Happy Columbus Day!
Because of the Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day holiday, this is the last issue of Shelf Awareness until Tuesday, October 9. See you then!
Because of the Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day holiday, this is the last issue of Shelf Awareness until Tuesday, October 9. See you then!
To serve its expanding distribution business, Simon & Schuster is opening its second warehouse, in Milan, Tenn. The 300,000-square-foot facility will open officially on January 2. S&S also has the Riverside Distribution Center in Delran, N.J., which it expanded two years ago by 200,000 square feet to 712,000 square feet.
In connection with the new warehouse, Chris Wagner has joined S&S as v-p, general manager warehouse operations, reporting to Dave Schaeffer, v-p, distribution and fulfillment. Wagner was formerly v-p of distribution and general manager of operations at the Perseus distribution facilities in Jackson, Tenn., which is about 25 miles from Milan.
S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy commented: "By opening this new facility we are embarking on an important new era in Simon & Schuster's distribution business, building upon our well-known commitment to distribution and the important role it plays in Simon & Schuster's overall business."
S&S Publisher Services v-p, general manager Michael Perlman added: "Opening the Milan facility aligns perfectly with our ambitious goals for growth in distribution. Milan provides a central geographic location and a workforce already experienced in book distribution that will allow us to deliver our first-rate services to an even larger family of distribution clients, and our customers, all within the existing Simon & Schuster sales and operations infrastructure. It is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to significant growth in this new facility."
S&S Publisher Services has some 50 distribution clients, including Andrews McMeel, Baen, Baseball America, Gallup, Hazelden Publishing, Insight Editions, Kaplan Publishing, Meadowbrook Press, Open Road, Reader's Digest, Regan Arts, Tuttle, Viz Media, Weldon Owen and the World Almanac.
The 25 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants--$625,000 paid out over five years to people who "show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future"--include these poets, playwrights and writers:
Natalie Diaz, poet, for "drawing on her experience as a Mojave American and Latina to challenge the mythological and cultural touchstones underlying American society."
John Keene, writer, for "exploring the impact of historical narratives on contemporary lives and re-imagining the history of the Americas from the perspective of suppressed voices."
Kelly Link, fiction writer, for "pushing the boundaries of literary fiction in works that combine the surreal and fantastical with the concerns and emotional realism of contemporary life." (She's also co-owner of Small Beer Press.)
Dominique Morisseau, playwright, for "examining the intersection of choice and circumstance in works that portray individuals and communities grappling with economic and social changes."
Lisa Parks, media scholar, for "exploring the global reach of information technology infrastructures and the cultural, political, and humanitarian implications of the flow of information."
Bellevue Literary Press has moved from its longtime home in Bellevue Hospital in New York City to new offices in lower Manhattan, in the same building that houses the National Book Foundation and Poets & Writers. The move marks the press's transition from a "project of the New York University School of Medicine to full independence as a nonprofit literary publisher."
"We're looking forward to the nimbleness independence affords us and we remain fully committed to our mission of publishing books that enrich, engage, and provoke lively discussion and debate," said publisher and editorial director Erika Goldman.
BLP was established in 2005 at the NYU School of Medicine, and began publishing titles in 2007. Its aim has been to publish literary fiction and nonfiction "at the intersection of the arts and sciences."
In 2009, the press published Paul Harding's debut novel Tinkers, which went on to win the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was the first independently published Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction since A Confederacy of Dunces in 1981. Next January, BLP will publish a 10th-anniversary edition of Tinkers, featuring a new foreword by Marilynne Robinson.
Mary Gannon is joining the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses as executive director, effective November 5. She succeeds Jeffrey Lependorf, who is also the executive director for Small Press Distribution and will continue in that role while also serving as executive director of the Flow Chart Foundation.
Since 2013, Gannon has been the associate director and director of content for the Academy of American Poets. Prior to that, she was the editorial director of Poets & Writers, the nonprofit organization serving poets and writers of literary prose. Gannon is also a widely published poet and writer. With her husband, Poets & Writers magazine editor-in-chief Kevin Larimer, she is writing The Poets & Writers Guide to the Writing Life, to be published by Simon & Schuster.
