Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

Take a Storytime Adventure into the World of Jessie Sima


SIBA 'Regroups' as 2018 Show Partner GABBS Closes

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, which last month announced that in 2018, it was moving its traditional fall conference and trade show to the spring and holding it in Atlanta, Ga., in conjunction with the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS), is having to "regroup," said the organization, because GABBS is closing.

The remainder show, which has featured 40 vendors and 300 tables, is "no longer economically viable" because of "a steep decline in exhibitor commitments," GABBS owner Larry May told SIBA. May founded GABBS 20 years ago.

As a result, SIBA's usual springtime gathering in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, will have the theme "writing the future of the SIBA Discovery Show." The event will include sessions concerning the show's "location, time of year, format, education, exhibits, author events, consumer events, and fresh ideas." SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell said, "We want to explore the many options in front of us and have everyone who'd like to be heard have that opportunity."

While many SIBA members supported the move to a spring show in conjunction with GABBS, others, including some publishers, expressed concerns. SIBA's 2017 Discovery Show is still scheduled to be held in the fall in New Orleans, La.

"I'm sorry for the confusion and frustration that we've caused SIBA," May wrote in a letter to SIBA. "GABBS has courted and been associated with SIBA for many years and has the utmost respect for all involved. It was certainly never my intention to create this predicament and cause distress."

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

Avast: Pittsburgh's East End Book Exchange Morphing into White Whale Bookstore

Adlai and Jill Yeomans (photo:

Jill and Adlai Yeomans, both of whom formerly worked in editorial at Hachette Book Group, have purchased the East End Book Exchange in Pittsburgh, Pa., and are relaunching it as the White Whale Bookstore this coming Friday, October 14, the Pittsburgh Tribune reported. The Exchange has sold primarily used books, but the Yeomans plan to increase the share of new books to about half of all inventory.

East End Book Exchange had been owned by Lesley Rains, who is manager of City of Asylum Books, which just opened in Pittsburgh as part of Alphabet City.

"We were not planning to buy or planning to start a bookstore," Jill Yeomans said. "We had talked about doing it as a one-day-when-we-retire dream. But when Lesley decided to sell, it made us think about it as something that could maybe be possible."

"The city has a wealth of used bookstores, but, in terms of places that offer new books, it's really limited for a city this size," Adlai Yeomans added. "We saw that as an area to grow, but aside from that it's where our passion lies. We love searching for emerging writers and our favorite contemporary writers who are putting out new stuff."

Besides adding new books to the inventory, the new owners have been painting, adding new signage and doing some minor remodeling. They plan to expand the already strong events program, and keep and develop the categories that have drawn customers.

According to Littsburgh, the White Whale will focus on a mix of fiction and nonfiction as well as a range of children's titles. The store will also have a table that highlights a different indie press each month.

As for the store's name, the Yeomans said, "Having the store's name be a sendup to one of the all-time great books was too good to pass up, and Moby Dick fit the bill. We loved the idea of the White Whale as metaphor--an ambition you have, a goal you're constantly striving toward. We saw that in ourselves with running the bookstore, and we see it in our relationships with our customers, with helping them find the perfect book when they're here. There's also the scary side of the metaphor. Running a small business is a risk, and we don't want to end up like poor Ahab. We liked the honesty in that, but we hope that with enough guts, we'll prevail."

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Little Bookshop Opens in Midlothian, Va.

Mary Patterson has opened the Little Bookshop in the Sycamore Square Shopping Village in Midlothian, Va., according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The 1,500-square-foot store offers books for all ages (about a quarter are for children) as well as greeting cards, Aurora stuffed animals, Clairefontaine journals and Socksmith socks. The store has children's storytimes, author events and is open Thursday evening, when it will celebrate a book or theme.

The newspaper wrote that Patterson, who was a paralegal for many years and a stay-at-home mom, had long dreamed of owning a bookstore.

The Little Bookshop is located at 1318 Sycamore Square, Midlothian, Va. 23113; 804-464-1244.

Store Closings: Modern Times, Revolution Books

Two leftist bookstores are closing.

In San Francisco, Calif., Modern Times Bookstore Collective will close on November 15 after 45 years of "serving the beloved community," the store announced. "As those closest to us know, we have tried every possible avenue of support to sustain the store since its displacement from Valencia Street in 2011. Though we have persevered out of love and duty and a willingness to continue to fulfill our mission, we are the first to admit the store is not operating at the level we would like and we can no longer serve our customer's needs as well as those of our workers."

