Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Little Brown and Company: Wolf at the Table by Adam Rapp

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers


Michael and Margie Scott Tucker to Retire from Books Inc.

Michael Tucker and Margie Scott Tucker of Books Inc., which has 10 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, are retiring in October. Michael Tucker is president and CEO, and Margie Scott Tucker is v-p, marketing and human resources, and also handles events, co-op, the online and print newsletters, the website and social media in addition to HR for some 175 employees. For his part, Michael estimates that besides his other responsibilities, he has opened, closed or moved 30 stores in the last 20 years.

Margie and Michael Tucker

"It's been relentless and it's been great," Michael said. "We're looking forward to stopping work and having more time" to do things they like doing but don't have much time for, including gardening for him, cooking for her and seeing people. They plan ultimately to move from the Bay Area because "it's gotten so crowded and busy," but they aren't sure yet where they'll move. One aspect of things won't make for a difficult transition: the pair usually have not talked about work when at home, and if they do, their dog recognizes "our work voices" and barks until they stop.

Michael Tucker and Michael Grant were among the Books Inc. employees who took ownership of Books Inc. when longtime owner Lew Lengfeld died in 1995. Unfortunately the store, originally founded in 1851, had severe financial problems at the time and they had to declare bankruptcy and close all but two stores. Grant died of a heart attack in 2000, but the Tuckers and the rest of the staff rebuilt the company--and it now includes 11 very distinct stores that reflect their different neighborhoods and markets.

Michael Tucker has also been very involved in the bookselling world. He was on the American Booksellers Association board for six years, including two as president (2009-2011), during the Great Recession and at a time when many predicted the end of printed books--and indie bookstores.

"Being able to meet booksellers nationwide and be on the board and be ABA president when Oren [Teicher] became CEO was fantastic," Michael said. "And meeting authors and even presidents was amazing. The people have made all the difference." He praised the book community--"I wouldn't have stayed in the business if we were selling something else"--and advised fellow booksellers to "never give up" and "stay close to everyone else in the trade. Be involved with the regional and national associations. We have a tremendous strength in numbers--and we can keep ourselves from going mad."

He added, "In leaving, I'd say it's bittersweet, but to be truthful, I'm gratified by what we've done and what we're handing off and I'm hopeful booksellers will continue to do well even though there are no government entities or businesses attempting to support what we bring to table." Booksellers, he continued, stand out because "everyone wants everyone else to succeed. If someone has problem, others step forward to help."

For our part, we have to say that Michael and Margie have been among the friendliest, most generous, most helpful, most knowledgeable booksellers we've ever met. They've accomplished so much and brightened so many lives--and done it all cheerfully and modestly. We're happy they can step back after many frenetic decades, but we'll miss them!

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Mil Mundos Books Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Mil Mundos Books, a Spanish- and English-language bookstore that opened in Bushwick, Brooklyn, N.Y., in March, has launched an Indiegogo campaign. Owner Maria Herron and her team are looking to raise $50,000 over the next 39 days.

According to Herron, the store encountered several significant, unforeseen financial hurdles during its opening that have jeopardized its long-term viability. Recently, Herron and her colleagues decided as a group to become an all volunteer-run space to help cut costs while the store grows. Now they are raising funds to help pay off outstanding debts as well as cover overhead costs for the months ahead.

Of the $50,000 they hope to raise, $14,000 would go toward paying off the remaining contractor balance from the buildout, while $6,000 would pay for event equipment, shelving and office equipment so that Mil Mundos can provide its community with printing services. The remaining $30,000 would account for six to seven months of overhead costs, giving the store more time to grow to a sustainable point.

Backer rewards include a variety of coupon packages, discounts, access to the store's upcoming workshops, a 12-book "mini library" and more.

Gene Taft Joins Loyalty Bookstores

Gene Taft

Gene Taft, who has extensive publishing and entrepreneurial experience, is joining Loyalty Bookstores as a partner investor and marketing strategist. Loyalty Books, which is headed by Hannah Oliver Depp, has a store in Washington, D.C., and aims by this fall to bring a permanent store to Silver Spring, Md., where it had a popup during the holidays.

