Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone: Start your entrepreneurial journey with affordable packages, starting from $1,566

Candlewick Press: Mi Casa Is My Home by Laurenne Sala, illustrated by Zara González Hoang

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

Big Picture Press: Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution by De Nichols

Callaway Arts & Entertainment: The Beatles: Get Back by The Beatles, photographed by Linda McCartney

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

News

New Orleans's Garden District Book Shop Changes Hands

After running and owning the Garden District Book Shop, New Orleans, La., for some 40 years, Britton Trice has sold the store. The trio of new owners plan on "continuing his legacy," as one of them, Christopher Tidmore, put it, while also making some changes, including adding a café/wine bar/bistro next door in the next few months.

Tidmore and co-owners Barkley Rafferty (Rafferty and Tidmore are married) and Carroll Gelderman are, respectively, a newspaper/radio/TV journalist and editor; a teacher with an MBA and the owner of a spice importing company; and a movie producer. They also have strong connections to the store: Rafferty and Gelderman grew up in the neighborhood, and the store was a favorite place for them. For Tidmore, for 30 years, the bookstore has been "the end of a pilgrimage trek I'd make as a kid from the suburbs."

But most important for the sale is that Rafferty and Trice's daughter, Eliza, are longtime best friends, and for years, Rafferty had told Eliza that if her father ever wanted to sell the store, she was interested. As Trice said, "I had been thinking about selling and reached out, and we went from there."

The deal closed on February 1, and Trice is helping with the transition and will consult part-time for two years. Besides introducing the new owners to the intricacies of bookselling, he wants to assist with events and help them make contacts in the business.

Britton Trice flanked by new owners Christopher Tidmore and Carroll Gelderman (not pictured: Barkley Rafferty)

The new owners have benefited from a major renovation Trice did last year that included replacing old carpeting with wood and taking advantage of new space that the building owners gave the store. The work resulted in every book in the store being moved "three to four times," Trice said.

Garden District Book Shop is located in the Rink, originally built as a roller-skating rink in 1884 and now home to a dozen shops and offices; Tidmore compared it with the Galeries Lafayette in Paris.

In the first month of ownership, the new owners have already begun to make changes: they converted a storeroom into a children's room in a spot that faces the arcade of the building. Besides boosting sales and "being very prominent," the move of children's books into the room allowed them to "reposition things elsewhere in the store," Tidmore said.

And in a major move, the three are working on relocating the coffee shop they bought late last year from the floor below the bookstore to immediately next to the bookstore. The new coffee house/wine bar/bistro will have "a full commercial kitchen" and bar, offering a place for customers, Tidmore said, "to enjoy books, the amenities, a glass of wine." Tidmore also noted that like many bookstores, the Garden District Book Shop needed "another source of revenue" besides book sales.

The new owners are making the bookstore their first priority. (Tidmore is gradually dialing back on his journalism jobs.) Their aim is to expand what Trice built and to create a model that includes books, authors and events, as well as making it a place where people can "linger, meet, enjoy, discuss." Tidmore espouses the idea of independent bookstores as "academies of the mind, place where people and great ideas come together." And he praised the bookstore staff, who are more knowledgeable than "any algorithm."

What Trice calls a "fun 40 years" began when longtime Maple Street Book Shop owner Rhoda Faust asked him to manage one of her stores. It eventually moved into the Rink and Trice bought it. Since then, Trice has made the Garden District Book Shop into a legend, famous for its collection of signed books and its strong event programming, which has included appearances by, among others, Julia Child, Pat Conroy, Anne Rice (who lives in the neighborhood), Rebecca Wells and "plenty of politicians." Looking back, Trice is especially happy about "all the authors and booksellers and publishing people I've met and become friends with."

No longer a bookstore owner, Trice looks forward to reading at leisure ("it seems all we do is sit in front of the computer with Edelweiss"), traveling when it's possible again, and reviving his publishing company, BE Trice Publishing, which focused on collectible limited editions by Cormac McCarthy, Anne Rice, Richard Ford, James Lee Burke and others. He set publishing aside about a decade ago when trying to get the store back on solid footing after Hurricane Katrina. He said he might now publish "some more mainstream, New Orleans-related titles." --John Mutter


Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier


Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo., Moving to New Home

Subterranean Books in St. Louis, Mo., is moving to a new, larger space after 20 years in its previous location. The bookstore will be closed this Friday for the move and open on Saturday for pick-up only. By Sunday, the store will be open for regular business in its new home.

The new space, located just two doors down the street, is more than double the size of its current home. The extra space will allow Subterranean Books to "properly staff ourselves in the age of Covid."

