Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 25, 2015


Scholastic Press: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Scholastic Press: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

DC Comics: Aquaman Vol. 1: Unspoken Water by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Robson Rocha

Sourcebooks Fire: I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

DC Comics: The Green Lantern Vol. 1: Intergalactic Lawman by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Liam Sharp

Forge Books: Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

News

B&N Sales Down, Losses Lessen

In the fourth quarter ended May 2, consolidated revenue at Barnes & Noble fell 10.4%, to $1.2 billion, and the net loss was $19.4 million (37 cents a share), compared to a net loss of $47.3 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

For the full year, consolidated revenues fell 4.9%, to $6.1 billion, and the net gain was $36.6 million compared to a net loss of $47.3 million in the previous year.

The fourth-quarter results slightly beat Wall Street analysts' estimates. They had predicted an earnings loss of 39 cents a share and revenue in a range of $1.16 billion to $1.18 billion.

Michael P. Huseby, B&N's CEO, said that the company is "successfully implementing strategic and operating initiatives" and ended the fiscal year "with an improved balance sheet, and also well positioned to move forward with a focus on operations and our customers." He noted that Nook losses "improved slightly" and that the college division "continued to grow its new business, improve its comparable store sales trends and develop its digital education platform, Yuzu." B&N expects to spin off the college operations--recently dubbed Barnes & Noble Education--by the end of August.

Revenues at the Retail segment, which includes Barnes & Noble Bookstores and BN.com, fell 9%, to $869 million, in the quarter, and fell 4.4%, to $4.1 billion, for the full year. The year-to-year comparison was hurt by an extra week in the previous fiscal year. At stores open at least a year, sales fell 1.3% in the quarter and 1.9% for the full year. Excluding Nook products, sales fell 0.5% in the quarter and rose 0.5% for the year.

Revenues in the College segment fell 8.1%, to $274 million in the quarter, and rose 1.4%, to $1.8 billion for the year. At stores open at least a year, sales rose 6% in the quarter because of higher general merchandise and textbook sales and rose 0.1% for the year, with higher general merchandise sales offset by increased adoption of lower priced textbook rentals.

Sales in the Nook segment, (including digital content, devices and accessories, fell 39.8%, to $52 million in the quarter and dropped 47.8%, to $264 million for the full year.

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In other B&N news, the company's store at Muskegon Community College, Muskegon, Mich., is opening a branch downtown in the college's new satellite campus, mlive.com reported. The store will be open to the public and offer college-branded items as well as reading materials and other items.

The college is currently renovating the former Muskegon Chronicle and Masonic Temple buildings for the new campus.


MPIBA: Publishers, promote your books to hundreds of thousands of consumers - Reserve space in the 2019 holiday gift guide (print & digital catalogs)


Waterstones' Daunt: 'We've Changed'

Since its purchase by Alexander Mamut in 2011, Waterstones has changed to a company that's "more customer-focused, with booksellers who have more flexible working hours, more accountability and higher energy," managing director James Daunt said, speaking at a conference in the U.K. and quoted by the Bookseller.

James Daunt

"In 2011, booksellers spent their time stickering, ordering and returning books, but now more time is spent helping customers; their tasks were once routine and customers had little trust in staff, but now trust is much higher, with booksellers' days spent improving the shop and recommending books instead of trying to please the bookshop manager or publishers, Daunt said. There is also now stronger accountability among booksellers with performance-related pay, and high energy when there was once low energy, he added." Waterstones has also changed its buying process, cut returns by 70% and halved the staff in its head office.

Daunt said that publishers now value Waterstones because "it actively sells books," with the Book of the Month promotion, events that showcase books and generally "being alert to what publishers need." The company's mission is important, he continued. "It is all our responsibilities to encourage investment in libraries and reading. We live or die by our culture."


