Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 11, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Everybody Rise

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Running Press Adult: Ignite Your Light: A Sunrise-To-Moonlight Guide to Feeling Joyful, Resilient, and Lit from Within by Jolene Hart

St. Martin's Press: The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal about Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Deirdre Mask

Basic Books: America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee

Random House: This Is Chance!: The Shaking of an All-American City, a Voice That Held It Together by Jon Mooallem

Beach Lane Books: Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex, illustrated by Laurie Keller

Workman Publishing: Click to see full Holiday Quick Pick catalog!

News

Business Stabilizes: B&N to Close Fewer Stores

Barnes & Noble plans to close fewer stores than expected this fiscal year because of "improving sales trends and our increased confidence in the business," Mitchell S. Klipper, CEO, Retail Group, said during a conference call with analysts yesterday (via seekingalpha.com) after the company released third quarter results.

Yesterday, B&N stock fell 10.1%, to $22.36 a share, on six times the usual volume, because B&N's profit during the quarter, which increased 14.1%, didn't increase as much as Wall Street had expected.

Still, as John Tinker, an analyst with Maxim Group, told the Wall Street Journal, "The turnaround continues. This is still a mature business, but it is connecting with its audience."

Instead of closing its usual 20 stores, B&N plans to close only 13 of its 649 general stores this year. Klipper added that B&N's "real estate team has done a spectacular job of managing our lease exposure over the past several years. Every year, we examine each store coming up for lease renewal and review the level of profitability that the store can generate." Those reviews have become more positive.

Klipper said he was proud of the retail division team: "From our merchants who implemented several initiatives to drive traffic and sales in our stores to our booksellers who were on the front lines every day to our development team that secured some of the best real estate across the country, everyone has contributed to our improving trends. The Retail management team has been able to seek and capitalize on opportunities to stem the rate of decline in the physical book sales, while making our stores a destination with discovery that simply cannot be replicated elsewhere.

"We've also become the destination for educational toys and games, and have improved our overall selection of gift items and other products. And through our one-of-a-kind in-store events, we have further reinforced Barnes & Noble as a destination for the communities that we serve. The team has also prudently managed expenses and improved store productivity despite the declining sales trends over the past several years."


Berkley Books: The Return by Rachel Harrison


Hoboken's Little City Books Launches Indiegogo Campaign

Little City Books, the bookstore that aims to open by May 2 in Hoboken, N.J., has launched an Indiegogo campaign, seeking to raise $22,000 to help "in bringing a genuine independent bookstore and gathering place to our fair city."

"Perks" range from bookmarks, stickers and an invitation to the store's opening party (for a $25 donation) up to a "literary cocktail party" in the store with live music, swag and an invitation to the opening party and 10% off purchases the first year (for a $2,000 donation). Several perks are geared to writers and include agent, editor and author critiques and consultations as well as a writing class. (One of the three owners is Emmanuelle Morgen, a literary agent at Stonesong.)

In a kind of update on its plans and construction, the store wrote: "Indie bookstores are making a comeback. Print sales are up and stores are opening around the country. They operate on tiny margins, but after two years of research, we're confident that we can run a great indie bookshop in Hoboken--with an enthusiastic landlord, frugal planning, and community support. We found used shelves in a warehouse outside of Philly--Doug from L&L Van Lines is going to get them to Hoboken. We're buying a rolling ladder from an old pharmacy in Hoboken. We need folding chairs for the many events we have planned--Rob from HarariVille Recording Studio is consulting on the sound system. We need computers for keeping track of it all. We are under construction!"

The Indiegogo campaign runs through April 19.


Nimbus Publishing: Anne of Green Gables: The Original Manuscript by Lucy Maud Montgomery, edited by Carolyn Strom Collins


NACS CEO Brian Cartier to Retire Next Year

Brian Cartier

Brian E. Cartier, CEO of the National Association of College Stores since 1998, is retiring, effective June 30, 2016.