Most recently publicity director at Johns Hopkins University Press, Taft worked from 1991 to 2005 at several New York City publishing houses, including Simon & Schuster and Penguin, and his last position in New York was v-p, assistant publisher and director of publicity at PublicAffairs/Perseus Books Group. From 2006 to 2015, he ran GTPR, LLC, a marketing and public relations firm specializing in books and authors.

"Although my job has always involved 'selling' books, I am excited by the new responsibility of putting books directly into the hands of readers of all ages," Taft said. "I'm looking forward to helping Hannah and the Loyalty team open a fantastic new bookstore and creating a vibrant community gathering space in my hometown of Silver Spring, Md."

Chronicle Books Introduces Chronicle Chroma

Chronicle Books has launched Chronicle Chroma, an imprint that will publish books on the visual arts and pop culture and will be led by Steve Crist and Gloria Fowler, who were the publishers of AMMO Books for 13 years. The imprint will be based in Los Angeles. (Chronicle's headquarters is in San Francisco.)

Steve Crist and Gloria Fowler

Chronicle Chroma's first four books, appearing this fall, are Ballerina Project, which showcases Dane Shitagi's photographs of more than 50 ballet dancers in unexpected settings all over the world; Silver. Skate. Seventies., a collection of photos of the 1970s Southern California skateboard scene by photographer Hugh Holland; Tree of Life, a monograph by Tim Biskup, whose work spans animation, drawing, painting and sculpture; and Dream Baby Dream by photographer Jimmy Marble. The list will also include deluxe limited editions of some titles as well as postcard sets inspired by the books.

Chronicle president Tyrrell Mahoney called Crist and Fowler "brilliant and accomplished publishing pros who bring their unique editorial vision and California aesthetic this new imprint. Chronicle Books is well positioned to expand our publishing program in the U.S. and around the world, and we could not imagine a better team to partner with than Steve and Gloria."

Chronicle Chroma is the second imprint Chronicle Books launched this year. In March it announced Chronicle Prism, a nonfiction line headed by Mark Tauber that is publishing books by thought leaders and influencers.

Seattle Indies Deal with the Rising Minimum Wage, Part 4

Our series examining how independent booksellers in Seattle, Wash., have adjusted to the city's rising minimum wage continues today. Previous installments in the series can be found here.

Krijn de Jonge, co-owner of Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle, Wash., reported that from 2016 to 2018, the store's payroll costs rose by some 9%. Over the course of the scheduled wage increases, de Jonge and his two co-owners have tried to offset those increases by trimming hours as much as possible. QABC has six part-time employees, who together work as 3.8 full-time equivalent employees. Krijn and his wife Judy de Jonge, meanwhile, work 15 hours per week and are unpaid; general manager and co-owner Janis Segress is a full-time employee.

De Jonge and his colleagues have not drastically altered the store's inventory, though in the last year they have begun to increase the store's sidelines inventory. They've added to the selection and increased the proportion of higher-margin sidelines. The store has also put a larger focus on online sales and pre-orders, and de Jonge added that they would like to pursue more school sales and business-to-business sales. "We've tried to cut down costs as much as we can," said de Jonge. "We are focusing on increasing sales."

When asked whether the store has experienced any difficulty hiring in recent years, de Jonge answered that it has not. Juggling schedules has been a bigger challenge, but he reported that the store is very lucky in that most of the store's booksellers prefer to work part time.

He also reported that wage compression--new employees being hired at hourly rates approaching those of much more experienced employees--has not been a major issue or source of conflict at the store, though QABC has had to start paying "more experienced people more money than we thought we would have." Continued de Jonge: "They have indicated that they are happy. We're fortunate that this has not been an issue for us."

On the subject of whether the increased minimum wage has led to more discretionary spending on things like books, de Jonge answered that it was "really difficult to say." He explained that the store is in a neighborhood close to downtown, one that's seen a large amount of development in the past decade, and he doubted there were many minimum wage workers living there, other than perhaps students. He acknowledged that aside from a down year in 2017, the store's sales have gone up since the wage law was passed, but he didn't think that the minimum wage had very much to do with those increases.

