Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 27, 2018

Simon & Schuster: The Lightning Bottles by Marissa Stapley

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao

Tommy Nelson: Up Toward the Light by Granger Smith, Illustrated by Laura Watkins

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton


2nd Quarter: Amazon Profits Top $2 Billion for First Time

In the second quarter ended June 30, net sales at rose 39.3%, to $52.9 billion while net income was $2.5 billion, compared to net income of $197 million in the same period a year earlier. Although revenue was below financial analysts' forecasts, profit was more than double what had been anticipated (consensus was a profit of $2.49 a share; profit was actually $5.07 a share). This marked the first time Amazon had profits of more than $2 billion in a quarter, and the third quarter in a row it had profits of more than $1 billion. As the Wall Street Journal wrote, "No longer is Amazon known for suffering losses or producing razor-thin income by plowing every dollar it makes back into investments."

In after-market trading, Amazon shares rose more than 3%, to about $1,860 a share. Amazon shares have risen 55% since the beginning of the year. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen slightly more than 3% this year, and the NASDAQ is up 13.7% since January 1.

The best-performing parts of the company in the second quarter that contributed significantly to record profits were Amazon Web Services, the cloud service division, whose operating income was $1.6 billion, and advertising offerings. Online retail, the company's traditional business, has kept on growing but not as rapidly as in the past and continues to have much lower margins. The Journal noted that online store revenue grew 12%, to $27.17 billion, a smaller jump than in the past several quarters. Slightly more than half of all products sold in the quarter were from third-party vendors.

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Judy DeBerry Is NAIBA's Sales Rep of the Year

Judy DeBerry

Judy DeBerry of Hachette Book Group is the recipient of the 2018 Kristin Keith Sales Rep of the Year award, presented by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association. She will be honored October 7 at the NAIBA Awards Dinner in Baltimore, Md.

DeBerry launched her career in publishing 35 years ago as a telephone sales rep for Random House. She joined Hachette in 1991 as one of the original sales reps for what was then Warner Books, and is now a senior field sales rep, national account manager at the company.

"I remember Scarlett being our first really big book to sell, and sell we did," DeBerry said. "While the company name and publishers have evolved through the years, my territory has remained constant. This includes several Mid-Atlantic and Southern states. I work with many accounts in both the NAIBA and the SIBA regions."

In thanking NAIBA for the honor, she observed: "First just let me say I love my accounts! And I love my job. I am very, very appreciative of this award. It means so much to me.... My job is to bring my knowledge of books and authors to my buyers. To know their stores, what they will sell well, and what they don't. Books they need to have in the store, books that will be in demand, books that you help to make into bestsellers. Over the years I've met so many authors, and it's a great feeling to know I was able to get their books into the buyers hands and then into the stores where booksellers share with their customers."

Debbie Scheller of A Likely Story Bookstore, Sykesville, Md., praised DeBerry as "a treasure to all booksellers. She goes above and beyond for her stores, from getting them the books they need to making sure authors get into the stores. She comes to events on her own time and helps out wherever needed. Judy's knowledge and experience of over 25 years shows."

Lelia Nebeker of One More Page Books, Arlington, Va., added: "No one goes to the lengths that she does to ensure that booksellers have everything we need in order to do our jobs. She's always a delight to be around, even when she's just had knee surgery, been sick with the flu, or just sat in traffic for an hour. I always know that when I have an issue or a question, Judy will drop whatever she's doing to help me. I really appreciate how hard she works for us, and how friendly and dependent she is as a sales rep."

DeBerry said: "I still smile when I'm in a store and see, out of all the books there, one of mine in the hands of a customer walking to the register. That's my happy dance!"

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Orbach Steps Down from Quarto Board

Laurence Orbach

Quarto co-founder Laurence Orbach has stepped down from the publisher's board "in the latest twist to his involvement with the company," the Bookseller reported. In a brief statement, the Quarto Group Board thanked Orbach, who in May "made a shock return to the company's leadership after being first ousted as director in 2012, for 'his contribution during his time as a director.' " Quarto declined to comment further on Orbach's resignation.

Orbach had been re-appointed executive chairman of the board after a shareholder revolt May 17, but stepped back to become a non-executive director in a July reshuffle. He and fellow shareholder Chuk Kin Lau of the Lion Rock printing company together own 47% of the company (Orbach 20%, Lau 27%). Lau, "appointed to Quarto’s board following the shareholder revolt, stepped up as Quarto's interim chief executive officer in wake of Marcus Leaver's departure," the Bookseller noted.

