Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 14, 2021

 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron


Author's Note in Medina. N.Y., Hosting Grand Opening Celebration

Author's Note: A Bookstore, Medina, N.Y., will hold its grand-opening celebration on Saturday, September 25; the festivities will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, giveaways, refreshments and activities. The most important part of the day will be the unveiling of the newly renovated rear half of the store.

Owner and author Julie Berry bought the store, formerly called the Book Shoppe, in February. After closing it briefly and reinventing it, she reopened it in May as Author's Note. But only the front part of the store's building was finished; the back half was still being renovated in an extensive process that included dismantling the space back to its original hardwood floors and antique molded tin ceilings.

"We're thrilled to welcome the community, which has been so supportive of this project from the moment I bought the store, and we want to thank them," Berry said. "We're here because of Medina's faith in and commitment to local small businesses, and to maintaining a vibrant downtown shopping district."

Author's Note offers new books for adults, teens and children, both new releases and classics, as well as toys, games, puzzles, stationery, coffee and gifts.

Berry intends to use her ties to the publishing industry to bring in authors and illustrators for readings, signings, school visits, lectures and events, when health and safety concerns permit.

Berry is the author of more than 25 children's and YA books, including the 2020 NCTE Amelia Walden Award and SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Lovely War, and the Printz Honor-winning, Los Angeles Times Book Prize-shortlisted novel The Passion of Dolssa. Her latest release is the picture book Cranky Right Now, a companion to Happy Right Now. Upcoming is Crime and Carpetbags, a middle-grade sequel to Wishes and Wellingtons.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood

Zibby Owens and Leigh Newman Launch Zibby Books

Zibby Owens and Leigh Newman have formed Zibby Books, a publishing company that is joining Moms Don't Have Time To as a division of Zibby Owens Media. Owens has interviewed more than  1,000 authors for her podcast Moms Don't Have Time To, and is an author and Harvard Business School graduate. Newman is an author and publishing veteran, and is president and editorial director of Zibby Books.

Zibby Books will publish 12 books a year--one a month--and focus on fiction and memoir from both debut and established authors with a commitment to diverse literary voices. The goal is to produce "exceptional, accessible ('book club') stories that move and connect readers." The first Zibby Books title will be released in January 2023; Zibby Books will be distributed by Ingram's Two Rivers.

Zibby Owens and Leigh Newman

Zibby Books has several unusual aspects to its business model. Instead of relying on celebrities to promote books, Owens is calling on other bestselling and established authors to give back and lift up individual titles from inception to publication. Dubbed "book champions," those bestselling authors will get an equity stake in their Zibby Book and will mentor the author along the way. "Authors have banded together informally on social media and in other ways to address the seemingly insurmountable odds of an individual book breaking through," Owens said. "Authors also know great writing when they see it. Why shouldn't they be the arbiters of talent? Our author-influencer network will show that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

In addition, Zibby Books has a profit-sharing bonus program under which 75% of all net profits in each calendar year of Zibby Books will be split equally between every employee and the publishing program's authors who, in addition to receiving advances and author royalties, will receive the profit bonus for both their year of publication and their first year of backlist, as well as any years during which their book has "outsized sales results."

Newman commented: "We want all authors under the Zibby Books umbrella to feel--and be--invested in each other's success. All employees from the copy editor to the v-p of marketing play an equally important role. Producing books is a team effort."

The Zibby Books executive team consists of authors. Newman wrote the memoir Still Points North and the upcoming Nobody Gets Out Alive. V-p of strategy & book club Jaunique Sealey's Black Girls Must Die Exhausted appears September 28. Maya Shanbhag Lang, author of What We Carry: A Memoir and the novel The Sixteenth of June, will be v-p of editorial & strategy.

Additionally, consulting publisher Anne Messitte has edited and published many of the world's leading writers in her two decades at Penguin Random House as publisher of Vintage Anchor. And Owens has edited two anthologies, Moms Don't Have Time To and Moms Don't Have Time to Have Kids (appearing November 2), as well as written the forthcoming children's book, Princess Charming (April 2022), and her memoir, The Book Messenger (July 2022).

Zibby Books has an indie bookseller advisory council and will, the company said, "aggressively support booksellers with book club outreach, unique events, and immersive experiences centered on the stories between the covers. Zibby Books will bring readers to books and help booksellers bring books to readers, wherever they are."

Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Regional Plans, Part 2

This year's regional booksellers association trade shows and conferences are a mix of virtual, in-person and hybrid and will soon be in full swing. Here in the second of three overviews, we offer highlights from the schedules of the PNBA and MPIBA in-person fall events:

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's 2021 Tradeshow will be held in person at the Red Lion on the River hotel in Portland, Ore., Sunday-Tuesday, October 3-5. There will be rep picks, buzz books, mixers and many author events. Educational panels will cover a range of subjects, including buying during a time of rapid store growth; author events; manga; social media; leveraging co-op; and managing returns. The theme of the education keynote lunch on Tues., October 4, is De-escalate Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime: Unplug the Power Struggle with Principle-Based De-escalation, featuring Steven Seiller of Service Alternatives, Inc.

A trade show virtual annex, meanwhile, begins the week of October 11 and goes for two weeks. The annex will feature virtual author events, rep picks and galley grabs, and the recordings of some of the sessions from the in-person conference will be available. The annex also will include an educational session on online operations, the PNBA general membership meeting and a PNBA Book Awards preview.


The Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's FallCon trade show and conference will take place in person in Denver, Colo., Thursday-Saturday, October 7-9.

The association is extending a wide-ranging invitation, saying: "We understand that many booksellers are missing face-to-face interaction, so this year, the show is open to all! Any bookseller, as long as they are a member of their regional trade association or the ABA, is welcome to register for free, and have access to our discounted author event tickets. We also welcome librarians and our publishing industry colleagues from around the country."

The opening reception will be held Wed., October 6, 6-8 p.m. at the new Tattered Cover Stanley Marketplace. The schedule includes many author events, rep picks, the annual literary trivia challenge, panels and idea exchanges on working with indie presses, generating customer loyalty, store staff personal and professional development, manga and graphic novels, returns, digital marketing, and working with local authors.

International Update: Irish Book Sales Up, BookNet Canada on Diversity

The book market in Ireland has continued to respond well despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, with sales of nonfiction and children's titles particularly solid. The Bookseller reported that by July 2020, "the market had bounced back to just a 1.8% drop in volume, and a 1.9% fall in value, against 2019 for the year to date. Just a few months before, the very idea of high street bookshops closing would have struck fear into the heart of any publishing or bookselling professional (and did), so evidence that print had not fallen into a black hole was cautiously welcomed."

More than a year later, "with many more lockdowns and a double vaccination under our belts, things look very different," the Bookseller wrote. For 2021 to date, Ireland's book sales have jumped 14% in units and 15% in value year on year, with 6.4 million books sold for €75.3 million (about US$89 million), and even compared to 2019 sales are still up by double digits (12% in units and 13% in value).

The adult fiction category jumped by double-digit percentage points for the two weeks leading up to the announcement of restrictions in March 2020, and the category had more than recovered by the half-year, with sales 3% up against 2019, and sub-category general fiction up 9%. For 2021 to date, adult fiction has continued to climb, selling 1.7 million books for just under €19 million (about $22.5 million), rising 12% (in units) and 11% (in value) against 2020. The Bookseller noted that "Covid-19's second wave has meant Ireland has been in lockdown for much of 2021 so far, but the enduring growth of fiction sales points to a reading renaissance. (Let's keep in mind adult fiction is up 12% in volume year on year before Rooney's new title, Beautiful World, Where Are You, thunders into the charts in September.)" 

Both nonfiction and children's books have grown more than adult fiction over the past year, with 2.1 million nonfiction books sold for €30.4 million (about $35.9 million), up 18% in units and 19% in value year on year, after sliding 3% in units and 1% in value for the same period in 2020. For 2021 to date, children's books are up 12% in volume to 2.3 million units sold, and by 12% in value to £20.3 million (about $24 million).


In August, BookNet Canada released On Diversity: A Survey of Canadian Readers 2021, sharing insights on acquisition, discoverability and readership of diverse books, as well as statistics regarding how readers feel about the publishing industry's efforts to become more diverse. Recently BookNet Canada revisited findings from its 2018 study, Demand for Diversity, alongside data from its most recent study, cautioning that "the methodology, questions and number of respondents of both studies are slightly different." Among the findings:

In the 2018 version of the study, BookNet Canada "gave respondents a definition of 'diverse books'--'books about or from the point of view of Black, Indigenous and/or people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ people, people who are disabled or differently abled, religious minorities, and/or books by authors who identify as members of one or more of the listed groups.' In 2021, instead of providing a definition of what 'diverse books' are, we gave respondents a series of statements/definitions to choose from. The following are the top-selected statements (respondents could choose more than one option)":

  • 73% of readers agreed with the statement "diverse books are books about perspectives, opinions, or stories that are different from your own"
  • 66% of readers agreed with the statement "diverse books are books about a group or culture written by people from that group or culture"
  • 65% of readers agreed with the statement "diverse books are books written by and about the lives of people from non-dominant groups"

In 2018, 31% of respondents said that if they had access to more diverse books they thought they would read more of them, while 46% of respondents were either "very interested" or "interested" in reading books by BIPOC authors. In 2021, 41% of respondents said that they feel that at least one dimension of their identity is not represented by the dominant group at least some of the time. And, of the total respondents, 17% said they had and 31% said they sometimes had read more diverse books in the previous year.


