Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 8, 2016

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Malaprop's to Authors: Please Don't Boycott Us

Linda-Marie Barrett, general manager of Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, N.C., is sending this open letter to authors who are considering cancelling tour stops in North Carolina to protest the state's new discriminatory law HB2:

Dear Authors,

Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe is an award-winning independent bookstore located in Asheville, N.C. For 34 years, we have promoted free speech, human rights and tolerance. We often suffer because of our stance: we've been the target of protests in front of our store, we've had our book choices challenged, and we've received threatening letters and phone calls from people who want us to cancel events because the views of the author are controversial. Not only do we hold these events, we protect the visiting author's right to free speech with our words and sometimes our bodies.

We are located in a state that just passed a horrible piece of legislation: HB2. We have already hosted meetings in our store about HB2, and posted signs on our bathrooms to let everyone know they are safe to use whichever bathroom they wish. Our city council and mayor are currently considering an official statement and policy to act against state law, despite the consequences. We and our city will do what we can to repeal HB2.

Because of HB2, authors are cancelling events at our store. Sherman Alexie is the first to cancel an event we'd scheduled in May. Although we very much respect the reason he cancelled, the result is that we have lost an opportunity to connect this charismatic, inspiring author with those young readers who were going to see him on school visits. We also lost the opportunity to host him at a large venue, which would have connected him with fans in a city that stands with him and could have used his support. Our event could have served as a platform to address an audience that would be empowered by his outrage. We lost all these opportunities, and we are suffering financially because we anticipated selling 300-500 copies of his newest book, Thunder Boy, Jr.

We have read the open letter from children's books authors and do not understand why bookstores are placed in a category outside of libraries and schools as places authors will still visit. The letter states, "We stand with those who share our guiding principles and fundamental beliefs of equality, inclusion, and fair treatment. Thus, we will continue to visit your schools and libraries. We will spread kindness and inspire compassion and hope, as we believe books, in their best moments, always have and always will." We, as an independent bookstore, share those guiding principles and fundamental beliefs of equality, inclusion and fair treatment. We work hard every day to make sure that books are available to readers and to guard against censorship and intolerance in whatever form it appears.

If more authors boycott NC because of HB2, we will be financially stricken. We sympathize with their stance, but we hope that authors will choose another way to protest. By protesting in this manner, targeting bookstores, they are directly hurting their fiercest allies. Please don't abandon us; we need your support now more than ever.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland


B&N Outsourcing 'Certain Nook Technology Services'

Barnes & Noble has entered into an agreement with Bahwan CyberTek, a global software products and services company, through which BCT will take over certain Nook technology services, including cloud management and development support for Nook software. As a result of the agreement, B&N said it plans to close both its Santa Clara, Calif., and Taiwan offices. The business will be transitioned and the offices closed by July.

"Over the last two years, the company has done a significant amount of work to improve Nook's overall performance,” said Fred Argir, chief digital officer at B&N. "While we have been able to reduce costs, we still have a lot more work to do to rationalize the business. We believe that by outsourcing certain technology functions of our Nook business we will further improve Nook's performance."

B&N said the transition is expected to result in annualized cash savings of approximately $13 million, which includes approximately $8 million of expense reductions and approximately $5 million of capital expenditure reductions. In the first quarter of fiscal 2017, the company expects to record severance charges and transition related costs of approximately $6 million.

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

General Retail Sales in March: Early Easter Not Enough

The Easter holiday occurred a week earlier this year than in 2015, at the end of March, but that wasn't enough to help retailers offset the impact of a difficult year-over-year comparison. For the month, sales at stores open at least a year (excluding drugstores) decreased 0.1% at the seven retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters, compared with analysts' projection of 0.8% growth and a 0.1% gain in 2015.

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

IBD 2016: More Plans from Around the Country

With the second annual Independent Bookstore Day only three weeks away, Shelf Awareness is taking another look at what indie booksellers around country have planned for April 30.

At Oregon Books & Games in Grants Pass, Ore., owner Robert Moore has invited 50 local authors to take part in IBD celebrations. He plans to set them up in the store's parking lot, where a local radio station will do a live broadcast, and will give away hot dogs. Moore also has invited other local bookstores to join in the day's festivities and is including them in all of his advertising to "enhance the community spirit of shopping local."