The store is working to continue its "community-serving programs from Spanish Book Club and Queer Open Mic to our books to prisons mailings."

A previously planned retirement party for longtime collective member and bookseller Ruth Mahaney on October 22 will serve as Modern Times's closing party.

In a story about the closing, El Tecolote called Modern Times "the latest casualty" in a process of "gentrification and rising rents" in the Mission District that has made it "nearly impossible for small shops and collectives to survive."

El Tecolote added that Modern Times "always took pride in being more than a place to buy books. They operated as a community space where residents exchanged the kinds of revolutionary ideas and struggles that are becoming harder and harder to come by as San Francisco loses its poets, activists and artists to displacement."


Founded 40 years ago, Revolution Books in Honolulu, Hawaii, is closing on October 20 although it "isn't disappearing entirely," according to Hawaii Public Radio.

Store general manager and co-founder Carolyn Hadfield said financial pressures, accelerated by news that its building is to be torn down, forced the decision for the all-volunteer store, which has "evolved with the Revolutionary Communist Party, even though we're not a part of it... And as that has changed, we have changed as well, and really broadened our scope to have a lot more book readings, a lot more book engagement."

In March 2015, Revolution Books raised more than $10,000 through an IndieGoGo campaign.

Notes from the Heartland

The 2016 Heartland Fall Forum led off on Wednesday, October 6, in Minneapolis, Minn., with a double header of the Midwest Booksellers Choice Awards and the Great Lakes, Great Reads awards.

In her acceptance speech, Lucie Amundsen, who won a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm--from Scratch (Avery), said that people seemed to get a similar reaction when they told others that they were buying a bookstore or buying a farm. The typical response was "good for you," which really meant "you are crazy, bats**t crazy."

Wendell Berry

During his acceptance speech for the Voice of the Heartland award, Wendell Berry said that in regards to the success of his books, there's "nobody to blame it on but independent booksellers."


According to Robert Martin, head of operations for the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, 280 booksellers from 99 stores attended the Heartland Fall Forum--69 from MIBA and 30 from the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.


In an open plenary session dedicated to sharing good ideas from the past year, some suggestions included celebrating Plaid Friday the day before Small Business Saturday and holding adult spelling bees.

Greg Danz from Zandbroz Variety in Fargo, N.Dak., said that Plaid Friday was one of his biggest days of the year. Any customer who wears plaid in store gets a discount. Plaid Friday has even come close to rivaling Small Business Saturday in sales. Added Danz: "People love it."

Grant Alden, co-owner of Coffee Tree Books in Morehead, Ky., said that his store runs an adult spelling bee on the Friday before Thanksgiving. It draws 20-30 contestants, and is taped and broadcast on a local radio station. Alden said booksellers who decide to run their own spelling bees would be "amazed by the number of people willing to come watch their friends and neighbors fail."

Added Susan Thomas, Alden's co-owner: "We give local honey to the winner, because winning is sweet."


Anne Metcalf of Magers & Quinn, Minneapolis, Minn.; Suzy Takacs of the Book Cellar, Chicago, Ill.; Kate Schlademan of the Learned Owl, Hudson, Ohio; Josh Floyd, Ingram; Nancy Rohlen, Ingram

In a panel entitled "Independent Bookstores & Indie Authors Working Together," Ingram Content Group's Josh Floyd revealed that according to a recent Bowker survey, the number of self-published titles has risen from 152,000 in 2010 to 720,000 in 2015.

Some of the things Floyd's seen independent bookstores do while working with indie authors include running self-publishing workshops; hosting indie author days, during which several authors read in the same event; charging an hourly or half-hourly rate for consultations; and even commissioning self-published books about specific, local subjects.

"Every bookstore seems to be doing something [about independent authors] but they're doing it their own way," said Floyd. Stores, he added, can be as hands-off or deeply involved as they want to be. "The main thing is to give these folks a positive solution when they come into your store. If you're going to reject, at least redirect them in a positive way."


