Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 10, 2020


Shambhala: Wait: A Love Letter to Those in Despair by Cuong Lu

Other Press: Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation by Claudio Lomnitz

Scholastic Press: Muted by Tami Charles

Berkley Books: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

News

BookIt Nook Opens in Poulsbo, Wash.

BookIt Nook, an independent bookstore in Poulsbo, Wash., held its official grand opening this weekend. The store has around 2,000 square feet of selling space and carries general-interest books for children, teens and adults. BookIt Nook also offers a variety of non-book items, including tea, art and gifts.

Owner Jenna DeTrapani said the store will focus on promoting books and other products by people of color, LGBTQ+ authors and independent artists. DeTrapani plans eventually to carry used books as well, but those plans are on hold due to the pandemic. She expects to start buying used books from community members in late 2021.

The store has a drive-thru window, and once BookIt Nook's website goes live later this month, customers will be able to place orders online and then pick up their titles without leaving their vehicles. DeTrapani and her team have already set up a quick-service counter, allowing for easier checkout and order pick-up.

Standing: (l.-r.) booksellers Taylor Sather, Jackie Fix and Deb Beddoe, with (front) owner Jenna DeTrapani.

DeTrapani has lived in Poulsbo--often called "Little Norway"--for about five years. She has a background in marketing and in bookselling, having been the children's buyer and store manager at Eagle Harbor Book Co. in Bainbridge Island. She called Poulsbo a "quaint tourist destination," adding that the year-round community is very well-read. And though there are two other indies in Poulsbo already, they are both located in the city's downtown, while BookIt Nook is located on the "fringes" of the city, near the local community college and the site of a planned hotel and events center.

The store's opening weekend went "above and beyond" expectations, DeTrapani continued, and visitors have responded quite positively. She and her team have also been pleased that visitors are following all Covid-19 safety precautions.

On the subject of the store's logo, which features the ouroboros symbol of a snake eating its own tail, DeTrapani explained that for many readers, every book is like living a new life again and again, hence the ouroboros.


Aftershock Comics: Kill a Man by Steve Orlando and Phillip Kennedy Johnson, illustrated by Alec Morgan


European Union Files Anti-Competition Charges Against Amazon

The European Commission, the European Union's antitrust regulator, has formally charged Amazon with violating competition laws by using nonpublic data it gathers from third-party sellers on its sites to compete against those sellers. As the New York Times reported, the European Commission said "Amazon had abused its dual role as both a retail store used by millions of vendors, and a merchant that sells its own competing goods on the platform. The authorities accused Amazon of harvesting data from the millions of merchants who use its marketplace to spot popular products, then copy them and sell at a lower price."

At the same time, the Commission said today that it is launching another investigation, focusing on how Amazon selects the default seller for a given product, "alleging that the tech company, and those that pay extra for Amazon services, are more likely to be chosen," the Wall Street Journal wrote.

The charges made today are the most recent step in the European Commission's investigations of Amazon and other U.S. tech giants. It could take years for a fine or other penalty to be levied or a settlement to be reached.


GLOW: Beacon Press: Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother by G'Ra Asim


Binc Launches First Holiday Gift Guide

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation has launched its first holiday gift guide, which features a range of items such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, totes, mugs, caps, masks and more. The items include an exclusive Binc T-shirt designed by illustrator and designer Henry Sene Yee; copies of Alone Together, edited by Jennifer Haupt; as well as items from Jon Klassen and Libro.fm. Many of the potential gifts are from independent bookstores and comic retailers, who were invited to participate in the gift guide. Anyone who buys a gift from the guide receives a free audiobook from Libro.fm. All purchases from the guide support local indies and/or Binc.

Pam French, Binc's executive director, said, "We know how important the holiday shopping season is to independent bookstores, and we're excited to showcase products from a number of indie bookstores. We hope the gift guide will help shoppers support those stores in a new way."

Since January, Binc has helped more than 600 households along with hundreds of independent book and comic book stores across the United States. The need continues, and every week Binc hears from store employees facing problems related to Covid-19, natural disasters, medical crises, and other emergencies. French added: "We are still in a very precarious moment with rising Covid rates and a steep decline in foot traffic during the most important sales season for stores. The gift guide is our way of raising funds while reminding everyone to shop indie this holiday season."


