Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 23, 2018

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Quotation of the Day

'I'm So Grateful for Booksellers & Their Support'

"I'm so grateful for booksellers and their support. Honestly, with the work that booksellers do, we would be nowhere without them. Hearing from booksellers about the book has been one of the most exciting parts of this whole experience....

"A few of the bookstores I frequent near where I live in the Bay Area are Green Apple and Green Apple Books on the Park, The Booksmith, Book Passage, East Bay Booksellers, Alley Cat Books, Pegasus Books, Walden Pond Books, Copperfield's Books, Point Reyes Books, Folio Books, and Dog Eared Books, among others. I feel incredibly spoiled--the Bay Area has such great bookstores. It's out of this world.

"I'm going to be away on tour from July 31, when the book comes out, to mid-November: 35 events in 17 cities. I'm so excited because there are so many bookstores on the list that I've been a fan of and have been following on social media from afar. So it will be delightful."

--R.O. Kwon, whose debut novel, The Incendiaries (Riverhead, July 31), is the number-one pick for the August Indie Next List as well as a Summer/Fall 2018 Indies Introduce selection, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week 

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich


Itinerant Literate Opens in S.C.

Itinerant Literate, which has operated as a mobile bookstore for three years, opened a bricks-and-mortar store, in North Charleston, S.C., last week and had a grand opening on Saturday. The celebration included literary-themed trivia, a story time, a literary scavenger hunt, a Scrabble meetup, live music, an open mic for storytelling and poetry, and 20% off staff recommendations and local/regional titles. The store is owned by Julia Turner and Christen Thompson.

The Post and Courier noted that the bookstore's 675-square-foot location was previously the home of the Orange Spot coffee shop and Roadside Blooms florist, both of which are also owned by women and both of which moved to larger quarters elsewhere. Thompson commented: "I guess this place has some kind of feminist magic that I'm very into." Toni Reale, the owner of the flower shop, added, "It's almost like a little incubator space for lady-owned businesses--and creative businesses, too."

Itinerant Literate will continue to use Viola, the store's book trailer, for off-site events.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Prologue Bookshop Opening in Columbus, Ohio

Prologue Bookshop will tentatively open in October in Columbus, Ohio, according to Columbus Underground. The 1,100-square-foot building is being renovated to fit the "mold of a traditional bookstore." The focus will be on books and events, although the store will carry "small gift items like toys and games."

Prologue Bookshop is owned by Dan Brewster, a software engineer who was inspired by bookstores in the Bay Area of California, where he worked for a time. After moving back to his native Ohio, he said, "I found that Columbus actually didn't have nearly as many independent bookstores as a lot of the neighboring cities do. [It] was a really great opportunity here to open a bookstore." He noted several bookstores that have opened in the general area, including Gramercy Books in Bexley and Two Dollar Radio HQ, adding, "Hopefully I can keep that tradition going of bringing great independent bookstores to Columbus."

Brewster continued: "What I'm really hoping for is that this brings a unique experience, a unique shopping destination for people when they're already in the Short North [area of Columbus]. That deep breath you can take when you walk through the door of a bookstore and you can just go, 'Ah.' It's a comforting place, it's a welcoming place, it's somewhere that people really can feel like they've just stepped out of their busy lives."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

NYC Steam Pipe Explosion Affects Books of Wonder, Macmillan

photo: FDNY

While Thursday's steam pipe explosion at Fifth Avenue and 21st Street resulted in street and building closures, Books of Wonder on 18th Street, just off Fifth Avenue, remained open.

In an e-mail to customers on Friday, owner Peter Glassman said that while 18th Street was closed to vehicles because Fifth Avenue was closed, "all sidewalks are open to people walking up to and including 18th Street.... And, of course, our 84th Street store is open as always."

The explosion of an asbestos-lined Con Edison steam pipe caused a crater in the street and blew toxic muck onto the street and nearby buildings, many of which have been closed. The initial closed area included the Flatiron Building on Fifth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets, which houses many Macmillan imprints. Macmillan offices were closed on Thursday and Friday; the company is reopening today.

As of this morning, Fifth Avenue between 19th Street and 22nd Street is still closed to pedestrians, and the exteriors of buildings in the area closest to the blast have been washed by the Fire Department, according to the New York Times. The city's Emergency Management Department is continuing to inspect and monitor building interiors.

AAP Estimates 2017 Industry Sales at $26.23 Billion; 2.72 Billion Books

In 2017, the U.S. book industry had estimated net revenues of $26.23 billion and sold 2.72 billion books, according to the Association of American Publishers' 2018 StatShot Annual Report, which is based on sales reported by publishers as well as "market modeling." The approach is different from the AAP's monthly statistics, which are based solely on publisher sales reports. Released in May, those  reports, based on what some 1,200 publishers and distributed clients reported to the AAP, put 2017 book industry net book sales at $14.7 billion.

