Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 4, 2016


Scribner Book Company: Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

Flatiron Books: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: You Matter by Christian Robinson

St. Martin's Press: Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman's Journey Into the Heart of Africa by Brad Ricca

Quirk Books: This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: When I Draw a Panda by Amy June Bates

Random House: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

News

Done: Perseus Sold to Ingram and Hachette

The sales of Perseus Books Group publishing operations to Hachette Book Group and its distribution operations to Ingram Content Group both closed late last week.

Ingram chairman and CEO John Ingram noted that with the purchase, "Ingram's center of gravity is shifting to one that is more focused on providing comprehensive publisher services on a global scale. This acquisition supports this shift and our ongoing transformation. We're strengthening our commitment to the success of our clients and customers, and are excited about what the future holds for Ingram and the book business."

Ingram is combining Perseus's client service business, which has 600 publisher clients, with Ingram Publisher Services, which has some 115 clients. Ingram is adding Perseus's warehouse in Jackson, Tenn., to its warehouse network. Longtime the largest wholesaler in the country, Ingram is now also the largest distributor.

Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO, called his company's purchase of Perseus's publishing operations "a major step forward for Hachette. It adds to our portfolio of publishers a new program of great diversity and strength, and advances our strategic goals of overall growth, and the expansion of our nonfiction and backlist catalogs." Perseus Books is now a major new publishing division of the company.

In a letter, CEO and president David Steinberger thanked Perseus employees "for all of your hard work on behalf of the company, our authors, our books and the publishers who we served. I could not be more proud of what we accomplished together.

"I am also deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside so many extraordinary colleagues who, over and over again, demonstrated character, talent and--of course--tenacity, in working toward our common mission.

"I am reminded at this time what a privilege it is to be able to work at a place where what we do is important--to readers, to the culture and to the world. As our author Viktor Frankl reminds us, what people search for in their lives, and certainly our work lives, is meaning. I have found great meaning in our work together that I will carry with me always."

With the sale of the company, Steinberger is leaving the company. He will continue as chair of the National Book Foundation, but "beyond that, I am going to spend some time before deciding what comes next."

Among other top Perseus executives, senior v-p and group publisher Susan Weinberg is joining Hachette as senior v-p and publisher of Perseus Books, and Matty Goldberg, Perseus president of publishing, client and sales development, is joining Ingram.

Most of the other top Perseus executives apparently are not moving to either Hachette or Ingram, including:

Charles Gallagher, COO, who joined Perseus in 2010 as CFO and was promoted in 2014.

Mark Suchomel, president, client services, who was in charge of the distribution side of Perseus. Longtime president of IPG, he joined Perseus in 2013 as founder of the Legato Publishing Group and was promoted in 2014.

Rick Joyce, chief marketing officer, who joined Perseus in 2005, after spending more than a dozen years as a consultant with Accenture and Booz Allen & Hamilton.

Raymond Floyd, senior v-p for operations, who joined Perseus in 2014. A veteran operations executive, he had earlier worked at General Electric for 13 years.

Chris Wagner, v-p of distribution and general manager of Jackson operations, who had been with Perseus since 2005. Before that, for five years, he was CFO of Client Distribution Services, which was bought by Perseus.

David Bronstein, chief talent officer, who before joining the company in 2012, held executive HR positions at several companies.


Anansi International: This Lovely City by Louise Hare


NOLA's Maple Street Bookshop Robbed at Knifepoint

Maple Street Book Shop in New Orleans was robbed late Thursday afternoon by a man brandishing a knife. The Times-Picayune reported that bookstore owner Gladin Scott said the middle-aged man entered the store "wearing an orange construction worker vest, similar to the ones worn by crews that had been doing roadwork in the area recently. Police said the man was also wearing a leather tool belt and dark sunglasses." Surveillance video has been released that police said may show the man and the truck he drove.