"I am deeply honored to have had the opportunity to serve our industry for nearly 18 years," he said. "And I'm especially proud of what my NACS colleagues, members of our board of trustees past and present, and our thousands of members around the world have accomplished together during a time of both successes and challenges. It's difficult for me to leave this incredible organization, our dedicated board members, and exceptional staff, but for me personally, it is the right time."

Anthony Martin, president of the NACS board of trustees and director of the Houston Baptist University Bookstore in Houston, Texas, wrote in a letter to NACS members, "Brian has guided our association with intellect and care through both good and challenging times for our industry. During Brian's tenure the accomplishments of our association have been vast and have culminated with the formation and positioning of NACS subsidiary indiCo to proactively help promote and position the independent store model as integral to the campus mission."

NACS's board is beginning a search for a new CEO.

Cartier oversees day-to-day operations, finances and management of the 225-person NACS staff and its four subsidiaries, which combined have an annual budget of more than $150 million: NACSCORP, the national wholesale distributor and retail services provider; PartnerShip, a provider of shipping solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses; indiCo, a service and solution provider for independent college stores; and the NACS Foundation, NACS's philanthropic education and research arm.


Quirk Books: Spark and the League of Ursus by Robert Repino


Nebraska Bookstore Set to Close

Aaron-James Booksellers, the new and used bookstore in Plattsmouth, Neb., is closing in the next few months, the Fremont Tribune reported.

Owner Jim Ball said, "I'm well past retirement age, and my wife and I want to travel." Ball, who also said he has health issues, added that he had hoped to sell the store but had received no offers.

Ball called the store "a place to go with something to do to stay out of trouble. I really enjoyed it." He noted, "There hasn't ever been a person come in who doesn't absolutely love this store. Some people come in four or five times a week just to sniff, because they like the smell of old books. It's crazy but it must trigger something for them."


Obituary Notes: Tom Warner; Charlie Hart

Tom Warner, co-owner, with his wife, Vickie Crafton Warner, of Litchfield Books, Pawleys Island, S.C., died on Sunday, March 8. He was 74. Warner worked in the apparel and textile industry before retiring and becoming the co-owner of Litchfield Books.

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Sad news from Kensington Publishing, where general manager Charlie Hart died suddenly on March 4 at the age of 62:

Known for his devotion to the business of publishing, his warm personality, and the daily care he took in his job, Charlie was an integral part of Kensington Publishing's management team and will be missed greatly.

Charlie Hart

During his 17-year tenure at Kensington, he oversaw many changes in the business, including the acquisition of Carol Publishing and Citadel Press, and facilitating two warehouse moves. He was instrumental in the recent distribution change to Penguin Random House Publisher Services, which was completed on March 1.

Steven Zacharius, president and CEO, Kensington Publishing Corp., said: "We all are mourning the loss of our dear colleague, who passed away far too young. He worked in publishing his entire life, and his brilliance and passion for this industry can never be replaced. Charlie was a friend, trusted adviser, and mentor to so many people in our business. Our thoughts are with his wife, daughter and entire family."

Mike Rosamilia, v-p and CFO, Kensington Publishing Corp., added, "He was a gifted colleague and a true friend. He will surely be missed by all those that had the pleasure of ever knowing him."

Before coming to Kensington, Hart held positions at Simon & Schuster, as business manager from 1990 to 1996, and at Picture Book Studios. He received an undergraduate degree from Tufts University and his MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, daughter Jennifer, and legions of colleagues who are grateful to have known him.


Indies Look Forward to End of Long, Cold Winter, Part 2

Now that the temperatures are finally warming this week, we can talk about how the cold and snow affected bookstores. Yesterday, part 1 of this series focused on indies in New England; part 2 looks at several other indies in New England and a few in other parts of the country.

"We are in the Southeast--it's not like Massachusetts," said Lyn Roberts, the general manager of Square Books in Oxford, Miss. Temperatures in Oxford haven't gone below zero this winter, and the biggest snowfall of the year was only six inches, but for a region accustomed to mild winters, it was enough to slow business down noticeably. "We're just unequipped, psychologically or with equipment," Roberts said. "We don't have snow plows here or anything."