Abbeville Kids: Women's World Cup 2019 and Stars of Women's Soccer by Illugi Jokulsson


Itinerant Literate Bookmobile Opening in Charleston

Itinerant Literate Books is "a two-woman pop-up and mobile bookseller which will operate out of an Airstream trailer in the upper peninsula," the Charleston, S.C., City Paper reported. For now, co-owners Julia Turner and Christen Thompson "are exclusively doing pop-up events around town, but they plan to have their bookmobile up and running by the fall."

The women met in 2012 at the Denver Publishing Institute, and subsequently worked together at the History Press in Charleston, where they conceived their mobile bookshop idea. "We'd had a conversation about opening a bookstore," Thompson said. "It happened weirdly naturally and slowly. It would be little things we'd see in Shelf Awareness... or seeing these little ideas for really cool things bookstores were doing. We'd say, 'We wish there was a bookstore here doing that.' "

Turner added: "I think at one time we were talking about a seven-year plan. Five seemed too short and 10 seemed too long." But as they prepared for this year's ABA Winter Institute, Thompson and Turner "brainstormed some options for how to get their store off the ground so that they'd be able to get feedback and advice from other booksellers at the conference," City Paper wrote. 

"We were like, 'How can we prove we're serious about this before we actually have a space?' " Turner said. "We thought about doing pop-up events, maybe having a trailer we could sell out of. Then we decided we should just do everything mobile--do a bookmobile."

Inspired by feedback from WI10, they returned energized and have been hosting pop-up events ever since. In August, Itinerant Literate will launch a $65,000 crowdfunding campaign to purchase and outfit an Airstream for their mobile bookstore.

"We don't want to be just the bookstore that we want--we want to be the bookstore that the community wants and needs," Thompson said.


Soho Crime: The Second Biggest Nothing (Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery #14) by Colin Cotterill


'Harry Potter Book Night' Returns in February

Harry Potter Book Night will return for a second year on February 4, 2016, Bloomsbury Children's Books has announced. The U.K. publisher noted that for the first Harry Potter Book Night last February, "there were an amazing 10,500 parties and celebrations held all over the world, and we were overwhelmed by your fabulous pictures--so we can't wait to see where your imaginations take you next.... There will be masses of magical ideas, events and activities for you to get involved with, which we will be announcing over the coming months, so please do accept this as your official invitation to join the fun and start your own planning."


Obituary Note: Verlyn D. Verbrugge

Verlyn D. Verbrugge, longtime Zondervan editor, author, teaching pastor, and New Testament scholar, died on Sunday following a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 72.

Verbrugge was one of Zondervan's principal production editors for 29 years, specializing in areas of New Testament studies and Biblical Greek. He edited more than 700 books and resources, working with authors, including Henry Cloud, Bill Hybels, Charles Swindoll, Carolyn Custis James, F. F. Bruce, Thomas Schreiner, Karen Jobes, Moisés Silva and Kevin Vanhoozer.

Verbrugge also wrote several Zondervan academic titles, including The New International Dictionary of the New Testament Theology: Abridged Edition and Devotions on the Greek New Testament, which he co-edited with J. Scott Duvall. His most recent book, Paul & Money: A Biblical and Theological Analysis of the Apostle's Teachings and Practices, co-written with his former Ph.D. student Keith Krell, was released just this past Tuesday, two days after his death.


Notes

Image of the Day: Hubbub in Boston

Photo by Mike Ritter/Ritterbin Photography

The inaugural Hubbub: Creative Commotion for Kids festival, organized by the Boston Book Festival, attracted nearly 8,000 visitors to Boston's Copley Square last Saturday. The free family festival provided arts and creativity programming for kids of all ages at Boston Public Library, Old South Church, Boston Common Hotel and outdoors at Copley Square Park. The seventh annual Boston Book Festival takes place on October 24.


Byrd's Books: Bethel's Business of the Year

Congratulations to Alice Hutchinson, owner of Byrd's Books, Bethel, Conn., and winner of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce's Business of the Year award.

Bobbi Jo Beers, executive director of the Chamber, told the Danbury News-Times that Hutchinson's dedication to the community and her efforts to support the town earned her the award, citing the store's participation in Small Business Saturday and other efforts, including hosting "renowned visiting authors to attract more people into the downtown.