"I assumed he had been working on the street that day and stopped in to get a book," said Scott, who was in the shop with one employee and several customers. The man asked the staff member "to help him find a book about Albert Einstein. Scott left the store before the robbery took place, he said, but he was told that the man put a knife to the employee's neck and ordered her to empty the register," the Times-Picayune wrote. The theft took place without the customers being aware of what was happening.

Although the bookseller "was very shaken up," Scott said "she conducted herself calmly. She handled the situation responsibly.... You'd never expect something like that to happen. We're just a little bookstore."


University of California Press: The Mating Game: How Gender Still Shapes How We Date by Ellen Lamont


Hawaii's Koa Books Sold

Arnie Kotler, editor-in-chief of Koa Books, has sold Koa's 12 titles to focus on his own editing and publishing consulting service. Seven titles and the Koa name have moved to Chiron Publications of Asheville, N.C., including Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace by Maxine Hong Kingston; two to Bess Press of Honolulu, including Georgia O'Keeffe's Hawai'i by Patricia Jennings Morriss and Maria Ausherman; one to Duke University Press; one to Haymarket Books; and the last to Punawai Press of Maui.

Kotler has been an editor of nonfiction since 1985, when he helped develop Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dōgen with Japanese scholar Kazuaki Tanahashi (North Point/FSG). That year he also co-founded Parallax Press, publisher of Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. At Parallax and Koa, Kotler's titles focused on social activism, mindfulness and spirituality. In 2005, Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, said "Arnie has an unerring instinct for agents of change, and he has been able to deliver their messages."

For a full list of Koa's titles and their new destinations, check its website.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.06.20


Indie Bookstores Selling Digital Audiobooks Through Libro.fm

"From the beginning I realized that indie bookstore customers are buying digital audiobooks, but they're not buying them from their local indie bookstores," said Mark Pearson, the co-founder of Libro.fm. Although the Seattle, Wash., company has been around for close to three years, it wasn't until last month that it began doing what it was created for: providing independent booksellers a platform through which they can sell digital audiobooks to their customers. (For several years, downloadable audio has been one of the fastest-growing book categories; at the same time, CD audio sales have been declining.)

Libro.fm's Indie Partner Program is simple: indie bookstores can set up co-branded audiobook online storefronts at no charge. Customers can then browse that storefront on their devices, including tablets, laptops, desktops and smartphones (at the moment, the Libro.fm app is available only for iOS; an Android version will be available in the next few weeks). Each page on the storefront features that store's name and logo, and stores can also choose to write custom messages for their customers. All Libro.fm audiobooks are DRM-free and can be listened to through the free Libro.fm app.

Mark Pearson

"It's taken a long time to get here," said Pearson, who has been in the publishing industry for more than a decade. One of the reasons for the wait, he explained, was the legwork required to come to agreements with major publishing houses so that the service could launch with a "complete catalogue." Another equally important reason was the development of the app itself, which was guided since the beginning by feedback from booksellers. The Libro.fm team learned a lot, Pearson added, from the Kobo-ABA partnership and the feelings of dissatisfaction many booksellers have had with it. A few booksellers in particular, including Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books in Ravenna and Lake Forest Park, Wash., and Matt Norcross of McLean and Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Mich., were instrumental in providing feedback.

"We basically asked them, what do you want? What would be the best way to offer digital audiobooks?" Pearson recalled. Pearson and his team were told that indies wanted something that's easy to use for both the stores and for customers, and would let the booksellers know what their customers were actually buying.

"It's been a community effort," Pearson emphasized. "We didn't come in and say this is a great solution. This has come from the stores and listening to what they say."

A few dozen indies have so far partnered with Libro.fm, with the number increasing fairly steadily. Among the initial adopters were Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Tex., Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island, Wash., Papercuts J.P. in Boston, Mass., and Village Books in Bellingham, Wash.