Peter Geye

"For a regional or literary writer, it's the sort of thing that makes an enormous difference in our lives," said Peter Geye, author of Wintering (Knopf), during a panel on writing blurbs and shelf-talkers. Blurbs, he explained, are another tool for selling books, and though it's perfectly natural to have apprehensions, "you don't have to be Louise Erdrich to write a 50-, 100-, or 200-word blurb that will make a difference in that book's life."

Geye then walked the booksellers through a simple exercise in writing blurbs. First, write a one- or two-sentence summary of the plot, followed by a one- or two-sentence summary of how the book made you feel. Then, write a couple of sentences with an intellectual response to the book, along with a few comparison titles, and try for one final, sweeping "Louise Erdrich sentence." And to create a finished blurb, combine the best of those sentences into a single, short statement.

Geye stressed that blurb writers should be precise, dwelling on specific, germaine details in conveying their enthusiasm for a given book. They should also try to say something original about a book, to approach it "a few degrees off center." Added Geye: "Be confident. If you have a really strong opinion about the book, just say it."


"Buyers, empower yourselves and make a statement," said Sue Boucher, owner of Cottage Book Shop in Glen Arbor, Mich., during a panel discussion called "The Changing Landscape of Publishing." She advised ordering more copies of fewer titles that the store really believes in, rather than stocking single copies of more titles. "If you're behind a book, get behind that book."

Jessilyn Norcross, co-owner of Mclean and Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Mich., encouraged booksellers to use Edelweiss and its ability to create and view tags, notes and peer reviews to aid their purchasing process. She also advised booksellers to share these tools with their staff.

"It empowers your booksellers," said Norcross. "Try it, you'll like it." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Art Sesselberg

Art Sesselberg, national accounts manager in the special markets group at Simon & Schuster, died on Saturday due to complications from pneumonia.

He joined the company in 2007, focusing on sales in the educational and academic markets, as well as to corporate customers. More recently he worked with the library and educational marketing staff to grow our Freshman Year Experience business, and worked with our distributor partners to bring digital books to the school and academic markets.

Michael Selleck, executive v-p, sales and marketing, at S&S, said in a memo to staff: "Outside of work, Art was an avid collector of antique toys, and a small boat enthusiast who enjoyed finding and restoring old outboard motors, and serving as president of the Yankee Chapter of the Antique Outboard Motor Club, and an aficionado of classic cars. A dedicated tinkerer and fixer-upper, his passion for these pursuits will come as no surprise to those of us who had the pleasure to work with Art and see first-hand the commitment he brought to all his endeavors on behalf of Simon & Schuster."

A funeral service Art will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport, Conn. In lieu of flowers, an educational fund is being established for his sons. Condolence cards and donations may be sent to his wife, Abby Sesselberg, at 67 Shady Hill Road, Fairfield, Conn. 06824.


Image of the Day: Modern Girls

Jennifer S. Brown drew a full house at Phinney Books in Seattle, Wash., last Thursday, when she read from her novel, Modern Girls (New American Library), set in Depression-era Midtown Manhattan. Here, she's introduced by the bookstore's owner, Tom Nissley, who first met Brown when she was working on her MFA in fiction at the University of Washington.

Copperfish Books Debuts New Mural

Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla., unveiled a new doorway mural by Ron Bates, a local graphic artist, set designer, muralist and illustrator whose work regularly appears in the Charlotte Sun and Harbor Style. Bates's composition combines nature scenes with a bonanza of books, centered on an arch of hardcovers above Copperfish's front door, with fun touches like the store's aquatic mascot nose-first in a book.

"We commissioned the mural because our entryway was pretty blah," said store co-owner Serena Wyckoff. "We don't have a traditional storefront with display windows, so we wanted to create something that would attract people, be fun, and describe in pictures what is inside. Also, Punta Gorda is known for its historic murals (there are two wonderful murals on the other sides of our building), so we know that folks love their murals around here. While ours isn't historic, we think it does add some charm and a positive message about books."

"Customer response has been amazing," Wyckoff said. Copperfish encourages curious customers to come take pictures with the mural and post them on social media.

Jessica Wells to Head PRH Customer Operations

Jessica Wells

Effective November 1, Jessica Wells has been promoted to director, customer operations, Penguin Random House, and will be based in New York. She has been associate director, digital customer operations. She succeeds Chris Demyanovich, who is advancing to another position in Maryland within Bertelsmann.