The team will be able to let in more shoppers while making sure all safety precautions are being met, and they can expand all of their existing book sections. They will continue to offer curbside pick-up, shipping, and web and phone orders in addition to browsing.

Eventually, once the store gets "to the other side of this crazy year," they'll throw "one heck of a party" to celebrate the move and the store's 21st birthday.


Paraclete Press: Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale by Christopher de Vinck


LEMS Cultural Center in Seattle, Wash., Expanding Operations

LEMS Cultural Center and Bookstore for Life Enrichment in Seattle, Wash., will expand to a five-day-per-week schedule this month, the Seattle Times reported.

After former owner Vickie Williams died in 2017, the bookstore, which for a long while was considered the only Black-owned bookstore in the Pacific Northwest, closed its doors and seemed en route to closure. In 2019, Hassan Messiah and Tylicia Messiah (Williams's godson and granddaughter, respectively) launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $93,000. The pair spent most of 2020 cleaning and reorganizing, and opened for limited browsing three days per week in December.

Currently LEMS has no website or phone number, and carries about 1,000 titles. Over the months ahead, Hassan and Tylicia Messiah plan to expand the store's inventory and rebuild its events program and community partnerships. Tylicia Messiah, who runs the store's day-to-day operations, has already started working with local schools to order Black history books for students, and there is a growing selection of new titles in the store's inventory.

Hassan Messiah, meanwhile, intends to build a recording studio in the back of the LEMS space, along with a stage for comedy shows, live music and other performances and events. Toward the end of this month, a pop-up called Rainier Avenue Clothing Company will open in the space, but he told the Seattle Times: "No matter what, it's always going to be a bookstore."

"I found something I'm really passionate about, something that I can actually see myself doing for the rest of my life," Tylicia Messiah added.


Berkley Books: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot


International Update: Bookshop.org Generates £1 Million for U.K. Indies

In the four months since its U.K. launch, Bookshop.org has raised £1 million (about $1.4 million) for the 410 independent bookshops that signed up for the platform, the Guardian reported, adding that 82% of the sales were titles selling fewer than four copies each, with 54% from titles selling just one copy.

More than 200,000 U.K. customers have used Bookshop thus far, generating sales of more than £5 million (about $7 million). Bookshop said that £633,000 (about $883,290) of the money has been distributed to bookshops in customer-designated commissions (bookstores earn 30% commissions on sales through their Bookshop storefronts), while the remaining £367,000 ($512,110) is shared equally among all participating bookshops.

"Our mission is to support indie bookshops precisely so that as many people as possible can continue to shop directly from them," said the company's U.K. managing director Nicole Vanderbilt. "We are in this to ensure that indie bookshops continue to exist and thrive in a world where consumers are increasingly buying online. There is simply nothing like the experience of shopping at an independent bookshop."

Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association, described the news as "a remarkable moment for indie bookselling, and in the fight against Amazon's dominance in the book market over the last 10 months."

Victoria Johnson of Chorlton Bookshop, Manchester, told the Guardian that commissions from the platform had funded her daily living expenses, food and fuel bills through January and February.

Nicci Rosengarten of Moon Lane Children's Toys and Books, Ramsgate, estimated that her virtual shopfront had generated "about two or three months' worth of takings.... Without the income from Bookshop.org, staff would have to be furloughed or work voluntarily as they did during the first lockdown. Being able to work during lockdowns has ensured that Moon Lane has been able to continue its outreach work."

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak will offer shops in England grants of up to £6,000 (about $8,375) "to help them start trading again in this week's budget and may also be planning a tax on online retail," the Bookseller reported. The initiative, to be announced Wednesday, "is part of a wider £5 billon [about $7 billion] plan to help pubs, restaurants and shops recover from a year of lockdowns." The funds will be distributed by local authorities beginning in April and replace the current monthly grant system. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap for exiting lockdown, non-essential retail is expected to reopen beginning April 12.

"It's been an incredibly difficult year for our high streets," Sunak told the Mail on Sunday. "But soon shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to open their doors once again, and we're providing the support they need to get them through, get them back on their feet and get the tills ringing once again."

Sunak is also considering ways to tax online retailers more heavily, including a new "green tax" for online deliveries, the Sunday Telegraph reported. A Treasury source said, "The idea of an online sales tax is being looked at as part of the business rates review. Responses to the consultation are being considered in the round, but the chancellor is cognizant of the need to level up the playing field between the high street and online taxation."


Obituary Note: Carl Apollonio

Carl Apollonio

Carlton (Carl) Lothrop Apollonio, former Crown Publishers executive, died on January 24. He was 90.

