Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 24, 2019

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

Quotation of the Day

New Bookshop Owners & Baby Pandas

"There was a beautiful metaphor that a Bloomsbury publicist left me with when she visited the other week: she told me that amongst book publishers, dealers, bookshop owners and authors there's a real collective rejoicing when a new bookshop opens its doors, akin to the immense excitement zookeepers share when a baby panda is born. Since I opened the Margate Bookshop a few weeks ago, I've been referred to as a 'rare breed' by many. It seems the new bookshop owner, the young bookseller, is the rarest of breeds. Occasionally people come in and tell me: 'It must be hard,' 'Bookshops are dying out eh?' Being in the press also means that I get the odd local popping by just to look at the space, not planning on buying anything but hoping to catch a glimpse of the precious specimen that is the bookseller--yesterday a woman exclaimed 'You look just like in the photograph!' It has not taken me long to realize that I am the baby panda."

--Francesca Wilkins, owner of the Margate Bookshop, which recently opened in Margate, England

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


AAP: Book Sales in 2018 Totaled $25.82 Billion

In 2018, U.S. book publishers had net revenue of $25.82 billion and sold 2.71 billion units, according to the Association of American Publishers' StatShot Annual Report for Calendar Year 2018. Unlike measures that rely solely on sales data, the StatShot Annual Report combines annual data submitted by publishers with market modeling to estimate the total volume of the U.S. publishing industry.

Among highlights from the report:

While total book revenue has fallen steadily in the past five years (down 7.7% from $27.96 billion in 2014) mainly because of drops in the higher ed, pre-K-12 and professional categories, trade revenue has increased steadily to $16.19 billion in 2018 from $15.43 billion in 2014, or 5% in the five-year period.

For the second year in a row, publisher sales to online retail channels, which totaled $8.03 billion, exceeded sales to physical retail channels, whose sales were $6.9 billion.

In online retail channels, 45.1% of publisher sales were trade print formats, 24.5% were e-books, 14.5% were instructional materials, 13.7% were downloaded audio, and 2.2% were physical audio or a different format.

Downloaded audio was again the fastest-growing format overall, growing 28.7% in 2018 over 2017, and growing 181.8% in the five years since 2014.

During the past five years, nonfiction books (both adult, up 22.8%, and children's & YA, up 38.5%) had the largest percentage revenue growth for publishers. Unit sales for adult nonfiction and children's & YA nonfiction grew 20.9% and 17.8%, respectively, over the last five years.

Publisher revenue for adult fiction was flat (0.4%) at $4.40 billion in 2018, while children's & YA fiction grew slightly (1.6%) to $3.72 billion.

All participating publishers and distributors receive a complimentary copy of the full StatShot Annual Report. The report is also available for purchase. For more information, e-mail Syreeta Swann.

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

BookNet Canada: Convenience Rules, Indies 'Holding Steady'

The single most important reason Canadian book buyers choose a particular store or website for their purchases is convenience, and independent bookstores are 'holding steady' as a book source for these customers, according to BookNet Canada's study The Canadian Book Buyer 2018.

In a survey of adult, English-speaking Canadian book buyers, convenience was chosen by one out of four respondents, while loyalty programs, "shopping for other items," good service, and cheap delivery came in further down the list (13%-17%), among other factors.

Citing news stories about the resurgence of the indie bookstore and the age of "shop local," BookNet Canada reported that "it is also interesting to note that sales at indie bookstores have been holding steady the past three years, accounting for 9% of purchases compared to 25% for chain bookstores, while 4% of book buyers say that they chose the place where they made their purchase to 'support this shop.' "

In terms of formats purchased, paperbacks was down slightly, at 49% of purchases (from 54% in 2016); hardcovers increased to 26% (from 24%); e-books fluctuated from 17% in 2016 to 19% in 2017 and back down to 17% in 2018; while audiobooks saw minor gains, rising from 3% in 2016 to 4% in 2018. BookNet Canada cautioned that audiobook purchases "may be underreported, due to the popularity of subscription services and the fact that these are often not considered by listeners to be 'purchases.' "

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Books & Brews Coming to Oxford, Ohio


A new Books & Brews location is opening in Oxford, Ohio, in July, marking the first out-of-state location for the Indiana franchise company, CityBeat reported. Oxford Books & Brews is owned by Ann and Neil Kamphaus Jr. and will reside in a building that formerly belonged to a brewery.

