Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 7, 2019

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft


POS Synchronization: IBID, WordStock 'Joining Forces'

IBID and WordStock, two long-established point of sale and computer inventory control systems for independent bookstores, are "joining forces," the companies have announced.

IBID is owned by Information Resource Technology (IRT), whose president, Dave Walton, said, "This business combination will enable IRT to achieve a sustainable business size and model that will enable us to develop the next generation of POS software for the independent bookstore marketplace."

Glen Legere, CEO of WordStock, added: "Joining forces just made so much sense. It results in a single, stronger company that will provide ongoing support for the existing software of both IBID and WordStock while offering a clear path forward for those using that software."

In the long term, IRT plans to develop "a next generation POS offering that will incorporate the best features of its current IBIDie software as well as including features important to the current WordStock retail users... The intention is to offer the combined user base a seamless upgrade path to state-of-the-art digital tools for operating prosperous independent bookstores."

In the short term, IRT aims to "develop and continue the support and perform needed enhancements of the current IBIDie and WordStock software systems. Support will continue to be the primary offering of both IBID and WordStock."

Minotaur Books: A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #18) by Louise Penny

Kizzy's Books & More Plans to Open in Orlando, Fla.

Trenessa Williams, founder of the online bookshop Kizzy's Books & More, is planning to open a bricks-and-mortar storefront within the next few months. reported that the "intended location is in the Parramore neighborhood in west-central Orlando, Fla. Once launched, it will be the only Black-owned book store in the area, and the Parramore neighborhood is perfect because it's a historic community that is currently being revitalized."

Named after the character Kizzy from Alex Haley's Roots, the bookstore "is committed to embracing the African-American culture and the joy of reading," according to its website. "We aim to provide a place for lovers of African-American literature and other creative expressions with a welcoming ambiance and customer service. The company additionally seeks to provide a comfortable atmosphere for its customers that promote browsing, relaxation, and an enjoyable environment to spend extended time in."

An Indiegogo campaign has been launched to raise capital for the initial inventory and POS system, wrote, adding that the idea for Kizzy's Books & More began in 2008 when Williams "noticed that there wasn't a bookstore that focused on African-American Literature in Orlando. This discovery began her quest to learn more about the bookselling industry and how to own a bookstore. She began obtaining the necessary training, and this year she decided to step out on faith and turn her dream into a reality."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

U.K. Indie Bookshop Numbers Rise Again in 2018

The Stripey Badger in North Yorkshire is a new BA member.

Fifteen independent bookshops joined the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland in 2018, marking the second consecutive year of indie membership growth. The Bookseller reported that the BA increased to 883 independents, a 1.7% rise, which "was seen as significant as it followed on from many years of declining numbers."

The new members include 12 shops that opened in 2018 and three that had opened previously but joined the BA only last year. The Bookseller noted, however, "the number of BA's indie membership is still languishing more than 1,000 shops behind the 1995 figure of 1,894, the year when the Net Book Agreement ended and the association's records began."

BA managing director Meryl Halls said, "It is extremely encouraging to see independent bookshops succeeding in 2018, demonstrating the creativity and entrepreneurship of booksellers in the face of difficult challenges. We are delighted for--and proud of--our incredibly hard-working booksellers. We do, though, also need to consider these figures in a wider context. Retailers generally are facing an increasingly challenging landscape across the U.K. and Ireland, and we all need the retail landscape to be strong.

"Bookshops (especially our larger members) continue to experience unequal business rates, and struggle alongside wider retail with unfair competition from online retailers, as well as post-Brexit uncertainty. In light of this, we ask the Government to take the steps needed to protect the future of bookshops and their high streets, considering the concerns of retailers and booksellers so they can both flourish."

Nic Bottomley, BA president and co-owner of Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, added: "It feels like a movement, [the rise] is even more robust than I thought. Throughout the year we've seen so many applications coming in, we had lots of people talking about setting up shop and that has come to fruition It feels like there are a lot of people who want to get into the industry, and that story of people wanting to give it a go outshines the story of people needing to close."