In La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse will welcome mystery writer Anne Perry on April 30. Perry's most recent novel, Treachery at Lancaster Gate, was released on March 22 and is part of her long-running Pitt series. Perry will give a presentation and sign books. In honor of National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, the rest of the day's activities will feature animal appearances, pet care demonstrations and benefits for the Pasadena Humane Society plus a book drive with a local Brownie troop.

Itinerant Literate, a pop-up bookstore in Charleston, S.C., will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day with a "book extravanganza" in Charleston's Park Circle neighborhood and launch the Itinerant Literate Bookmobile. Built in a renovated 1958 Yellowstone trailer, the bookmobile was funded by an Indiegogo campaign last fall. Among the plans for the day are a pop-up brunch with a local chef, a staged reading of a play and literary trivia. And in the week leading up to IBD, Itinerant Literate co-owners Christen Thompson and Julia Turner will run a literary scavenger hunt to build excitement.


Storytime at Carmichael's Kids

Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, Ken., has a full day's worth of activities planned: a multi-store scavenger hunt, a book signing and tasting with Louisville chef Edward Lee and a literary-themed refreshment hour. Carmichael's Kids, meanwhile, has a special story time, a literary snack time and other activities in the works. And throughout the day, customers can enter to win two free tickets to "An Evening with Stephen King" on June 12 with any purchase at Carmichael's.

For IBD, Wellesley Books in Wellesley, Mass., will have contests, literary trivia and prizes, along with original events such as a Dr. Seuss-themed breakfast from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and featuring green eggs and ham (and mimosas for the adults). In the afternoon the store will host a Mad Hatter's Tea Party from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. And at 6 p.m., the store will host a Shakespearean Public House, complete with "gambols and capers."

In Salt Lake City, Utah, the King's English Bookshop will have several special events, including a Duck & Goose morning story time and an afternoon Author Trivia competition, in which more than a dozen local authors will compete to answer literary trivia questions. Three local restaurants will join the fun by offering their own Independent Bookstore Day specials on the 30th. Throughout the day, the King's English will be among the independent bookstores trying to forge the world's longest temporary tattoo chain.

Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix, Ariz., will have celebrations at both of its locations on IBD. Both stores will be selling the exclusive IBD merchandise and running raffles for two $100 Changing Hands gift cards. At the original Tempe store, Changing Hands will welcome Caldecott Honor picture book author Molly Idle, who will read from her new book, Flora and the Peacocks, while the newer Phoenix store will have an evening literary trivia contest at its First Draft Book Bar. Hosted by Arizona Republic reporter Barbara VanDenburgh, the contest gives customers a chance to win a set of four ceramic "Gertrude Steins."

And at Moe's Books in Berkeley, Calif., More Moe's (the store's antiquarian and art book shop) will have a day of food, music and from noon until 6 p.m., a 20% discount on everything. --Alex Mutter

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

BEA 2016: APA Author Tea Speakers

BookExpo America has announced the lineup for this year's Audio Publishers Association Author Tea. The event will feature Michael Kortya (Rise the Dark, Hachette Audio) as emcee, introducing Maggie Stiefvater (Raven King: Book Four of The Raven Cycle, Scholastic Audio), Terry McMillan (I Almost Forgot About You, Penguin Random House Audio) and John Scalzi (The Dispatcher, Audible). The APA Author Tea will be held Friday, May 13, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Room W183 at the McCormick Center.

Obituary Notes: Gary Shulze; Lars Gustafsson

Gary Shulze, the former owner of Once Upon a Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn., who "knew just about everything there is to know about local writers and mystery writers and the wonderful, delicate art of selling books," died Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported. He was 66. Last month Shulze and his wife, Pat Frovarp, sold the store they had owned for nearly 14 years because of his declining health. In 2011, the bookstore was honored by the Mystery Writers of America with a Raven Award.

"He was a kind man, and he would listen to you, even when things were busy," said mystery writer and long-time friend Carl Brookins. "He'd give you his full attention. He was a vast reader. He read all kinds of things, mostly in the mystery and crime fiction area, but he also read in other literature, and so he was knowledgeable about many of the past authors who've come and gone. He was not wedded to a particular genre or sub-genre."