John Bohman, PRH v-p, sales and customer operations, said that like Demyanovich, Wells is committed to "constantly demonstrating how optimizing the Penguin Random House supply chain can be a key driver of top- and bottom-line results for our customers and for us."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jonathan Safran Foer on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Taraji P. Henson, co-author of Around the Way Girl: A Memoir (Atria/37 INK, $26, 9781501125997).

CBS This Morning: Bryan Cranston, author of A Life in Parts (Scribner, $27, 9781476793856). He will also appear today on Diane Rehm and Live with Kelly tomorrow on NPR's Marketplace and the Tonight Show.

Also on CBS This Morning: Jodi Picoult, author of Small Great Things: A Novel (Ballantine, $28.99, 9780345544957).

Live with Kelly: Carson Kressley, author of Does This Book Make My Butt Look Big?: A Cheeky Guide to Feeling Sexier in Your Own Skin & Unleashing Your Personal Style (St. Martin's Griffin, $25.99, 9781250085580).

Fresh Air: Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Here I Am: A Novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28, 9780374280024).

Wendy Williams: Mario Batali, author of Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes from Across the USA (Grand Central, $40, 9781455584710).

Today Show: Michele Borba, author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (Touchstone, $25, 9781501110030).

CBS This Morning: Lisa Damour, author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood (Ballantine, $27, 9780553393057).

The View: Nancy Grace, author of Murder in the Courthouse: A Hailey Dean Mystery (BenBella, $24.95, 9781942952886).

Books & Authors

Book Review

Review: Thus Bad Begins

Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marías, trans. by Margaret Jull Costa (Knopf, $27.95 hardcover, 464p., 9781101946084, November 1, 2016)

Javier Marías takes his novel's title, Thus Bad Begins, from Hamlet's words to his mother ("Thus bad begins and worse remains behind"), setting the story in Madrid in 1980, when Spain hovered on the verge of legalizing divorce.
Eduardo Muriel--a Spanish film director approaching his 50s, with an Errol Flynn moustache and an eye patch--needs a young personal assistant like 23-year-old Juan de Vere to keep him on his frenetic shooting schedule, which he traditionally dictates while lying supine on the floor. Juan is his errand boy, and does a little script doctoring, too. One day Muriel asks Juan what he would do if a lifelong friend were not as he had always believed him to be.

This question launches a plot involving spying, lying, trickery, manipulation, eavesdropping and secret motives that stretch all the way back to the unspeakable crimes of the Spanish Civil War. The mystery surrounds a confounding scene of marital degradation that Juan secretly witnesses--one of sheer malice that Muriel inflicts on his adoring, voluptuous wife, Beatriz, who begs for her husband's embrace. Something is profoundly wrong with this marriage. What has caused Muriel to revile his wife so? 

Marías embeds bristling humor and a wealth of parenthetical insights and wise observations within page-long sentences and extended paragraphs. He playfully manipulates these into a tantalizing plot, one that often slides laterally as it inches toward the next incident, every word or action considered in detail. In his hands, the whole act of reading becomes caught up in sustaining his titanic verbal structures long enough to reach the carefully chosen last word.

Out of dozens of subplots that Marías teases, the ones that actually fuel the novel are well chosen and gripping. The secret behind the Muriels' miserable marriage is suitably horrific, and the 445-page novel's conclusion is graceful, fair and hugely satisfying. As Juan pursues answers, at times deceitfully, a moral maze opens up before the reader, who witnesses in guilty suspense as Juan makes his fateful choices. This is reading at its best, as the past is pieced together enough to understand at last the rumors that whisper through the unhappy Muriel marriage. --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: A Spanish film director's marriage-gone-wrong is examined in detail in Javier Marías's delightfully thoughtful novel about telling the truth in love.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Goal by Elle Kennedy
2. Sex Machine by Marie Force
3. Sloan (The Protectors Series Book 9) by Teresa Gabelman
4. Alpha Geek by Milly Taiden
5. Well Hung by Lauren Blakely
6. Alaskan Dawn (Pacific Horizons Book 1) by Edie Claire
7. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling
8. Jack and Joe: Hunt For Jack Reacher by Diane Capri
9. Candy Cane Kisses: 8 Christian Christmas Romances by Various
10. Written in Blood Vol. 3 by Michael Lister

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit