Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Quotation of the Day

'Copperfield's Stands with You'

"To all of our community who have lost so much these last couple of days, please know that Copperfield's stands with you. Our Petaluma, Sebastopol, Novato, Montgomery Village, Healdsburg and San Rafael stores will be open, providing free wi-fi, charging stations for phones, bathrooms and a safe kid and dog-friendly space for all who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy. The landscape of our home may have changed, but we will not abandon it, we will rebuild and get through these trying times together."

--Copperfield's Books, in wildfire-ravaged Northern California, via Twitter

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley


FBF17: Markus Dohle on the 'Renaissance' of Print Books

Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle opened this year's Frankfurt Book Fair with an optimistic look at the state of the trade book publishing industry, saying at the opening press conference Tuesday that he thought the global book business was currently living through perhaps the "best times" it has ever seen, and certainly the best within the last 50 years. Juergen Boos, head of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and Heinrich Riethmueller, president of the German Booksellers and Publishers Association, also spoke.

Acknowledging that his positive outlook might "surprise some of [his] industry peers," Dohle explained that his argument was based on several factors, including the slow "but often continuous growth" of digital books in most countries over the last 15 years, the establishment of stable, widespread business models for both print and e-books, and a "renaissance of the printed book" that has had a "massively stabilizing effect" for bricks-and-mortar retail as well as the industry at large.

Markus Dohle

Dohle remarked that books are one of a very few categories of media that have actually seen growth since the proliferation of digital formats over a decade ago, and he noted drily that after the business model for e-books was "in flux" for many years, especially in the U.S., where there was a "big lawsuit," a stable business model has been in place for the last two years. He also described a "healthy coexistence" between print and e-books, with an "80-20 split among those formats" globally, adding that if anyone had predicted an 80-20 split years ago, they would have predicted it being 80% digital, 20% print.

On the subject of the resurgence of print books, Dohle said that it is a critical factor for the diversity of the book business and the health of the entire "book ecosystem." It is also massively important for bricks-and-mortar retailers, who need to be preserved if publishers want to preserve the diversity of stories and narratives "in book form." Later, in a response to an audience question, he added that the bookshop is still the "most important place" for readers to discover new books and that it is important for publishers to "inform the public that the print book is not dead."

With books for children and young adults remaining the "fastest-growing category in most book markets" over the last decade, Dohle was optimistic that publishers will be able to turn younger generations into "lifelong readers." In a similar vein, he pointed to the book industry being pushed by the "tail wind" of various demographic changes around the world, including population growth and easier access to education in some developing markets such as India and Brazil.

In terms of challenges facing the publishing industry, Dohle said that the "true challenge at the core of the digital transition" is not about format but about publishers needing to "reinvent" how they advertise and publicize new books: they have to establish "direct connections" to readers and to find ways to generate demand for books "directly and at scale." Noting that millions of titles, including new, used and self-published books across all formats, are available online, Dohle described both consumers and publishers as "drowning in titles." And while it is more difficult now to get noticed, publishers can use their commitment to "quality in each product" as a way to be seen through the "deluge of new and often self-published titles."

Dohle related that Penguin Random House invests around $750 million annually "in new stories." When asked about the sustainability of authorship as a profession with seemingly more and more money going to a smaller pool of major authors, he answered that while he "would like to agree" that the percentage of authors who cannot make a living from their work is still too big, there hasn't been any worsening of the situation. He said that high advances for top authors are "not a new phenomenon," and the share of revenue that authors receive from books sold has not seen a major change.

Given the "tense political situation" around the world today, words, language and culture have never been more important, he continued, and "diverse ideas and opinions" are more important now than ever before. Dohle called on publishers and the book industry at large to fulfill their "social responsibility," concluding: "If we succeed in this mission, we will succeed financially as well." --Alex Mutter

French Booksellers: Cost of Amazon Growth Is 'Job Destruction'

Responding to the opening last week of Amazon's fifth warehouse in France, Syndicat de la Librairie Française (French Booksellers Association) issued a statement claiming that job destruction was "the true price of Amazon's expansion," the Bookseller reported. The online retailer plans to open a sixth warehouse in the Paris region next year.

