Also published on this date: Tuesday, February 9, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Footnotes

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Workman Publishing: Overthinking about You: Navigating Romantic Relationships When You Have Anxiety, Ocd, And/Or Depression by Allison Raskin

Wednesday Books: Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

Harper: Aurora by David Koepp

Gibbs Smith: Life Is Golden: What I've Learned from the World's Most Adventurous Dogs by Andrew Muse

Bloomsbury Publishing: Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder by Rachel Rear

Zest Books (Tm): How to Be a Difficult Bitch: Claim Your Power, Ditch the Haters, and Feel Good Doing It by Halley Bondy, Mary C. Fernandez, Sharon Lynn Pruitt-Young, and Zara Hanawalt

Scholastic Press: It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds


Pubeasy Launching Improved Platform in March

Pubeasy, the electronic ordering and customer service platform used by thousands of booksellers worldwide to check book prices and availability, the status of their orders, and to place orders directly with multiple publishers and distributors via a single web portal, has become all the more important during the pandemic. Nearly 900 new retailers signed up in 2020, a 600% increase over 2019.

Pubeasy is planning to launch a newly developed Pubeasy system at the end of March that will feature a fully rebuilt, state-of-the art technology infrastructure, including a streamlined modern interface, improved search, and tighter integration with related systems. The new platform has been developed by MVB, which purchased Pubeasy North America and its related service Pubnet in 2017, working in cooperation with Nielsen Book, which operates the service for U.K. suppliers. Nielsen Book will continue to serve its current customers using new platform technology from MVB, a subsidiary of the Börsenverein, the German book industry association, that specializes in marketing and industry services.

Ted Hill

Ted Hill, CEO of MVB US, said, "Today's publishers, booksellers and distributors need improved tools and services to reduce costs and save time--smarter, more efficient direct ordering is a big part of it. While Pubeasy has served the publishing community well over the years, we realized that we needed to start from scratch if we wanted to significantly improve the benefits of Pubeasy for our customers. Our new technology represents a major investment in crucial infrastructure which will enable MVB to more easily roll out additional features and improvements over the coming months and years."

MVB CEO Ronald Schild said, "MVB is fully committed to delivering efficiency gains to the global book trade. We are proud to deliver the new Pubeasy trading platform based on cutting-edge technology and international standards. Our objective is to take Pubeasy to as many national markets as possible and thereby establishing trading links between publishers and booksellers worldwide. Right now, plans for the introduction of Pubeasy in Brazil are in the works."

Berkley Books: Harlem Sunset (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery) by Nekesa Afia

Rhythm & Co. Books Now Open in Glen Rose, Tex.

Rhythm & Co. Books, which opened late last year at 101 Elm St. on the Downtown Square in Glen Rose, Tex., "is more than just a bookstore" for owner Janet Mills, the Glen Rose Reporter noted.

"It's kind of like a book itself, with pages and chapters written by family and friends," she said.

Mills had long had the idea of opening a bookstore. After her husband passed away in 2017, she revisited the idea, but planning took time and it wasn't until last winter that she was finally ready.

"I decided for the New Year I was going to do the bookshop thing for real--in a brick-and-mortar space in Glen Rose on the Square," she recalled. "Right about the time the pandemic hit this building became available. After much discussion with all my grown kids and siblings, I decided I just needed to jump in and do it."

Rhythm & Co. opened just after Thanksgiving. "Inside, of course, there are all kinds of books for readers of all ages, but there are also simple reminders of her family. Parts of her mother's Baby Grand Piano hang throughout the store and are now shelves. Also, there is a painting of her granddaughter reading alongside Rhythm--Mills' dog, a female yellow Lab--for whom the store is named," the Glen Rose Reporter wrote.

"I started a reading program at the schools and at the library--letting kids read to the dogs. Rhythm became quite famous around town. At some point I decided that I would really like to have my own bookstore and Rhythm could be the bookstore dog," Mills said. "It was always supposed to be Rhythm's store, but she died in the spring of 2018. Her spirit is here with me though."

She added that in retrospect, the bookstore was meant to be. "I could not have done any of it without the help and support of those family members and dear friends. Especially my daughter, Julie, who has been my right hand, go-to, cheerleader. My little bookstore was built with a lot of sweat and tears and love. And I hope that others feel that."

