, though, is to expand the store's events program. Study groups have started to meet at the store, and she's in the midst of getting a book club going. The store is near a community for mentally handicapped adults, and Chamberlin would like to organize book clubs for them. Most of the store's events so far have been with local writers. Her most popular event to date, Chamberlin recalled, was with a local woman who created a biodynamic calendar that featured information on the best times of the year to plant specific seeds. Remarked Chamberlin: "I don't know if I overcame my maximum occupancy rate or not."

Although Chamberlin hopes to bring in nationally recognized authors, the goal is to use events to make her store a real community space. "At the Winter Institute [in 2014] they talked about bookstores as public places, and I loved that concept," she said. "I want the bookstore to be a place where people can come and read and not feel like they have to rush in, grab a book and get out." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Phoenix Books Stocks Food Shelf

In December, Mike DeSanto, the owner of Phoenix Books in Essex and Burlington Vt., issued a challenge to the community: he pledged to make a cash donation equal to the value of food donated to the bookstore's food drive, up to $5,000. With the help of the two communities, the goals were met for both the Burlington and Essex stores, and DeSanto sent off checks for $2,500 each to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf and the Essex-Jericho-Underhill Ecumenical Food Shelf. 

Booksellers Touring Bookstores: 'A New Perspective'

"Visiting another bookstore and seeing the way they do things can be a great way for booksellers to learn, appreciate, and see their own store differently," wrote Mark LaFramboise of Politics & Prose, Washington D.C., in a piece featured in this week's e-newsletter from the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association.

Recently, some P&P staff members asked whether, instead of attending BEA, they might tour bookstores in Manhattan, Brooklyn and northern New Jersey. "They didn't want to see the stores like a customer would, though," LaFramboise noted. "They wanted to talk with booksellers, ask questions, see receiving rooms, points of sale, any aspect of the business their hosts were willing to share."

Four staff members visited the Strand, McNally Jackson and Book Culture in Manhattan; Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore and WORD, as well as WORD's new location in Jersey City. Hannah Depp, a P&P manager, recalled: "We all gained greater personal knowledge of the broader world of bookselling and were certainly reinvigorated! Every store had its bits of inspiration for each of us. The ideas for infrastructure and growth we learned from each manager, owner and department head that opened their doors to us paved the way for our meeting changes, management changes, and helped us cement our goals for the next year."

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Chelsea Fought has joined S&S children's digital marketing team as digital marketing assistant. She was most recently a bookseller at Books of Wonder, the New York City bookstore, and earlier was a children's lead bookseller at Barnes & Noble and a community manager and content editor at

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kim Gordon on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Kim Gordon, co-founder of Sonic Youth and author of Girl in a Band: A Memoir (Dey Street Books, $27.99, 9780062295897).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Gesine Bullock-Prado, author of Let Them Eat Cake: Classic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations: More Than 80 Recipes for Cookies, Pies, Cakes, Ice Cream, and More! (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $35, 9781617690808).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Gerald Posner, author of God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican (Simon & Schuster, $32, 9781416576570). He will also appear on MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner.

Books & Authors

Awards: Lambda Literary; Poets & Writers

Finalists for the 27th annual Lambda Literary Awards, which "celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2014," have been chosen in 24 categories. The complete list can be viewed here. Winners will be announced June 1 at the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York City.


Poets & Writers
magazine announced that Margaret Atwood, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor and Christopher Castellani have won the 2015 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Awards, which recognizes "authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community." Barbara Epler, president and publisher of New Directions, will receive this year's Editor's Award. The winners will be honored March 23 in New York City at Poets & Writers' annual benefit dinner, In Celebration of Writers.

Book Brahmin: Sophie Hudson

photo: Cam Cowen

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Sophie Hudson loves cheering like crazy at college football games and watching entire seasons of TV shows in record time. Her first book, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, was released in June 2013; her second book is Home Is Where My People Are (Tyndale House). Hudson lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Ala. She blogs at

On your nightstand now:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain; We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (I love me some YA fiction); Yes Please by Amy Poehler; Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech; and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I am apparently the last person in America to read this book). You may be picking up on the fact that I have a book commitment problem. I always seem to read four or five at a time but they're usually from different genres.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I was in third grade when I discovered how much I love a good mystery, so I devoured all of Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drewbooks. I would literally stay up all night to read them--even when I was eight.

Your top five authors:

I have a strong bent towards Southern Gothic, so it's probably no surprise that I count Tennessee Williams and Flannery O'Connor among my favorites. I'm also very fond of Eudora Welty (or, as Mississippians say, "Miss Welty") and Harper Lee. Anne Lamott is hands-down my favorite writer of nonfiction.