Frovarp and Shulze bought the store in 2002 and were married there five years later. The Star Tribune noted that for the occasion, they "wore their standard uniform of white T-shirts and black jeans. Shulze's T-shirt read 'Shop Locally.' Frovarp carried pink roses. They said their vows standing between a giant cardboard revolver that hung on the wall, and mock crime tape that bisected the back doorway."

"I think Gary was ready. The last few weeks had been pretty bad," Frovarp told the Pioneer Press, which added that she "believes her husband died at peace because they were able to complete the sale of their store at 604 26th St. W. on March 31, when Schulz signed the papers in his hospital room. She said they were happy to leave the bookstore in the hands of new owners Dennis Abraham and his wife, Meg King-Abraham."


Swedish poet Lars Gustafsson, who was also "a renowned novelist, philosopher and cultural critic" and "one of Europe's leading literary figures," died April 2, according to his British publisher, Bloodaxe Books. He was 79. Gustafsson's books include The Death of a Beekeeper, Stories of Happy People, The Stillness of the World Before Bach, Selected Poems, A Time in Xanadu, A Tiler's Afternoon and Elegies & Other Poems.

Bloodaxe noted that Gistafsson produced "a voluminous flow of poetry, novels, short stories, critical essays and articles from the 1950 onwards, gaining international recognition with literary awards such as the Prix International Charles Veillon des Essais in 1983, the Heinrich Steffens Preis in 1986, Una Vita per la Litteratura in 1989, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for poetry in 1994, as well as a Nobel nomination."


Image of the Day: WORD has Gumption

photo: Alyssa Ki
WORD Bookstore in Jersey City, N.J. hosted comedian, actor and author Nick Offerman at the historic Loew's theater in Jersey City to celebrate the paperback release of Offerman's essay collection Gumption (Dutton). The event featured Offerman (r.) in conversation with WORD Jersey City co-owner and actor Patrick Wilson, who starred with Offerman in the second season of the FX series Fargo.

'Poetry Night at Books & Books, 1983'

With the O, Miami Festival of Poetry well underway, the Herald shared a flashback photo featuring a familiar bookselling face: "Books & Books, which opened in March 1982, hadn't been operating for more than a few months when several of South Florida's wandering poetic souls found harbor there. When Mitchell Kaplan and his uncle, Julius Kaplan, opened the tiny bookshop on Aragon Avenue, they wanted to do more than sell books; they also hoped to create a literary watering trough where people could congregate and refresh each other with ideas. Pictured here is Mitchell Kaplan speaking to the people that make the monthly pilgrimage to the Books & Books Poetry Reading night."

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Roebling Point Books

"April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers." On its chalkboard, Roebling Point Books & Coffee, Covington, Ken., celebrated inclement weather as well as National Poetry Month, noting on Twitter: "As the clouds tumble to the ground in teardrops, Edna St. Vincent Millay narrates."

Hachette to Distribute Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Effective July 1, Hachette Book Group will handle North American sales and distribution of all printed and digital products of Nicholas Brealey Publishing, including the imprints Intercultural Press and Davies Black. The change follows Hachette UK's purchase last June of Nicholas Brealey Publishing, which has offices in London and Boston.

Nicholas Brealey Publishing thanked its current North American distributor, Consortium Book Sales and Distribution, for its "hard work and dedication to our list. We were honored to work with such an enthusiastic sales force and wish them continued success and acclaim."

Book Trailer of the Day: Jane Two

Jane Two by Sean Patrick Flanery (Center Street/Hachette), the debut novel from the actor best known for Boondock Saints, Young Indiana Jones, Powder and Dexter.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Cheryl Strayed on OWN's Super Soul Sunday

Fresh Air: Eric Foner, author of Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (Norton, $16.95, 9780393352191).

NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday: Lauren Child, author of Absolutely One Thing (Candlewick, $17.99, 9780763687281).

OWN's Super Soul Sunday: Cheryl Strayed, author of Brave Enough (Knopf, $16.95, 9781101946909).