ECW Press: Play It Right: The Remarkable Story of a Gambler Who Beat the Odds on Wall Street by Kamal Gupta

Booklegger, Eureka, Calif., Consolidating and Reorganizing

Booklegger in Eureka, Calif., is undergoing restructuring and renovation following major construction work on its historic building and co-owner Nancy Short's retirement. Current owner Jen McFadden is consolidating the bookstore by closing its second room, which is accessible from the main bookstore room by a hallway. Booklegger sells used and new books.

McFadden said she and the team "feel good about the shape the store is taking" and hope to not only use their space more efficiently but also run a leaner operation. Everything in the store's second room is currently on deep discount, and in a message to customers McFadden noted "all of your favorite authors and sections are alive and well in the front room."

University of California Press: When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, with a New Preface by Leslie J. Reagan

How Bookstores Are Coping: Daily Sales Up; 'Feeling of Giddiness'

Shannon Burgess, co-owner of The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn in Glen Ellyn, Ill., said things are fairly normal at the store now. While occupancy is still limited, sales are steady and there are consistent in-store shoppers. 

Currently the store allows eight shoppers in at a time--up from six--and everyone over two years of age must wear a mask at all times. There are plexiglass shields around the checkout counter and surfaces are wiped down frequently. Burgess and her team have also bought an air purifier for the store. Staff members, she continued, are scheduled to work in two different pods. Any time someone in one of the pods reports symptoms or has a possible Covid exposure, everyone is rescheduled, and the other pod takes over.

Website and e-mail sales continue to be much higher than pre-pandemic levels, and Burgess thinks that will continue as more and more customers realize how easy it is to order online and pick up and pay at the store. She noted that since adding that option on the website, about half of all web customers choose that option. Burgess and her team have set up pick-up shelves at the front of the store, and they'll bring orders out to customers' cars if they call when they arrive.

On the subject of the holiday season, Burgess reported that sales were at an all time high, and the store was significantly up in November and December. The bookstore's customer base has expanded significantly since the pandemic began, and she expects a number of those customers to continue shopping at the store. Beyond that, more people are at home reading and doing puzzles, there is a growing shop local movement spurred by the pandemic and the fear of many independent retailers closing, and people seem to be returning to physical books due to widespread screen fatigue. She added that customers have really appreciated the store's safety measures, and many see it as a safe place to go outside the home.

January sales were also up compared to previous years, and while she expects to stay up a bit in early 2021, it's "anybody's guess" exactly how long that will continue. Once enough people are vaccinated and things fully reopen, she expects to see a bit of a drop in sales, but hopefully the store's expanded customer base will make up for that.


In Pittsboro, N.C., McIntyre's Books fared "all right" in 2020, reported owner Keebe Fitch. The store was closed for everything save phone sales and curbside pick-up from March until June before reopening for limited browsing. Fitch noted that the "most normal thing we have going for us right now" is that the store is open for browsing. The largest difference, aside from the many safety requirements, is that the store's events business is nonexistent.

Fitch and her team were "blown away" by the number of customers who wanted to give McIntyre's Books "first crack at their book lists," and community members have been delighted to see the store open. It always "brings up everyone's mood" when a customer stops by and tells the staff how glad they are to see the store open.

So far in 2021, Fitch noted, the store has seen average daily sales up around 20% compared to 2020, though that isn't enough to entirely make up for the lost sales from the store's limited hours. That increase has held through January and into February, and people are still buying "lots and lots of books." Looking further ahead, she remarked that there is a certain feeling of release and giddiness in the air at the prospect of mass vaccinations on the horizon. She and her team are "really looking forward to seeing what changes late summer and fall bring." --Alex Mutter

David Wan Retiring as Harvard Business Publishing CEO

David Wan

David Wan is retiring as CEO of Harvard Business Publishing, a subsidiary of Harvard Business School, in June. Senior executive v-p and chief product innovation officer Josh Macht will be acting CEO while the publisher conducts a search for a new CEO.

