Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Crown Publishing Group (NY): Here One Moment Liane Moriarty

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke


Macmillan Creates Management Committee with Diversity Emphasis; Sargent 'Stepping Back'

In a move that follows calls within the company and the industry for more diversity and inclusion, Macmillan Publishers is creating a 13-member Trade Management Committee that will run the U.S. company and that, strikingly, doesn't include CEO John Sargent, who said in a letter to staff, "I will step back from day to day management to make room for new voices." He will, however, remain in charge of Macmillan's overall global businesses.

In explaining the changes, Sargent said that last fall, he, Don Weisberg, Macmillan Publishers U.S. president, and Andrew Weber, Macmillan global trade COO, had begun "discussing how we might run Macmillan Publishers differently. In the last four weeks those discussions have taken on a greater urgency and scale. It is clear that we have to change who occupies the seats at the table when the important decisions are being made. It can no longer be Don, Andrew and me."

Under the new structure, the committee will "focus on running the overall company. The publishing houses will remain as independent companies, and the publishers will continue to report to Don directly." Macmillan publishers and imprints include Holt, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martin's Press, Tor/Forge, Flatiron Books, Picador, Celadon, First Second, Feiwel & Friends, and more. Macmillan itself is a subsidiary of Germany's Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

John Sargent at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2018.

Sargent said the committee will be "a different and more inclusive management team, representing a wider range of experiences. This will be an exercise in changing power dynamics, and in making sure we have diverse perspectives in the decision-making process. We will make better decisions if our company structure is more representative of the world around us, and we can only do that if we align recruitment, training and retention with our day-to-day business decisions.

"This level of change is difficult, but I believe it is necessary. For some in the company this will be challenging, while others will see tremendous new opportunities. For the company as a whole I am confident that this will make us better and more capable in the years ahead."

In their own letter to staff, Weisberg and Weber said in part, "We need more diversity in the titles we publish, more committed positioning and marketing of these titles, more hiring and promotion of diverse staff, more inclusivity in the decision-making process, and more open dialogue throughout the organization."

The Trade Management Committee will "set the goals and objectives for the publishers, divisions, and departments that comprise U.S. Trade and Shared Services. In order to ensure accountability, the Committee will track the progress of key initiatives, including diversity and inclusion across the company and in our publishing programs, and report on results."

The Committee includes a mix of publishing, operational, and human resources representatives that will, they continued, "allow us to tackle the management of the company while ensuring increased diversity across functions. The group will include others on a project-by-project basis and will regularly solicit feedback and support from a broad cross-section of staff from throughout the organization.

"Creating true systemic change that is successful and sustainable is difficult and will require company-wide effort. We have a lot to do, and we need to be more focused and determined to make this happen quickly. Working together, there is no doubt we can become the company we aspire to be."

Besides Weisberg and Weber, the Trade Management Committee will consist of:

  • A new head of diversity and inclusion who will report to Weber.
  • Guy Browning, senior v-p, fulfillment, Macmillan Publisher Services and Macmillan Distribution.
  • Malati Chavali, who has been promoted to senior v-p, publishing strategy and initiatives, and will work closely with the publishing divisions and the new head of diversity and inclusion to integrate D&I strategies into the publishing process and lead projects that will aid the publishers in advancing their independent D&I work. She will also help coordinate acquisitions and review frontlist and backlist strategy to ensure the publishing portfolio is representative of all voices.
  • Erin Coffey, who has been promoted to senior v-p, communication and events, from v-p, communications, events and community services.
  • Sonali Goel, director of talent and development.
  • Jenn Gonzalez, who has been promoted to president of sales from executive v-p of sales.
  • Helaine Ohl, v-p, global HR director.
  • Leslie Padgett, senior v-p, publishing operations and technology.
  • Dan Schwartz, who has been promoted to the newly created position of executive v-p, finance, strategy, analytics.
  • Natasha Taylor, senior talent acquisition manager.
  • Jon Yaged, president and publisher, Macmillan Children's Group.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Shame on You: How to Be a Woman in the Age of Mortification by Melissa Petro

International Update: Reopening Bookshops in Wales, Scotland

Welsh bookshops reopened yesterday, while booksellers in Scotland will have to wait until June 29 following months of lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19, the Bookseller reported. In England, stores opened their doors again on June 15 and Ireland a week earlier.