The SLF said Amazon has increased the purchase of robots faster than it has recruited staff, and the SLF alleges: "On this basis, Amazon would have destroyed almost 300,000 jobs in the world, as many as the number of its staff."

The organization also attacked Amazon's record on taxes, and recommended an alternative network, Librairies indépendantes, which "comprises 700 indies, has a larger catalogue than Amazon and enables customers to order books online and collect them from a shop more rapidly than Amazon could deliver," the Bookseller wrote.  

NetGalley Opening U.K. and Japan Sites

Effective October 25, NetGalley is launching a country-specific site for the U.K., and on October 17, the digital review copy and publisher marketing service company will launch its country-specific site for Japan. With the U.K. launch, Stuart Evers is promoted to assistant director, NetGalley U.K.

"The U.K. is our fastest growing market, and we are thrilled to be able to provide their own dedicated site, while preserving their ability to promote to U.S. influencers," said Fran Toolan, CEO of both NetGalley and Firebrand Technologies. "We are also pleased and excited that has now achieved enough momentum in Japan to warrant a full release."

Arrest Made in Case of Murdered Oklahoma Bookseller

Bookseller Kelly Hays

An arrest has been made in the September 14 murder of Kelly Hays, owner of 30 Penn Books, Oklahoma City, Okla., who had been beaten and whose body was found after a fire had been set at the bookstore.

According to the Oklahoman, Kenton Eugene Busby has been charged with one count of first-degree murder. Busby was seen in a bus video around the time of the murder and "willingly came to the police department, spoke with detectives and was subsequently arrested." The suspect has pleaded guilty in the past to several felonies, including rape, kidnapping and assault, and served jail time.

Hays was a former judge and attorney who opened the used bookstore in 2000.

October Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for October was delivered to nearly half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 118 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 467,000 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press).

For a sample of the October newsletter, see this one from Page and Palette, Fairhope, Ala.


Image of the Day: One Year of Milkweed Books

Milkweed Books in Minneapolis, Minn. celebrated its first birthday this past weekend--an event that featured a street sale, special deals, sweet treats and a community book swap. Pictured: (l.-r.) bookseller/warehouse manager Celia Mattison, bookstore manager Hans Weyandt (a rare photo in which he actually shows his face!) and bookseller/events coordinator Daley Farr. (Photo by Caroline Casey, managing director, Coffee House Press)

First Presentation of the Kristin Keith Rep of the Year Award

Linda Cannon

A particularly celebratory and poignant moment at the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Fall Conference over the weekend in Cherry Hill, N.J., was the presentation of the inaugural Kristin Keith Sales Rep of the Year award to Linda Cannon, co-owner of rep group Parson Weems. For 30 years, the award was known as the William Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year award, but was renamed earlier this year to honor the beloved Norton rep who died on January 4 and who won the Helmuth award in 2013.

It was quite the family event. Keith's sister, Kathryn Runyan, introduced the award, and in a surprise orchestrated by NAIBA and Parson Weems, Cannon's sisters Judy and Kim came from Pittsburgh for the festivities. "I was thunderstruck when I saw them in the aisle, and so very happy!" Cannon said. "I'm so grateful to all."

Outgoing NAIBA president Mark LaFramboise of Politics and Prose presented the award, saying that it was fitting that it went to Cannon: "Linda's dedication and generosity to her accounts is immense. Her optimism and sense of humor can brighten an ordinary day. I'm proud to give this award to Linda Cannon, not just because she's my friend but because she exemplifies everything great that sales reps contribute to our stores."

For her part, Cannon said she was "thrilled, honored and humbled" to receive the award. She also praised Kristin Keith as "a fabulous rep who lit up any room, was beloved by everyone, and a friend of mine. I miss her, and wish she were still with us. Kristen was taken far too soon."

Pennie Picks The Cuban Affair

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen The Cuban Affair: A Novel by Nelson DeMille (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781501101724) as her pick of the month for October. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"I don't often choose suspense or action-adventure titles as my pick, but Nelson DeMille's The Cuban Affair seemed like an obvious exception. First, I enjoyed his descriptions of Cuba, a country that is still a mystery to many of us.