"Alice does a great job in self promoting her business, but she also does that while understanding the changing dynamics in the retail sector while still grasping community spirit," Beers added. "She does so much--all in her own store--but with the idea of driving more traffic into Bethel. She really is a huge asset to the town."

"Local residents understand the uniqueness of our downtown and how important it is to preserve it," Hutchinson said. "The downtown has always been a special destination, and now that people are starting to focus again on its development, we can make a real difference. I feel very strongly that we have something we can contribute to the town as a retailer."


Berlin's Shakespeare and Sons: Books and Bagels

NPR Berlin profiled Shakespeare and Sons, an English-language bookstore on Warschauerstrasse where "walls lined with books and the smell of fresh bagels and coffee set the atmosphere." Owner Roman Kratovichla's passion for bookselling was sparked in the 1990s when he accepted a friend's invitation to spend a summer in Paris.

"So I could use his apartment but I could also do his job which was working at Shakespeare and Company, the legendary bookstore," he said. "I didn't hesitate for a minute, I went and I did that and I loved it so much that I decided that I wanted to stay longer than that and I had to persuade the old man [George Whitman] who was still the guy who started it in the '50s, to hire me and keep me on the job, which he did. So I stayed for another year."

After returning to Prague, he opened Shakespeare and Sons bookstore, but eventually he and his wife moved to Berlin. "We found a place in Prenzlauer Berg, started a bookstore and then Laurel decided she needed to start the bagels, so she experimented with it. It turned out very well. I think she sort of found she is a natural baker, despite studying physics at university."

Although Shakespeare and Sons currently has two Berlin locations, the Prenzlauer Berg shop will close after the winter holidays. "Ideally you would get both locals who are sort of open to this idea of English books and the cafe, but you need tourists as well," he said of the Warschauerstrasse store. "So this place just was so perfect because it's very light, it's very busy street, it has a history, which I always like. It's been a bookstore since they built the building in the early 1960s."


Road Trip: 8 Indian Bookshops 'Bucking the Trend'

Writing that "independent bookshops are roaring back to life" and that "many stalwarts are now run by second- and third-generation owners, and their resilience and their enduring commitment is cause for celebration," Sayoni Basu, director of children's publisher Duckbill Books, explored "eight indie booksellers in India who are bucking the trend of chain stores."

"I say good night to the books every night when shutting down the store," said Ravi Menezes of Goobes Book Republic in Bangalore. "Running my fingers over them lovingly, I think I have a book fetish. Actually I do have a book fetish, tall book racks are a turn-on as well (seriously). I hug books too."

Ritu Sarin, co-owner of KoolSkool in Gurgaon, said, "We started out as library suppliers, importing children's books that were not readily available in India for discerning school libraries. Our client schools loved what we picked for them and started inviting us to hold exhibitions for their students and parents. Their support and constant encouragement gave us the strength to take our first nervous step into retail."


Media and Movies

Movies: Ferals; The Nightingale

Fox 2000 "is ramping up development" of Ferals, based on the first book in Jacob Grey's YA fantasy novel trilogy, and has hired screenwriter Max Botkin to adapt, Variety reported. Marisa Paiva and Nikki Ramey are overseeing development for the studio.

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Ann Peacock (The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe) will adapt Kristin Hannah novel The Nightingale for Elizabeth Cantillon (Concussion) to produce at TriStar, Deadline.com reported.


This Weekend on Book TV: Johnny Dwyer

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, June 27
3:15 p.m. Interviews with Rita Gabis, author of A Guest at the Shooters' Banquet: My Grandfather's SS Past, My Jewish Family, A Search for the Truth (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781632862617), and Sarah Weinman, news editor for Publishers Marketplace, at BEA.

5:15 p.m. Johnny Dwyer, author of American Warlord: A True Story (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307273482), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 7:15 a.m.)

7 p.m. John Palfrey, author of BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books, $26.99, 9780465042999). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m.)