Wan joined Harvard Business Publishing in 2002 and transformed the organization into a global leader in the practice of management, growing revenues from approximately $90 million to $270 million, the publisher said. In a statement, Harvard Business School senior associate dean Das Narayandas said that Wan "successfully led the publishing company's higher education, corporate learning, and Harvard Business Review groups through truly seismic market shifts to offer our global clients award-winning content, services, and solutions for real strategic impact. Most of all, his partnership with the School has ensured the extension of our mission to leaders around the globe and throughout the arc of their careers."

Macht joined the company in 2006 as managing director, new publishing ventures, and held several positions before taking his current role.

Rowman & Littlefield Buys Eclipse Press Trade Titles

Rowman & Littlefield has acquired selected trade titles from Eclipse Press, an equestrian publisher in Lexington, Ky., established by The Blood-Horse, Inc., in 2000. The titles have been acquired from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, which had sole oversight of the Eclipse program since 2015.

The titles range from practical aspects of hands-on horsemanship to equine art and retrospectives on the great Thoroughbred racehorses, rivalries and races, including more than 20 books in the Thoroughbred Legends series, featuring biographies of horses such as Man o' War, War Admiral, Nashua, Secretariat, Alydar, Affirmed, Ruffian, Spectacular Bid and Seattle Slew. Eclipse authors include Edward L. Bowen, Timothy Capps, Bill Heller, Sue McConnell, John McEvoy, Lenny Schulman, Milt Toby and Bonnie S. Urquhart.

Lyons Press, a Rowman & Littlefield trade imprint, will begin reissuing selected titles under the Eclipse Press sub-imprint in the fall.

Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said, "Eclipse Press served as an important part of TOBA for over two decades and many of its titles were highly acclaimed and well received by Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts. We are excited to pass the torch to Rowman & Littlefield and look forward to seeing Eclipse Press books in the marketplace for years to come."


Bernie's Mittens Redux: Viewpoint Books

"Baby, it's cold outside!" Viewpoint Books, Columbus, Ind., posted on Facebook. "Bernie with mittens isn't with us, but Beth with mittens is here... and Beth with mittens is CHOCK FULL of amazing book recommendations for a frigid, gray, yucky, winter weekend. Come by in your mittens (or gloves, if you prefer) and pick up a new read, then grab your coziest blanket and snuggle in by the fire to pass the pandemic weekend in the nicest possible way.... Stay warm, and happy reading!"

Hickory Stick Bookseller's #ShelfieSunday

Posted on Facebook by Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, Conn.: "For this week's Shelfie Sunday we're featuring the bookshelves of Alana, the newest member of the Hickory Stick team who joined us back in October. You can tell Alana is an artist... just look at the books on those shelves! We can just imagine her curled up on her chaise, especially on a snowy day like today, gathering inspiration for her work! In her own words she's 'grateful for this glorious place.' "

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

At Chronicle Books:

Anastasia Scott has joined the company as the marketing manager, art.

Jessica Mays joined the company as senior sales manager, off-price & mass markets.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elizabeth Kolbert on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future (Crown, $28, 9780593136270).

CBS This Morning: Adam Grant, author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know (Viking, $28, 9781984878106).

The View: Dr. Jennifer Ashton, author of The New Normal: A Roadmap to Resilience in the Pandemic Era (Morrow, $26.99, 9780063083233).

A Little Late with Killy Singh: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, author of Unfinished: A Memoir (Ballantine, $28, 9781984819215).

Movies: This Was Our Pact

Peter Dinklage will produce the upcoming animated film This Was Our Pact, based on the graphic novel by Ryan Andrews, Variety reported, adding that Dinklage is also voicing one of the lead characters--a "mysterious and charismatic bear."

Dinklage and David Ginsberg's production company Estuary Films is collaborating on the project with veteran animator Ken Duncan's Duncan Studio team. Will Collins, screenwriter of Golden Globe-nominated Wolfwalkers and Oscar-nominated Song of the Sea, will write the script.

"I'm delighted to be a part of the team tasked with adapting This Was Our Pact into an animated feature," Collins said. "Ryan Andrews created a gem of a coming-of-age story which takes the reader on a journey through a unique, mysterious and beautiful place. From the outset I knew these boys, I knew the joy and pain of their friendship, and I willed that friendship to triumph with every turn of the page. It's a pleasure to be collaborating with Ken Duncan and the talented team at Duncan Studio and Estuary Films to bring this story to life."