Book you've faked reading:

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad--I'm sure it's a wonderful book, but I just couldn't get through it. The fact that I was a senior in high school at the time may have had something to do with that.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger--I think it is heartbreakingly, breathtakingly, brilliantly beautiful. I didn't read it for the longest time because the horse on the cover made me think that it was a book about cowboys (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course). When I finally read it, though, it flat-out preached to me about family and fear and story and purpose. It's a treasure.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I bought Wonder by R.J. Palacio for two reasons: 1) our son wanted to read it and 2) I thought the cover was fantastic. It turned out to be a win-win; it's one of our son's all-time favorite books, and it's a nice decorative accent on the nightstand in our guest room (I'm crazy about the pop of color). I can't wait to read it.

Book that changed your life:

The Color Purple by Alice Walker was the first book that ever struck me as beautiful, and it was the first time I read a novel and felt a deep, inexplicable attachment to the characters. I loved them so much; they stayed with me and affected me long after I finished reading. A close second in this category is Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons.

Favorite line from a book:

Technically it's two lines from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird--but I can't read them without crying: "Atticus, he was real nice...." "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."

Which character you most relate to:

Probably Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. She's stubborn, and sometimes she's a little too outspoken for her own good. Plus, she's nosy. But at the end of the day, when she really pays attention and listens, she's teachable. I hope I am, too.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Oh, gosh--probably Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Even though the kind of writing I do is conversational, I can be a real perfectionist about it. Bird by Bird gave me permission to write bad first drafts, to stop stressing out and to celebrate small victories. I felt immeasurably encouraged after I read it for the first time, and it would be really nice to feel that way again (especially before I start whatever I write next). Anne Lamott is so gifted, and when I read anything she writes--even tweets--I want to do better. Even though she is a complete stranger, I'm deeply grateful for her.

Book Review

Children's Review: Firstborn

Firstborn by Tor Seidler (Atheneum, $16.99 hardcover, 240p., ages 8-12, 9781481410175 , March 3, 2015)

In The Wainscott Weasel, Tor Seidler masterfully used interspecies romance to explore an animal community on the South Fork of Long Island, N.Y. Now, in Firstborn, the author applies his talents to an interspecies friendship in Yellowstone National Park, where wolves have just been re-introduced.

Narrator Maggie is a magpie born with curiosity and wanderlust. She shudders at her unoriginal name and pines to see what's outside of her nest at the Triple Bar T ranch in Montana. Jackson the crow serves as teacher for Maggie's hungry mind. He tells her about their surroundings and explains "only winged creatures have souls." She confides in him her dissatisfaction with staying in the nest with her mate, who fills it so full of "bric-a-brac" there's hardly room for their eggs. Jackson tells her, "If I've learned anything over the years, it's this: you can't be loyal to others if you're not loyal to your own nature first." 

Maggie soon sets out to see the wider world, throwing in her lot with a wolf recently captured in Canada and released in nearby Yellowstone. The wolf saved Maggie from a fox, and she decides to guide him back to his family. Called Blue Boy for his blue-black coat, he and Maggie become hunting companions--Maggie spies the prey and Blue Boy brings it down. Adventure soon follows. A human shoots a bullet that hits Blue Boy's tracking collar (courtesy of Yellowstone), releasing it, but the bullet lodges in his neck. Three wolves answer Blue Boy's plaintive howl; instead of killing him, they help him heal. The four--plus Maggie--form a pack.

Seidler grants his magpie narrator the power of speech and the ability to understand all species. Still, Maggie remains true to her nature--except for the abandonment of her mate. Her aberration sets the stage for Blue Boy's son, Lamar, the firstborn in his litter, to manifest errant behavior such as empathy and a curiosity that sometimes distracts him from the hunt. Young readers will readily identify with both Maggie and Lamar, especially as they experience the wonders of Yellowstone. In early spring, Maggie notes, "Leaves had broken out of their buds, like butterflies out of their cocoons." The author describes the parents' fierce protection of the wolf pups as well as the power struggles within the pack.

Seidler lays out the tradeoffs of interrupting nature's flow without ever taking sides. Maggie's unusual perspective allows readers' affections for the wolves to grow along with hers, as she earns her revered place in the pack. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: The author of The Wainscott Weasel once again deftly explores an interspecies relationship, this time with the dazzling setting of Yellowstone National Park.

Deeper Understanding

Bookpeople of Moscow's Kid and Teen Advisory Board

Because so many people at Winter Institute 10 in Asheville, N.C., asked about the Kid and Teen Advisory Board program at BookPeople of Moscow, Moscow, Idaho, store co-manager and children's and gift buyer Jesica Sweedler DeHart put together the following outline of how the program works and how to launch one. She notes that this is a work in progress and would like to hear from others about their successes via e-mail.


