Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 17, 2018

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Quotation of the Day

'Giving People Reason to Shop Local'

"You basically figure out what you're strong at and emphasize that. We're strong at curation and buying books and merchandise especially for our market.... [We're] a community resource and people love shopping local and we give them every reason to."

--Michael Herrmann, owner, Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., in a Union Leader story about how independent stores compete.

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen


Bookstore Sales Jump 7.7% in October

October bookstore sales jumped 7.7%, to $699 million, compared to October 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau.

For the year to date, bookstore sales were $8.327 billion, exactly the same as sales in the first 10 months of 2017. Despite many months this year with strong gains, including February, March, June, July and now October, the flat result for 2018 so far is largely attributable to January results, when bookstore sales fell 8.6%.

Total retail sales in October rose 6.1%, to $506.9 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 5.4%, to $4,942 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

N.C.'s Malaprop's Opening Pop-Up in Hendersonville Arts Center

In February, Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, N.C., is opening a pop-up store in downtown Hendersonville, in the town's new performing arts space, the Center for Arts & Inspiration, the store announced. Hendersonville is located about 25 miles south of Asheville. The new center opens on February 23.

"Customers will have access to the inventory at our main store without having to drive to Asheville, and will be able to place orders that can be picked up in Hendersonville," Malaprop's said. "Book clubs, author events, and literary festivals are all in the works for our new location too, in partnership with our host."

Located in the building currently occupied by Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown, the Center for Arts & Inspiration will include professional theatre from Murder Mystery Theatre, the Center Stage Star series and international touring shows. A Repertory Theatre Troupe will be showcased in Off-Broadway's Buyer and Cellar and Church Basement Ladies. Also on the calendar: storytellers, musicians, authors, and innovators as well as a series of classes on art, writing, and performance.

Bay Books, Coronado, Calif., Seeks New Location

Bay Books, Coronado, Calif., has lost the lease at its location, where it has been for 27 years, and is seeking help in finding a new site, the store announced on its website and in a letter to the Coronado Times.

The store's difficulties began last year, when the building housing Bay Books was bought by Kleege Enterprise for $22 million. The company plans to remodel the building and replace some current tenants with new tenants. This past summer, it offered a new lease to Bay Books, with a nearly three-fold rent increase. The store made a counteroffer to keep its current rent but cut its space in half. Recently Kleege Enterprise notified Bay Books that its space has been leased to another store but said it would help find a different location.

"We decided to write this letter to ask the Coronado Community to help us locate a new space!" the Bay Books staff wrote in part. "Angelica Muller and the owner of Bay Books have tried for the past year to convince the present landowners to help us stay without success and they are just as eager to find a place for our store.

"As residents of Coronado, we feel that having a bookstore is part of who we are! Coronado has distinguished itself as a unique town, where culture and arts are an integral part of the City. We cannot imagine a Coronado without its Bookstore!

"While we remain uncertain about our future, we ask residents to please come and visit us, be supportive of our store and if possible bring the issue to the city, maybe if we all work together we can find a new home."

Rowman & Littlefield Buys Trade Books from Hal Leonard

Rowman & Littlefield has bought several trade book imprints and selected trade titles from Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, which will continue to publish sheet music and music instructional materials as well as distribute musical instruments and related products. In addition, some trade book publishers whose titles are currently distributed by Hal Leonard will now be serviced by National Book Network.

The acquired imprints include Hal Leonard Books, which will be rolled into Rowman & Littlefield, Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, Amadeus Press, Backbeat Books and Limelight Editions.

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books publishes theater and cinema books, including biographies of film and theater luminaries, as well as playscripts, librettos, monologue books, and film and theater history. From 1980 to 2005, it operated a bookstore in New York City.

Amadeus Press publishes books on classical music and opera, including such series as Unlocking the Masters.

Backbeat Books publishes biographies and memoirs, histories, and volumes on musical instruments, covering rock 'n' roll, jazz and more.

Limelight Editions offers resources for working and aspiring actors, producers, writers, directors, filmmakers, set designers and others, as well as guides to careers in film and theater.

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, Backbeat Books, Limelight Editions and the distributed publishers will be represented by National Book Network, while the acquired titles from Amadeus Press and selected other Hal Leonard titles will be sold by Rowman & Littlefield, under each company's discount schedules. Until February 1, when these changes become effective, customers should continue to order from Hal Leonard.

John Cerullo, Hal Leonard Group publisher, is joining Rowman & Littlefield, reporting to Oliver Gadsby, president of the academic and professional division. Carol Flannery, editorial director, and Clare Cerullo, production manager, are also joining Rowman & Littlefield.