"For the past 17 years, this organization has been in the expert care of Jeffrey Lependorf, the literary world's energizer bunny," the CLMP board said. "Thanks in part to his leadership and assistance, the diverse and essential publishers he has served have never been more active, thriving, and necessary. Because of his work, more voices have been heard. We are indebted to him for his enormous contributions to the literary world and to Democracy.
"The moment we met Mary Gannon, we knew she was the person to build on Jeffrey's legacy. Having spent her career in service to the literary world, she understands the needs of all the stakeholders in our community and is expert at finding creative solutions to the unique challenges literary publishers face in amplifying the wide range of voices they publish. CLMP and the entire literary ecosystem are very lucky to have her."
Praising her predecessor as "a tireless and dedicated champion of literary publishers for the past two decades," Gannon said she looks forward "to carrying on his hard work serving this community, which is the foundation for the literary arts in our country and beyond."
As traditional bookstores continue to close throughout Japan, especially in rural areas, Japanese convenience stores are increasingly adding book sections to their stores and partnering with bookstore chains, the Japan Times reported.
In August, the convenience store chain FamilyMart opened its first hybrid book/convenience store in Ogi, Saga Prefecture, through a partnership with a brokerage company called Nippon Shuppan Hanbai that owns the Sekibunkan Bookstore Co. FamilyMart plans to "open many more combined stores, mainly by renovating existing bookstores to meet local demand."
Lawson, another prominent convenience store chain, has opened 10 of its own hybrid stores in partnership with Bunkyodo, a major book retailer. At the same time, Lawson has been adding bookshelves and a small book inventory to the magazine sections at its traditional convenience stores. The company plans to have 4,000 stores with new book sections by February 2019.
Some of the challenges facing Japanese bookstores include competition with online retailers and the inability of family-owned stores to find successors. As of May 2018, research company Arumedia estimated the number of bookstores in Japan at around 12,000--a drop of about 44% since the year 2000. A 2017 survey also found that "more than 20% of all cities, wards, towns and villages across Japan lacked a bookstore."
For booksellers around the country, podcasts are becoming increasingly important to their stores and popular with their customers. In this new, occasional series, Shelf Awareness will take a look at a different bookstore's podcast in each installment.
The Reading Bug in San Carlos, Calif., debuted its podcast series Reading Bug Adventures in February 2018. The podcast, currently in its second season, features original stories and music written and performed by co-owner Lauren Savage, Reading Bug staff members and assorted friends and family. Each hour-long story is divided into two 30-minute episodes, with new episodes airing weekly. The stories focus on the Reading Bug, played by Savage's nine-year-old daughter, Chloe, as she goes on a variety of book-themed adventures; Savage narrates the series.
"What we wanted to do was create something that's an extension of our bookstore," Savage explained. "We promote books that we love and we use books in every episode to push the storyline along."
The most recent two-part episode, "A Chimpanzee Adventure," follows the Reading Bug as she visits Gombe National Park in Tanzania, walking in the footsteps of Jane Goodall. The previous two-parter, and the season two premiere, was "A Dinosaur Adventure," in which the Reading Bug travels back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Other past episodes have focused on the wild west, outer space and the ocean depths.
Savage reported that production is a "very big, ongoing process." Although the show is recorded in seasons, stories are written all year long, primarily by Savage's husband and mother-in-law. Savage noted that the time frame varies quite a bit--some episodes are written and rewritten over a few months, while others are completed in just a couple of days. The amount of research needed to write each one, she added, is also variable.
|Chloe recording an episode of Reading Bug Adventures.|
Once the stories are finished, Savage writes the music. She said that given the target audience of 3- to 8-year-olds, the songs are generally short, actionable songs that have repeating sections, with themes and through-lines that run through multiple songs and episodes. At least one new song is introduced each episode, and the episodes use different musical styles. The "Dinosaur Adventure" episode, for example, featured rock-and-roll music.
