Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 5, 2018

Algonquin Young Readers: The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

St. Martin's Press: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Atria Books: The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner

Carolrhoda Books (R): Today Is Different by Doua Moua, illustrated by Kim Holt

Tor Teen: Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable #1) by Charlie Jane Anders and Tor Teen: Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak (Unstoppable #2) by Charlie Jane Anders

Sourcebooks Landmark: Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict

Tordotcom: Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire


AAP Sales: November Down 5.4%; 2017 YTD Up 1.1%

In November, total net book sales in the U.S. fell 5.4%, to $1.04 billion, compared to the same period in 2016, representing sales of 1,212 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the first 11 months of the year, total net book sales were up 1.1%, to $13.48 billion. 

In November, adult book sales were down 2.2%, to $510.6 billion, while children's/YA dropped 8.2%, to $227.2 million. E-books were down 5.9%, to $87.8 million. Downloaded audio had the biggest gain in sales during the month, up 44.8%, to $34.1 million.

Sales by category in November compared to November 2016:

Atlantic Monthly Press: Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt by Phoebe Zerwick

Powell's Books Adding Shop at PDX

Powell's Books is adding a location at the Portland International Airport, where it has had a store on the Clock Tower Plaza for nearly 30 years. The new location is a kiosk shopping outlet located past the security gates on Concourse B, across from Gate B3. This location carries new, sale and used books as well as cards, gifts, and Powell's logo merchandise. The kiosk is open daily from 5 a.m.-5 p.m.

Powell's CEO Miriam Sontz said, "We appreciate the support of the Port of Portland and the opportunity to grow with the airport and be of service to travelers on the concourse."

Ingram Booklove: An Exclusive Rewards Program for Indie Booksellers

Booksmith's Evans Partners in Cocktail Bar, Adding Books to Menu

Christin Evans, co-owner of The Booksmith in San Francisco, Calif., has partnered with Mikha Diaz, owner of the now-closed book bar Two Sisters Bar and Books, to buy the Alembic, a 12-year-old craft cocktail bar in San Francisco's Upper Haight neighborhood, Eater SF reported. In addition to food and drink, the revamped Alembic will offer a selection of cookbooks, cocktail guides and more for customers to buy and peruse.

Diaz and Evans plan to bring in an entirely new management team with a new chef and new bar manager, and intend to simplify the food offerings by returning to bar fare such as sliders and wings. On the drink side, the Alembic will continue to provide classic craft cocktails along with rotating seasonal selections. The new owners will close briefly to give the decor a "gentle refresh" and hope to reopen in mid-May.

"Christin and I view this as a legacy business," Diaz told Eater SF. "It's one of those businesses that can have different owners but it's fundamentally its own self--we're not going in to dramatically change it, we're going in to revive its best traditions.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 01.17.22

Benjamin Trisk Steps Down as CEO of Exclusive Books

Ben Trisk

Benjamin Trisk, credited with reinvigorating the South African bookstore chain Exclusive Books, has formally stepped down as CEO of the company after being suspended in February by the board. Trisk called the core of the problem "a breakdown in the relationship among shareholders," Business Day wrote. Exclusive Books' majority owner is Global Capital, a South African and Australian investment banking and private-equity firm; Trisk is a minority shareholder.

Exclusive Books recognized yesterday the contribution Trisk made to the "re-engineering of the Exclusive Books business and brand." The company, which has some 20 stores in South Africa, promised "business as usual" following the departure of Trisk, who said he had reached an "amicable settlement" with the board. A former lecturer in financial economics at Wits University and former executive general manager of Premier Group, Trisk became CEO of Exclusive Books in 2013.

South African publishers are reportedly unhappy with Trisk's departure. Bridget Impey, publishing director at Jacana Media, told Business Day, "There will be a great gap left in the bookselling world. He gave it the shot in the arm that we all needed."

Jeremy Boraine, publishing director at Jonathan Ball Publishers, said that Trisk "upgraded key stores and invested in promotions, and kept all the publishers on their toes."

Board member Frank Boner is acting CEO.