"I tried stocking a couple audiobooks on CD over the holidays--the new memoirs by Elvis Costello and Patti Smith--but those are high prices for an unwieldy pile of CDs," said Kate Layte, the owner and manager of Papercuts J.P. By comparison, Libro.fm's audiobooks are more affordable and convenient. Digital audiobooks are also one of the fastest-growing categories of book sales, Layte added, and now independent booksellers have an option for meeting that demand.

So far, she said, her customers have responded very positively. Layte has made about a dozen sales in less than two weeks while continuing to get the word out. To that end, she first told customers about the service in a newsletter, created a Libro.fm playlist of "Authors, in Their Own Words" featuring audiobooks narrated by the authors themselves, and is launching a promotion called Papercuts Presents: Coloring + Audio. Papercuts J.P. will distribute some 2,000 custom-made flyers for customers to color while listening to audiobooks. The flyer was designed with the help of a local artist, Layte said, and Libro worked closely with the store in creating the promotion.

"New technology always takes a little while to adopt, but I think once people see just how easy this is, and how they'll be supporting their favorite indie bookstore, there's really nothing not to love," said Layte.

At Blue Willow Bookshop, owner Valerie Koehler began selling digital audiobooks through Libro.fm a few weeks ago. Koehler has sold audiobook CDs in the past, but found the space they require to be prohibitive. Customers who have previously purchased audiobooks, Koehler reported, have so far been pleased with Libro.fm. Koehler has spread the word via her store's newsletter, and is planning an in-store display.

"I think it's important to offer a full range of books on your website," said Koehler. "If they don't order from us, the alternative is to lose the business."

Libro.fm also provides marketing resources online for its indie partners, and will work with individual stores to help market audiobooks. "The response has been great," said Pearson. "We want to be in every indie bookstore." --Alex Mutter


Berkley Books: Meet You in the Middle by Devon Daniels


Obituary Note: Frank De Felitta

Screenwriter and author Frank De Felitta, who wrote the 1975 bestselling horror novel Audrey Rose "because, he said, he suspected that his own son might be channeling a dead pianist," died March 29, the New York Times reported. He was 94. The book, which was adapted into a 1977 movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Marsha Mason, sold some 3.5 million copies in paperback. De Felitta's other books include For Love of Audrey Rose, The Entity, Golgotha Falls and Sea Trial.


University of California Press: A Brief History of Fascist Lies by Federico Finchelstein


Notes

Image of the Day: Contest Winner Anderson's Bookshop

Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill., was the winner of Sourcebooks' Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore contest. Sourcebooks publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah (c.) presented Becky Anderson (l.) and Tres Anderson (r.) with the top prize--a $3,000 grant. Out of more than 12,000 votes cast, Anderson's received 934 votes during the six-week contest. 

Berkley Books: Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller


Happy Birthday, the Bookstore in Lenox!

Congratulations to The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass., which celebrated its 40th anniversary under the ownership of Matt Tannenbaum on Friday "with an all-day party including story-telling, poetry, jokes, music, food and beverages," the Berkshire Eagle reported.

Tannenbaum discovered his true calling in the early 1970s when he landed a job as a stock boy at the Gotham Book Mart in Manhattan: "It was the key to the rest of my life," he said, adding that after moving briefly to Washington to be a shipping clerk at a small-press wholesaler, he returned to the East Coast in 1975, and moved to the Berkshires without a job, but figuring that "somehow I could always stay in the book trade." A year later, he learned The Bookstore was for sale and took the leap.

Matt Tannenbaum celebrating The Bookstore's 40th. (photo: David Wilk)

"There was always a comfort level that you couldn't find in other stores," Tannenbaum said while conceding that "we had some bad years. I was new, had bought too many books and made a lot of mistakes. I wasn't going wide enough in my choices, I had a learning curve.... Recessions have affected us a bit, but basically we kept growing. I had a daily dollar amount in mind that we should average. At the start, a couple of hundred dollars a day. But that was never my driving point. My job was to have good books for the people and I didn't know how much you had to sell the bestsellers to afford the core books we need to have. These are my 'Gotham books'; my gold standard."