Among the highlights from the StatShot Annual Report:

For the first time, publisher sales to physical and online retail channels were almost equal, at $7.6 billion and $7.5 billion, respectively. Sales to online retail channels consisted of 43.2% print formats; 27% e-books; 16.3% instructional materials; 10.5% downloaded audio; and 3.1% physical audio or a different format.

Downloaded audio was the fastest-growing format again, up 28.8% compared to 2016. In the past five years, downloaded audio has grown 146.2%.

In 2017, more than one billion paperback books were sold (more than any other format), representing 36.9% of books sold in all categories.

Trade sales rose 0.3%, to $15.95 billion, last year. Nonfiction adult book sales rose 5.4% in 2017, while adult fiction slipped 1.2%. Unit sales for children's books grew 1.1%, while YA grew 4.4%.

Bad Idea of the Day: 'Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries'

Under the Onion-worthy headline "Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money," Panos Mourdoukoutas, author of The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership, wrote a Forbes piece suggesting that Amazon "should open their own bookstores in all local communities. They can replace local libraries and save taxpayers lots of money, while enhancing the value of their stock."

Seeming to ignore the wide range of essential services that libraries provide, Mourdoukoutas was also less than well-informed about the current state of print books and independent bookstores.

"Then there's the rise of digital technology. Technology has turned physical books into collector's items, effectively eliminating the need for library borrowing services," he wrote. "Of course, there's Amazon Books to consider. Amazon have created their own online library that has made it easy for the masses to access both physical and digital copies of books. Amazon Books is a chain of bookstores that does what Amazon originally intended to do; replace the local bookstore. It improves on the bookstore model by adding online searches and coffee shops. Amazon Go basically combines a library with a Starbucks."

The bookish Internet quickly responded. A sampling:

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.: "We're also a place that sells books. Libraries are a national treasure that create exponentially more human wealth than they cost in money to maintain. Free, public libraries are just smart investments for communities to make.... Libraries don't need 'innovation' as librarians are already some of the most innovative people in books, nor do they need disruption as they are also some of the most responsive institutions out there. They just need adequate funding to do their good work.... 'Privatizing' isn't the solution to every money-based 'problem.' In fact, a lot of the most successful 'private' bookstores are successful b/c they act as much like libraries as they can and keep the lights on."

East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, Calif.: "This is too catastrophically dumb even to link."

Author John Scalzi (responding to @PMourdoukoutas's question: "Did anyone read my article"): "Of course we read it, that's how we know it's trash. Your understanding of the short and long-term economic benefits of public libraries is so remedial that whatever institution gave you your Ph.D. should probably rescind it out of sheer embarrassment."

I Am Books, Boston, Mass.: "And here it is! The stupidest thing to appear on the internet today!"

Furby House Books, Port Hope, Ontario: "The bookstores and Libraries offer more than coffee and online searching. If the author of the article ever visited either place he [would] know they are literary salons. Bookstores provide a unique intersection of art, business, community and self-improvement, and provide community spaces unlike any other. Libraries provide, at no charge, a curated collection of materials for loan and assistance accessing services and technology to EVERYONE!"

Michael Kindness, sales rep for Penguin Random House: "Dear @Forbes A couple of things: Physical books aren't 'collector's items.' E-book sales have been in decline for a few years. Digital and physical books aren't free at Amazon. Libraries offer both physical AND digital books (and audiobooks) at no charge. Wise up."

@bibliotudinous ("Hippie-ish librarian"): "The ideas in this article were debunked 20 years ago; ironically, a librarian could have helped the author turn this into a well-researched pro-library piece."


B&N: Best Bookstore on Maui

Barnes & Noble has won the best bookstore on Maui in Maui Time's annual best of Maui awards. Maui Time, in Hawaii, wrote:

"Barnes & Noble is the physical embodiment of a book worm's heaven. One foot in, and the cool air blasting from the air conditioner hits you--as well as the sense of pleasure you get from the sight of well-organized shelves furnished with seemingly never-ending rows of books and supplies in mint condition. Easy-to-read signs are posted near or on shelves to help customers when lost or looking for something, and there are chairs for people to plop into with a book. With the music playing softly in the background and not that many people rushing in and out the store, feel exactly like you're in your own room, chilling and getting lost in books."

The award-winning B&N is the same B&N that last year announced it was closing--which led to such a public outcry that the company decided to keep the store open. In March, it moved to a temporary location and is seeking a new permanent location on the island.

Wild Rumpus a Top Five Spot in Minneapolis Neighborhood

For anyone visiting the Linden Hills neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minn., "or just looking to better appreciate what it has to offer," Hoodline showcased the top five spots there based on "Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of neighborhood businesses."

