Also published on this date: Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Maximum Shelf: Fellowship Point

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 15, 2022

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


The Key Bookstore, Hartford, Conn., Looking to Expand

Khamani Harrison at The Key Bookstore (via)

The Key Bookstore, a Black-owned bookstore in Hartford, Conn., is looking to expand with the help of a crowdfunding campaign. Owner Khamani Harrison, who launched the bookstore online before opening a physical storefront in 2020, hopes to raise $350,000 to increase staffing, improve logistics and further grow the store's fulfillment operations.

Harrison told Fox61 she was inspired to open a store of her own by a visit to a Black-owned bookstore. She found a book that helped give her answers and remembered thinking, "this is what people need to be doing. I want to help become a vehicle of that experience and I wanted to merge it with technology. So, that's how I came up with The Key Bookstore."

In its physical location, The Key Bookstore carries a curated selection of titles pertaining to spirituality, environmentalism, entrepreneurship and Afrocentricity, along with a variety of diverse children's books. Harrison's online store carries a much more expansive selection of books, audiobooks and e-books, and she also has plans for things like NFTs and metaverse integration.

"Books are an experience that's everlasting and it can be merged with technology," Harrison said. "Just because technology is here doesn't mean books are dead, it's enhancing the experience."

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships

Changes Coming to Horizontal Books, Cleveland, Ohio

Horizontal Books, an independent bookstore in Cleveland, Ohio, known for shelving books horizontally to make titles easier to read, will add a coffee shop and change its name and business model this summer, the Land reported.

Co-owners Austin Fedor and David Kallevig will call the revamped bookstore Index Coffee & Books and plan to sell coffee sourced from a variety of small roasters around the country. The shop will also undergo a renovation, with a new logo, paint job, lighting and seating in the works.

Kallevig and Fedor plan to do much of that work themselves, and Fedor spent four years as retail operations manager at Rising Star Coffee Roasters in Cleveland. The bookstore side of the business will continue to focus on overstock titles.

Fedor told the Land he thinks the concept will "set us apart quite a lot. People that are into coffee will be excited to see a bag of Madcap on the shelf that they can buy, and we'll have a lot of offerings for people that maybe aren't that into coffee, too."

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Indigo Third Quarter: Sales Jump 17.9%, Net Gain Up 46.9%


In the third quarter ended January 1, revenues at Indigo Books & Music rose 17.9%, to C$430.7 million (about US$338.3 million), and net earnings rose 46.9%, to C$45.1 million (US$35.4 million), over the same quarter in 2020. Compared to pre-pandemic times, revenue increased 12.2% over the same quarter in 2019. Indigo's online sales have jumped 86.3% compared to the same quarter two years ago.

Indigo noted that sales grew "despite disruption from the Omicron variant and the reintroduction of severe pandemic restrictions in several key jurisdictions during the three most critical December selling weeks. Prior to these impacts, third-quarter results demonstrated exceptionally strong momentum in both the retail and online channels."

The company added that its bricks-and-mortar customers shopped "with intent" and the "print and general merchandise assortment strongly resonated.... The combined efforts of its strong assortment and scaled-back promotional strategy lifted the penetration of full-priced sales by double-digits, delivering profitable top-line growth. The company's lifestyle and toy businesses performed remarkably well, driven by the respective success of its proprietary brand program and strategic inventory buys, while its print business benefited from renewed interest in reading, lifting book sales across all categories."

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "These results demonstrate the success of our efforts to provide a meaningfully curated offering to our customers, the power of our position as the country's leading bookseller, and the strength of the Indigo brand. We built incredibly strong momentum early in the holiday season and were pleased we could still deliver growth despite being challenged by an unrelenting set of pandemic conditions."

In a conference call discussing results with stock market analysts, Reisman added: "Growth in our core print business is being driven by a renewed interest in reading and the popularity of reading on social media. This latter phenomenon, which is still gaining in strength, has been strengthening the Indigo brand with a key demographic."

International Update: BA's 'Booksellers as Place-makers' Study; ABA Commissions Sustainability Report

Bookshops are key contributors to successful high streets and have a "halo effect" on their communities, according to a new study, Booksellers as Place-makers, commissioned by the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland. The report shows that more than 90% of booksellers "work actively to support local priorities, such as place marketing, walkability, provision of recreational and cultural spaces, and maintaining attractive town and city centers."

The Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University analyzed feedback from 205 bookshops in the U.K. Researchers conducted a survey and spoke in-depth with booksellers, before comparing their activity to 25 established priorities for high street vitality and viability. All bookshops contributed to the range, quality, purpose and diversity of their location, the study said. However, many went further, delivering a number of wider benefits to high streets.