Apollonio was passionate about books, aviation (he became a civilian pilot in 1948) and art, combining the three in his publishing career, which began in 1955 as the owner of Fairfields Book Shop in Brunswick, Maine. He then worked as a traveling book salesman in the South during the 1960s and for New York Graphic Society before joining Crown Publishers as a sales rep in the late 1970s. He eventually became Crown's v-p and director of sales and launched the imprint Orion Books, which was dedicated to aerospace and military history, transportation, and general scientific and technological themes.

He was also involved early on with the Goddard Riverside Book Fair. In 1987, Goddard board member Don Porter asked him for support from the publishing community to raise funds for the community center. Goddard's partnership with the publishing industry has continued for 34 years, and more than $15 million has been raised to fight homelessness in New York City.

Concerning his time with Crown, which he retired from shortly after it was sold to Random House, Apollonio wrote that it was a "unique and special place to work. We were all motivated by our love and respect for Nat (Wartels) and for one another. I still remember Alan's (Mirken) comment: 'Everybody can do something well. It is our job to find out what that is and to encourage each person to do what they love most.' "

His friend publisher J.P. Leventhal remembered: "When [Carl] came to Crown, the company was best known for publishing mid-list fiction plus many practical collecting and how-to books as well as its robust remainder business. When he left, Crown had what many said at the time was the finest and most effective sales team in the industry pumping out mega best-sellers on a regular basis. Most of those guys and gals stayed on at Crown/Random for many, many years."

No service is planned at this time because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Goddard Riverside or the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.


Notes

Cool Idea of the Day: Book Butler

The Palm Beach Book Store in Palm Beach, Fla., has partnered with The Ben, a hotel in West Palm Beach, to create a service called the Book Butler, Palm Beach Daily News reported.

Through the Book Butler program, guests can order complimentary books to be delivered to their rooms. Each room has a curated book menu, and guests can dial 0 on their room phones, order a book and have it hand-delivered to their rooms. An in-room dining option called Book Bites also matches small-plate items with the titles on the book menu.

“During the pandemic, it has been especially important that we continue to connect our customers to books,” Candice Cohen, founder of the Palm Beach Book Store, told the Palm Beach Daily News. “We look forward to partnering with The Ben to curate a selection of new and topical book titles that relate to the history of the hotel and the city of West Palm Beach.”

Guests are free to keep the books, or they can leave them behind to be donated to the West Palm Beach Library Foundation. The titles featured on the book menu will rotate seasonally.


Read It Again Bookstore: 'WHAT A YEAR! Holy Moly'

Read It Again Bookstore, Suwanee, Ga., which suffered major flood damage last month due to a burst water heater, shared an update on Sunday: "We had a staff meeting today to plan out unpacking into our temp space. The funny thing is that a year ago...  we were planning @annebogel's visit to our store, which ended up getting canceled due to COVID. WHAT A YEAR! Holy moly."


'Alarming' Moment at Eagle Harbor Book Company

One of the lesser-known but all too familiar hazards of indie bookselling is fire alarm testing day, as Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash., reminded us yesterday, posting on Facebook: "If you plan to come in bright and early this beautiful Match 1, be aware we will be testing our fire alarms right at 10 a.m. Give us a couple minutes before you come inside!"


Personnel Changes at Workman Publishing

At Workman Publishing:

Adelia Kalyvas has been promoted to director, gift and mass merchant sales, for all imprints. She joined the company in 2004 as mass merchant sales assistant and after a series of promotions was most recently director, gift sales.

Kayla Burson has been promoted to senior sales manager, online retail, catalogs & specialty wholesale, for all imprints. She was formerly sales manager, online retail, catalogs & specialty wholesale. Before joining Workman in 2017 as assistant sales manager, mail order, online retail, & specialty wholesale, she worked at Penguin Random House as sales coordinator, special markets.

Valerie Alfred has been promoted to senior key account manager, gift sales, for all Workman imprints. She joined the company in 2002 as mass sales assistant, and after a series of promotions was most recently gift sales manager.


Simon & Schuster to Distribute Vault Comics

Simon & Schuster will handle worldwide distribution for Vault Comics, effective May 1. Direct market retailers will still be able to order Vault titles through Diamond Comic Distributors.

Vault Comics, Missoula, Mont., is an independent publisher of science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural horror comics. Its CEO and publisher, Damian Wassel, said: "We are excited to partner with Simon & Schuster to distribute our books to booksellers everywhere. As Vault continues to expand our catalog, break ground in film, television, and other media, and reach new fans, we know we'll be able to count on the team at S&S to support our growth for years to come."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hilary Duff on Good Morning America

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Hilary Duff, author of My Little Brave Girl (Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.98, 9780593300725).