Due to snow and ice storms this winter, Square Books had to close early one day and reschedule two events. Both events, though, were for the same author: Mississippi local Jeffrey Stayton. Originally scheduled for early February, Stayton's visit had to be postponed until the following week due to an ice storm late in the day. But, the following week, Square Books closed because of six inches of snow. Stayton was finally able to have his event on March 2.

"He was a good sport, and of course what can anybody really do about it," Roberts said. "We did point out to him that it was sort of good--every time we had to announce a cancellation and rescheduling, that was more traffic and more publicity."

This winter, Roberts said, has been unusual, but not anything "freakish." Business was slower than usual, she admitted, but "I can't complain compared to what other people have been going through."

At Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, Conn., the heavy snowfall and cold temperatures this winter have had a "decided impact" on business, according to owner Fran Keilty. This January was flat compared to January 2014, while February and March have both been down.

"As it's gone on, it's impacted more and more as people get more discouraged," explained Keilty. "The biggest problem has been storms on the weekend. We're in a small rural area; everything shuts down. People aren't going to go out and travel."

Worse than the snowfall, Keilty continued, has been the severe cold--Washington Depot has had several days and evenings with temperatures below zero. Keilty has had to close on five days and cancel one author event, though she doesn't typically schedule very many for the first two months of the year. Now, as the weather has started to slowly improve over the last few weeks, more people are starting to get out and shop.

"I really don't feel that I can complain," she said. "People can get around in their cars; we're not snowed in. It will pass, and it is New England."

For Joan Grenier, the owner of Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass., the winter has been rough, but not so bad as in Boston or northern New England. "We've had to postpone and reschedule events and close for a few days," said Grenier. "It was the coldest winter in a long time, and there was a lot of snow. People just hunkered down."

Some postponed events were moved into February and March, and some rescheduled for as far ahead as April. Grenier reported that despite the closings and cancellations, the store was actually slightly up for the month of February. The reason for that, Grenier figured, was that the store's First Editions Club for January was snowed out, and moved to February.

"We did two in February, so that why we're up a little bit," commented Grenier. "We should've been up a lot more."

At the Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Ky., three large snowfalls in late February and early March slowed business down significantly.

"We thought we'd sort of dodged the weather bullet," said Wyn Morris, the store's owner. But right after he and his staff got back from Winter Institute 10 in Asheville, N.C., it began snowing and more than a foot of snow fell. Two more similarly sized snowstorms have hit since then. "It's really unusual for us," Morris said. "We get snow, but usually not to that degree."

The first major snowfall of the season forced the store to close for two days. Customers and the community rebounded pretty quickly that time, Morris said, but after the other storms, business has been slower to recover. The store had to stay closed for four full days and postpone a few events. Some book shipments have also been slow, due to storms hitting Ingram's warehouse in La Vergne, Tenn. And between the closures, cold weather and slow shipments, Morris added, "Fatigue definitely set in a bit."

In an effort to combat that winter fatigue, Morris and his staff ran a sale on the two coldest days in February. On February 19 and 20, customers who came to the store were "rewarded for their courage" with a discount equal to the temperature above or below zero.

"It was modestly successful," he said. "It was more just something to talk about on social media and remind people we're still here. It didn't become a huge thing. We were very obviously trying to make the best of a bad situation, and encourage people to lighten up a bit."

In an unusual change of pace this season, Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minn., has seen an abnormally mild winter. There were a couple of bouts of severe cold, and a few offsite events were canceled due to poor driving conditions, but according to manager Martin Schmutterer, the weather has hardly affected business.

"We've had very little snow this year," said Schmutterer. "Our year has been relatively untouched. Especially compared to last year, where we had a set of days where we didn't even see zero. It's been a completely atypical year."

He and his staff, Schmutterer continued, usually expect to have at least a few weather-related problems each winter, whether it's snowstorms well into March or April or extreme cold, but this year it hasn't been so bad.