Duncan added: "This Was Our Pact is a fantastic tale full of twists and turns, but at its heart is the relationships between the characters, and their developed friendship. We're excited to capture the unique qualities of the book, in the visual style as well as storytelling--it is utterly captivating and enchanting. With Will Collins coming on as our writer, we know this will be a film that will thrill the many fans of the graphic novel and help Ryan Andrews' wonderful work discover new audiences."

Books & Authors

Awards: International Dublin Literary Longlist; Golden Kite, Sid Fleischmann Finalists

A longlist has been released for the €100,000 (about $120,320) International Dublin Literary Award, which is sponsored by Dublin City Council to honor a single work of fiction published in English. Nominations include 18 novels in translation with works nominated by libraries from 30 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, the U.S. & Canada, South America and Australia & New Zealand.

The shortlist will be announced March 25 and the winner named May 20, as part of the opening day program of International Literature Festival Dublin. Check out the complete International Dublin Literary Award longlist here.


The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has announced the finalists for the 2021 Golden Kite Awards and the Sid Fleischmann Humor Award. The Golden Kites, the only children's literary award judged by a jury of peers, are given in seven categories. For more information and to see the finalists, click here.

Book Review

Review: Girls of a Certain Age: Stories

Girls of a Certain Age by Maria Adelmann (Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 240p., 9780316450812, February 16, 2021)

Teens and young adult women populate the majority of Girls of a Certain Age, an intriguing first collection by Maria Adelmann. At least eight of these 13 stories were previously published as early as 2014, many in prestigious literary journals. As with many debuts, Girls proves uneven overall, but the standouts outnumber the few disappointments.

"Pets Are for Rich Kids" features two girls, one whose constant needing and wanting makes her "callous," the other whose taken-for-granted easy comfort allows her to believe she's generous. Inequitable friendship reappears again with an older cast in "Middlemen," about a young woman whose wealthier roommate takes advantage of her emotionally and sexually. And illness looms in "The Lunatic Report," about a 15-year-old hospital volunteer, and "First Aid," in which cutting provides the only relief for a troubled teen.

Meanwhile, discarded women inhabit several convincing stories. In "Only the Good," meaningless hook-ups leave a young woman pregnant, with only her brother for comfort. "The Replacements" follows an abused wife who kills her vicious husband's dog. In "None of These Will Bring Disaster," a newly unemployed young woman wonders why she's so easy to neglect. And "Unattached" features an avid runner, still pining for her ex-boyfriend, who literally begins to float away until she's saved (temporarily) by an older couple.

Adelmann saves the best for last with "The Wayside." Here, a 17-year-old spends her summer before college working at the titular, historical Concord, Mass., home where Nathanial Hawthorne wrote some of his most famous works. Relationships with her divorced parents, a beloved but missing sibling, impatient friends, her first (manipulative) lover, older colleagues will all define her inevitable journey toward maturity.

Throughout Adelmann's observant stories, what proves most affecting is her ability to create recognizable women and girls leading convincing, albeit challenging, daily lives. Adelmann writes with a sharp, detailed precision that can immediately reveal complex situations: for a young deaf girl, deciphering her mother's words is to watch "her lips like two pieces of ribbon"; the act of cutting skin is to "slit a new gill... because they help me breathe"; the distinctive smell of pickle juice at lunch becomes the leitmotif for a young woman's desperation to conform to the beauty standards that might get her seen on screen. With eyes wide open, Adelmann carefully observes and meticulously records what happens to these girls of a certain age, paying special attention to those too easily ignored, overlooked and dismissed. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Throughout her intriguing 13-story debut collection, Maria Adelmann features recognizable women and girls leading convincing, albeit challenging, daily lives.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Forever Bold by Kathleen Brooks
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. The Invitation by Vi Keeland
4. The Observer by Todd Stottlemyre
5. Daring Deception by Barbara Freethy
6. Dare to Stay (Dare Nation Book 4) by Carly Phillips
7. John (Guardian Defenders Book 3) by Kris Michaels
8. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
9. Holly Lin: Books 1-3 by Robert Swartwood
10. Lethal Protector (Rifle Creek Series Book 3) by Kaylea Cross

[Many thanks to!]

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