Berkley Books: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto


International Update: Bookshop.org U.K.'s Big First Week, 'Firebreak' Lockdown Lifted in Wales

In its first week of operation after launching in the U.K. on November 2, Bookshop.org sold £440,000 (about $575,810) worth of books, earning £83,000 (about $108,620) for local bookstores and attracting 480,000 visitors to the website. The number of bookshops on the platform in the U.K. has increased from about 150 at launch to 250.

"We're very pleased with how it has turned out so far," said Bookshop founder and CEO Andy Hunter.

Describing Bookshop.org as "a game changer for independent bookshops" that has "taken the sting out of Amazon," Jessica Paul, owner of Max Minerva's Marvellous Books & More in Bristol, observed: "This is another weapon in our arsenal to provide curated, thoughtful recommendations to our customers who want to shop online.... Our personal experience has been incredible. We've made more than enough to cover our rent for the month, and that's a huge weight off our shoulders during this lockdown. It's been fantastic to see the people we've reached, not just our wonderful loyal customers, but customers from all over the U.K. The lists are another avenue for us to be creative and share it with like-minded people."

Nicole Vanderbilt, Bookshop.org U.K.'s managing director, told the Bookseller: "We are very encouraged by our first week of trading. We've seen great support from publishers, authors, bookshops and readers. The money generated for independent bookshops on the platform will have a real impact on these shops which are so vital to our culture."

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The Covid-19 "firebreak" lockdown in Wales was lifted yesterday. Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, tweeted: "Welcome back to all our Welsh members coming out of lockdown today--go forth and sell many books! #ChooseBookshops @Books_Wales @TheHoursBrecon @WellfieldBooks1 et al."

And from the Book Council of Wales: "Good luck to all bookshops reopening in Wales this week. Show your support by popping in, ordering online or by telephone. Find your local bookshop here."

Chepstow Books

Other Welsh booksellers lighting up Twitter yesterday:

Chepstow Books, Chepstow: "So excited to be back open after 17 long days. A huge thank you to every single person who supported us via web, e-mail or phone orders during lockdown (still encouraged)."

Griffin Books, Penarth: "WE ARE OPEN!!! A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us during the #Wales lockdown. You're the best! We will be *OPEN* as usual from 9.00 am this morning (with social distancing measures in place) and can't wait to see all of your lovely faces!"

Palas Print, Caernarfon: "eLythyr Palas Print ¦ Ail Agor ¦ Reopening ¦"

Book-ish, Crickhowell: "Much love and support to my fellow Welsh booksellers coming out of lockdown today."

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In the most recent installment of its "5 questions" series, BookNet Canada interviewed Hilary Atleo, co-owner of Vancouver's Iron Dog Books, an Indigenous-owned bookshop and booktruck dedicated to the belief that "books should be affordable and accessible." Among our favorite responses in the q&a:

What attracted you to bookselling?
I like hard work, and I don't care about being wealthy. One day I looked at the career options in an office, and I said, "I need to make my work life more like my time away from work" and what I like to do for fun is go to bookshops and drink coffee. Now I spend almost every day in a bookshop drinking coffee and it's the best life in the world.

What is the most pressing issue facing bookselling today?
Government policy that creates a hostile environment for new entrepreneurs. Booksellers are essential to the creative economy of Canada, and yet the municipal, provincial, and federal governments have cultural policies that encourage the writing and publishing of books but not the selling of them. If we want our literary community to thrive in Canada, we need to make it possible for young people to start in the bookselling industry and actually make a living; that means addressing runaway commercial leases for small independents and properly taxing and regulating online retailers and their labor practices. --Robert Gray


New Penguin Random House Español Division Formed

Effective January 1, Vintage Español and Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial USA are combining to become Penguin Random House Español.

Silvia Matute

The president of the new division is Silvia Matute, who is based in Miami, Fla., and has been president of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial USA. Members of the Vintage Español team, including editor Alexandra Torrealba, production editor Indira Pupo, and publicity and marketing manager Michelle Domínguez, who are in New York City will work with their colleagues in Miami. Cristóbal Pera, publishing director of Vintage Español, will advise the Penguin Random House Español team throughout the transition until February of next year.