"What we're struggling with in our neighborhood is the cost of living," said de Jonge. "Housing prices in our neighborhood have gone up dramatically over the recent years." According to de Jonge, few people in the service industry, as well as people like teachers and police officers, can afford to live there, especially if they have children.

Like other indie booksellers contacted for this feature, de Jonge expressed frustration with the way the city of Seattle approached the minimum wage increase. "It's great that we can afford to pay more," said de Jonge. "But the way it was done was not great." He reported that there was no study done, and to him a lot of the details seemed a bit arbitrary: "Why wasn't it $12.50 or $17.50? Why wasn't it done over a longer time?"

Troubling to him, too, was a tendency to lump all businesses together, which has persisted in recent years when the city proposed increasing the occupancy tax and establishing a corporate head tax. Though neither of those came to pass, that sort of talk has not died down.

"Businesses are always thought of as making a ton of money, because we have companies that do make a lot," said de Jonge. "Nobody thinks about smaller companies. They brush all businesses with one stroke." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Solitary's Woodfox at Books & Books

Albert Woodfox, author of Solitary (Grove Press), a chronicle of his time in Angola prison--more than 40 years in solitary confinement--for a crime he didn't commit, spoke at Books & Books, Miami, Fla., last week. Pictured: Woodfox and bookstore owner Mitchell Kaplan.

Happy 40th Birthday, Partners Village Store!

Congratulations to Partners Village Store, Westport, Mass., which is celebrating its 40th birthday this coming Saturday, May 25. The festivities start with yoga at 8:30 a.m. and include visits by alpacas and reptiles, a pie-eating contest, book signings, giveaways and ice cream.

Owned for many years by Nancy Crosby and Jan Hall, the combination bookstore, gift shop and café was bought in 2015 by Lydia Sweetser Gollner.

'Get Lost in Literature' at Hudson Valley Indies

"Amazon may dominate the online book market nowadays, but the Hudson Valley still remains home to a thriving independent bookstore scene," Hudson Valley Magazine reported in showcasing several of the New York State region's indies. "For every dead Borders and half-empty Barnes & Noble, a number of new and legacy stores have more than picked up the slack. Make sure to pick up a custom bookmark--as well as a bestseller or, occasionally, a craft brew--at one of these charming local booksellers."

Personnel Changes at Shambhala Publications

At Shambhala Publications:

Claire Kelley has been promoted to marketing & publicity director, Roost Books. She joined the company in 2015 and previously worked at Knopf, Simon & Schuster, and Melville House.

Katelin Ross has been promoted to publicist. She joined the company in 2016 and is a former Tattered Cover bookseller.

Adria Batt has been promoted to marketing associate. She joined the company in 2018 after working at Tattered Cover.

Artbook | D.A.P. Anounces Artbook International Program

Artbook | D.A.P. has launched Artbook International, a global sales and distribution program whose partnerships will expand Artbook|D.A.P. sales to independent bookstores, chain stores, specialty stores, wholesalers and libraries in the U.K., Ireland, Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

The partnerships include an expanded distribution program in the U.K. and Europe through Marston Book Services, Oxfordshire; representation to the book trade in the U.K. via Yale Representation Limited, a division of Yale University Press; representation in France via Interart; in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg through Gabriele Kern of P.S. Publishers' Services; in Scandinavia, Estonia and South Africa via Katja Bremer, Bremer Publishing Services; in Ireland via John Fitzpatrick; in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Gibraltar and Greece via Padovani Books; in Eastern Europe, Russia and the former Soviet Republics via Ewa Ledochowicz; in Asia via Publishers International Marketing; in Australia via Books at Manic; and in Latin America via Nicolas Friedmann.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tia Powell on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Tia Powell, author of Dementia Reimagined: Building a Life of Joy and Dignity from Beginning to End (Avery, $27, 9780735210905).

Morning Joe: Dan Abrams, co-author of Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense: The Courtroom Battle to Save His Legacy (Hanover Square Press, $27.99, 9781335016447). He will also appear on the View and MSNBC's 11th Hour with Brian Williams.