Upali Mishra, a Bengaluru, India, resident, "has been hosting a unique pop-up bookshop every weekend in the front yard of her house," the News Minute reported. A native of Odisha, she has been associated with Walking Book Fairs--started by Akshay Routaray and Satabdi Mishra to promote reading--for a year and has been operating a pop-up bookstore in the city's JP Nagar area since then. 

"Prior to the opening of our bookstore in Bengaluru, we used to have pop-up stores on the streets of the city in JP Nagar itself. However, the shutters of the store in Bengaluru were closed when we were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, I started opening the pop-up bookstore on weekends at my residence," she said. "Bengaluru has a plethora of independent bookstores and there are many books that are commonly available. We wanted to amplify as many diverse voices as we can. In my opinion, it's important to find voices in our communities, people who share the same experiences as us. We have turned a blind eye to large numbers of the Indian population and it's through reading we can find alternative perspectives and those are the books we want to promote."


Chinese architecture studio Wutopia Lab recently completed Tianya Books, located in the popular Tianya Haijiao beach in Hainan, the country's southernmost island province. Wallpaper* reported that "the bookstore's design is finely tuned to its site and responds to the commonly romanticized view of Tianya Haijiao beach as 'the end of the earth,' often found in Chinese folklore. Through Tianya Books, Wutopia Lab playfully creates a striking panoramic view of that 'edge of the world' and the South China Sea." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Peter Warner

Peter Warner

Peter Warner, former president and publisher of Thames & Hudson, died September 9, the Bookseller reported. He was 79. Warner was president of T&H for 31 years, until his retirement 12 years ago.

In a statement announcing Warner's passing "with great sorrow," current publisher and president Will Balliett said: "After working at both the Book of the Month Club and the Museum of Modern Art, Peter was handed the reins of Thames & Hudson Inc. by its first North American publisher, Paul Gottlieb, in 1979 and steered the company with great skill, imagination and energy until his retirement in 2009.

"In addition to establishing a North American publishing program of consistently high standards over three decades, Peter's many accomplishments include the creation of a successful college textbook program--in conjunction with T&H's long-time U.S. distributor, W.W. Norton & Company--with a focus on archaeology, ancient history and art history."

Warner "helped steer the T&H Gateways to Art, which has become a major art appreciation title in the college market, now in its third edition," the Bookseller wrote. "On the trade side, he oversaw publications such as Joseph Cornell's Manual of Marvels and Rainbow Goblins, as well as the World of Art series and the series Hip Hotels and Most Beautiful Villages. He was also a key member of Thames & Hudson board of directors, until he retired from that body at the end of 2020, and a published novelist."

In retirement, Warner focused on his own writing and editing. Mr Mole: The Cold War Memoir of Winston Bates was published by Thomas Dunne/St Martins Press. He also organized, compiled and edited the text and captions of the photographer Jacques Lowe's memoir about JFK, The Kennedy Years.

"Peter’s legacy is still visible both throughout Thames & Hudson Inc.'s backlist and in the highly effective organization he built during his tenure," Balliett observed. "Peter was ever a willing and wise ear to his former colleagues and his many friends in publishing, and he will be sorely missed."

Thomas Neurath, chairman of T&H Holdings, commented: "The group benefited immensely from Peter keeping the management and editors in London abreast of the fast-moving changes and developments in the U.S. market. "


Image of the Day: Happy Hour at Powerhouse

Last evening, POWERHOUSE Arena in Brooklyn, N.Y., hosted Marlowe Granados, author of Happy Hour (Verso Fiction), in conversation with Rachel Tashjian of GQ.

Books Are Magic's 'Free Little Library'

"She's here! Say hello to our new free little library!" Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y., posted on Instagram yesterday. "We are filling this baby up daily with free books (and sometimes swag), so make sure to check in when you are passing by. Also, a very happy first day of school to everyone who celebrates!"

Personnel Changes at Workman

At Workman:

Abigail Sokolsky has been promoted to marketing coordinator within the Workman imprint. Previously she was marketing assistant.

Kate Oksen has been promoted to marketing coordinator within the Workman imprint. Previously she was marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mary Roach on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Mary Roach, author of Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law (Norton, $26.95, 9781324001935).