In a memo to staff about the changes, Madeline McIntosh, CEO of Penguin Random House U.S., commented: "We are very proud of our position as category leader in the U.S. Spanish-language publishing market, and we know the opportunity to connect our books with an even wider audience is an important one. With the publishing knowledge in Miami, the operational infrastructure of PRH U.S., and the editorial expertise coming from both groups, we have exactly the pieces we need to expand our publishing list and further grow our business. This new venture will build on and expand the existing sales and distribution partnership between our Miami and New York offices, ensuring maximum reach for all Penguin Random House Spanish publications in the U.S. In addition, Silvia and her team will continue to work closely with the Penguin Random House English-language publishers to procure rights and coordinate publications of Spanish editions."

The Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial team in Miami, which McIntosh called "the leader in Spanish-language publishing in the U.S.," has been publishing Spanish-language titles for the U.S. market since 2014, focusing on commercial nonfiction, religion, and children's books. The group also distributes titles in the U.S. from other PRH Grupo Editorial publishing houses in Latin America and Spain. Its backlist features more than 38 Nobel Prize winners and international bestsellers and authors, including Margaret Atwood, Julio Cortázar, Roald Dahl, Yuval Noah Harari, Anabel Hernández, Robert Kiyosaki, César Lozano, Javier Marías, Dr. Juan Rivera, Robin Sharma, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Founded in 1994, Vintage Español focuses on original and translated works of fiction and narrative nonfiction for the Latinx audience in the U.S. Vintage Español authors include Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Roberto Bolaño, Sandra Cisneros, Paulo Coelho, Junot Díaz, Gabriel García Márquez, Stephen King, Jorge Ramos, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Erika L. Sánchez and Esmeralda Santiago.


November Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for November was delivered to nearly 700,000 of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 179 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 683,092 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie 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 Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case Memorial by Bryan Washington (Riverhead Books).

For a sample of the November newsletter, see this one from Crow & Co., Hutchison, Kan.


Notes

Post-election Chalkboard: Penguin Bookshop

"From Hoover/Curtis (1929) to Biden/Harris (2021), 91 years strong!" That was the sidewalk chalkboard message shared by Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, Pa., which posted on Facebook: "From the 31st President to the 46th, the Penguin Bookshop stands 91 years strong! We look forward to a bright future serving our community!"


Fast Company Recommends Quarantine Reads & Indie Bookstores

Fast Company staffers recommended the 19 best books they've read during quarantine and "the indie bookstores where you can buy them." As the weather gets colder, Covid-19 cases rise and people spend more time at home, "we at Fast Company encourage you to shop local, independent bookstores for all your reading needs. If you don't have a bookshop in your own neighborhood, we have great news: Online store Bookshop.org supports local bookstores around the country with every purchase."


Personnel Changes at Atria

At Atria's publicity and marketing departments:

Lisa Sciambra is promoted to director of publicity. She began her publishing career as a publicity assistant at Touchstone and joined Atria as publicity manager in 2009.

Dana Trocker is promoted to associate publisher and will continue to oversee the marketing department as well as serve as primary liaison to the sales department and to inventory management. She joined Simon & Schuster's trade imprint in 2013 as associate marketing manager and moved to Atria in 2018 as marketing director.

Suzanne Donahue has been named v-p, director of backlist marketing. After working at the Free Press and Simon & Schuster, she joined Atria in 2015.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Katherine E. Standefer on Fresh Air

Today:
Good Morning America: Emmanuel Acho, author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250800466).

Fresh Air: Katherine E. Standefer, author of Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life (Little, Brown Spark, $28, 9780316450362).


Movies: All Russians Love Birch Trees

Production is underway in Germany and Israel on All Russians Love Birch Trees, starring Aylin Tezel (7500) and based on the novel by Olga Grjasnowa, translated by Eva Bacon, Deadline reported.

Directed by Pola Beck, who co-wrote the adaptation with Burkhardt Wunderlich, the project "re-unites a handful of the creatives behind Beck's 2012 drama Breaking Horizons," Deadline wrote. Beck was showrunner on the German series Druck and most recently directed the Netflix Germany series The Last Word.



