Also published on this date: Monday, June 7 Dedicated Issue: IPG's 50th Anniversary

Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 7, 2021


St. Martin's Press: The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth by Ben Rawlence

Berkley Books: This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel

Candlewick Press: The Heartbreak Bakery by A R Capetta

Other Press: Home Reading Service by Fabio Morábito, translated by Curtis Bauer

HarperCollins Publishers: Click to register for the William Morrow & Custom House Winter 2022 Fiction Showcase!

St. Martin's Press: See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem Into a Breakthrough Success by Danny Warshay

Quotation of the Day

Customers in Stores: 'Like Learning to Ride a Bike All Over Again'

"A big thank you for all of you who have peeked in, dropped by, and helped us reacclimate to having visitors! It's been a bit like learning to ride a bike all over again--familiar, thrilling, and just slightly wobbly."

--Solid State Books, Washington, D.C., in its June newsletter

Sharjah Book Authority: Publishers Conference, October 31st - November 2nd, 2021


News

New Owner for Rhode Island's Island Books

Judy Crosby, who founded Island Books, Middletown, R.I., in 1993, is selling the store to Laurie Sutherland, a native Rhode Islander who is retiring after 25 years as an executive at Comcast. Crosby, who owns the store with her husband, Gary, had put the store up for sale two years ago.

In an announcement about the sale, which should close later this month, Crosby wrote, "Books have always been a fundamental part of Laurie's life, and as a huge fan of independent bookstores, she has long dreamed of owning one someday. She was actually doing some research about how to go about it when she came upon Island Books; then she visited and fell in love."

Sutherland intends to keep the staff and "loves the bookstore as is, and though she will put her own personal (and impeccable!) stamp on things, she doesn't have any immediate changes planned so you can expect to continue to find books and gifts on the shelves that surprise and delight."

In an e-mail to Island Books customers, Sutherland said in part, "I wanted to take just a moment to say a quick hello... and to let you know how excited I am about this next chapter in my life. As Judy told you, I have always dreamed of owning a bookstore, so when I discovered Island Books was for sale, it was a true sign that the time was right.

"I'm very excited to meet each of you, so you'll begin to see me in the store more and more in these weeks leading up to the sale being final. Please introduce yourself!

"I have learned so much from Judy already about operations behind the scenes; I can't wait to get out front and talk books with you all!"

Crosby, who will continue to work in the store and behind the scenes in July and August to ensure a smooth transition, added, "I will truly miss my fellow booksellers and publishers' reps--you have all made these past 30 years a joy. Your generosity has been astounding. The 'we are in this together' attitude with the sharing of information and ideas between us all is unheard of in most other industries. Thank you all AND a big thanks to the New England Independent Booksellers Association and the American Booksellers Association for all they do. It has been an honor and a privilege to be among this incredible group of bookselling professionals."


Peachtree Publishing Company: Hey! a Colorful Mystery by Kate Read


NYC's Books of Wonder Closing Uptown Store, Looking for New Space

Books of Wonder, whose main store is on W. 17th Street in Manhattan, is closing its Upper West Side location by the end of the month. The store explained in an e-mail to customers that "the building where our West 84th street store has been located for the past four years has been sold to a new owner and as part of the sale, they have chosen to deliver the building without retail tenants." As a result, Books of Wonder has begun a 20%-off sale on everything in the Upper West Side store.

Books of Wonder hopes to find a new store on the Upper West Side by the end of summer or early fall, saying, "We love the Upper West Side and hope to continue being a part of the supportive and welcoming community that has been so wonderful over the past years."


KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.27.21


Indigo Full Year: Sales Down 7.1%, Helped by Online Gain of 127%

In the full fiscal year ended April 3, revenue at Indigo Books & Music fell 7.1%, to C$904.7 million (about US$748.7 million), and the net loss was C$57.9 million (US$47.9 million), an improvement compared to the loss of C$185 million (US$153.1 million) in the same period a year earlier.

Online sales growth of 127% for the year and the addition of more than a million new online customers buoyed the company during the pandemic year, when the company's key markets, particularly the Greater Toronto area, faced closings "for around six months' time, including over the critical holiday period." Indigo said, too, that "strength in the company's core book business stabilized against macro-economic headwinds, while the successful launch of proprietary lifestyle brand OUI showcased customers' affinity for Indigo's evolving product lines and the success of assortment expansion as a growth lever for the business."