Marketplace Morning Report: Karen Petrou, author of Engine of Inequality: The Fed and the Future of Wealth in America (Wiley, $29.95, 9781119726746).

Drew Barrymore Show: Stephen King, author of Later (Hard Case Crime, $14.95, 9781789096491).

A Little Late with Lilly Singh: Alexi Pappas, author of Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas (The Dial Press, $27, 9781984801128).


Movies: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter; In the Lost Lands

Emmy and Golden Globe winner America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) will make her film directorial debut with an adaptation of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez, who serves as a co-producer, Deadline reported. Anonymous Content and MACRO are producing the movie, which will be released on Netflix. Linda Yvette Chávez, co-creator behind the series Gentefied, adapted the screenplay.

Released in 2017, the story follows Julia Reyes, the precocious and strong-willed teenaged daughter of first-generation Mexican immigrants. She often clashes with her more traditional parents, who wish she were more like her sister Olga, the platonic ideal of a Mexican daughter. However, when Olga is killed in a tragic accident, it is up to Julia to hold her family together.

"Years ago, I fell in love with Erika L. Sánchez' stunning novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter," said Ferrera. "The depth, wit and searing intelligence of her writing, and her young Latina heroine, struck me to my core and left me wanting so much more. I am truly honored and humbled to direct Linda Yvette Chávez's beautifully adapted screenplay. The opportunity to direct the work of these two incredibly talented Latina writers is a dream come true. I can't wait to share this film with the many fans of the novel, and to introduce this funny, profound, and resonant story to the world."

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Director Paul W.S. Anderson is teaming with Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich and Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) for the movie In the Lost Lands, based on the short story by George R.R. Martin, Deadline reported. Anderson has written the script. 



Books & Authors

Awards: Authors' Club Best First Novel Longlist

A longlist was released for the £2,500 (about $3,490) Authors' Club Best First Novel Award, which "exists to support U.K.-based authors, publishers and agents, so the novel must originate in the U.K. and not have been published anywhere else in the world before its U.K. publication." The shortlist will be announced March 26 and a winner named May 19. See the complete longlist here.


Seasonal Self-Care Rituals for Booksellers

Susan Weis-Bohlen

As a bookstore owner for more than a decade, I realize that "self-care" and "bookseller" don't always go hand in hand. But in the years since I closed my store, I look back and can clearly see all the areas where I sort of burned out. Forgetting to eat meals during the day, and eating too much at night. Staying too late at the shop to pay bills. Reading galleys late into the evening. Staring at online catalogues for hours. And then there were just the many things booksellers must do: Dealing with inventory. Calling special orders. Creating events. Writing the newsletter. Setting up chairs! Taking down chairs! And after I opened my café--too many lattes! It's a wonder that I ever found time (or patience!) to chat with my customers.

My store, breathe books, was a beautiful, vibrant little new age bookshop, the shelves packed with self-help books, how-to-books, meditation, massage, Chinese medicine, chakras, vegetarian cookbooks--everything one needed to live a long, happy, healthy life. But as we all know, self-care can fall to the wayside when you are an entrepreneur, sacrificing just about everything you've got to create a successful, thriving business. For this reason, I feel specially qualified to help you with some tips to keep you going through this trying time we are in.

My new book (once I closed the store I became a writer!) details the many ways we can take care of ourselves all year long, based on our specific mind/body constitutions. Using the principles of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing, Seasonal Self-Care Rituals: Eat, Breathe, Move and Sleep Better--According to Your Dosha (Simon & Schuster/Tiller Press) offers techniques to help you stay in balance.

In the same way that bookstores change many books seasonally, you can make seasonal lifestyle changes in order to create a greater balance with nature--working with her rather than against her. Still eating hot salsa and spicy food in the summer? This adds too much heat to the mind and body, creating a short temper, intense mood swings, and over-heating. Indulging in ice cream, smoothies and iced lattes in the winter? This puts out your digestive fires, messes up digestion and creates stagnation and mucus, which stays with us when spring rolls around, and turns into seasonal allergies.

Further details and grocery lists are outlined in my book. But you can begin to adjust your food habits right away by paying attention to the climate and making better choices. Just because nearly everything is available all year round at the grocery store doesn't mean you have to consume it. The supply chain takes no account that summer in Chile is winter in New York. But you can make that decision!