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Some Questions about Trees by Toni Yuly


Independent Publishers Group has bought International Specialized Book Services (ISBS), the Portland, Ore., academic book distributor with more than 60 academic, scholarly and professional publisher clients around the world. ISBS will be merged with IPG's academic and professional publishing distribution program.

IPG CEO Joe Matthews commented: "ISBS joining IPG is a perfect fit. IPG will gain world class academic publishers, and those publishers will gain access to IPG's more than 10,000 active customers and state-of-the-art reporting, marketing, and fulfillment systems."

Paul Murphy, IPG's v-p, managing director of the academic and professional publishing program, added: "We look forward to working closely with the exceptional staff at ISBS to implement proven best practices to ensure we maintain and surpass the demands of our publishers, customers and readers."

Jeff C. Charbonneau, CEO of ISBS, commented: "I know our client publishers are going to benefit from IPG's expanded service capabilities and market presence and am excited about the opportunities and market strength those capabilities are going to provide."

Murphy and Charbonneau will oversee the integration of ISBS into IPG.

This has been a busy week for acquisitions in academic distribution. On Monday, LSC Communications announced it had bought TriLiteral, which specializes in distributing university presses and academic publishers' titles and was a joint venture of Harvard University Press, the MIT Press and Yale University Press.

ABA-Civic Economics Report Details Amazon Third-Party Sales Tax Avoidance

A new American Booksellers Association-Civic Economics report called "Prime Numbers: Amazon and American Communities" shows that Amazon continues to cause an increasing loss of jobs as well as increasing losses in state and municipal revenue. At the same time, the report shows "the explosive growth of sales through its third-party Marketplace from 2014 to 2016." Because Amazon doesn't collect sales tax on much of this business, "Amazon's sales tax avoidance strategy has continued despite well-publicized agreements with American states," the report stated.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher emphasized this point, saying that "while Main Street retailers won a significant victory when Amazon began collecting sales tax, the accelerating growth of its third-party sellers has continued to rob cities and towns of needed sales tax revenue. This shortfall cuts the revenue necessary for schools, first responders, and infrastructure, and continues the shift of billions of dollars of retail away from Main Street, causing a staggering loss of jobs to the U.S. economy."

The report shows that Amazon's estimated total U.S. retail sales in 2016 of $130 billion "represent 44,000 empty storefronts and 637,000 displaced retail workers, only minimally offset by Amazon's employment in distribution facilities." In addition, third-party Marketplace sales rose to 56% of Amazon U.S. retail sales in 2016 from 46% in 2014; in 2016 alone, those third-party sellers didn't collect as much as $5 billion in applicable state and local sales taxes.

The effect of increasing "online sales in general and Amazon in particular has had a visible impact on American communities, exhibited by the much-discussed 'retail apocalypse' as retail activity increasingly moves from commercial districts to industrial parks," according to the report.

Teicher added: "Online retail is a fundamental reality of the 21st century, but advances in technology don't eliminate the fact that all businesses should be competing on an even playing field, and that elected officials must ensure that local businesses--which do much more to sustain a community's long-term economic health--get the same resources and benefits given to large corporate retailers."

The report is available online and includes detailed information for each state and the District of Columbia, allowing readers and policymakers to see for themselves how their community is affected. Booksellers are encouraged to share this report with their customers, neighboring businesses, area shop-local organizations and local officials. Booksellers can visit the New Localism Toolkit for sample social media posts and an updated infographic showing how Amazon impacts Americans and their communities. State-specific letter templates that booksellers can send to legislators are available in the Antitrust Action Kit.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
by Jennifer Ziegler

GLOW: Margaret Ferguson Books: Worser by Jennifer ZieglerSeventh grader Will Orser is exacting and precise with his words, which makes the grammatically incorrect nickname "Worser" especially frustrating. Introverted Worser hides out in a bookstore, where he expands his lexicon and finds new friends. Veteran author Jennifer Ziegler compassionately conveys Will's transformation; her storytelling voice led publisher and editor Margaret Ferguson to acquire the title: "[Will] is a flawed character who comes to understand that many of his perceptions about life and people aren't true and by the end of the book, he is richer for that knowledge." With tenderness and authenticity, Ziegler delivers an emotional gut-punch for language-loving readers. --Kit Ballenger