Movies: The BFG Trailer

"For his first live-action 3D outing, director Steven Spielberg is going big. Really big," Indiewire reported in featuring a trailer for the movie adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl story "The BFG." The cast includes "a number of beloved actors for its stacked voice cast," including Mark Rylance, Bill Hader and Jemaine Clement. The BFG will open on July 1.

Books & Authors

Awards: Edward MacDowell Medal; Hayek; Christian Book

Toni Morrison
photo: Michael Lionstar

Toni Morrison will be honored with the MacDowell Colony's Edward MacDowell Medal, which has been given "annually since 1960 to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to American culture." The awards ceremony will take place August 14. Previous medal recipients include Aaron Copland, Robert Frost, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Updike, Joan Didion, Stephen Sondheim, Betye Saar and Gunther Schuller.

"Toni Morrison is indisputably the greatest living American novelist," said MacDowell chairman, fellow and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. "With the prophetic vision that is the oldest, truest patrimony of American literature she sees us as we are now, as we have been and as we have never lived up to our promise to become. In the refiner's fire of that vision she has shaped the raw, hard stuff of our singularly violent history--the factual and the mythic history alike--into epics of everyday tragedy, written in a prose style that like all the greatest American prose styles alloys the fiercely poetic and the wryly conversational to forge a language that shines with compassion and cuts like steel. She is the writer we have been most blessed to have among us during our lifetimes. Her face belongs on postage stamps and mountainsides."

Dave Eggers, chair of the Edward MacDowell Medal Selection Panel, added: "If any writer could be called our nation's conscience, that writer would be Toni Morrison."


Philip Hamburger, author of Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (University of Chicago Press) has won this year's Hayek Book Prize, sponsored by the Manhattan Institute and which celebrates authors who "best represent the universality and timeliness of the principles of F.A. Hayek." Hamburger will receive a $50,000 award and deliver the annual Hayek lecture in New York in June.

This year, a second award for excellence in Hayek scholarship was given to Bruce Caldwell, editor of F.A. Hayek's The Market and Other Orders (The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek) (University of Chicago Press).


Finalists for the 2016 Christian Book Awards, sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, can be seen here.

Book Brahmin: Wade Rouse

photo: Kim Schneider

Wade Rouse wrote his debut novel, The Charm Bracelet (Thomas Dunne Books, March 22, 2016), using the pen name Viola Shipman, which is an homage to his grandmother. Rouse is also the author of four memoirs and one essay collection. He's at work on The Hope Chest, the second novel in his Heirloom series.

On your nightstand now:

I just finished writing my next novel and, since I'm an obsessive sort and cannot read another book or voice when I'm in the midst of my own, my tiny nightstand is teetering with a stack of books. Right now, I'm nearly done with Anne Lamott's Small Victories (she sent me a book plate for it to celebrate my 50th birthday!), and I just finished The Fever by Megan Abbott (terrific). Stacked and waiting are All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani; Augusten Burroughs's latest, Lust & Wonder; Dark Places by Gillian Flynn; The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood; and Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber. As you can tell, I enjoy a wide range of books.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I grew up in the Ozarks, I loved my dogs, and my grandfather had Bluetick Coonhounds, so the book resonated deeply... and still breaks my heart.

Your top five authors:

Sorry, I can't do five! That's like cutting me off at an outlet mall. So, I narrowed my list down to those authors I not only love to read but who also continue to inspire me and my writing every day: 

David Sedaris, Anne Lamott, Gillian Flynn, Bret Easton Ellis, Erma Bombeck, Jay McInerney, Michael Chabon, Jojo Moyes, Nicholas Sparks and Armistead Maupin.

Book you've faked reading:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Sorry, scholars, but this was both a crime and a punishment for me to read, likely because it was too dark and dense during my fraternity/college days. I fake-read this in an advanced freshman lit class--going so far as to hold it up when the professor walked by on campus--but ended up turning to CliffsNotes (it was the only book I ever turned to CliffsNotes for, btw).

Book you're an evangelist for:

Any and all Erma Bombeck. She was a master humorist whose writing is sadly overlooked today. She made the mundane and everyday poignant, meaningful and hilarious. And she fought like hell to have her voice heard.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris and Dry by Augusten Burroughs (both Chip Kidd covers, of course).