8 p.m. Alan Axelrod, author of Lost Destiny: Joe Kennedy Jr. and the Doomed WWII Mission to Save London (Palgrave Macmillan, $28, 9781137279040).

9 p.m. Michael Stokes Paulsen, co-author of The Constitution: An Introduction (Basic Books, $29.99, 9780465053728).

10 p.m. Nelson Denis, author of War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America's Colony (Nation Books, $28.99, 9781568585017). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)


Sunday, June 28
12 a.m. Stephen Witt, author of How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy (Viking, $27.95, 9780525426615), at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, N.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m.)

1 p.m. Robert P. Burns, author of Kafka's Law: 'The Trial' and American Criminal Justice (University of Chicago Press, $29, 9780226167473). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

6 p.m. Chris Woods, author of Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780190202590).

7:45 p.m. H.W. Brands, author of Reagan: The Life (Doubleday, $35, 9780385536394).

10 p.m. Robert Wachter, author of The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age (McGraw-Hill, $30, 9780071849463), at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, Calif.

11 p.m. Pamela Newkirk, author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga (Amistad, $25.99, 9780062201003).



Books & Authors

Awards: Sunburst Shortlists

Shortlists for the Sunburst Awards, sponsored by the Sunburst Award Society and honoring "excellence in Canadian literature of the fantastic," have been announced. Winners will be named in the fall, with each receiving $1,000 (about US$806) and a Sunburst medallion. The shortlisted titles are:

Adult
The Troop by Nick Cutter
The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My Real Children by Jo Walton
Will Starling by Ian Weir

Young adult
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvery
Sophie, in Shadow by Eileen Kernaghan
The Door in the Mountain by Caitlin Sweet


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
The Sunlit Night: A Novel by Rebecca Dinerstein (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781632861122). "The endless daylight of a Norwegian summer is the perfect backdrop for this warm and quirky debut filled with unusual characters and situations, a setting that is real yet somehow out of time, visual and precise writing, emotional warmth, and faith in the healing power of love. This tale of Frances and Yasha, their families, and their companions during a transformative summer in perpetual Arctic light is a perfect read for fans of Nicole Krauss' The History of Love or Bill Forsyth's classic movie, Local Hero." --Anmiryan Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, Penn.

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul Tremblay (Morrow, $25, 9780062363237). "This is the kind of scary novel that has more in mind than just the scares. When a family believes their eldest daughter is possessed, they allow a reality TV show to air a program detailing their trauma. But is Marjorie actually possessed? Could she be seeking attention or actually developing schizophrenia? As seen through the eyes of her eight-year-old sister, the answers aren't always easy, even when the younger sister is an adult looking back on her experience of watching her older sibling fall apart, and she tries to make sense of what happened through the tropes of horror films and gothic literature. A spooky story, but with a tragic, heart-felt difference." --Bill Carl, The Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, Ohio

Paperback
Next Life Might Be Kinder: A Novel by Howard Norman (Mariner, $14.95, 9780544484061). "Norman's new novel has the elements that make all of his previous novels so superb: the elegant writing, an omnipresent sense of place, an exploration of love, and the tension of a quiet center punctuated by bursts of violence. The story of Sam Lattimore in the aftermath of his beloved wife's murder is erotically charged, mysterious, and haunting. You shouldn't miss it." --Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12
Close to the Wind by Jon Walter (David Fickling Books, $17.99, 9780545816625). "Close to the Wind shows readers what modern war is like from the perspective of a 10-year-old boy, Malik. There are no battlefields or bodies, just the frightening and confusing reality that many urban refugees continue to face during political upheaval. Walter does not name the country that Malik is escaping from or the details of the source of the conflict, allowing readers to concentrate on Malik's tender-hearted character and his responses with the attention and respect that he and others like him deserve." --Clare Doornbos, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur, Calif.