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Former Bookseller's Novel on Man Booker Longlist

Everything Under, the debut novel by Daisy Johnson, a former bookseller at Blackwell's Bookshop in Oxford, is among the 13 titles on this year's longlist for the Man Booker Prize. The Oxford Times reported that Johnson "worked in the shop in Broad Street until she landed a two-book publishing deal with Jonathan Cape."

Following the unveiling of the longlist earlier this week, Johnson tweeted: "SO: I have a small piece of news. Not even remotely THE MOST ENORMOUS THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. (Also look at the rest of this list, so so good!)."

Blackwell's staff offered support, tweeting: "Huge congratulations to @djdaisyjohnson on being longlisted for the @ManBookerPrize. Everything Under is a favorite of ours. A truly magnificent novel that over 15 of our booksellers have read and adored."

Noting that the Man Booker longlist has a "great balance of known names and others to be discovered with some really commercial titles thrown in," Katharine Fry, trade buying manager for Blackwell's, told the Bookseller: "As a former Bookseller of Broad Street and following the pre-order campaign and launch we will definitely be backing Daisy Johnson and hoping she makes it all the way."

The Man Booker Prize shortlist will be announced September 20, with the winner named October 16.

Obituary Note: Anne Olivier Bell

Anne Olivier Bell, "who edited the diaries of Virginia Woolf into five landmark volumes and was a rare surviving link to the Bloomsbury Group," died July 18, the New York Times reported. She was 102. Bell "was also thought to be among the last members of the so-called Monuments Men, a unit that worked to protect and recover artworks during and after World War II." Their exploits were chronicled in the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, with Bret Witter; as well as the 2014 film Monuments Men.

"I haven't any imagination," she told the Telegraph in 2014. "But I was lucky to spend my life among fascinating people."

Bell was a research assistant at the Ministry of Information during World War II, and in 1945 she was recruited to join the the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section. "She was sent to the British zone of occupied Germany, where she coordinated the activities of officers in the field, who were trying to repair damaged churches and other things of architectural or artistic significance," the Times wrote.

After her return to England in 1947, she was working at the Arts Council of Britain, editing catalogues and helping to prepare exhibitions, when she met the artist Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf's sister. She married Quentin Bell, a son of Vanessa and Clive Bell, in 1952.

She assisted her husband in the writing of his 1972 book Virginia Woolf: A Biography, and in 1977, she published The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. 1. She would edit four more volumes; the last was published in 1984. In the 1980s, she helped found the Charleston Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving a farmhouse associated with the Bloomsbury Group.


Image of the Day: Local Boy Makes Good

Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont., hosted native son and former United States ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (author of From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia) for a standing-room-only reading and signing. McFaul spoke about the history of international relations between Russia and the U.S. since the Cold War, and his experiences as an adviser to President Barack Obama and as ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. (Photo: Tim Crawford)

Bookshop Santa Cruz Helps Launch Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs

Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, Calif., has helped launch AWE: The Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, a community organization that promotes and supports downtown businesses in Santa Cruz that are owned or managed by women.

AWE was created in partnership with the Santa Cruz Downtown Association and the city's Economic Development Office. The organization has already conducted interviews with and taken documentary photos of 30 women business leaders in Santa Cruz and used those interviews and photos to create posters for participating businesses to put in their front windows.

According to owner Casey Coonerty Protti, multiple stores have dedicated their front windows to displays of not only their own posters but also posters highlighting other women-led businesses. Earlier this month, Bookshop Santa Cruz also created an AWE passport challenge, in which customers who visited 10 or more of the 25 participating stores had the chance to win gift certificates to those businesses. And a sold-out AWE launch event drew more than 120 women leaders.

The launch of AWE coincides with Women's Voices, a year-long program created by Bookshop Santa Cruz to "elevate the voice of female-identifying authors." Each month, the store chooses a community read focused on a topic important to women; this month the topic was women and entrepreneurship, and the pick was the newly launched magazine Good Company: Where Creativity Meets Business.

Protti reported that the response to AWE from both participating businesses and the community at large has been "overwhelming."