"I was also charmed by the introduction of a new character: U.S. Army combat veteran turned boat captain Daniel 'Mac' MacCormick. I really love that Mac is sarcastic but also self-aware when it comes to his shortcomings.

"When a deal to hire Mac for a fishing tournament turns into a hunt for $60 million left in Cuba at the beginning of Castro's revolution, Mac and his companions hope to find the stash before anyone else finds it--on purpose or not."

'Most Instagrammable Bookshops in the World'

Conceding that "any book lover will proudly tell you that it's what's inside the book that counts," Bustle observed: "But let's all be honest with ourselves... books are also very pretty. Books are attractive. Books are beautiful. And a good bookshop is a work of art." With that in mind, Bustle featured "11 of the most Instagrammable bookshops in the world."

"There's already something so calming about being in a bookshop," Bustle added. "Bookshops feel like a space out of time, where print media is still alive and everything smells like old paper. So when a bookshop puts a little extra effort into their design and book presentation, the result is nearly a religious experience. These book shops are some of the most inventive, unique, and just plain beautiful spots for a book nerd to visit, no filter necessary."

Personnel Changes at Algonquin

At Algonquin Books and Algonquin Young Readers:

Brooke Csuka has been promoted to senior publicist.

Kristen Bianco has joined the company as publicity assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Yotam Ottolenghi on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (Scribner, $27, 9781501144318).

CBS This Morning: Yotam Ottolenghi, co-author of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781607749141).

Extra: Ivana Trump, author of Raising Trump (Gallery, $26.99, 9781501177286).

Daily Show repeat: John Hodgman, author of Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches (Viking, $25, 9780735224803).

Movies: Arthur Miller: Writer

A clip and poster have been released for Arthur Miller: Writer, Rebecca Miller's (Maggie's Plan) documentary portrait of her father, Deadline reported. The film, which is premiering at the New York Film Festival before airing on HBO next March, is "built around impromptu interviews shot over many years in the family home. This celebration of the great American playwright is quite different from what the public has ever seen. It is a close consideration of a singular life shadowed by the tragedies of the Red Scare and the death of Marilyn Monroe; a bracing look at success and failure in the public eye; an honest accounting of human frailty; a tribute to one artist by another."

Books & Authors

Awards: John Glassco Literary Translation

The Literary Translators' Association of Canada has named Catherine Leroux the winner of this year's C$1,000 (about US$1,321) John Glassco Literary Translation Prize, given for the best translation into English or French, Quillblog reported. The Montreal author was honored for Corps conducteurs, her French translation of Sean Michaels's Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning novel, Us Conductors.

"Leroux has crafted a lively translation full of beautiful prose delivered in an elegant and believable vernacular similar to the one used in Lev Termen's semi-fictional universe," the jury said.

Reading with... K. Arsenault Rivera

photo: Charlie Fernandez

K. Arsenault Rivera has spent way too much money on Magic the Gathering cards. When not shuffling cards or rolling d20s, she lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her partner. Her debut novel, The Tiger's Daughter, was just published by Tor Books.

On your nightstand now:

I'm reading Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit the way people eat dark chocolate right now. It's at once an intricate piece of worldbuilding and a deeply human work. Wouldn't want to rush it. I'm also reading Paul Krueger's Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, which is the perfect subway-to-a-night-of-debauchery book.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce inspired me to write mountains of fan fiction. It might also have started my obsession with oddly colored eyes.

Your top five authors:

N.K. Jemisin, Junji Ito, Greg Rucka, Guy Gavriel Kay and Gabriel García Márquez.

Book you've faked reading:

I got about halfway through Lolita before I had to put it down, but I'm always talking about it like I've finished it. Beautiful language isn't enough to get me over the subject matter. Sorry, Nabokov!

Book you're an evangelist for:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Hear me out! Yes, everyone is unlikable. I hated it the first time I read it for that very reason. The thing is, they're meant to be. the novel is a love story in the sense that love ruins the lives of two entire families. If you hated Wuthering Heights the first time you read it, try it one more time. I promise it's worth it!