Jed Lyons, president and CEO of Rowman & Littlefield, commented: "We are delighted to bring the Hal Leonard team and business on board, and are looking forward to working with John and his colleagues. The Hal Leonard list will benefit from extra attention and focus from our own trade and academic teams, and we look forward to publishing the rich array of titles for the world of performing arts coming across with this acquisition."


'Showrooming' Problem Resounds on Twitter

On Saturday evening, Kelly Justice, owner of Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., vented on Twitter about a common problem: 

"We had a lot of 'showrooming' today: people taking pictures of books and buying them from #Amazon in the store and even bragging about it. This is not ok, people.

"Find it here.
Buy it here.
Keep us here.

"That is all."

In quick order, customers, authors and other small businesses rallied behind Justice and the bookstore. Among the tweets:

From musician, activist, educator, and writer Shawna Potter: "Support small businesses! I can't do a book tour with amazon next year. I need bookstores!"

And Unmarketing's Scott Stratten wrote: "Can we arrange that if anyone in Richmond wants one of our five books, they can get it through you and we'll pay for it?"

Another person tweeted: "Needed some DIY stuff today & browsed Amazon to see if they had it. Felt dirty about it after the [Fountain] post so went to local hardware store & ladies and gentlemen, you can impulse shop in the real world too!..."

The issue obviously resounded. In the past 36 hours, the original tweet about showrooming was retweeted almost 7,200 times and received more than 35,000 likes.

In later tweets, Fountain expressed her thanks about the many positive responses. One read: "Whoa! Thank you soooooo much for the incredible support!... Just. Wow."

'61 Amazing Independent Bookstores'

Fast Company showcased "61 amazing independent bookstores worth supporting this holiday season," noting: "If for some reason you don't feel like supporting Amazon, or you just want to live in a world where independent bookstores still thrive, here is a list of some of the best independent bookstores around, mostly chosen by the book-loving nerds at Fast Company. These stores don't own Whole Foods, or share an owner with the Washington Post, or trade in face-recognition technology (that we know of), but they do sell books."

Abrams to Distribute Lucky Spool Media

Effective January 1, Abrams will sell and distribute Lucky Spool Media in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Lucky Spool Media specializes in craft books and publishes 10 titles a year, which have included School of Sewing, Southwest Modern, WALK, and The Quilt Block Cookbook, as well as books by artisans Carolyn Friedlander, Alison Glass, and Anna Graham.

Susanne Woods, owner and publisher of Lucky Spool Media, commented: "I founded Lucky Spool Media [in 2013] with a vision to create a publishing house that celebrates the art of craft in a very specific way. We know how to make beautiful books, and now, with the distribution and sales support of Abrams, I'm confident our books will get into the hands of even more crafters than ever."

Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs added: "Lucky Spool Media is 'best of breed' at what it does and the books it publishes. At Abrams, we feel similarly about our mission, our aesthetic, and our output and feel that our strengths and theirs align nicely. We're happy that Lucky Spool have joined our first-class family of distribution partners and look forward to helping them bring their books to market."

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

At Scholastic Trade:

Alexis Lassiter has been promoted to sales associate. She was previously sales coordinator.

Brigid Martin has joined the company as sales associate. She was previously at Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Taylan Salvati has joined the company as brand publicity specialist. She was previously at Wunderkind PR.

Katherine Forester has joined the company as assistant brand marketing manager. She was previously at Tor.

Vicky Kopidakis has joined the company as advertising coordinator. She was previously at HarperCollins.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David W. Blight on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: David W. Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster, $37.50, 9781416590316).

The View repeat: Daniel Krauthammer, editor of The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors by Charles Krauthammer (Crown Forum, $28, 9781984825483).

Ellen repeat: Martha Stewart, author of The Martha Manual: How to Do (Almost) Everything (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35, 9781328927323).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: John Cena, author of Elbow Grease (Random House, $17.99, 9781524773502). He will also appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Tonight Show: Michelle Obama, author of Becoming (Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138).

TV: The Luminaries

Himesh Patel and Ewen Leslie have joined the cast of The Luminaries, the highly anticipated series adaptation of Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel. Variety reported that production is underway on the "high-end drama" that is being produced by Working Title and Southern Light Films for the BBC in the U.K. and TVNZ in New Zealand.

Catton adapted her book for TV with Claire McCarthy (Ophelia), who directs. The project also stars Eve Hewson (The Knick), Eva Green (Penny Dreadful) and Marton Csokas (Into the Badlands), Yoson An (Mortal Engines), Erik Thomson (The Code), Benedict Hardie (Hacksaw Ridge) and Richard Te.