"I think Boston basically got all of our snow," Schmutterer remarked. --Alex Mutter


Notes

Cool Idea of the Day: IBD Swag from Brazos

For Independent Bookstore Day on May 2, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex., has created a coloring book called Hemingwasted: A Loving Look at Literary Lushes, which takes an irreverent look at some of history's literary geniuses. Hemingwasted contains 16 pages featuring legendary authors paired with quotes on the subject of drinking (e.g., Ogden Nash: "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker").

Brazos is making the coloring books available to other bookstores for IBD, at $5 per copy; contact marketing manager Benjamin Rybeck.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: George Hodgman on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: George Hodgman, author of Bettyville: A Memoir (Viking, $27.95, 9780525427209).

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Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Phil Klay, author of Redeployment (Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594204999).

Also on Diane Rehm: David Morris, author of The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544086616).


TV: Madame X

HBO "is in negotiations" for Madame X, a miniseries based on the novel My Notorious Life by Kate Manning, Deadline.com reported, adding that the project would be "toplined by True Blood star Anna Paquin. She would be executive producing with her True Blood co-star/producing partner Stephen Moyer through their production company CASM and actor Jack Black through his Electric Dynamite banner."

Written by Julia Hart (The Keeping Room) and to be directed by Lynn Shelton (Your Sister's Sister), Madame X "falls under the first-look deal HBO inked with Paquin and Moyer's CASM last year for series, films and miniseries, including potential new starring vehicles for Paquin or Moyer," Deadline.com wrote.



Books & Authors

Awards: Hayek; Gilchrist; PEN/Faulkner; Wellcome; Schaffner

James Grant has won the 2015 Hayek Book Prize for The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash that Cured Itself (Simon & Schuster). He receives a $50,000 award and will deliver the annual Hayek lecture in New York in June.

"The Hayek Book Prize celebrates authors who best represent the principles of F.A. Hayek," Manhattan Institute president Larry Mone said. "James Grant's book not only represents those principles but does so by reflecting both the scholarship and universal nature of Hayek."

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Alyce Miller has won the first Ellen Gilchrist Prize in Short Fiction for her short story "Missing." Given biannually, the prize includes an award of $2,000 and the offer of publication of a collection of short stories, in book form, by China Grove Press.

"Missing" was published in the first edition of China Grove, the literary magazine published by China Grove Press.

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The finalists for the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction are:

Jeffery Renard Allen for Song of the Shank
Jennifer Clement for Prayers for the Stolen
Atticus Lish for Preparation for the Next Life
Emily St. John Mandel for Station Eleven
Jenny Offill for Dept. of Speculation

The winner will be announced on April 7.

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Finalists have been announced for the £30,000 (about $45,270) Wellcome Book Prize, which recognizes a work of fiction or nonfiction that has "a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness." The winner will be named April 29. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Iceberg by Marion Coutts
Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being by Alice Roberts
My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

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Dr. Glenn Berger has won the second annual Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature, and his book The Schlepper and the Superstar: My Studio Days with Dylan, Jagger, Sinatra, and More will be published by Schaffner Press in early summer 2016.

"Glenn Berger's lively, colorful, and insightful memoir of working among the giants of the music industry is the perfect follow-up to Alice Fogel's Interval in capturing the essence of how music moves us, influences us and changes our lives," said publisher Timothy Schaffner.

The award celebrates the life of Schaffner's brother, Nicholas Schaffner, a poet, musician, biographer and esteemed music critic.


Book Brahmin: Chloe Neill

photo: Dana Damewood

Chloe Neill is the author of the bestselling Devil's Isle, Chicagoland Vampires and Dark Elite series. Her latest book in the Chicagoland series is Dark Debt (NAL, March 3, 2015). Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. When not writing, she bakes, works and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Neill also maintains her sanity by spending time with her husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout.

On your nightstand now:

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and anything by Lois Lenski, Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. When I was older, I loved the Three Investigators books by Robert Arthur, Jr.

Your top five authors:

How about six "autobuys": J.D. Robb, Nathaniel Philbrick, Diana Gabaldon, Jo Bourne, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman.