Encouraged by the resurgence of indies in recent years, he observed: "The most important thing I've learned was not to compete with something I didn't need to compete with, because their product was never my product." With local orientation and loyal community support, "my business was getting better every year." He credited his survival to "location, reputation and good will. That has just increased, and it's completely intangible, you can't put a dollar value on it."


Cool Idea of the Day: Foyles' Bookseller2000

As longtime April Fool's Day aficionados, the editors at Shelf Awareness offer a tip of the cap to U.K. bookeller Foyles for its clever introduction last Friday of the company's first fully automated employee, the Bookseller2000, a "holographic bookseller that can respond to customer inquiries." There are, as the video shows, a few kinks still to be worked out.


Personnel Changes at Ten Speed; Viking Penguin

Effective April 11, Allison Malec Renzulli is joining Ten Speed Press as associate director of marketing. For the past two years she was culinary marketing director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She will be located in the Crown Publishing Group New York office, allowing Ten Speed to have a presence in New York, and will work closely with the Crown sales team and colleagues in the Clarkson Potter marketing department as well as with many of our New York promotional partners. She earlier was a member of the Clarkson Potter marketing department.

Also at Ten Speed:
 
David Hawk has been promoted to assistant publicity director.
 
Daniel Wikey has been promoted to manager, marketing and publicity.
 
Erin Welke has been promoted to manager, publicity.

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Olivia Taussig has joined the Viking Penguin publicity department as a publicist. Most recently she was a publicist at Other Press and prior to that was at Quercus and McSweeney's.


Media and Movies

TV: Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects, a "high-profile drama series project starring Amy Adams" and based on Gillian Flynn's 2006 novel, "has landed at HBO with an eight-episode straight-to-series first season order," Deadline reported. Marti Noxon (UnReal) is showrunner for the project, with Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild) directing. Noxon wrote the pilot script and Flynn is set to write multiple episodes.


Media Heat: HGTV's Property Brothers on Colbert's Late Show

Today:
CBS This Morning: Steve Case, author of The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781501132582). He will also appear tomorrow on Morning Joe.

Fresh Air: Eric Fair, author of Consequence: A Memoir (Holt, $26, 9781627795135).

Diane Rehm: Antoine Van Agtmael and Fred Bakker, authors of The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation (PublicAffairs, $25.99, 9781610394352).

The View: Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott, authors of Dream Home: The Property Brothers' Ultimate Guide to Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544715677). They will also appear tomorrow on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Live with Kelly and Michael: Anderson Cooper, co-author of The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss (Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942). He will also appear on tomorrow's episode.

Dr. Oz: Joel Fuhrman, author of The End of Heart Disease: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780062249357).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Nick Offerman, author of Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers (Dutton, $16, 9780451473011).

CNN Tonight: Juliette Kayyem, author of Security Mom: An Unclassified Guide to Protecting Our Homeland and Your Home (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781476733746). She will also appear tomorrow on NPR's Here & Now, CNN's New Day and MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes.

Tomorrow:
Fox & Friends: Rorke Denver, co-author of Worth Dying For: A Navy Seal's Call to a Nation (Howard, $24, 9781501124112). He will also appear on Fox Business's Varney & Co. and Fox Radio's Kilmeade and Friends.

Fresh Air: Dan Lyons, author of Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble (Hachette Books, $27, 9780316306089).

Live with Kelly and Michael: Gloria Vanderbilt, co-author of The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss (Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942).

Also on Live with Kelly and Michael: Cameron Diaz, co-author of The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780062375186).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time (Harmony, $26, 9781101904008).

Tonight Show: Padma Lakshmi, author of Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062202611).



Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Hessell-Tiltman History; Ted Hughes Poetry

Nicholas Stargardt won the £2,000 (about $2,875) English PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History, which celebrates "the best nonfiction on a historical subject in any period up to and including the 1960s," for his book The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45. Chair of judges Lara Feigel said the winning book "is a bold attempt to understand why and how the German people supported Hitler's war for as long as they did. It expertly combines analysis of the bigger picture with a more intimate focus on the experiences of a diverse selection of individuals. And it fulfills the aims of the PEN Hessell Tiltman Prize in blending this all into an elegant and eloquent whole."