The View: Tarana Burke, author of Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement (Flatiron Books, $28.99, 9781250621733).

TV: The Girl and the Goddess

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) will produce a series adaptation of Nikita Gill's The Girl and the Goddess with Boat Rocker Studios. Deadline reported that Headey, whose Peephole Productions has a first-look deal with the American Rust and Invasion producer, will exec produce alongside Gill, Peephole Productions' Tina Thor and Boat Rocker's Katie O'Connell Marsh and Nick Nantell.

"We're thrilled to be working with Lena and Peephole Productions to bring Nikita's beautiful story to the screen," said O'Connell Marsh. "We know that global audiences will be as captivated by the powerful and original storytelling as we are."

Headey added: "I've long been in love with Nikita's words, The Girl and the Goddess is a tale that just begs to be seen and celebrated. I'm so excited that we now get to tell this story."

Gill commented: "I'm delighted to be working with Lena, Peephole and Boat Rocker to bring my deeply personal tale The Girl and the Goddess to life. They're an absolute dream team."

Books & Authors

Awards: Baillie Gifford Longlist

A longlist has been released for the £50,000 (about $69,185) Baillie Gifford Prize, which recognizes "the best of nonfiction and is open to authors of any nationality." The shortlist will be announced October 15, and a winner named November 16. This year's longlisted titles are:

Consumed: A Sister's Story by Arifa Akbar
Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape by Cal Flyn
Minarets in the Mountains: A Journey into Muslim Europe by Tharik Hussain
Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945–1955 by Harald Jähner, translated by Shaun Whiteside
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe
The Mutant Project: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans by Eben Kirksey
Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller
Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston
Blood Legacy: Reckoning With a Family's Story of Slavery by Alex Renton
Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain by Sathnam Sanghera
In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale
Burning Man: The Ascent of D.H. Lawrence by Frances Wilson
Free: Coming of Age at the End of History by Lea Ypi

Book Review

Review: Just Thieves

Just Thieves by Gregory Galloway (Melville House, $26.99 hardcover, 256p., 9781612199375, October 12, 2021)

Surely the most famous MacGuffin in film noir appears in 1955's Kiss Me Deadly, in which the action revolves around a mysterious box whose contents ultimately prove to be of little importance to the story. Likewise, in Just Thieves, Gregory Galloway's spot-on throwback noir, a MacGuffin drives the action but will concern readers far less than the personal turmoil of the object's pursuers.

As Just Thieves begins, Rick and Frank, a pair of low-level crooks and recovering addicts, are on an out-of-town job in an unnamed American city. Their boss has promised them an easy assignment, but Rick, the novel's narrator, is still antsy: "The job was always easy. It was everything else that turned out to be the problem." Sure enough, Rick and Frank's errand is temporarily derailed by the presence of a dead horse in the street outside their hotel. Behind schedule now, Rick manages to break into the target house and find the small statue that he's been instructed to filch, but after he gets into the rental that Frank is driving, they're hit by a speeding car. While Frank waits for a tow, Rick, pilfered statue in hand, makes it back to the hotel, but only readers who don't know their noir will believe that things can possibly proceed smoothly from here.

Like the best noir, Just Thieves places the same value on plot and characterization, and as Rick's narration teeters between the present and the past, readers will come to understand the true nature of his and Frank's relationship, how Rick got involved in thieving, and what he stands to gain or lose from sticking with this particular line of work.

Meetups at a diner, aphorisms springing from the mouths of criminals, Rick's voiceover-like narration with its if-I'd-only-known resignation--Just Thieves could pass as a golden-era noir if one overlooks the occasional references to wi-fi and texting. Galloway (As Simple as Snow; The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand) goes so far as to borrow lines from classic crime novels and screenplays and weave them into his narrative. (A list of these lines concludes the book.) This could have played like ham-fisted homage, but Galloway inserts the lines with masterful inconspicuousness. Only film noir obsessives would pick up on the fact that he's cribbing from 1950's The Sound of Fury when he has Rick's boss say, "They sure drop the net over you, don't they?" Unfortunately for Rick, they sure do. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This modern-day crime novel, centered on a curious object of uncertain value, wears its indebtedness to classic film noir on its sleeve--and it's all the better for it.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Aristocrat by Penelope Ward
2. Verity by Colleen Hoover
3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
4. Tin Queen by Devney Perry
5. The Real Estate Philosopher's Guide by Bruce M. Stachenfeld
6. A Company of Owners by Daren Martin
7. Tucker (The K9 Files Book 13) by Dale Mayer
8. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
9. The Moonlight Child by Karen McQuestion
10. 6 Weeks to Happy by Zahra Karsan

[Many thanks to!]

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