1. Contact your children's/YA book reps to let them know you will be launching this program and ask them to send you ARCs/store copies of books they are excited to have reviewed.

2. Send two separate e-mails to prospective parents of teens (ages 12-18) and kids (ages 8-12) inviting them to have their kids submit a book review (3-5 sentences/100 words or less) of a book they have loved in the last year in order to be part of the Kid or Teen Advisory Board. In this letter, lay out how the program will work, including meeting times (my group meets the first Sunday of the month at 2:30 p.m. for kids and 4 p.m. for teens). Ask that participants commit to attending a minimum of five meetings per year (this allows for sports/travel/weather). Each meeting lasts approximately 30-45 minutes and snacks are provided. Kids/Teens are invited to "borrow" four ARCs at a time to write reviews.

3. Ask that all reviews be sent in this format:

  • name of the book and release date in e-mail header (no attachments, and only one review per e-mail)
  • the body of the e-mail needs to include the title of the book, author, publisher, review and how the teen/child would like their review signed (some want to include their age, school, grade. I always list their first name but never their last name).
  • they never have to finish a book they don't like, but they do need to explain in a sentence why they didn't like it. I will post only positive reviews to our Facebook page/website, so I ask that the reviewer make it very clear how they feel about the book. I prefer reviews that tell me what the reader thinks and feels about a book instead of just summarizing. Did it keep them up all night? Was it the best historical fiction they had ever read? Did they miss the school bus because they were reading it? Did it surprise them or make them think about a new issue? Who would this book appeal to?

4. Once a month I meet with the Kid and Teen Advisory Boards (separately) and start by highlighting a handful of books that I am either interested in having reviewed or ones that I have read and loved. I give the kids/teens an opportunity to talk about a book they loved, and often that ARC gets handed to the next eager reader. I try to acknowledge kids/teens who have had their reviews noticed by the author. Sometimes I have giveaways, and then I let them sign their returned books and check out a maximum of four new ones. They can swap their books out/in anytime during the month, but they can only have four out at a time.

5. I have created e-mail folders to house all of the reviews that I receive. I try to share as many of the reviews with the publishers as far in advance as I can. Some of my reps love getting them and respond enthusiastically every time. On or right before the day of release (or when I think of it), I post on Facebook about the book and include the kid/teen review with a photo of the book. I make sure to tag the author and publisher in the post. I then leave a note on the author's FB page letting them know that I have just posted a review of their book and invite them to visit our FB page, like us and leave a comment for the teen/kid. I then share these comments with the parent/teen/kid (depending on whose e-mail address I have).

6. Once I have posted a review to FB, I forward the review to our staff member who posts it to our website. I post only well-written and interesting reviews that will sell the book. Sometimes I give helpful writing technique feedback either via e-mail or when we meet as a group, and read examples of great, usable reviews. My kids/teens are getting really good at writing creative and eye-catching reviews.

7. Every month I go through my ARCs and decide which ones I want to keep in circulation for further reviews. (Some books are so popular that they stay in circulation and continue to bring in reviews long after the book has been released. I often do multiple FB posts on a single title over several months.) I box up all of the books that we are done with and donate them to our local schools to be used in the classroom or to be given away to Title 1 students in need of books at home. I ask that teachers write "donated by BookPeople" on the cover of each book as free advertising.

8. For the most part, I do not give the books to the Kid and Teen Advisory Board members, which means they often want to buy their favorite books. On the days of our meetings, their families receive a 20% discount so they stock up on books at that time. On occasion--or if a kid/teen really begs--I will give away books from the discard pile once the release date has passed. I like to do drawings for good attendance or for those that have gotten their reviews to me before our meetings. I also do book giveaways during the summer when they might need more incentive to attend a meeting.

9. I have a simple sign in/out sheet for the kids/teens that we have tweaked throughout the year. (If any of you design one you love, please send me a copy.) Each kid/teen has their own sheet, with space for several months of signing books in and out. We keep all the sheets in a folder behind the counter and the books on a designated bookshelf tucked into a corner, organized by release date and YA/children's. I keep the F&G picture books with the children's. Teens are welcome to review books for the kids' section and the more mature kids can review YA books, as long as they are making their group's reviews the priority. I always let kids know, in front of their parents, that YA books often contain sex, drugs, violence and content that might be too mature for them or make them uncomfortable, and that they should have their parent look through the book first.

10. Hand selecting the kids/teens is important. We choose people we know, teachers/professors with kids, customers we have gotten to know, and the local school librarians gives us names of GT kids. The programs have have resulted in our store being noticed by authors, illustrators, our reps and publishers, and the community has been incredible grateful.

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