He also advised some caution: "The theme for bookshops for 2019 has got to be how do capitalize on that not think 'great, everyone is always going to come to the bookshops' because that's not the case. It is about what are we doing right at the moment and what are going to do when Brexit hits on March 29 because bookshops are going to be really important then."

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Obituary Note: Audrey Geisel

Audrey Geisel, the widow of legendary children's author Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel and "the overseer of his estate and guardian of his legacy since his death in 1991," died December 19, the New York Times reported. She was 97. Before he died, Geisel told his wife that "she would be in charge of all the creatures he had created, including the Cat in the Hat, Horton the elephant and the Grinch. Taking care of them became her mission. She developed and oversaw a global operation of publishing ventures, film projects, games and celebrations that kept Dr. Seuss's name, and his beloved stories, in front of successive generations of children as they learned to read," the Times noted.

In 1993, Geisel founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises, whose stated mission was to "protect the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into ancillary areas," including keeping an eye on copyrights and trademarks as Dr. Seuss merchandise and spinoffs were sold around the world, as well as overseeing several film adaptations of his work.

She gave $20 million and thousands of her husband's drawings and manuscripts to the University of California, San Diego, where the Geisel Library is named for both of them. In 2004, she presided over "Seussentennial: A Century of Imagination," a year of ceremonies celebrating the 100th anniversary of her husband's birth.

Random House sells 10 million Dr. Seuss books a year "and new ones crop up periodically," the Times wrote, adding: "During a home renovation in 2013, Ms. Geisel found a manuscript for a previously unpublished Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get?. Random House published it in 2015 with a first printing of one million copies."

Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

Feature: Booksellers Navigate Rising Rents, Part 1

With a significant number of independent bookstores forced to move or close locations due to high rents and occupancy costs, Shelf Awareness reached out to booksellers across the country to hear their stories about rising rents, lease negotiations and landlords, and to ask what advice they'd share with other indies in similar situations.

Although the American Booksellers Association's ABACUS results show that occupancy costs for indie bookstores have not risen sharply over the last four years when averaged across the nation, the reality in certain parts of the country can be stark. And while no two rental agreements are exactly alike, some common trends emerged when talking with booksellers in the Bay Area, New York City, Southern California and beyond. In particular, booksellers emphasized the need to educate landlords about the financial realities of the book business and to follow a diverse business model.

Each installment of the series will focus on a single bookseller. More will follow over the next several days.

Books Inc. in Burlingame

In October 2018, Books Inc. president and chief executive Michael Tucker announced that the store's Burlingame, Calif., location, which has been in business since August 2000, would close in early 2019. The reason was strikingly familiar to booksellers in some parts of the country: commercial rents in Burlingame, which is just south of San Francisco, have risen tremendously in the past five to ten years and in particular, the stretch of Burlingame Avenue on which Books Inc. is located has become too expensive for anything but the largest national chains.

In recent years, Tucker and his Burlingame landlord had had candid conversations about how the latter was not seeing revenue commensurate with what he needed and Tucker could simply not afford rents that high. When the Burlingame lease came up in 2017, Tucker secured one more year at a reduced rent while the owners searched for a new tenant.

In the sequence of events, there was one change that points to a strong bargaining point in similar situations: in the months since they announced the closure, Tucker and the Burlingame staff have seen their customers "up in arms." Tucker explained: "Five or six years ago, with the decline in bookstores we were seeing, people thought we were a dead commodity. Now people recognize our value to the community. And that if they lose [a bookstore], they might never get one back."

Including the Burlingame store, Books Inc. has 11 locations in the Bay Area, all of them in leased storefronts. Most of the leases are for five years with an additional five-year option. Given the number of stores Books Inc. has, it feels that a rent negotiation is "always coming up," Tucker said, adding: "If we didn't have landlords that were willing to bring us in undermarket, we couldn't exist out here to begin with. We've got some of the most expensive real estate in the country."