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, announced last Friday that non-essential retailers would be able to return to business as long as appropriate social distancing measures were in place, noting: "Given the progress we have made, we are able to take some additional cautious steps to further unlock our society and economy. This includes more retailers being able reopen their businesses, as long as they take measures to minimize the risk to their staff and to the customers who visit their stores."

The Books Council of Wales said: "As always, the well-being of staff and customers must come first and we have been working with booksellers as they prepare to reopen safely in line with Covid-19 guidance. Not all shops may choose to open their doors immediately and others will revise their opening hours to the public. Whilst welcome, today's announcement is another step on the long journey towards a new normality and our role as a council is to support our sector throughout."

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that beginning June 29, shops of any size will be allowed to open "as long as they have outdoor entrances and exits, meaning stores within shopping centers must stay closed for now. Retailers will also need make their shops Covid-19 secure, including ensuring customers can remain two meters apart," the Bookseller wrote.

"When shops do reopen, I ask everyone to exercise patience, stick to the measures that are in place for your safety and at all times please respect retail staff who will be asking you to shop in a different way," Sturgeon said.

Waterstones confirmed it will reopen its high street branches, effective June 29.

Indie bookseller Rosamund de la Hey of Mainstreet Trading in St. Boswells, Melrose, said, "I'm nervous in the sense of seeing how the flow of customers goes but also how the switch works between sustaining the website and keeping going with that and also embracing the new normal of browsing and so on.... I think a lot of customers will still be isolating and will want to be supported in that. The next three weeks will be quite challenging just in terms of the juggle and seeing how that works and also working out how many staff to bring back from furlough. Furlough going to part time is crucial as far as we're concerned because it gives us the flexibility we need to test the water. We're going to start back doing, we think, four days a week with short hours with the cafe very much takeaway only and then just building as we see the demand."


Heather Reisman, CEO of Canadian bookstore chain Indigo Books & Music, told BNN Bloomberg that the current situation is dire. "The depths of the losses we are looking at are literally as seismic as this Covid event is to the world," she noted, adding that there is the possibility of store traffic being only one-third of what's normally a "chock-a-block" time of year. The crisis has forced her to make some "very difficult decisions," including the closure of some Coles stores. "We have closed 20 stores which were either not profitable or very, very marginal. That was a tough decision because in those communities, we were the only bookstore, and I suspect the only store that was willing to operate at a loss to serve the community."

Reisman also criticized what she called a lack of understanding on the part of the federal government: "What our Canadian government does not seem to understand is that the job of the CEO is to look forward and to manage... the challenges coming at us in the best way.... What we need... is very affordable low-cost loans to get us through two years, which is a small give on behalf of the government.... Or sustaining their current employer-employee top-up program, which allows us to bring people back to work.... If the Canadian government is cavalier about jobs at this moment, it will take a half a decade for them to come back. Half a decade. So I'm pretty sanguine today. I'm a little bit frustrated."

Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno

B&N Opens New Store in Sarasota, Fla.

Barnes & Noble opened a new store last week at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla. The Business Observer reported that the store, designed by B&N CEO James Daunt, made its debut "with safety precautions in place as well as curbside and cafe pickup.... Customers will experience distinct bookrooms for browsing by genre; more books and displays catering to the local market; young reader and toddler sections; and the latest new books and releases."

"We are so excited to finally bring a bookstore to this community in Sarasota," said store manager Dominique Rosenbloom. "Customers have been requesting one for decades and we are thrilled to be able to answer the call. This new store is surrounded by windows that let in the Florida light while you browse for books, giving it a bright, warm and inviting feeling.... I have a whole collection of book-themed face masks, and I can't wait to show them off to customers."

B&N v-p of stores Frank Morabito commented: "We are so thrilled to open a new store in an area of Sarasota that could really use a new bookshop. Sarasota has been a strong market for us for decades, and we think customers in this area of the city will love having one of our new Barnes & Noble stores in the area."