CEO Heather Reisman added that the past year's "sustained acceleration in e-commerce presents an extraordinary opportunity for Indigo. The new initiatives we are embarking on, from further assortment expansion to becoming a truly omni-channel retailer, strategically align the business to deliver profitable growth. With the welcome of our new president, Peter Ruis, these efforts strongly position us to build upon the hoped-for Covid-19 recovery in fiscal 2022."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay


Powell's Books: Talks over Rehiring Union Workers Break Down

Talks between Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., and the union representing its employees have broken down. The union rejected the company's latest offer regarding the rehiring of workers laid off last year because of the pandemic. (Approximately 340 of the 400 unionized employees were let go when the pandemic started.) The union said that it had then made a counteroffer, "but Powell's has again withdrawn from negotiations with ILWU Local 5, instead opting for a 'take-it-or-leave-it' approach."

Powell's has maintained that laid-off workers' rights to be rehired to their old jobs had expired under the contract, and in April the company opened the hiring process to the public. The union strenuously disputes Powell's claim that rehiring rights expired, saying Powell's had agreed in writing to extend those rights without deadlines.

The latest Powell's offer restored laid-off, rehired employees' pre-layoff vacation accrual rates, which the union characterized as showing "only minor improvements over their previous offer" and included a cutoff date with "no actual assurance that more workers would be brought back by that date."

More important, the union said that in exchange for the offer, Powell's "stipulated that all grievances the union had filed over the past 14 months concerning the company's mishandling of layoffs and misallocation of union work to non-union employees be dropped." If it agreed, the union said, it "would be a wholesale abandonment of the remaining laid-off workers' contractual rights and union membership. There is nothing generous about Powell's repeated attempts to use the pandemic as a means to cast aside lifelong booksellers."

Powell's told the Oregonian last week that it has hired 198 people for union jobs since slowly rebuilding its operations and that 182 of those had worked at Powell's before.

"Our continued hope is that former Powell's Books employees will express interest in future opportunities and secure reemployment with the company," Powell's CEO Patrick Bassett said. "Our goal is that when former employees are hired for the same or a similar position that they held before, we will return them at their previous wage."


ABA Issues Ransomware Alert

Last week a bookstore in Southern California reported to the American Booksellers Association's IndieCommerce team that they had received what appeared to be a copyright infringement violation letter, which noted "fines the store would incur if it did not take action," Bookselling This Week reported. 

The ABA cautioned: "Do not download or attempt to open the Google Doc. The file contains a zip file with a ransomware virus. Here are more details on this scam. A few days after receiving the above e-mail, this store received a similar e-mail at their other location. Please alert your staff to this scam."


Obituary Notes: Dick Robinson; Betty Bennett

Dick Robinson

M. Richard "Dick" Robinson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Scholastic Corp., died unexpectedly on June 5. He was 84, and the company said he had been "in excellent health and had been overseeing Scholastic's long-term strategic direction and day-to-day operations for the better part of five decades."

Scholastic's board issued the following statement: "We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dick Robinson. Dick was a true visionary in the world of children's books and an unrelenting advocate for children's literacy and education with a remarkable passion his entire life. The company's directors and employees, as well as the many educators, parents and students whose lives he touched, mourn his loss."

Scholastic's Class A shareholders and board of directors will meet independently to determine "the best course for the company’s direction, including the appointment of an interim operating head," Scholastic said.

Robinson was named president of Scholastic in 1974, CEO in 1975, and chairman of the board in 1982. Under his leadership, the company said, Scholastic became the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, a leading provider of print and digital instructional materials for pre-K to grade 12, and a producer of educational and entertaining children's media. It may be best known to the public for its school book fairs and book clubs. The company was founded in 1920 by Robinson's father, Maurice R. Robinson, with the publication of a magazine for distribution in schools.

Publishing highlights during his tenure include the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Captain Underpants, the Hunger Games, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Goosebumps, I SPY and the Magic School Bus.

Scholastic has annual revenue of about $1.5 billion and more than 9,000 employees worldwide. Robinson spearheaded the expansion of Scholastic into Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and throughout Asia. Scholastic also exports to more than 150 countries in 65 languages.