Book you hid from your parents:

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. It just seemed so risqué at the time. I couldn't put it down, but I didn't want them to know I was reading it.

Book that changed your life:

The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck.

Favorite line from a book:


More a passage than a line, but from The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger:
"I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going. I have to come from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be."

Not only beautiful, heartbreaking writing, but it keeps me grounded in writing what I feel is most important: that we all get lost and, sadly, lose touch with what's most important in life. I write to help remind people of what matters most at the end of the day and life. I write to help catch those who might be going over the edge of that crazy cliff.

The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck:
"I didn't know why my husband gasped every time Lassie cleared the fence until I was twenty-six."

Proves that great humor is not only timeless but also that humor writing is what I term a "lyrical punchline." It must be as quickly paced and timed (and funny) as a stand-up comic's act, but the humor only works if it's couched in good writing, poignancy, honesty and distinctiveness.

Five books you'll never part with:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (I re-read it every year).

The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck (ditto).

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (a staple on my writing desk and in my life).

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (it defined an era and inspired me to write more powerfully and personally).

Naked by David Sedaris (always makes me laugh and is perfection personified when it comes to humorous essay writing).

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

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (which I read in college) largely because 1) I'd like to read it anew now that I have a better understanding of Wilde's life and sexuality, and 2) because I'm writing a humorous memoir about aging (un)gracefully, titled The Picture of Dorian Gay.

Authors you would invite to your dinner party:

Writer's Digest once named me the "#2 Writer We'd Love to Have Drinks With," alongside Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson, so I'd have to invite them (at least for cocktails). I'd also add a few of my favorites, including Dorothy Parker, David Sedaris and Anne Lamott. It would be a very long evening.

Book Review

Review: The Fire Line

The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting by Fernanda Santos (Flatiron Books, $25.99 hardcover, 9781250054029, May 3, 2016)

On June 30, 2013, 19 firefighters died while fighting an Arizona blaze named the Yarnell Hill Fire. Fernanda Santos, Phoenix bureau chief for the New York Times, explores those 19 lives and the period surrounding their deaths in The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting. She relates this affecting story with respect, momentum and surprising suspense, considering the outcome is known from the beginning.

Santos's style is traditionally reportorial and, after a brief prologue, chronological. Unlike the expansive, philosophical approach Norman Maclean takes in his acclaimed Young Men and Fire, about a 1949 firefighting disaster in Montana, The Fire Line is straightforwardly written. Despite her apparent closeness to the surviving families and her immersion in her research--among other exercises, she undergoes some wilderness firefighter training--Santos sticks to a journalistic narrative and does not place herself in the story. She describes the Granite Mountain Hotshots and their work: physically hard, underpaid, dirty, but also hard-won, honorable, exciting and close to nature. She introduces the young men succinctly but with touching fine points: one grew up learning about firefighting at his grandfather's knee, one got teased for his "big calculator wristwatch," another carried a copy of Goodnight Moon to read to his daughters over the phone when he was away fighting fires. Seven of the Hotshots were new hires, and three of them had babies on the way. Among the team of 20 Granite Mountain Hotshots, they were raising 13 children. Intimate identification with these men is central to the emotional impact of the book, and Santos builds that closeness naturally as she characterizes them.

As the Hotshots' 2013 fire season unfolds, Santos continues to acquaint her reader with these men, communities and fires. Along the way, she neatly braids in various areas of research: the science of weather and forecasting, fire management history, the techniques of wilderness firefighting, the precise work of incident meteorologists, who assess local weather conditions. According to her author's note, Santos adheres strictly to fact: feelings, thoughts and memories attributed to her characters come directly from her prodigious research. The Yarnell Hill Fire itself was underestimated in its strength and complexity; The Fire Line takes its time charting movements and decisions, not overtly concerned with assigning blame, but raising certain questions.