 Book you've bought for the cover:

If we're counting graphic novels, then Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III's Batwoman: Elegy. The moment I saw it I just had to have it. Novel(la)-wise, I think I could stare at Kai Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps forever.

Book you hid from your parents:

To this day my mother has no idea that I've ever read a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. Sorry, mom, but Guilty Pleasures was right there in the name and I was a 15-year-old vampire fangirl!

Book that changed your life:

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. When I first stumbled on it, I only knew it was like Dracula, but with ladies. Little did I know about all the queer happenings. It's a good thing I didn't know, too, because when I first picked it up, I was around 12 and pretty heavily in denial. Carmilla--much like its namesake--mystified me. I had no idea why I kept re-reading it, stopping before Countess Karnstein meets her end--only that I wanted the days she spent with Laura to last forever.

Favorite line from a book:

"Dearest, your little heart is wounded; think me not cruel because I obey the irresistible law of my strength and weakness; if your dear heart is wounded, my wild heart bleeds with yours." --Carmilla

Five books you'll never part with:

If Not, Winter by Anne Carson; Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë; The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole; my beaten up copy of Eye of the World by Robert Jordan; my best friend's copy of House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski, since it's her copy and who am I to give it away, even if I have hoarded it for four years?

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

House of Leaves. The way the novel unfurls itself before you, that sense of discomfort and curiosity--it's hypnotic. I'd love to experience that again.

Latest obsession:

It's not book related, but the video game NieR: Automata has swallowed up my life whole. Don't let the aesthetics fool you--this game is downright philosophical. When androids and machines are locked in an eternal war, both striving to be as human as possible--what does humanity mean? I've been mulling it over for weeks now, and I'll talk your ear off about it if you'll let me.

Book Review

YA Review: Otherworld

Otherworld by Kirsten Miller, Jason Segel (Delacorte Press, $18.99 hardcover, 368p., ages 12-up, 9781101939321, October 31, 2017)

Eighteen-year-old Simon Eaton is one of only "two thousand lucky gamers" chosen to test an early version of Otherworld 2.0, a reboot of what is "known in geek lore as the greatest game of all time." It's a virtual reality app that requires exorbitantly expensive equipment, including headset, haptic gloves and "dainty booties." When Simon (illegally) uses his mother's credit card to buy his own gear, he also buys a set for Kat Foley. Since his parents have "very important golf balls to hit, frittatas to eat, and luxury leather goods to acquire," Kat was both his best friend and all the family he has needed for 10 years--until she began avoiding him. Six months after Simon was sent to boarding school, Kat started blocking his calls and "slowly began to vanish."

Simon is sure Kat's in trouble, so he figures "a few grand and a near death experience with [his] father" are worth it if Kat will talk to him in Otherworld. Unfortunately, their avatars die too quickly and they're booted out of the game. But then Kat kisses him in real life and warns him to stay away until "this is over." Simon's suspicions are confirmed: Kat is "knee-deep in some kind of sh*t." He follows her to a party in an abandoned factory where the floor collapses, injuring Kat. She's rushed to the hospital, where she's diagnosed with "locked-in syndrome," a rare condition that leaves her unable to move despite her normal brain function. Her stepfather enrolls her in an experiment designed by tech billionaire Milo Yolkin and the creators of Otherworld, in which a disc attached to her scalp allows her to move freely in "a world as real as this one." Simon, frantic to be with Kat in any world, follows her but finds the stakes are rising: regular players with headsets "get sent back to setup" when they die in the game, but those with discs can die "for real." Simon must navigate the hazards of this increasingly dangerous game-gone-wrong to help Kat get out alive.

Authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller (Kiki Strike) keep the action nonstop while they convincingly ratchet up the tension. Simon, with the giant "schnoz" he inherited from his "two-bit gangster" grandfather ("the Kishka"), is the bane of his mother's existence, and he's pretty good at annoying most other folks, too. But his love for Kat rings true, and he brings plenty of humanity to the high-stakes gaming and intrigue of this first installment in a series. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: Otherworld, a CGI virtual reality game so real you can taste, smell and feel it, becomes increasingly dangerous as Simon races to find his best friend Kat before the game literally kills her.

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