Savage next casts the parts for the episode, and then they head to the recording studio. Savage said they do it "100% professionally," and once in the studio they try to spend as little time there as possible, because "boy, that gets expensive." The next step, Savage continued, is sending the recorded audio to Resonate Recordings, where it is professionally mixed and mastered.
Savage noted that when it comes to producing a podcast, they "probably chose the most difficult way you could go," but the fanbase is growing and they've started getting advertisers for episodes. They've also started a Patreon fundraiser for the podcast. Savage said she hopes to increase fundraising while continuing to bring in more advertising, and suggested that anyone interested in doing this sort of time- and cost-intensive podcast come up with a business plan as early as possible.
Around the same time that they started working on the Reading Bug Adventures, Savage began recording interviews with visiting authors. These podcasts, which feature author interviews conducted by Savage and her daughter, in character as the Reading Bug, are released during the hiatus between seasons. Savage noted that these podcasts are less labor-intensive than the story-based Reading Bug Adventures.
When asked about feedback from customers, Savage said the "coolest thing" has been fans, mostly little girls, visiting the store and looking for the Reading Bug. This summer, Savage added, they did a live episode, and her daughter dressed in a ladybug costume and signed autographs. They can also tell, based on podcast downloads, that people are listening in places as far flung as China and Australia.
"Once you start building a following, it's serious pressure," said Savage. "But it's really exciting. It means people are listening." --Alex Mutter
If you host a podcast and would like to be considered for a future Podcast Profile, please send us an e-mail.
The trade show floor was the bookish place to be yesterday during the Heartland Fall Forum in Minneapolis, Minn. Pictured: (l.-r.) Daniel Salmieri, author and illustrator of Bear and Wolf; Claudia Bedrick, Enchanted Lion Books publisher; Pamela Klinger-Horn of Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.; and Judith Kissner of Scout & Morgan Books, Cambridge, Minn., who was this year's recipient of the Midwest Bookseller of the Year Award.
A Map of Days: The Fourth Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Dutton).
PBS's To the Contrary: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476795928).
Independent producer Rebecca Gushin will adapt Penelope Fitzgerald's Human Voices for television. The Bookseller reported that Gushin "has worked as a casting professional for nearly 20 years in TV (Billions, The Benders and the forthcoming FBI) as well as films and theatre, and has now begun producing."
Katie Fulford, who heads up the dedicated TV/film team at HarperCollins, said the publisher is "absolutely delighted" to have agreed to the deal. "Rebecca's creative vision and personal passion for the project was immediately evident, and we are certain she will be a fantastic guardian for this fascinating story as she works to bring that vision from page to screen."
Gushin added that she has loved the novel "since college when I magically discovered it tucked into a corner of my local bookstore. On a whim, I bought it and immediately fell under the spell of this story, one from which I've never emerged. I've dreamed of seeing these characters come to life on a screen for twenty years, while secretly nurturing the hope that I could somehow be the one to make that dream a reality. I am honored to have been entrusted by Ms. Fitzgerald's estate with this beautiful story and I look forward to working with them on a television series that will introduce viewers to these wonderful, flawed, hilarious characters and the fascinating world they inhabit."
Trinidadian writer Ingrid Persaud won the £15,000 (about $19,525) BBC National Short Story Award for "The Sweet Sop." Judge and former winner K.J. Orr described the winning work as "tender and ebullient, heartbreaking and full of humor." Persaud's story also won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2017.
Chair of judges Stig Abell, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, said they "were unanimous in their praise for a story which keeps a consistency of voice without smoothing over the reality of genuine conflict. The relationship between Victor and Reggie, estranged father and son, who find solace in chocolate, is an utterly convincing and memorable one, a clever inversion of normal parental process."
The two most popular books in September at Reading Group Choices were Trouble the Water: A Novel by Jacqueline Friedland (SparkPress) and The Best of Us: A Memoir by Joyce Maynard (Bloomsbury).
|photo: Roslyn Oades|
Suicidal: Why We Kill Ourselves by Jesse Bering (University of Chicago Press, $27.50 hardcover, 272p., 9780226463322, November 5, 2018)