Santos brings immediacy and familiarity to a larger-than-life disaster with quiet admiration and loyalty to truth. By the time the Granite Mountain Hotshots, men now familiar to the reader, go missing, the tragedy of these losses is deeply felt. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A journalist's in-depth accounting of the tragic loss of 19 firefighters in an Arizona fire in 2013 gives equal due to detail and emotion.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: BA Releases Bookselling Manifesto

Earlier this week, the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland launched a lobbying campaign with the release of a manifesto, "Bookselling for Britain," which is designed to "emphasize the resilience of many bookshops in the face of great pressure, the importance of the sector to cultural life in the U.K. and the need for action to address the unfair anti-competitive advantage of multinational companies over U.K. high street bookshops."

Since booksellers speak an international language, I thought the BA's manifesto was worth sharing. Some of the demands may be region-specific, but many others are universal. The BA proposed a number of measures for consideration by the government, noting: "We believe they will help ensure we maintain a strong, prosperous book industry, capable of working with all interested parties in delivering a highly literate and skilled workforce, a well-supported academic and scientific research base, and globally recognized innovative businesses able to compete for Britain in the global race in the 21st Century." Here's a brief summary of the BA's proposals:

  • The government should initiate an inquiry into the online physical and e-book sectors in the U.K.
  • There must be No Tax On Reading.
  • Business Rates must be reviewed and made more competitive so they are fairer to businesses across the U.K. and flexible enough to respond to the economic cycle.
  • Booksellers support the development of our High Streets and Town Centres so that they further develop as attractive retail locations.
  • Government must support intellectual property in the public interest and give the Intellectual Property Office a statutory duty to support IP businesses and demonstrate the effects of its policies upon their--and the economy's--growth.
  • The Department of Education should look at ways in which more state-funded schools can enjoy the benefits of a school library with a library in every school.
  • As a country we need to invest in learning resources and encourage schools to maintain a minimum set percentage of expenditure on teaching and learning resources.
  • Booksellers believe in boosting reading for pleasure to help create a happier and more content society.
  • We believe in public libraries for all.
  • We must take the right steps forward for the Digital Single Market in the EU.

I'll just highlight two sections from the manifesto here. In "Developing Our High Streets and Town Centres," the BA noted that bookshops "are havens for everyone, building community character and contributing to the distinct flavor of a neighborhood as literary and cultural hubs. Booksellers give substantial support to local and national causes and events, including reading groups, schools, libraries, arts organizations, festivals and charities. Bookshop events are well known to attract consumers to the High Street, especially families, and they increase 'dwell time.' If we wish to retain vibrant High Streets, that are not mere 'clone towns' but act as the true heart of a community, then we need outlets that promote art, literacy and entertainment."

The BA suggested to the government that the following areas be addressed:

  • Action on parking charges (some free parking for an hour or two would help, as would a cap on charges).
  • More subsidized public transport and more park & ride schemes.
  • Development of partnerships with local authorities to plan a mixed use of cultural and leisure activities as well as just pure retail.
  • Use of empty shops to promote arts activities and artisan crafts--booksellers would be more than willing to offer support.
  • Local people to have a say in what kind of retailers they would like to have on their High Street.
  • Simply--less red tape.

Under the "Boost Reading for Pleasure" category, the BA noted that there "is a growing understanding among researchers and social scientists that reading for pleasure has a significant and positive impact on a range of measures, from literacy acquisition and cognitive development through to social mobility and employment prospects. In short, the more people in society who not only read but read for pleasure, the better off that society will be.... Booksellers have decades of strong engagement with the various literacy and reading for pleasure charities operating in the U.K., providing financial, material and in-kind support to their programs in schools, libraries, prisons and the wider community.... These efforts could be enhanced by even stronger engagement with government and public bodies and an improved understanding of the positive impacts of reading for pleasure--for example, since 2010, the Office for National Statistics has been collecting data in order to measure National Well Being, and yet does not measure levels of reading for pleasure."

In the introduction to its manifesto, the BA summed up its position succinctly: "Bookselling helps underpin excellence in education and research, promotes literacy and reading for pleasure, develops present and future authors and writers, while preserving those of the past, and helps drive innovation and excellence in new forms of reading. Books enrich our culture, and help inspire other creative sectors--like theatre, cinema, television and music.... Given the range of its impact across so many lives, the book industry is well placed to help government deliver its aims across a range of areas." --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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