Book you've faked reading:

I don't think I've ever faked reading a book. (What would be the point?) But I fake-read plenty of articles in graduate school.

dark debtBooks you're an evangelist for:

Three series: J.D. Robb's In Death books, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books and Jo Bourne's spy novels. Fantastic characters, fantastic writing, fantastic worlds.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I can't think of a book I've bought solely based on the cover. I'm really picky about voice, so I always try to read at least the first page or two. But I've certainly read samples (and then bought) plenty of books based on striking covers. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which is really gorgeous, was on my Christmas list this year.

Book that changed your life:

I couldn't point to one. I've read so many books, and I'm sure they've affected me in ways I'm not even aware of! The Little House on the Prairie books taught me to read, so I'll adore them forever.

Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey was the first romance novel I remember reading, and I adored the plucky heroine and big family. It fostered my love of clever romance series--and my plan to write one.

Favorite line from a book:

I'm not a favorite line kind of gal, but I do have a favorite mechanism--footnotes. I adore fiction books that use footnotes successfully, like those in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

Which character you most relate to:

Probably any character who's extra curious or who feels they don't quite fit in.

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

Gabaldon's Outlander. I'd love to experience Claire's and Jamie's meeting and adventures for the first time.


Book Review

YA Review: One Thing Stolen

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart (Chronicle, $17.99 hardcover, 9781452128313, April 7, 2015)

In a small flat in Florence, Nadia Cara is losing words, time and, quite possibly, her mind.

Beth Kephart's (Going Over) latest novel takes readers to the heart of Florence and mental illness. Amid cobblestone walkways, massive cathedrals and countless shops, a young American woman fears for her sanity. Nadia has come to Florence with her parents and younger brother, Jack, during her father's sabbatical while he researches the 1966 flood that nearly destroyed the city. As Jack immerses himself in the world of Italian cooking, Nadia finds herself losing bits of time and finding other things. Nadia secretly becomes an increasingly compulsive thief, stealing bits and pieces from shops and pockets that she later will transform into otherworldly, beautiful nests. Nadia's family notices her unexplained injuries and odd behavior--disappearing to whereabouts unknown, her speech becoming reluctant and halted. Even more troubling is Nadia's insistence that she has met an Italian boy with impossibly bright hair and a duffle bag always full of flowers. Nadia realizes something is wrong with her, but she knows Benedetto is real, even if no one else has seen him. Only with the appearance of an old college friend of her father, retired neurologist Katherine, does an explanation for Nadia's behavior seem possible.

Nadia's gut-wrenching descent into her unexplained illness is explored through carefully crafted narrative and the later, cautious observations of those who love her. Kephart's novel succeeds on many levels. One Thing Stolen takes the bold approach of keeping the majority of the story, all of Nadia's descent, solely in Nadia's perspective. Readers cannot easily determine if she is a reliable narrator, or if parts of her story may be delusions. Benedetto's appearances and disappearances add an element of mystery and the bittersweet potential of young love. Nadia is a fascinating character, aware of her own troubles but unable to explain or even express many of her own symptoms, asking readers, "What is the name of this disease, the name for the girl who builds nests with stolen things, who sees what others do not see, who can barely, hardly speak?" Avoiding the clichés and melodrama that can plague books dealing with mental illness, Kephart applies a deft hand and instead looks inward and asks readers to come along with Nadia and experience the danger and beauty of her world. --Kyla Paterno

Shelf Talker: A young American in Italy fears for her sanity as words become harder to express.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
2. Falling For My Best Friend's Brother by J. S. Cooper and Helen Cooper
3. Beneath This Ink by Meghan March
4. The Deal (Off Campus Book 1) by Elle Kennedy
5. Ynyr (Tornians Book 3) by M.K. Eidem
6. Complete Submission (The Submission Series Books 1-8) by CD Reiss
7. Seaside Secrets by Melissa Foster
8. Thin Line (Jack Noble Book 3) L.T. Ryan
9. Blackest Red by P.T. Michelle
10. The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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