Like the other Books & Brews locations, the Oxford store will sell craft beer, food, coffee, used books and a variety of sidelines. The store will also be family-friendly, with a dedicated children's area. And among the store's menu items will be literary-themed beers, like Charlie and the Chocolate Stout and Nancy Brew and the Hoppy Boys, along with wings, nachos, sandwiches and more.

Ann Kamphaus told CityBeat: "We offer a place where all are welcome, and we encourage you to unplug and reconnect by playing board games, listening to our open mic music, engaging in trivia and, of course, reading a book from our shelves."

Obituary Note: Judith Krantz


Judith Krantz, "who almost single-handedly turned the sex-and-shopping genre of fiction into the stuff of high commerce, making her one of the world's bestselling novelists if not one of the most critically acclaimed," died June 22, the New York Times reported. She was 91. Although she did not publish her first book until she was 50, Krantz's 10 novels--beginning with Scruples in 1978 and ending with The Jewels of Tessa Kent in 1998--have together sold more than 85 million copies in more than 50 languages.

Most of her books also became TV movies or mini-series, often produced by her husband, Steve Krantz. Her other works include the novels Mistral's Daughter (1982), I'll Take Manhattan (1986), Dazzle (1990), Scruples Two (1992) and a memoir, Sex and Shopping: Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl (2000).

The formula Krantz "honed to glittering perfection" involved "fevered horizontal activities combined with fevered vertical ones--the former taking place in sumptuously appointed bedrooms and five-star hotels, the latter anywhere with a cash register and astronomical price tags," the Times wrote, adding that a "hallmark of the formula was that it embraced sex and shopping in almost equal measure, with each recounted in modifier-laden detail."

In response to critics of her style, Krantz told the Los Angeles Times in 1990: "I write the best books that I know how; I can't write any better than this. People think that because I had a good education, I'm not writing on the level that I should. They think I'm harboring some slim little intellectual volume, that I am really Isaac Bashevis Singer in disguise."

Krantz "was renowned for her discipline and rigor," the L.A. Times reported, "writing 10,000 words per week and spending countless hours researching the historical eras in which her books were set. Her books often featured working women and themes of empowerment and achievement, complex characters and intricate plots."

Because of her love for reading and writing, Krantz was an enthusiastic supporter of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and an active member of the Council of the Library Foundation, the Hollywood Reporter noted. In 2014, she received the Light of Learning Award from the LFLA. In recognition of her many years of support, the Los Angeles Public Library named the Judith Krantz Fiction Collection in her honor.


Image of the Day: Balloon Fun at the Country Bookshop

The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C., kicked off Read-a-Palooza, the store's summer reading program done in cooperation with Scholastic, with a visit from balloon twister Juliette Kacczorowski from Beans Balloons. She created an exclusive Emily Elizabeth balloon creation for the occasion and every child left with a Clifford balloon of their own.

New York Times on Indies: 'Anchors of Authenticity'

In a feature titled "Bookstores Find Growth as 'Anchors of Authenticity,' " the New York Times surveyed indie bookselling, finding that "big chains once posed a threat, but independents are thriving by hosting events, adding nonbook merchandise and becoming community hubs."

Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, Madison, N.J.

Among the familiar examples and people quoted are Ryan Raffaelli, the Harvard business professor who has done a lot of research on bookselling ("Independent booksellers have become anchors of authenticity. This is almost like a social movement.") and American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher ("Indie bookstores have always had fierce competition. The thing that distinguishes indie bookstores is the engagement with the community they are in."). Booksellers included Barb Short, founder of Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, Madison, N.J.; Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson, New York City; Peter Glassman, owner of Books of Wonder, New York City (which plans to relocate its 18th Street location when the lease runs out); Chuck Mullen, co-owner of Bookbook, the New York City store that recently closed; and Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

Happy 30th Birthday, Children's Book World!


Congratulations to Children's Book World, Haverford, Pa., which is celebrating its 30th birthday this coming Saturday, June 29, noon-3 p.m., with a Birthday Read-A-Palooza. Besides cake, events include a photo station, coloring sheets, tattoos and giveaways, plus appearances by Clifford the Big Red Dog and Dog Man. Attendees will also be able to donate new books to Children's Book World's Read-A-Palooza Book Box. Collected books will be donated to WePAC, the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, which promotes childhood literacy, and to Tree House Books, which is a giving library and literacy center in North Philadelphia.