'Every Bookstore Takes Preorders'

R.O. Kwon, whose debut novel The Incendiaries will be released by Riverhead July 31, tweeted yesterday: "Several people have asked if it's possible to preorder a book through a website other than Amazon, and YES, it's very possible! If you go to, you can look up your closest indie bookstore, and, as far as I know, every bookstore takes preorders."

Personnel Changes at Random House Group

At Random House Group:

Quinne Rogers is promoted to director of marketing, Ballantine Bantam Dell. She has been with the company for nine years.

Barbara Fillon has been named v-p, director of marketing, media coaching, Random House. She was formerly v-p, deputy director, publicity, media training.

Andrea Dewerd is promoted to associate director of marketing for the Random House, The Dial Press, Modern Library, One World, and Spiegel & Grau imprints.

Jess Bonet has been promoted to marketing manager, Random House.

Erika Seyfried will lead the newly formed Content Services team for the group as director, content services.

Danielle Siess is joining the Content Services team as manager, creative content, with a focus on video and visuals for social media and design.

Kesley Tiffey has been named senior manager, consumer insights, working with all departments in the division, focusing on translating trends and consumer insights to drive data-driven business strategies and programs.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stephen King on Fresh Air

Fresh Air repeat: Stephen King on the occasion of HULU's new series Castle Rock, based on his characters and themes.

Movies: The Lottery

Shirley Jackson's classic short story "The Lottery" will be adapted as a film by a producing team led by Kennedy/Marshall at Paramount Pictures, Deadline reported. Jake Wade Wall (The Hitcher) is writing the screenplay and Jackson's son Laurence Hyman (who runs the estate) is an executive producer on the project. Frank Marshall (Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom, Sully) will produce along with Zero Gravity's Christine Holder, Andrew Wilson and Mark Holder.

"I liked what Jake was doing in developing it and bringing up to the present day. It has a dystopian, Handmaid's Tale feel about it, which makes it very timely," Marshall said. "And, it has a great twist at the end."

Deadline noted that the story "has been adapted many times, first in 1951 for radio and subsequently for stage, and most recently, in 1996 in an NBC telefilm which starred Keri Russell."

Books & Authors

Awards: Vermont Book Finalists

Vermont College of Fine Arts has announced finalists for the $5,000 Vermont Book Award, which "honors work of outstanding literary merit by Vermont authors and celebrates the long tradition of literature in the state." Books are nominated via a committee of the Independent Booksellers of Vermont, publishers and, in a first for the award this year, the public (Vermont readers). The winner will be named September 22 at the Vermont Book Award Gala. This year's finalists are:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (fiction)
Breaking Bread: A Baker's Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip (creative nonfiction)
Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam Federman (creative nonfiction)
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (children's literature, picture book)
Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone (children's literature, YA)
Event Boundaries by April Ossmann (poetry)
Selected Delanty by Greg Delanty (poetry)