Watch What Happens Live: Tracy Pollan, co-author of Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family (Harper Wave, $29.99, 9780062821386).

Movies: The Art of Racing in the Rain Trailer

Milo Ventimiglia (This is Us) "is revving up his engines in the newly released official trailer for the upcoming man-and-dog family drama, The Art of Racing in the Rain, from Fox 2000," Deadline reported. Based on Garth Stein's bestselling novel and directed by Simon Curtis, the film stars Amanda Seyfried, Gary Cole, Kathy Baker, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Martin Donovan, as well as Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo. It is scheduled to hit theaters August 9. Mark Bomback adapted the screenplay. Neal H. Moritz, Patrick Dempsey, and Tania Landau produced.

Books & Authors

Awards: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel

A shortlist has been released for the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. The overall winner, which is decided by a panel of judges alongside a public vote, will be announced July 18 on the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The winner receives £3,000 (about $3,820) as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Snap by Belinda Bauer
Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh
London Rules by Mick Herron
Broken Ground by Val McDermid
The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney
East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman

Book Review

Review: A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past

A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past by Lewis Hyde (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 hardcover, 384p., 9780374237219, June 18, 2019)

Is there an affliction more feared than dementia, with its relentless erasure of memory? Although acknowledging that dread, cultural critic Lewis Hyde reveals in his provocative A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past that there are times the conscious expungement of memory may be the only rational, humane response, especially to instances of profound trauma and injustice.

Hyde (The Gift) describes his book as a thought experiment designed to "test the proposition that forgetfulness can be more useful than memory or, at the very least, that memory functions best in tandem with forgetting." Forgoing a conventional narrative, he instead assembles a "prose collage" of journal-like entries whose building blocks are quotations culled from years of wide reading. They serve as the departure point for his own reflections on the operation of memory and forgetting in four broad, often overlapping, categories: mythology, personal psychology, politics and the creative spirit. To supplement those observations, Hyde also offers an assortment of photographs from an invented "Museum of Forgetting."

Drawing on literature, art, history, psychology, sociology and personal experience, Hyde is less concerned about advancing his thesis--one he recognizes is not without controversy--than he is in creating a work that will "both invite and provoke a reader's own free reflections." In a book whose sources range from St. Augustine to former Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, his generous invitation is easily grasped.

The book's longest section--"Nation"--is its most traditionally structured and ultimately most powerful. In it, Hyde explores several tragic historical episodes, among them the massacre of hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, many of them women and children, by United States cavalry at Sand Creek, Colo., in 1864; the Spanish Civil War; and South African apartheid. In assessing the strikingly varied national responses to those events, he probes the shifting meaning of the term "amnesty," recognizing that when it comes to the work of "forgetting" the trauma of collective violence, that task often is dramatically different for perpetrator and victim.

On a more personal level, Hyde tells the story of the murder of two black men by members of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in 1964, during the summer he worked there as a civil rights volunteer, and the reconciliation that occurred more than four decades later between a victim's brother and one of the killers. In Hyde's concise account it's an outcome that's at once inspiring and ambiguous.

Hyde recognizes that, with any book, readers will "extract the unique book of our own engagement." That's especially so when the topic is as fraught as this one. Expansive in its scope and at best suggestive in its answers, Lewis Hyde's bold thought experiment in A Primer for Forgetting is one well worth engaging. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Drawing upon a rich assortment of source materials, cultural critic Lewis Hyde explores whether forgetting is superior to memory.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Dance With Me by Kristen Proby
2. The Jack Reacher Cases by Dan Ames
3. Because I Had a Teacher by Kobi Yamada and Natalie Russell
4. The Skull Crusher by Penelope Sky
5. Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
6. Come Rain or Shine (Rose Gardner Investigations Book 5) by Denise Grover Swank
7. The Mountain Dark by Kathryn Le Veque
8. Code Name: Genesis by Sawyer Bennett
9. Cursed Lands by Various
10. A Sip Before Dying by Gemma Halliday

[Many thanks to!]

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