Sidewalk Chalk Art of the Day: Red Balloon Bookshop


Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn., shared a photo on Facebook of the sidewalk in front of the store, noting: "This is maybe the best chalk art we've ever seen. Look at the kids reading! Look at the little #pride flag!! LOOK AT THE FLYING TURTLE WEARING A HELMET!!!"

Personnel Changes at Counterpoint/Catapult/Soft Skull

Alisha Gorder has been promoted to senior publicity from publicist for Counterpoint/Catapult/Soft Skull.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Amber Scorah on Fresh Air

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Timbaland, co-author of Nighttime Symphony (Atheneum, $17.99, 9781442412088).

Fresh Air: Amber Scorah, author of Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life (Viking, $28, 9780735222540).

Daily Show: Elaine Welteroth, author of More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) (Viking, $26, 9780525561583).

Books & Authors

Awards: Wales Book of the Year

Ailbhe Darcy won the £4,000 (about $5,100) Wales Book of the Year Award for her poetry collection, Insistence. She also won the Roland Mathias Poetry Prize.

Judge Sandeep Parmar described Insistence as a "proliferation of uncertain and strange lyric events, invigorating poetry at the level of line and language.... The contours and iterations of this book and the depth of Darcy's thoroughly human project is operatic, mortal, unforgettable."

Celebrating books across three categories (poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction) in both English and Welsh, the ceremony saw 10 winners claim a total prize fund of £12,000 (about $15,300). Check out the complete list of winners here.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular May Books

The two most popular books in May at Reading Group Choices were The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson (Sourcebooks Landmark) and Cape May: A Novel by Chip Cheek (Celadon Books).

Book Review

Review: Gravity Is the Thing

Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 416p., 9780062883735, July 23, 2019)

Australian YA author Jaclyn Moriarty (The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars) soars in this raw, dryly funny adult debut.

Since the age of 16, Abigail Sorensen has lived under the shadow cast by the absence of her twin brother and best friend, Robert, who disappeared on their birthday. Despite years of searching, Abi's family and the authorities never found him, leaving her with a grief too tainted by questions and residual hope to ever heal.

Now a cafe owner and single mother, 35-year-old Abi travels to tiny Taylor Island to solve the other great mystery of her life. For years, chapters of a cryptic self-help book called The Guidebook have shown up in Abi's mailbox, unsolicited and unexplained. Wilbur, the writers' son, has invited all Guidebook recipients to the island. In a setup evocative of an adult version of The Westing Game, Abi and a small handful of strangers will compete to learn the truth about the book, with bizarre results. The comradeship she forms with the other Guidebook readers, including attractive but distant Niall, regret-filled Nicole and disgruntled Pete, lead Abi back through a past filled with mistakes, open wounds and the ever-present specter of her lost brother. In beautifully snarky first person, Abi narrates a mix of scenes from her past and increasingly serendipitous moments in her present that may lead to catastrophe or to the answers and healing she has always craved.

In Gravity Is the Thing, Moriarty offers an examination of modern womanhood, a satire of the self-help industry and a searing exploration of unresolved grief. Abi juggles single parenthood, her small business and dating with mixed success, unfairly placing all blame for any failures on her own shoulders. Deciding to expand her self-help reading beyond The Guidebook, she reads classics of the genre, including Tuesdays with Morrie, in which "[a] former student...comes by to leech the remnants of the old man's wisdom," and I'm OK--You're OK, which leaves her wanting to strangle its author. Although Abi mocks the books, she also can't help trying their advice but achieves less-than-stellar results.

At its heart, Moriarty's complex and nimble plot serves as a vehicle for a deeper story of the devastating, lifelong trauma caused by a great loss. In between adorable moments with her mercurial toddler and quirky excerpts from The Guidebook, Abi relates the exhaustion and isolation of grief in wry but heartrending detail. Redemptive and hopeful, Gravity Is the Thing announces the arrival of a fresh, funny and perceptive voice in adult fiction. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: YA author Jaclyn Moriarty makes her adult fiction debut in style with this offbeat, heartfelt story of a woman struggling 20 years after the disappearance of her twin brother.

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