Robinson received many honors during his life, including the 2017 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the Literary Community from the National Book Foundation, and was chairman of the Association of American Publishers from 1996 to 1998. Robinson began his career as a high school English teacher in Evanston, Ill.

---

Betty Bennett

Longtime bookseller Betty Bennett died on June 2 after a brief illness. She was 74.

With her husband, John, who survives her, she owned Bennett Books in Wyckoff, N.J., from 1988 to 2007, which at the time was the state's largest independent bookstore. She then founded Fieldstone Book Company, a mobile bookstore that specialized in supplying and selling books at events outside bookstores as well as providing books for teachers and educators. She was a former board member of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association.

Her family remembered: "She was passionate about seeing the world, and her favorite trips included vacations in Australia, Ireland, Italy, Canada, and France. She also traveled widely within the country and visited 45 of the 50 states. She took pictures of flowers everywhere she went and had an eye for capturing beauty with a camera lens. Her love for photography was only matched by her reluctance to be in front of the camera. Her children cajoled her into being the subject of at least a few snapshots so we could remember her joyful smile and wry humor.

"Betty was a nurturing mother and was always eager to visit her grandchildren as much as possible. She was devoted to her hometown of Wyckoff, N.J., and was a frequent visitor to the wildlife center. She also loved taking her grandchildren to the local playground, petting zoo, and firehouse. Her lifelong devotion to spirituality was unwavering and she was an active member of her church community....

"In lieu of flowers, donations in the name of our passionate reader can be made to the Wyckoff Public Library."


Notes

Happy 50th Birthday, the Bookies Bookstore!

Congratulations to the Bookies Bookstore, Glendale, Colo., which is celebrating its 50th anniversary on Saturday, August 14, with a series of special events, readings, sales and community activities in the period leading up to the celebration. As a kickoff, owner Sue Lubeck has selected several rare books from her personal collection, including first editions of cherished classics, to be sold for a limited time.

The Bookies began when Lubeck noticed a need for a children's bookstore and began selling books in the first available spot she could find in 1971: her basement. Almost immediately, she expanded her offerings to include resources for teachers, another underserved audience in the area. Soon her home-based bookstore was spilling out of the basement, into the hallway, up the stairs, and overrunning her living room and bedrooms. She relocated her inventory to a location at 6th and Ogden, but almost immediately found herself once again running out of space. Even with the addition of a bookmobile van service, there wasn't room for all the books, toys and games. Within 10 years of opening, Lubeck moved to 4315 E. Mississippi Avenue, where the store has been located since.


Drama Book Shop Preview

In a long, well-illustrated article, the New York Times raises the curtain on the Drama Book Shop's imaginatively decorated new space, opening on Thursday on W. 39th St. in Manhattan. Owned by theater people deeply involved in the hit musical Hamilton--including its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and director, Thomas Kail--the bookstore features a sculptural representation of a bookworm made out of 140 feet of scripts and songbooks, an octagonal banquette, armchair replicas from Hamilton, and more than 125 theater-themed posters.


Personnel Changes at Soho Press

A special congratulations to Emma Levy, who has joined Soho Press as marketing assistant. Previously she was publishing assistant at Shelf Awareness. She will continue to write the "Panel Discussion" comics column for Shelf Awareness



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bill Bratton, Gina Yashere on CBS This Morning

Today:
CBS This Morning: Bill Bratton, co-author of The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America (Penguin Press, $30, 9780525558194).

Good Morning America: James Patterson and Bill Clinton, authors of The President's Daughter: A Thriller (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316540711). They will also be on Live with Kelly and Ryan tomorrow.

The View: Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn, co-authors of Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors (Berkley, $27, 9780593099964).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Quinta Brunson, author of She Memes Well: Essays (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9781328638984).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Chris Matthews, author of This Country: My Life in Politics and History (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982134846).

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Gina Yashere, author of Cack-Handed: A Memoir (Amistad, $26.99, 9780062961716).

Watch What Happens Live: Casey Wilson, author of The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays (Harper, $26.99, 9780062960580).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Bill Cowher, co-author of Heart and Steel (Atria, $28, 9781982175795).