(Margaret Ferguson Books, $17.99 hardcover, ages 9-12, 9780823449569, March 15, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: Wolitzer at Books Are Magic

Last night, Meg Wolitzer kicked off her indie bookstore tour for The Female Persuasion (Riverhead) with an event at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, N.Y. The store had its largest crowd ever, and also sold the most books ever sold at one event: 203 copies! Pictured: Wolitzer (l.) with Books Are Magic co-owner and superfan Emma Straub.

Pennie Picks Magpie Murders

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780062645234) as her pick of the month for April. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"There's nothing quite like a smart mystery to provide a good mental workout. Anthony Horowitz's Magpie Murders is exactly that kind of book.

"Magpie Murders is a story within a story. First, there's editor Susan Ryeland. She sets out to edit a manuscript by Alan Conway, who is famous for his character, detective Atticus Pünd. Conway's novel is the second book. As Ryeland makes her way through Conway's manuscript, she begins to suspect that something is hidden in his words.

"If you're a fan of mysteries or simply appreciate clever storytelling--all the better if both--it's hard to go wrong with this book."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ann Shen on Marketplace

Dr. Oz: Bob Roth, author of Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation (Simon & Schuster, $24, 9781501161216).

The Talk: Vivica A. Fox, author of Every Day I'm Hustling (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250134455).

The View repeat: Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone, co-authors of The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes (PublicAffairs, $15.99, 9781610398190).

NPR's Marketplace: Ann Shen, author of Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You (Chronicle Books, $19.95, 9781452163413).

Tonight Show: Tiffany Haddish, author of The Last Black Unicorn (Gallery, $26, 9781501181825).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Louie Anderson, author of Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too (Touchstone, $26, 9781501189173).

This Weekend on Book TV: The National Black Writers Conference

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

Saturday, April 7
1:45 p.m. Coverage from the 2018 National Black Writers Conference at the Center for Black Literature in New York City (Re-airs Sunday at 1:15 a.m.). Highlights include:

  • 1:45 p.m. A panel discussion on the role of literature in tumultuous times.
  • 3:13 p.m. A panel discussion on the role of race and politics in literature.
  • 4:33 p.m. A panel discussion on the state of the publishing industry for black writers.
  • 5:42 p.m. An awards program featuring David Levering Lewis, Kwame Dawes, Colson Whitehead and other black authors.

7:30 p.m. Nick Adams, co-author of The Case Against the Establishment (Post Hill Press, $14.99, 9781682614747). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:15 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Amy Chua, author of Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations (Penguin Press, $28, 9780399562853), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 5 a.m.)

10 p.m. Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy, authors of Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country (Tyndale Momentum, $24.99, 9781496430410). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, April 8
12 a.m. Kory Stamper, author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries (Vintage, $16.95, 9781101970263), at Powell's Books in Portland, Ore. (Re-airs Sunday at 4:45 p.m.)

6 p.m. Joel Richard Paul, author of Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times (Riverhead, $30, 9781594488238).

7 p.m. Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote (Viking, $28, 9780525429722).

8 p.m. Anthony Ray Hinton, co-author of The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250124715), at Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, Ala.

10 p.m. Amy Siskind, author of The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump's First Year (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781635572711).

11 p.m. Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik, authors of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It (Penguin Press, $28, 9780735222632), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN/Faulkner, Philip K. Dick; Drue Heinz Winners

Joan Silber won the $15,000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for Improvement (Counterpoint). The judges said: "The art of this exquisite novel rests in Silber's ability to weave the lives of her characters together into a complete whole, providing readers with intimate glimpses into the delicate and often unseen challenges of unassuming, everyday people."


Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) won the Philip K. Dick Award, which recognizes distinguished original science fiction paperbacks published for the first time in the U.S. The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the award ceremony is sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society. Results were announced at Norwescon 41 in Seattle, Wash. A special citation was given to After the Flare by Deji Bryce Olukotun (the Unnamed Press)


Brad Felver of Toledo, Ohio, is the 2018 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize: his manuscript The Dogs of Detroit was selected by novelist and poet Lynne Sharon Schwartz from a field of more than 300 entries and will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press later this year. He also will receive a cash prize of $15,000.

Drue Heinz, who created and endowed the prize in 1981, died last week.

"The Dogs of Detroit is animated by a tough-minded vision of strife and frustration, beneath which runs a streak of compassion for its bereft, often violent characters," Schwartz said. "With consummate skill and assurance, Felver writes of overlooked people suffering physical and emotional deprivation, who struggle, now and again with success, in thwarted lives."

Felver is also an essayist, and teacher of writing. His fiction has appeared in magazines such as One Story, Colorado Review and Midwestern Gothic. His essays have appeared in New England Review, Hunger Mountain, BULL: Men's Fiction and Fiction Writer's Review, among others. Felver has won a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and the Zone 3 Fiction Prize.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 10:

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø (Hogarth, $27, 9780553419054) continues the Hogarth Shakespeare series with a modern reimagining of Macbeth.

Hang Time: My Life in Basketball by Elgin Baylor and Alan Eisenstock (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544617056) is the memoir of the all-star NBA player.

Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography by Julia Van Haaften (Norton, $45, 9780393292787) is a biography of the American photographer, featuring 100 photos.

Ecstasy: A Novel by Mary Sharratt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544800892) is historical fiction about Viennese composer, editor, author and socialite Alma Mahler.

Sunny by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum, $16.99, 9781481450218) is the third installment in the Track series.

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde (Putnam, $27, 9780735218567) follows three adult siblings visiting their father's farm.

Flying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown (Berkley, $26, 9780399585999) is a family drama about an overbearing aging father, his daughter, and her autistic son.

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini (Chronicle Books, $17.99, 9781452155418) celebrates the shapes and traditions of the Muslim world.

Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor in the Cherokee Nation by John Sedgwick (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501128714) chronicles a rivalry between two 19th-century Cherokee chiefs.

Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? by Robert Kuttner (Norton, $27.95, 9780393609936) explores the political backlash to stateless predatory capitalism.

A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard (Titan Books, $14.95, 9781785656408).

Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon (Running Press, $21.99, 9780762490462).

Zama, a Spanish film based on the 1956 novel by Antonio Di Benedetto, has a limited release on April 13. Daniel Giménez Cacho stars as a Spanish officer in 17th-century South America.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Sunburn: A Novel by Laura Lippman (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062389923). "Sunburn pays homage to the novels of James M. Cain, offering up crooked cops, handsome drifters, and, of course, a femme fatale. Watch the secrets unravel as a runaway wife with an ugly past takes up in a small town. Lovers of noir will delight in the familiar tropes. We know she's bad, but how bad is she? Will an affair between two untrustworthy people turn into true love? Sunburn is the perfect book to take on that spring break to a sunny locale. Pour the lemonade and lay out your beach towel." --Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues by Nova Jacobs (Touchstone, $25, 9781501175121). "Isaac Severy has died and taken the secret of his last mathematical equation with him. Except that he has also hidden clues to a hiding place for this final work and shares these clues with his adopted granddaughter, Hazel, who he has charged with finding his hidden treasure and getting it into the hands of a trusted colleague. But she's not the only one looking for his equation, and some of the other searchers are dangerous indeed. This inviting mystery allows us to follow along as Hazel makes her way toward the answer, so be prepared to put on your thinking cap and get out your best clue-solving approach--you'll need all the help you can get. I absolutely loved this debut!" --Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.