When the new 14,000-square-foot store opened last Wednesday morning, "a line of 100 shoppers were waiting outside to check out the books, the vinyl records, and the Starbucks in the café," the Bradenton Herald reported. "Even after the initial rush, a line of 10 to 12 people stood outside throughout the day, respecting social distancing rules and waiting their turn to enter."

"We have missed everyone," Rosenbloom said. "We had so many people wanting to get into the store and they were very patient.... Everyone has been positive and loving the layout of the new store."

MPIBA's Bookseller Summer Camp Begins

Bookseller Summer Camp, a four-week program of online events put on by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association, begins this week. The free, hour-long events will be hosted on Zoom and are open to all booksellers, and the schedule covers everything from author talks to education sessions. 

Things kick off this afternoon with a keynote conversation between authors Christina Baker Kline and Larry Watson, moderated by Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Tex. Tomorrow's session will look at the "new normal" of bookstore operations, and on Thursday attending booksellers can learn more about online marketing.

Plans for next week include a session with geneticist Adam Rutherford, author of How to Argue with a Racist; a look at how to run virtual school events; and a buzz panel featuring editors from Macmillan.

More sessions and authors are being added, and a full schedule of events can be found here.

Kids' Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's Summer 2020 Kids' Next List was delivered to more than half a million of the country's best book readers, going to 572,127 customers of 163 participating bookstores.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features Summer Kids' Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Kids' Next List pick, in this case Lucy Knisley, author of Stepping Stones (Random House Graphic).

For a sample of the newsletter, see this one from Books & Crannies, Martinsville, Va.


Seattle Bookseller Michael Coy Retiring

Michael Coy, a bookseller for 48 years and manager of Third Place Books Ravenna, Seattle, Wash., since 2009, is retiring, the store announced.

Coy began his career in 1972 as a part-time clerk at a B. Dalton Bookseller in San Jose, Calif. From 1973-79, he managed Dalton stores in Salinas, Calif., and Portland, Ore. From 1978-81, he was sales manager for Pacific Pipeline. In 1982, he and Barbara Bailey founded Bailey/Coy books on Capitol Hill in Seattle. In 1990, he left to start M Coy Books and Espresso in the Pike Place Market in Seattle with Michael Brasky. M Coy Books closed in 2009, when a new owner of the building raised the rent dramatically.

"Third Place Books was incredibly fortunate to be able to attract the talents of Michael Coy when we did," said Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books. "In 2009, our Ravenna store was not doing well, and we were in the midst of redesigning the store to better serve the neighborhood. Michael and I had been serving together on the Washington State Book Awards Committee, and he had just closed his Pike Place Market store, M Coy Books. Michael brought to Ravenna not only a wealth of bookselling knowledge, but also a thoughtful and personal touch that has helped make that store what it is today. I could not have asked for a better partner to help realize the vision of the store than Michael. He has been a great leader and a true friend to his staff and customers. We will miss him dearly."

Third Place Books is seeking a new manager for the Ravenna store. Interested applicants should contact Robert Sindelar via e-mail.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Susan Burton on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Susan Burton, author of Empty: A Memoir (Random House, $27, 9780812992847).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, author of Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter (Amistad, $27.99, 9780062953803).

The View: John Bolton, author of The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781982148034).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Mike Birbiglia, author of The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad (Grand Central, $28, 9781538701515).

TV: Foundation

A teaser trailer has been released for Foundation, the upcoming 10-episode series from Apple TV+ and Skydance based on Isaac Asimov classic novel series. Deadline reported that in this first look, showrunner and executive producer David S. Goyer "unveils a glimpse into the making of the epic saga, which chronicles a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization amid the fall of the Galactic Empire."

Foundation stars Jared Harris as Hari Seldon, Lee Pace as Brother Day, Lou Llobell as Gaal, Leah Harvey as Salvor, Laura Birn as Demerzel, Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk, and Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn. The project is executive produced by Robyn Asimov, David S. Goyer, Josh Friedman, Cameron Welsh, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross.