Movies: The Broken Earth Trilogy

In Sony Pictures Entertainment's second seven-figure deal for a multi-book series last week, TriStar Pictures "emerged from a bidding battle to win" the adaptation rights to N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Earth sci-fi trilogy, Deadline reported, adding that the author will adapt the novels. Earlier in the week, Sony, in partnership with Elizabeth Gabler's 3000 Pictures, had acquired the Don Winslow City on Fire trilogy. 

Each book in Jemisin's series--The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky--won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, "making Jemisin the first person to win the award three years in a row and the first person to win for all three books in a trilogy," Deadline wrote. Shary Shirazi, v-p creative production, and creative executive Rikki Jarrett are overseeing the project for TriStar Pictures.


Books & Authors

Awards: RSL Christopher Bland Winner

Pete Paphides won the £10,000 (about $14,195) RSL Christopher Bland Prize, which honors a debut novelist or nonfiction writer first published at age 50 or over, for Broken Greek.

Chair of judges Mary Beard said: "Broken Greek is an original, wry and radical memoir, tracing Pete Paphides's life against the music that formed its backing track, from ABBA to Dexys Midnight Runners. It takes the reader to the complicated heart of popular music and its paradoxes--it's a book about sound that starts from the silence of Paphides himself, who as a child refused to speak for almost four years."

Noting that when he finished the book, "I didn't even know if it would find a publisher," Paphides said that even to have been shortlisted for the prize "was way beyond my wildest expectations. Looking at the shortlist, I didn't imagine I was in with a shot of winning. I don't know if Rosanna, Richard, Michael, Louise and Marina feel this way too, but when you write your first book relatively late in life, you feel like someone will correct you if you have the temerity to describe yourself as an author. One of the many beautiful things about this prize is that it will undoubtedly embolden older writers plotting a course through their first book. And I'm grateful and touched beyond measure to be a small part of its story."


Book Review

Review: Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin (Atria, $26 hardcover, 256p., 9781982167356, July 6, 2021)

Emily Austin's spellbinding and unforgettable first novel, Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead, stars an unusual hero: Gilda is so profoundly socially awkward, anxious and depressed as to be practically nonfunctioning as an adult. She is perhaps too kind for her own good.

The story begins with a car wreck, when Gilda, who narrates, is struck from behind by a beige van. When she arrives at the emergency room (having driven herself, with a broken arm, because "I do not like to be a spectacle"), she is told, "You are a lot calmer than you usually are when you come in here." Readers begin to understand that Gilda is a little odd.

From this misfortune, she follows an ad for free counseling and is dismayed to find that it is being offered at a Catholic church (Gilda is an atheist). She is too polite to disappoint the priest who thinks she's there for a job interview, and finds herself working as the church's new receptionist--therefore living a double life, posing as a Catholic and sort-of-dating a parishioner's abhorrent brother-in-law (Gilda is a lesbian). While keeping up this increasingly complicated act she also finds time to worry about her brother (drinking too much) and a missing neighborhood cat, among countless other stressors; topping that list may be the fate of the church's previous receptionist, Grace, who died under suspicious circumstances. Gilda is obsessed with death, her mind on an endless loop: hit by a bus, choke on a piece of bread, clogged arteries, cancer, apartment fire, malaria, carbon monoxide, lightning strike. Almost without meaning to, Gilda begins investigating Grace's death, and because she doesn't have the heart to break bad news, posing as Grace in e-mails to the woman's old friend. What could go wrong?

Gilda's anxiety and social ineptitude could hardly be overstated, and she bumbles through life with such painful clumsiness that her story should be hard to read. But somehow, Austin's remarkable narrative is engaging and snappily paced even when its first-person narrator is lying in a dry, empty bathtub without the will to move. Gilda's voice is frequently extremely funny, with gut-laugh punchlines made more effective because they are so surprising.

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead is disarmingly sweet even in its grimness. Gilda is a singularly memorable character. She ponders big questions--"I feel simultaneously intensely insignificant and hyperaware of how important everyone is"--and remains open to all possibilities, sometimes even the good ones. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This strangely delightful debut novel, with its charming, anxious, bumbling hero, crackles with warmth.


KidsBuzz: HarperCollins: Rubylicious by Victoria Kann
KidsBuzz: DK Children: Verity Fairy and Cinderella by Caroline Wakeman
Powered by: Xtenit