Edgar and Lucy: A Novel by Victor Lodato (Picador, $18, 9781250096999). "Edgar and Lucy is about a terribly broken family that faces crisis after crisis yet never gives up trying to be a family. The main narrator is eight-year-old Edgar, a child brilliant beyond his years but who has a problem relating to almost everyone except his grandmother, Florence. Edgar's mother, Lucy, loves him in her own way but thanks to Florence, Lucy really doesn't need to make much of an effort. When Florence dies, everything changes. A stunning novel, dark at times, raw and bold, written with an uncanny feel for life and death, Edgar and Lucy kept me spellbound waiting for its conclusion but unwilling for the story to end." --Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481469111). "This book, about an adorable little girl who gets too carried away planning a birthday party with her dads, is just what we need right now. Her mission is to find the perfect party hats, but she ends up getting caught up with penguins and must find her way home in time for the party! I highly recommend this author." --Kate Larson, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, 9781626728141). "Lumberjanes meets Stranger Things in the contemporary Colorado mountains. Arlo and his family have lived a transient life since his hacker father fled for China. As a last resort, they move in with weird Uncle Wade in Mom's hometown where the supernatural is very much a part of everyday life. Invited to join the Rangers, Arlo soon discovers his own surprising connection to Pine Mountain and its mysterious, magical woods. Page-turning, funny, fantastical, and engaging, this one is sure to fly off the shelves." --Summer Laurie, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (Simon Pulse, $17.99, 9781481497343). "Centuries ago, the Swan sisters were drowned for witchcraft. Now, for a few weeks each year, they claim the bodies of three girls and use them to draw men into the harbor to drown. For those weeks, tourists flood the town and the locals dare each other to go near the water. They call it The Swan Season. The Wicked Deep is haunting, sad, and satisfying. The sisters' anger is so thoroughly understandable, it is easy to see how they would want to lure men into the harbor. This is the perfect book for Practical Magic fans or anyone looking for a crisp, immersive read." --Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee (Mariner Books, $15.99 paperback, 288p., 9781328764522, April 24, 2018)

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, an essay collection by novelist Alexander Chee, bears all the hallmarks of the writer's intelligence, curiosity and precision with language.

In these 16 essays, Chee (Queen of the Night) delineates the creative and emotional journey of a half-Korean gay kid from conservative small-town Maine, who emerges as an important voice in American literature. Chee maps the relationship between identity, activism, writing and literary prestige. In a spirit of playful yet earnest self-interrogation, he picks at his own façade in the early stages of his career. In "My Parade," he writes of venturing outside his social class trying to infiltrate America's literary ranks: "While I didn't have their background, what I did have in these social settings were my looks, a sharp eye, a sharper tongue, and a penchant for making a spectacle of myself." In "Mr. and Mrs. B," he recalls working as a waiter for William Buckley--the famous conservative--to support himself as a writer. That Buckley denigrates AIDS victims while skinny dipping with young male servants is not lost on the impishly perceptive Chee.

The same wiliness turns sadder in essays like "Girl" and "After Peter," in which the author recounts his experiences in San Francisco during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and '90s. He describes the birth of his activism and, with the beauty of elegy, the friends and lovers he lost to the disease. He also explores xenophobia and the strange alienation of being mixed race. His observations on "passing" are spot-on: "historically, we are allowed neither the privileges of the ruling class nor the community of those who are ruled. To each side that disowns us, we represent everything the other does not have."

As much as Chee's essays exhume the autobiographical details of his life, collectively they're concerned with something greater than autobiography--the struggle and triumph of the novel. In the collection's titular essay, he explains that writing fiction is necessary "because the ways you are human are not always visible to yourself." In "100 Things About Writing a Novel"--Chee's most striking and poetic piece--he attributes the creative process not to the writer or the reader, but to the novel itself. "The novel is already at the door," he advises. "Waiting, but just for a little. It is the lover again, impatient again. Wanting again for you to know everything."

Entertaining and illuminating, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel will serve writing students and teachers well. Not a straightforward handbook on craft, its lessons nonetheless excite and inspire creative thinking. In equal measure, the collection's humanity and grace will tug the heartstrings of the general reader. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Shelf Talker: Novelist Alexander Chee demonstrates how to transform life into art in this sharp and thoughtful collection of essays.

AuthorBuzz: Morgan James Publishing: Racing with Aloha: An Inspiring Journey from Humble Barefoot Maui Boy to Champion in the Water by Fred Haywood
Powered by: Xtenit