Reading with... Siân Gaetano

Siân Gaetano recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as children's and YA editor for Shelf Awareness. Before joining Shelf, she received her master's in children's literature from Simmons College and worked as assistant editor for the Horn Book Guide. She lives in Boston with a carefully curated book collection and an overweight, asthmatic cat.
Favorite book when you were a child:
I read and reread Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series, Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet, Sherryl Jordan's Winter of Fire and Lois Lowry's The Giver. As one can tell, I liked fantasy. Still do.
On your nightstand now:
My nightstand is where I put the books I am determined to read right away; my TBR pile lives on a shelf next to my desk and in my wish list on iTunes. On my nightstand right now is The Last Cigarette on Earth by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. In my first year of sobriety, I read his YA novel Last Night I Sang to the Monster at least three times. Someone recently suggested The Last Cigarette on Earth knowing how touched I was by Monster. Also on my nightstand? Undivided by Neal Shusterman. It's been an actual decade since I read the first book and I have somehow yet to finish reading the series.
Your top five authors:
A top five of all time is impossible. So, instead, books that have recently ripped open my soul were written by Elizabeth Acevedo, April Genevieve Tucholke, Kekla Magoon, Joy McCullough and Minh Lê and Dan Santat.
Book you've faked reading:
Any and all assigned reading by Mark Twain. Also anything by the Brontës. Ugh, Jane Eyre.
Book you're an evangelist for:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It is a perfect middle-grade book. Everyone should read it and I promise won't be upset if you don't like it. One of my very best friends doesn't like it. He's wrong. But I'm not upset about it. Oh! And Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin. That man somehow makes the literal copying of paper a suspenseful and wholly engaging read.
Book you've bought for the cover:
I would guess that a lot of the fantasy I read before I entered the world of publishing was purchased because of the cover. I learned when I was younger that the books I enjoyed looked a certain way and so I always sought those covers out. Garth Nix's Abhorsen series, Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci series....
Book you hid from your parents:
When I was 10 or 11, I read one of my mom's books and I cannot for the life of me remember the title or author. The protagonist was a woman detective and she was on the trail of a serial killer and I remember the book being very sexy. I didn't successfully hide reading it and my mom was... not pleased. But I refused to give up the book until I had finished. Exasperated, my mother let me finish but then went in to school with me the next day and begged my teacher to give me appropriate reading materials.
Book that changed your life:
Anything I read with a developing mind changed my life. The Dark Is Rising shaped my worldview; His Dark Materials changed the way I saw books. This is why I care so much about children's literature: any and every book given to a child or teen can change or shape a life.
Favorite line from a book:
"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die." --Maggie Stiefvater, The Scorpio Races. If you have not yet read The Scorpio Races, go do so immediately. It's cool--I'll wait.
Five books you'll never part with:
I would be very sad to give up my paperback box set of The Dark Is Rising because the books have been read so many times, the bindings barely hold the pages together. I brought that horribly embarrassing box to a Susan Cooper signing and asked her to sign the browning-around-the-edges title page of The Dark Is Rising. I did the same with my childhood paperback copy of The Giver and Lois Lowry. My His Dark Materials paperbacks are also pretty special to me--I bought all three of them in an English-language bookstore while I was in school in China and they got passed around what felt like the entire school. At least 15 people have held and loved those three books.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. That book is so imaginative and powerful and the writing itself is so damn beautiful. I would eagerly hand her my heart and allow her to break it all over again.

Book Review

Review: Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita: Three Novellas by Connie Willis (Del Rey Books, $17 trade paper, 336p., 9781524796860, August 21, 2018)

Nebula and Hugo Award-winning science fiction author Connie Willis (Doomsday Book, Crosstalk) explores the terrains of emotion and technology in this collection of three previously published novellas.
In 1994's "Uncharted Territory," planetary surveyors Carson and Findriddy find their years of stable partnership thrown into turmoil when starstruck biologist Evelyn joins their team. Their work mainly consists of mapping the planetary surface, struggling with the stupidity of the native beasts of burden and getting fined by their indigenous guide, Bult, for everything from leaving tire tracks in the sand to breathing. However, Evelyn and his favorite show, a soapy dramatization of Fin and Carson's adventures, stir up jealousy and other uncharted emotions between the two explorers.
"Remake," from 1995, imagines a bleak future for the entertainment industry in which movie studios continually update and recycle Hollywood classics with the help of computer effects. Dead actors rule the screen, the rights to use their images often contested in copyright litigation, and the "liveaction" blockbuster belongs to the past. CG editor Tom bears witness as a beautiful girl named Alis searches for a way to dance in the movies. In 2007's "D.A.," high school student Theodora struggles to understand why a prestigious and competitive space academy admitted her when she never applied and does not want to attend.
Willis's lively, funny forays into futuristic territory shine as brightly today as when originally released. With its wistful longing for both the Golden Age of Hollywood and originality itself, "Remake" feels perfect for the 21st century's entertainment climate of film franchise reboots. Its narrator longs for the great films even as he butchers them for money, staying drunk as much as possible. "Uncharted Territory" serves as both a quirky love story and a commentary on political correctness; Carson and Fin must follow strict government regulations in their treatment of the planet, but the same regulations will mean little to the government if the planet turns out to contain valuable resources. Willis skewers military sci-fi tropes to hilarious effect in "D.A.," including the sly gag of an admiral boasting that the space academy recruits "the very best of the best of the best."
In all three stories, the protagonists find their narrow concepts of life challenged and expanded by possibilities created through technology. As a collection, these smart, accessible shorts make for an entertaining initiation or reintroduction into the world of one of sci-fi's greatest treasures. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads
Shelf Talker: In three fiction pieces from sci-fi master Connie Willis, planetary explorers, futuristic starlets and unruly teenagers find their lives upended in funny, touching ways by technology.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: The Art of the Bargain Book