Books & Authors

Awards: Aussie Prime Minister's Literary

Winners were announced for the 2018 Prime Minister's Literary Awards, which "celebrate Australian literary excellence and recognize our talented authors, illustrators and historians." The honorees were named by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield. This year's Prime Minister's Literary Award winners are:

Fiction: Border Districts by Gerald Murnane
Australian history: John Curtin's War: The Coming of War in the Pacific, and, Reinventing Australia, Volume 1 by John Edwards
YA literature: This Is My Song by Richard Yaxley
Children's literature: Pea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard, illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Poetry: Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria by Brian Castro
Nonfiction: Asia's Reckoning: The Struggle for Global Dominance by Richard McGregor

Midwest Connections January Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association, Midwest Connections Picks for January. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal.

We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival by Jabari Asim (Picador, $17, 9781250174536). "In eight wide-ranging and penetrating essays, Asim explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body."

Laurentian Divide: A Novel by Sarah Stonich (University of Minnesota Press, $22.95, 9781517905620). "Bitter winters are nothing new in Hatchet Inlet, hard up against the ridge of the Laurentian Divide, but the advent of spring can't thaw the community's collective grief, lingering since a senseless tragedy the previous fall."

Limetown by Cote Smith and Zack Akers (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501155642). "From the creators of the #1 podcast Limetown, an explosive prequel about a teenager who learns of a mysterious research facility where over three hundred people have disappeared--including her uncle--with clues that become the key to discovering the secrets of this strange town."

Speechless by Adam P. Schmitt (Candlewick, $16.99, 9781536200928). "As if being stuffed into last year's dress pants at his cousin's wake weren't uncomfortable enough, thirteen-year-old Jimmy has just learned from his mother that he has to say a few words at the funeral the next day."

Book Review

Review: Bluff City: The Secret Life of Photographer Ernest Withers

Bluff City: The Secret Life of Photographer Ernest Withers by Preston Lauterbach (W.W. Norton, $27.95 hardcover, 352p., 9780393247923, January 15, 2019)

Delving into the life of Memphis photographer Ernest Withers, popular historian Preston Lauterbach (Beale Street Dynasty) offers readers a new vantage point on a pivotal time in United States history. His fastidious research, storytelling skills and passion for the subject make Bluff City an engrossing, fascinating biography that reads like an espionage thriller.

Withers began his informal training in photography as a teenager, using his sister's boyfriend's discarded Brownie 127 camera. In the army, he received a formal education in the art and its related technology as part of his basic training. And when he deployed to the South Pacific during World War II, Withers and his fellow shutterbug, the unit's chief supply officer, picked up a side gig taking pictures for soldiers to send home to their sweethearts and parents. During his enlistment, "He'd seen no combat, fired no weapons, and shot only his fellow Americans--with a camera. He returned home as a resourceful, technically adept picture taker, versed in the craft of photography and the art of the hustle."  

Withers served a short stint as one of the first African-American police officers in Memphis, but fate intended him to be behind the lens of a camera. He opened a studio at the corner of Beale and Hernando, "the vaunted Main Street of Black America" and began a Forrest Gump-like parade through a litany of celebrities. He photographed rhythm and blues musicians like Ruth Brown, B.B. King and Ray Charles, as well as a then-unknown young white man by the name of Elvis Presley. Withers defied a judge and snapped the now iconic image of Mose Wright identifying J.W. Milam while seated in the courtroom during the Emmett Till murder trial. Following the Montgomery boycott, he rode an integrated bus with a young Martin Luther King, Jr., photographing him with Ralph Abernathy.

As the civil rights movement gained momentum in the United States and Winters embedded himself in the struggles of the African-American crusade, he contributed to the dissemination of the stories as told through his images. What no one saw in those pictures, however, was the man whose father advised him at a young age "not to fuss about social change but to obey the law"; the conservative veteran who felt allegiance to his country; the husband and father supporting nine children; the photojournalist who functioned as a confidential informant for the FBI. Through a deep-dive into the events of this period and the mysterious man and his emblematic work, Lauterbach evaluates the dichotomy of Withers--a division that led him to support J. Edgar Hoover in his campaign to neutralize King. Withers's credo was "The Pictures Tell the Story," and Lauterbach allows them to tell as much of the photographer's story as possible. He fills in the remainder with stellar narrative skills.

Bluff City is emotionally stirring. Lauterbach expertly blends the passions of the period with the seeming betrayal of a hero. He details the complexities of the man and the movement, bringing out all the shades of gray necessary to understand the whole picture. This is a snapshot of U.S. history taken from a rare perspective, and the accompanying photographs from Withers's estate perfectly enhance Lauterbach's writing. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A popular historian digs into the complex legacy of an iconic photographer from the civil rights movement who served as a spy for the FBI.

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