During the pandemic we need to concentrate our efforts on keeping the immune system primed. Ayurveda is all about prevention and longevity. One of the benefits of Ayurveda and making seasonal changes is that you have in your hands all the tools you need to prevent illness, and to heal faster, naturally, just by giving the body what it needs, when it needs it.

As a bookseller you are at the center of your community. In addition to handselling books, you can handsell good habits and good health! When I began practicing Ayurveda in 2007, my customers noticed as I lost 50 pounds, as I gained energy, and as I became more confident and creative. Everyone wanted to know what I was doing, and to teach them how I did it. So I became a certified practitioner, began teaching lifestyle and cooking classes, and doing individual consultations. Ayurveda--which incorporates the sister sciences of yoga and meditation--became the backbone of my business. I even opened an Ayurvedic vegetarian café in my bookstore!

You don't have to take it quite to the extent I did (maybe you could!) but I promise you that even if you just make some small changes, you will notice profound results. E-mail me if you would like a stack of Seasonal Self-Care Rituals bookmarks for your staff so you can have some tips on-hand all the time! The tips include:

  1. As you open morning e-mails and process special orders, have a glass of warm water with lemon or lime instead of coffee. This will fully hydrate you and signal the body to release toxins that accumulated overnight.
  2. After you put in a few hours at the shop, put that "Be Right Back" sign on the front door and take a 10-minute walk. Being outside is one of the easiest ways to balance your mind and body.
  3. Go easy on the caffeinated drinks and avoid altogether after 2 p.m. This may be hard to do if you have a cafe in your bookshop, but try drinking ginger tea, or warm water with a half teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, or herbal tea of your choice, throughout the bookselling afternoon.
  4. Look up from the computer and gaze into the distance--even if it's just to a bookshelf--at least once an hour for a few minutes. Sit up straight with shoulders down and relaxed. Breathe deeply into the belly and exhale fully several times.

--Susan Weis-Bohlen


Book Review

Review: Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water

Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water by Kazim Ali (Milkweed, $24 hardcover, 200p., 9781571313829, March 9, 2021)

In Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water, Kazim Ali explores how a sense of place shapes one's identity--and vice versa.

"I've always had a hard time answering the question, 'Where are you from?' " he writes. "The easiest answer... is that I am 'from' nowhere." Born in the U.K. to political refugees from India, Ali eventually migrated to Canada with his family. There, his father worked as an electrical engineer for Manitoba Hydro, the province's electrical authority. Decades later, Ali finds himself recalling his childhood years in the remote town of Jenpeg with fondness, "drawn back to a place that for years I had not thought of."

Jenpeg, however, is gone, having been constructed to last only as long as Hydro needed employees in the area to build a dam across the nearby Nelson River. The town site, on unceded Pimicikamak Cree land, is hours from the nearest provincial town, but the town of Cross Lake, on the Cross Lake Indian Reserve, is much closer, and so Ali ends up visiting there to learn more about his childhood home. He is welcomed and embraced by the people of Cross Lake, who open his eyes to a place steeped in centuries of systemic racism and discriminatory policy, where Ali's immigrant family was made more welcome by officials than those who had lived on the land for as long as memory holds.

In Cross Lake, Ali finds himself "awash in remembrance"--of his childhood memories, to be sure, but also in the collective memories of the Pimicikamak Cree people who still live there and hold the memory of the land in their stories, language, culture and gatherings. This remembrance forms the backbone of Northern Light, as Ali moves from writing a memoir to something else, something larger than the story of one person, one family, or even one place. "I think the reason I came here has changed," he reflects on one of his last days in Cross Lake. "I once wondered whether I would be a poet here, an ethnographer, a journalist, a memoirist--but none of that feels very important today." And perhaps it isn't important, but that is only because Northern Light transcends any one of these categorizations to become something much larger than the sum of its parts, a provocative consideration of what it means to belong to a place--and whether or not a place can ever belong to a person. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Shelf Talker: Kazim Ali's account of a small town in Northern Canada is part memoir, part ethnography, part history and part exploration of self.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
2. Love in the City by Various
3. Get Your Satisfaction by Alex Peykoff
4. Coral Cafe (Summer Beach: Coral Cottage Book 2) by Jan Moran
5. Submission Impossible by Lexi Blake
6. Escorting the Billionaire (The Escort Collection Book 2) by Leigh James
7. Straight Up Love by Lexi Ryan
8. My One Week Husband (The Extravagant Book 4) by Lauren Blakely
9. Hot for Love (Oak Falls Book 7) by Melissa Foster
10. The Last Warrior by Jennifer Ashley

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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