Wild Rumpus children's bookstore made the cut. "With its focus on young readers, the store schedules events such as field trips, school author visits, summer reading bingo and more. The shop is filled with animals, from cats to birds to ferrets, and has a number of bestsellers and staff picks to choose from."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

At Chronicle Books:

Shelley Sanders has been hired as director of national specialty and mass market sales.

Karen Finlay has been hired as national account manager, Barnes & Noble and Ingram. Previously she was senior manager for national accounts and field sales at Lonely Planet.

Camille Geeter has been promoted to trade sales coordinator. Previously she was marketing assistant, special projects.

Eve Brodsly has been promoted to sales & marketing materials coordinator. Previously she was sales materials assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Arceneaux on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Jessica Mendoza and Alana Mendoza Dusan, authors of There's No Base Like Home (Tu Books, $18.95, 9781620145883).

Fresh Air: Michael Arceneaux, author of I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé (Atria/37 INK, $17, 9781501178856).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers (Viking, $27, 9780735223523).

Daily Show: Michael Scott Moore, author of The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780062449177).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michael McFaul, author of From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544716247).

Movies: Modern Persuasion

Alicia Witt (Mississippi Requiem, Two Weeks Notice) will star in Modern Persuasion, a contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion directed by Alex Appel (The Death of Alice Blue) and Jonathan Lisecki (Gayby). Deadline reported that the story "centers on Wren Cosgrove (Witt), a happily single and self-confessed workaholic who, after steadfastly rising to the top of the ladder in the N.Y. corporate publicity world, finds herself coming home every night to her cat. But when her firm is hired by the man who got away, Wren finds herself having to interact with her ex-boyfriend every day when she'd rather just curl up in a ball and wail like a teenager. In time, she finds the courage and strength to rebuild not only her company, but her love life as well." The script was written by Lisecki and Barbara Radecki (Expecting).  

Books & Authors

Awards: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Winner

The winner of the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, which celebrates "the very best in crime fiction" and is open to U.K. and Irish crime authors, is The Intrusions by Stav Sherez (Faber & Faber), the Bookseller reported. Sherez received £3,000 (about $3,930) and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

Book Review

Review: Don't Send Flowers

Don't Send Flowers by Martín Solares (Black Cat/Grove, $16 paperback, 288p., 9780802128157, August 14, 2018)

Martín Solares follows up The Black Minutes with Don't Send Flowers, another unpredictable descent into a region of Mexico teetering on the edge of complete lawlessness. It is reminiscent of Don Winslow's dark thrillers The Power of the Dog and The Cartel in its emphasis on the miseries wrought by the drug trade, but Solares's focus is firmly on the Mexican side of the border. His novel, translated from Spanish by Heather Cleary, centers on the all-too-common crime of kidnapping in the Gulf town of Ciudad Miel. In this case, the missing girl has a powerful father who convinces retired police detective Carlos Treviño to help find his daughter before it's too late.
Don't Send Flowers follows Treviño's painstaking investigation into the kidnapping. Treviño has a history with the local police that ended with his torture and desperate escape, so he has to dodge the police as well as two cartels warring over territory. Simply moving around the city is a dangerous proposition that entails armored SUVs and dodging fake checkpoints set up by gang members dressed as soldiers. Solares writes: "The sound of gunshots... or a grenade blast in the distance as night fell had become a part of life around the port, no more unusual than the words extortion or kidnapping."
The scope of the story is complicated by surprising tangents and perspective shifts. Few characters seem untouched by what they refer to as "the trade": "Throw a rock and you'll hit someone living off the cartels, sometimes without even knowing it." Politicians, business owners, even the military are implicated. And Solares is unafraid to look through the eyes of borderline villainous characters, taking readers deep into the calculations and moral compromises they've made to stay alive or even prosper in what increasingly seems like a modern Wild West. However bad it seems in Ciudad Miel, things can always get worse, as Treviño finds in a nightmarish journey to a secluded cartel-operated ranch that has been transformed into a cross between a military base and a city-state.
About halfway through, the story pivots in dramatic fashion, focusing on an older character struggling to explain the choices he's made to his more idealistic son: "He wanted to defend himself, but he had no ammunition. To be defensible, he needed to have lived a different life." Revealing more would spoil the plot, but suffice to say that throughout the book's bold narrative choices, Solares maintains a deft touch for suspense. He draws out the threat of violence like a horror maestro until it unleashes in terrible bursts. Solares's most frightening ability of all, though, is to give even monstrous characters understandable motivations. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Shelf Talker: Don't Send Flowers is a remarkable mystery-thriller about an extra-legal investigation into the kidnapping of a wealthy man's daughter in a Mexican Gulf town riddled with corruption and cartel violence.

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