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David Morley's The Invisible Gift: Selected Poems won the Poetry Society's £5,000 (about $7,115) Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, which "seeks to recognize excellence in new poetry and highlight exciting and outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life." The judges said Morley "has found a way to give a voice to the Romani people who live in that natural world. A lifetime's work gathered into one Selected Poems, it becomes a cohesive new form in which old poems transform into something new."


'A Basket Full' of SIBA's Spring Okra Picks

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced its Spring Okra Picks, a selection of fresh titles chosen by Southern indie booksellers each season as the upcoming Southern titles they are most looking forward to handselling:

Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Berkley)
Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin)
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)
The Other Widow by Susan Crawford (Morrow)
Julia Reed's South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long by Julia Reed (Rizzoli)
Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks (Hub City Press)
Redemption Road by John Hart (Thomas Dunne)
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Delacorte)
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (Dial)
Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright (Gallery)
Field of Graves by J.T. Ellison (Mira)
A Thousand Miles from Nowhere by John Gregory Brown (Lee Boudreaux)


Book Review

Review: Eligible

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House, $28 hardcover, 9781400068326, April 19, 2016)

What if Jane Austen set Pride and Prejudice in contemporary Cincinnati? The five Bennet sisters, whose parents are declining in health and fortunes, are still regrettably single despite encroaching middle age when they meet two bachelors, one a wealthy ER doctor and the other the recent star of a wildly successful reality television dating show. In Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep; American Wife) turns an iconic comedy of manners into a sly and entertaining social satire and story of loves lost and found.

The broad outlines of the characters and plot are immediately recognizable in this retelling, though the novel is wholly a Sittenfeld original. Liz Bennet, the sensible single heroine, is a magazine writer in New York who returns to Cincinnati to help care for her father after his heart attack; Mrs. Bennet is too busy planning a fund-raising luncheon and wringing her hands about her daughters' sparse marital prospects. Jane, the eldest sister, is a yoga teacher undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments; Mary is pursuing her third online master's degree; and Katie and Lydia spend all their time working out at a trendy gym and following the Paleo diet.

Mrs. Bennet engineers an invitation to a Fourth of July picnic so that the sisters can meet Chip Bingley, the erstwhile reality television star, and his friend Fitzwilliam Darcy. Liz and Darcy naturally take an immediate dislike to each other, while Jane and Chip's instant mutual attraction is complicated by Jane's circumstances. There's plenty of room for romantic misadventure, and Sittenfeld happily exploits them. Like Austen's, her dialogue, which carries much of the novel's momentum, is flawless, fast and witty, punctuated by observations masquerading as punch lines. Liz and Darcy's sparkling antipathy leads to "hate sex," which, Liz assures Darcy, is like being "f*ck buddies... without the buddy part."

Liz is no mere puppet in a familiar story; her pain and disappointments mix with a fierce loyalty to her family and the brio of unacknowledged loneliness. The family's various dysfunctions hit the notes of contemporary excess. Sittenfeld's satirical edge animates a familiar plot that lags only in a somewhat forced episode that sets up the grand finale, with Jane and Liz on a reality television show. Eligible is otherwise so entertaining that one might easily miss its bigger themes--the futility of judging others based on appearances or social proprieties, their color, gender, circumstance or secret passion for bowling. Finding love means learning not to be judgmental--but then Darcy asks, when love comes, "Who cares what anyone else thinks?" --Jeanette Zwart, freelance writer and reviewer

Shelf Talker: Curtis Sittenfeld skewers contemporary dysfunctions in this deliciously entertaining retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice


AuthorBuzz: Health Communications: The Pleasure Plan: One Woman's Search for Sexual Healing by Laura Zam
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