The case of another Books Inc. location, in San Francisco's Laurel Village, shows the power of community support. That branch has been in business since 1976, and for decades had the same landlord in Salt Lake City, Utah. When that original landlord passed away around seven years ago, his sons took over, and Tucker recalled that they were "gung-ho" on "hitting the ground running" and raising the store's rent. Through a huge showing of community support, which included letters from schools, local librarians, their District Supervisor and some "heavy hitter" customers like Senator Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Books Inc. was able to convince the new landlords of the store's value to the community.

For that store's next five-year lease, Tucker continued, the landlords did not raise the rent, and for the subsequent 10-year lease, they "actually lowered the rent in recognition of the mandated $15 per hour minimum wage increase." In 2017, the Laurel Village store also received Legacy Business status, which grants a significant rent rebate from the city as an incentive for the landlord to give them a long-term lease.

In dealing with landlords, Tucker recommended that booksellers be in touch with their landlords frequently, even if a negotiation isn't on the horizon, and hopefully have lunch or dinner with them at least a couple of times per year. The goal, he said, is to let them "see and participate in what you're doing," and "become enmeshed in what's going on." That way, when a lease does finally come up, it's not just about a legal arrangement.

Tucker suggested being as transparent as possible when going into negotiations. While booksellers shouldn't "plead poverty," they should explain the nature of the business and the slim margins with which they work. At the same time, booksellers can try to sell landlords on the less tangible benefits that indies provide as anchor tenants and community hubs. Tucker also frequently makes use of a Microsoft Excel formula that can clearly illustrate a store's finances and show the point at which a given rent cost would become untenable. If a landlord or prospective landlord won't budge past a certain number, Tucker said, then it's simply a non-starter. But if a landlord really gets it, they can find ways to make it work.

"Communities by and large want a bookstore now," Tucker said. "Show [landlords] this is what we can do here, but here's what we need." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Tweedy Goes Out

Last Friday, Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy visited booksellers in Los Angeles to sign stock of his recent memoir Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) (Dutton). Pictured: Sara Stringer, manager at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, with Tweedy.

NYT's 'Sunday Routine' Includes Indie Bookstore Visits

The most recent New York Times "Sunday Routine" featured Thomas Page McBee, author of Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man and Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man. He and his family live in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, N.Y. McBee said that on Sundays, "I'll just go to Greenpoint and walk around. I love Greenpoint because it looks a lot like Pittsburgh, where I'm from. I'm also a bookstore fiend and they have WORD bookstore there."

In addition, "we'll usually walk to McNally Jackson, which is another bookstore. I can spend hours in McNally Jackson. It's got this nice, clean aesthetic. We just pick something up and hang out." The piece included a photo of McBee and his wife browsing at McNally Jackson.

Cool Idea of the Day: Happy Second Christmas!

Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn., tweeted on Friday about an excellent alternative to staff parties in the midst of the holiday rush: "We decided to do a Secret Santa this year, but since December is a crazy time in retail... we’re doing a second Christmas!! Happy Second Christmas, everybody!"

Personnel Changes at Penguin Young Readers

At Penguin Young Readers:

Brianna Lockhart has been promoted to manager, trade marketing from associate manager, trade marketing.

Lyana Salcedo has been promoted to marketing coordinator from marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Bookish Winners at the Golden Globes

Book-to-screen adaptations collected their share of hardware at last night's Golden Globe Awards, with eight of the 20 nominated productions garnering trophies. Golden Globe winners that started as books or have book connections included:

The Wife, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer: Glenn Close (actress in a motion picture, drama)
If Beale Street Could Talk, based on James Baldwin's novel: Regina King (supporting actress in a motion picture)
First Man, based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen: Original score, motion picture (Justin Hurwitz)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, based on the Marvel comics superhero: Best motion picture, animated

Sharp Objects, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn: Patricia Clarkson (supporting actress in a series, limited series or TV movie)
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History: Best limited series or TV movie; Darren Criss (actor in a limited series or TV movie)
A Very English Scandal, based on John Preston's book: Ben Whishaw (supporting actor in a series, limited series or TV movie)
Killing Eve, based on Luke Jennings's Codename Villanelle novella series: Sandra Oh (actress in a TV series, drama)

Media Heat: Malala Yousafzai on the View

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Tamara Duker Freuman, author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer: See Results Within a Week and Tame Digestive Distress Once and for All (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250195234).