Books & Authors

Awards: Society of Authors Winners

The Society of Authors distributed £100,000 (about $125,315) to 32 writers during the 2020 SoA Awards, which were announced via a video ceremony hosted by the organization's chair Joanne Harris. Among the honorees, Kathryn Hind's Hitch took the £10,000 (about $12,530) Betty Trask Prize for a first novel by a writer under 35; and the inaugural £5,000 (about $6,265) Queen's Knickers Award, honoring an outstanding children's original illustrated book for ages 0-7, went to Elena Arevalo Melville for Umbrella. See a complete list of winners here.

Harris commented: "We've always said that receiving an SoA Award can be transformational for an author. They aren't about promoting big corporate sponsors. They don't seek out one big winner and say 'this one's best of all.' Each year, they reward the breadth and depth of books and words, and reward authors at the start of their careers as well as those well established. This year, as the health crisis makes authors' precarious careers even more of a challenge to sustain, it is more important than ever to celebrate the work of today's 32 winners."

Book Review

Review: The Two Mrs. Carlyles

The Two Mrs. Carlyles by Suzanne Rindell (Putnam, $27 hardcover, 432p., 9780525539209, July 28, 2020)

San Francisco's massive and deadly 1906 earthquake lasted approximately one minute, yet its aftermath created a dramatic divide in Cora, Flossie and Violet's friendship. The trio's longtime bond from their childhood in St. Hilda's Home for Girls through their young adulthoods of affluence lies at the heart of The Two Mrs. Carlyles, an evocative and fast-paced novel of historical suspense from Suzanne Rindell (Three-Martini Lunch; The Other Typist).

Violet suffers from "spells"--"strange, trancelike episodes of which I have no memory"--and becomes dependent on Cora and Flossie to cover up her weakness and bizarre misdeeds. "With my spells, it would be impossible to tell the difference between what I'd done... and what it only looked like I'd done." A tragedy moments before the San Francisco earthquake presents the three with a life-changing decision, yet subsequent odd occurrences lead Cora and Flossie to sever their relationship with Violet. "But there are those who say that three is an unlucky number, and unluckier still when it comes to groups of young girls. Triangles make for poor allegiances, people will say. After all, a triangle--what is that? The blade of a knife, coming to a point."

Bereft at her friends' betrayal, Violet's determination to reinvent herself parallels San Francisco's civic rebirth, depicted in a symbolic yet subdued fashion. "Bit by bit, the city poked its head up from the ashes, rising shyly at first, curling into the air like a seedling sending its first green shoots up from the soil, feeling for sunlight. Folks began to rebuild. California is like a woman.... California really had reconfigured herself. It was as though God had split an invisible seam that ran the length of the mountains along the coast, shifting the earth like two pieces of cloth pulled in opposite directions."

When Violet meets and marries wealthy scion and arts patron Harry Carlyle, her life transforms further while mysteries surround the couple: Why does Harry's longtime housekeeper Miss Weber dislike Violet so intensely? Are the unexplained happenings throughout Harry's mansion due to Violet's spells or a sinister presence? And is Harry's first wife, Madeleine, dead or alive?

The Two Mrs. Carlyles is an atmospheric thriller with both a fairy tale and gothic feel. With well-drawn characters and Violet as her deeply unreliable narrator, Rindell deftly unveils how wealth has the power simultaneously to elevate and destroy our relationships with the people we love. --Melissa Firman, writer and editor at

Shelf Talker: A gripping, twisting novel of historical suspense set in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, The Two Mrs. Carlyles explores trust and deception among lifelong friends.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Taking His Shot by Kendall Ryan
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
3. Joke's on You (SWAT Generation 2.0 Book 6) by Lani Lynn Vale
4. Emily Mansion Old House Mysteries: Book 1-5 by Ruby Loren
5. A Lady's Dream Come True (True Gentlemen Book 9) by Grace Burrowes
6. Four Short Weeks (Charming Inn Book 4) by Kay Correll
7. An Address in Amsterdam by Mary Dingee Fillmore
8. The Change Up by Meghan Quinn
9. The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson
10. Rich Prick by Tijan

[Many thanks to!]

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