Books & Authors

Awards: Richell Emerging Writers Winner

Aisling Smith won the 2020 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers, which aims "to unearth, support and nurture new Australian writing talent," for Petrichor. Founded in honor of the late Hachette Australia CEO Matt Richell, the award is sponsored by Hachette Australia and the Richell family, in partnership with the Guardian Australia and the Emerging Writers' Festival.

Smith receives A$10,000 (about US$7,095), to be donated by Hachette Australia, along with a 12-month mentorship with one of Hachette Australia's publishers. Hachette Australia will work with the winning writer to develop the manuscript with first option to consider the finished work and shortlisted entries for publication. In addition to promoting the prize, the Guardian Australia will publish an extract of the first chapter of Petrichor and a profile on the winning writer.

The judges said Petrichor "announces an assured and evocative new Australian literary voice. Smith, using the disintegration of a marriage, explores powerful themes around communication, race, culture and family. Aisling's writing is evocative and sophisticated, and the story is one all the judges want to read much more of."

In accepting the prize, Smith said, "It's been a year of such widespread isolation for everyone. Certainly, that's been my own experience of the pandemic. And this has been echoed in the experience of writing, where an already solitary activity has had to proceed with very little engagement with community, often feeling directionless or even as though you are writing into a void. Against this backdrop, winning the Richell Prize feels to me like a moment of real connection."


Book Review

Review: The Art of Falling

The Art of Falling by Danielle McLaughlin (Random House, $28 hardcover, 384p., 9780812998443, January 5, 2021)

Little did the characters of Danielle McLaughlin's fiction debut, Dinosaurs on Other Planets, know that they had it relatively easy. That short story collection features numerous characters on the brink of various losses, but it's all over after a few pages. The decorous but deceptively fearsome novel The Art of Falling consolidates the stressors, cycles them through several hundred pages and puts a single character in the crosshairs.

As the novel begins, a teacher has summoned Nessa McCormack, who lives in a well-heeled suburb of Cork, to her 16-year-old daughter's school, alleging that Jennifer has been bullying another student--Mandy Wilson, who used to be Jennifer's best friend. Although Nessa recognizes the parental obligation to appear distressed at the prospect of her child's troublemaking, she registers relief at news of the girls' withered friendship: "If Jennifer and Mandy had not been friends, then perhaps Cora Wilson would never have gotten to know Philip and might have confined her affections to her own husband."

Nessa and Philip, an architect, are seeing a marriage counselor to stanch the bleeding caused by his now terminated affair with Cora. Of a lesser, but still acute, concern to Nessa is the debt that Philip has racked up thanks to his atrocious instincts for property investment. Nessa's job at an art gallery is a vital source of both income and pride. She's the project manager for a major acquisition: the studio of the artist Robert Locke, dead nearly 20 years but still an object of some fascination. Everything is going smoothly with the acquisition until Nessa is confronted by a woman who insists that she worked on one of Locke's most celebrated pieces--"If you are the expert that you claim to be, you will know this"--and wants to be credited for her contribution.

The Art of Falling can read like a beleaguered-everymom novel--I Don't Know How She Does It in a more picturesque setting--although McLaughlin isn't playing Nessa's circumstances for laughs. While the book's characters occasionally behave in implausible ways out of what seems like narrative necessity (never mind how she does it; why is she doing it?), McLaughlin's storytelling gifts and dexterous sentences are amply compensatory. At times her plotting verges on masterly, as when she introduces an aspect of Nessa's past that infiltrates her work and family lives with the gentleness of an ice bath. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In this blistering first novel, a project manager at an art gallery finds her past sneaking up on her, further complicating her already frazzled work and family lives.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Holden's Resurrection (Gemini Group Book 6) by Riley Edwards
2. Code Name: Rook (Jameson Force Security Book 6) by Sawyer Bennett
3. Man in Charge by Laurelin Paige
4. Spells by Kristen Proby
5. The Harbinger II: The Return by Jonathan Cahn
6. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
7. Lost Harbor Alaska Box Set (Books 1-3) by Jennifer Bernard
8. Happily Ever After in Bliss by Lexi Blake as Sophie Oak
9. My Big Fat Fake Honeymoon by Lauren Landish
10. Date Me Like You Mean It by R.S. Grey

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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