The morning after BookExpo last month, I strolled the High Line to the Whitney Museum of American Art. My annual ritual is to add music, art and/or theater to my post-show schedule as a biblio-palate cleanser, and wandering through the museum worked its non-book magic for a while. Then I reached a survey of Zoe Leonard's career, specifically her installation How to Make Good Pictures, featuring more than 1,000 copies of a Kodak manual, stacked by edition year--between 1912 and 1995--and almost mirroring the New Jersey skyline across the Hudson River. I walked around the piece, taking pictures with my iPhone--a technique not mentioned in Kodak's manual. I tried to focus on the art, but started thinking about books again. Damn!

To be more specific, I pictured piles of overstocks, hurts and remainders. For a few years around the turn of the century, I was a bargain books buyer at an indie bookstore. I ordered from sales reps; I went to CIROBE; I bought large at BookExpo; I even did the occasional warehouse buy. Being reminded of those days by a Whitney exhibition was unexpected, though I adapted quickly, knowing the time would come to recall this moment when I did eventually write about bargain books.

Brad Jonas, Douglas Kopsco, Alyson Turner, Janet Turner, Paul Secor, Crystal Reyes

That time is now. During BookExpo, the Midtown Stage featured a session titled "Raise Your Profits with Remainders." Crystal Reyes of Texas Bookman served as moderator for panelists Brad Jonas of Powell's Books Wholesale in Chicago (and CIROBE's co-founder); Paul Secor, buyer at the Strand in New York City; Douglas Kopsco, buyer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Alyson Turner & Janet Jones of Source Booksellers in Detroit, Mich.

"We all have very different retail environments that we work in," Reyes said in her introductory remarks. "I think we all have one thing in common, which is not only our love of books but particularly our love of remainder books."

"For me, I think the term is bargain books rather than remainder books," Jonas said, adding: "One of the things we were talking about beforehand is that the words don't sound very good. We need to come up with better terms. Because 'hurts' sounds bad, but there's nothing wrong with the book. Remainders sounds like it's a leftover, but there's nothing wrong with the book.... These are books that you can pick that are special for you but not all of your clients will see at the store next door."

Kopsco noted that most of what is ordered for the Met Store "as a remainder we've already had at full price, so we have an idea--this did well for us at full price, and now it's great to be able to bring it in for a whole new audience who couldn't afford the book at $50 but they can afford it at $24.98.... You can display it in a whole different way. Instead of ordering five copies at a time, you're ordering 30 copies at a time. You can make a stack and put a spotlight on it. Obviously, the margin is great. The high sales are great. But it's also nice that you're giving the customer a bargain. So that makes them happy."

For Source Booksellers, "remainders really allow us a broad base of books in the store," Janet Turner said. "We are a niche market bookstore because we sell primarily nonfiction books.... We have a nice mix and spread of books, but when we buy the remainders we can really go deeper into any of our categories.... We never know what people's interests are."

Jonas countered a recent theory that the bargain book supply chain may be drying up as publishers become more focused on tight print runs: "We've been afraid of this for years and years and years. It still seems there's a lot of books out there in a lot of different warehouses. So, it changes. And sometimes it's different sorts of things. One season it's all cookbooks and the next season it's all kids' books and the next season it's all art books. But I don't think anyone's so smart they've got the numbers dialed in."

At the end of the session, the panelists were asked for some words of wisdom:

Jonas: "Remainders give you great opportunity to experiment on books that you just personally love. Maybe they don't sell immediately, but you're not paying a lot for the investment and often the investment comes back and helps you out."

Kopsco: "If you're not already buying remainders, you should. Just don't buy the stock that I want."

Alyson Turner: "Bookstores need lots of books and customers need lots of price points."

Janet Turner: "I'd say don't be afraid. Jump on in. Try it out, and if it works well, good. If it doesn't, try again."

Secor: "Fred Bass would always say, 'Show me a buyer who doesn't make mistakes and I'll show you a bad buyer.' You have to take chances as a buyer. You have to go beyond what's just in front of you and what you know. You have to experiment. Remainders are a very good way to do that."

From any perspective, there's an art to acquiring bargain books. Don't bother to search for Kodak's How to Make Good Pictures, though. I suspect Zoe Leonard has nabbed them all by now.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives at Fresh Eyes Now)


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