Fresh Air: Hillary Frank, author of Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches (TarcherPerigee, $17, 9780143132554).

The View: Malala Yousafzai, author of We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World (Little, Brown, $18.99, 9780316523646).

The Talk: Mike Bayer, author of Best Self: Be You, Only Better (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062911735).

CBS This Morning: Brad Meltzer, co-author of The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250130334). He will also appear on NPR's 1A.

Good Morning America: Senator Kamala Harris, author of The Truths We Hold: An American Journey (Penguin Press, $30, 9780525560715). She will also appear on the View.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jamie Oliver, author of 5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food (Flatiron, $35, 9781250303882).

TV: Catch-22

An Indiewire photo gallery featured a first look at George Clooney's adaptation of Catch-22, Hulu's upcoming six-part series based on Joseph Heller's classic novel that is scheduled to air in 2019. Clooney stars with Christopher Abbott, Hugh Laurie, Kyle Chandler and Giancarlo Giannini. The novel was previously adapted into the 1970 movie directed by Mike Nichols.

Books & Authors

Awards: Golden Poppies Short List

The short list for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association's Golden Poppies Awards (NCIBA Book Awards) in nine categories can be seen here. Winners will be announced in March.

Book Review

Review: Lost Children Archive

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Knopf, $27.95 hardcover, 400p., 9780525520610, February 12, 2019)

In her spellbinding novel Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli (Tell Me How It Ends) weaves a complex narrative from the migrant crisis on the southern U.S. border.

At the story's center is an unnamed family traveling from New York City to Arizona. The mother and father are sound documentarians who met while recording a soundscape of the city. Now the father is focusing on lost Apache culture, determined to visit their homeland and record what he calls an "inventory of echoes." The mother is focusing her journalistic skills on the migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, specifically on finding the two lost children of her Latina friend back in New York. The couple's children, a five-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy, try to make sense of life on the road. Along the way the family shares stories, music, books and boxes full of their stuff. The point of view shifts from the mother to the boy and back again toward the end.

As much as the novel has large political themes, it begins as an astute study of marriage and family. The mother speaks elegantly of the family unit the four of them have formed, although she and the father have grown apart. The children begin to sense this rift and wonder what will happen at the end of the journey. The mother questions whether she'll stay in Arizona with her husband or return to New York. "Unhappiness grows slowly," says the mother. "It lingers inside you, silently, surreptitiously."

As the family travels farther on "the long, lonely roads of this country," the novel's sense of desolation widens. The family finds run-down towns strewn with the relics of late capitalism, and a citizenry afraid of "brownness," ready to blame poorer nations for their own problems. Underlying it all is a huge borderland haunted by vanished cultures, by migrant children who perished in the wilderness. As the parents become increasingly obsessed with their respective projects, the boy hatches a plan of his own, an attempt to get his parents' attention. He and his sister end up lost in the desert, leading to the novel's harrowing conclusion.

Lost Children Archive works on many levels. Luiselli breaks up her narrative with inventories, lists, quotes, maps, poems, photos, stories, statistics and more. These are blended into the book in a metafictional way so that, like her protagonists, Luiselli becomes an archivist of sorts, assembling reality from many disparate sources. The cumulative effect is powerful. Lost Children Archive is a haunting novel that illuminates timely issues. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Shelf Talker: Using documentary techniques, Valeria Luiselli blends political issues into an unforgettable portrait of an American family on the road.

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