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff (Philomel, $16.99, 9780399164064). "In the seven months since he was responsible for a hockey accident that resulted in a friend's death, Trent has been increasingly convinced that everyone--his brothers, his dad, his friends--hates him. He is dealing with the guilt and has been withdrawing from the world until the resident 'weird girl,' Fallon, reaches out to him. She understands rejection because of the scar on her face, and with her friendship Trent slowly realizes the power of forgiveness and letting go. Graff tackles deep subjects successfully, and provides a resolution that is both heartfelt and fitting." --Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 30:

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451659160) follows two brothers who recently retraced the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon.

The English Spy by Daniel Silva (Harper, $27.99, 9780062320131) continues the Gabriel Allon thriller series.

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer and August Cole (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544142848) presents a plausible future war between China and the U.S.

Local Girls: A Novel by Caroline Zancan (Riverhead, $25.95, 9781594633645) follows a group of teenage girl friends.

As Night Falls: A Novel by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine, $26, 9780553394818) centers on a rural home invaded by two escaped convicts.

Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life by Ron Clark (Touchstone, $20, 9781501105036) gives business management advice.

A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America by Ted Cruz (Broadside, $27.99, 9780062365613) is written by a potential Republican presidential candidate.

Now in paperback:

Viral: Stories by Emily Mitchell (Norton, $15.95, 9780393350531).


Book Review

Review: Mirages of the Mind

Mirages of the Mind by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, trans. by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad and (New Directions, $19.95 trade paper, 9780811224130, July 7, 2015)

Witty, highly educated Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi is, at age 92, Pakistan's most revered living writer. His fourth novel, Mirages of the Mind, originally published in 1990 and the first to be translated into English, is more than 500 pages long, occasionally baffling, frequently culturally opaque and certainly not about plot. And yet it is profoundly good-humored, genuinely wise and often laugh-out-loud funny.

Mirages of the Mind is composed of five novellas, creating one long mosaic of hundreds of tiny stories, anecdotes and domestic comedies spanning some 70 years, centered on Mushtaq's dear friend Basharat and his many disasters. Basharat is a schoolteacher obsessed with horses and is constantly repairing his worthless car. He is surrounded by his devoted father, his quarrelsome father-in-law, his secretary (formerly a preacher), his driver (formerly a barber) and his moneylender (who moves in until Basharat can repay him). These men care more about lumber, horses, hookahs, poetry and each other than they do about chasing women. Female characters are few, brief and unnamed, referred to only as somebody's wife or somebody's daughter. In spite of this, when Basharat loses his unnamed wife of 45 years, he is devastated.

Some stories are told by Basharat, and others are told about Basharat by his friend Mushtaq. One vignette leads to another in an associative spiral of digressions and narrators until it's hard to know exactly who's talking or where or why. What continues to draw the reader onward through this dense and frequently hilarious confusion is Yousufi's voice, loving and ironic at the same time, delighted with the process of storytelling itself. He alternates wisdom with humor, pathos and pratfalls.

The first novella is about Basharat's foul-tempered father-in-law, who causes so much trouble he ends up in jail. The second centers on Basharat's obsession with owning a handsome horse and carriage. The middle one concerns the purchase of an automobile and its combination with a truck into something halfway between the two. The fourth novella is set decades later and tells of a return visit to Basharat's home town in India, featuring old Master Aasi, who confuses everyone by insisting he's a Buddhist. The last goes back to Basharat's initial days as a schoolteacher, when his village school hosts a poetry festival.

Yousufi's stories are frequently laced with words left untranslated describing special types of music, food, clothing, furniture, poetry and singing, all without a glossary, but even when what's happening is unclear, the author's sense of humor and good nature shine through. Yousufi has opinions on the value of college education, the moral conduct of dogs, the joys of ailing and why Jewish prophets all rode donkeys. He brings to life a world where machine guns are taken to weddings and where poor women dye their dung-covered floors to look like carpets. His comical storytelling is deftly captured in this English translation, providing a lighthearted (if unguided) plunge into one of the treasures of contemporary Pakistani culture. --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: The first English translation of a novel by the revered 92-year-old Pakistani writer showcases the comic misadventures of a schoolteacher with a weakness for horses and cars.


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