"This is the first-time research of this nature has ever been undertaken," said IPM co-chair Cathy Parker. "While shops and services make up the high street until now nobody has asked exactly how their businesses contribute to the health of the high street. It's been taken for granted that they do--but this research shows just how much bookstores do to make high streets vital and viable."

Among the findings: 92% of bookshops contributed to the local non-retail offer; 99% to the attractiveness of their town centers; 98% to "place-marketing" of their towns; 96% to the "liveability" of their towns; 77% were proactively involved in networks and partnerships with local councils; and 70% helped to remove barriers to entry for new businesses in the area.

In addition, 77% of all booksellers contributed to 20 or more of the 25 priorities for successful high streets, "demonstrating the outsize impact bookselling has on U.K. retail and the role that bookshops play in their wider communities," IPM noted.

BA managing director Meryl Halls said: "We are delighted to be able to share this unique and innovative report. We've always known that booksellers punch above their weight, but working with the Institute of Place Management has allowed us to quantify the scope and impact of the trade's activity.

"Covid has created and accelerated a changed and changing landscape for retail, for town and city centres, and high streets and main streets more generally. We know now how the leadership shown by bookshops can be a crucial difference in the life of that community, and we want to applaud our members for the work they do--and encourage and inspire more of our members to do the same."

Andy Rossiter, BA president and owner of Rossiter Books in Monmouth, Ross on Wye and Leominster, added: "Living and working as a bookseller through this pandemic has been one of the most intense experiences of all our working lives, and I am incredibly proud to reconfirm what I already knew, which is that my fellow booksellers are net contributors to the health of our high streets, as well as to our economic, cultural and social lives. We want booksellers to take confidence and pride in this report, and to shout from the rooftops in their own places how brilliant they are."

Commenting in the report's conclusion, IPM researchers said the study "provided the foundation to create a working assessment of the characteristics generally demonstrated by booksellers. They are passionate & energetic; resourceful & adaptable; full of ideas and willing to try them; forward and outward looking; and natural exemplars of best-practice."

The report was commissioned by the BA as a key part of its lobbying and campaigning work for 2022, as booksellers deal with a post-pandemic high street and retail landscape. A successor and partner piece to the BA's 2017 Economic Impact Report from CEBR, Booksellers as Place-makers "seeks to move the conversation along, illustrating with robust data what has always been known about booksellers, which is the 'halo effect' they have on their communities."


Robbie Egan

The Australian Booksellers Association has commissioned a report into sustainability in the bookselling industry. In the latest ABA e-newsletter, CEO Robbie Egan noted that the report "will give an overview of current and planned sustainability efforts in Australian bookselling, and it will feature practical advice for booksellers big and small on making greener choices. The report will place bookselling within the broader book industry context and include considerations of industry-wide issues and initiatives."

The report is being produced by Angela Meyer, who has worked in bookselling and publishing and as an author. As a freelancer, she has worked on reports for various organizations and, after completing Climate Reality training in 2021, she decided to draw together her knowledge and interests to help work on climate issues in the book industry. Meyer will be speaking about this at the ABA National Conference on June 12 in Sydney. 


Canadian Olympic moment, sidewalk chalkboard division. Analog Books, Lethbridge, Alb., shared a photo of its sidewalk chalkboard message on Instagram: "Training for the moment that reading becomes an Olympic event." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Lars Eighner

Lars Eighner

Lars Eighner, "who vividly recounted his experiences with being homeless in Travels with Lizbeth:Three Years on the Road and on the Streets, a book widely regarded as one of the finest memoirs of recent decades," died December 23, the New York Times reported. He was 73. Dori Weintraub, v-p of publicity at St. Martin's Press, which published Travels with Lizbeth in 1993, said St. Martin's had learned of the death only recently. 

Eighner had been working as an attendant at what he called "the state lunatic asylum" in Austin, Tex., and occasionally selling erotic stories to gay magazines when, as he put it in his book, he resigned his job "under threat of being fired" and fell on hard times. Travels With Lizbeth recounts the roughly three years Eighner and his dog spent homeless, beginning in the late 1980s, hitchhiking and finding meals where he could, including in other people's garbage.

His essay, "On Dumpster Diving," was published by the Threepenny Review in 1991. The essay, which has often been anthologized, garnered considerable attention and led to the publication of his memoir. Eighner "wrote the book in fits and starts, often working on a portable typewriter at a gay bar. Later, with an editor's help, he pared down his original unwieldy manuscript," the Times noted.

By the time the book was published, Eighner "did indeed have a roof over his head again, but by 1996 he had lapsed back into homelessness for a time. At his death he and his husband, Cliff Hexamer, lived on a shoestring, sometimes seeking help on GoFundMe," the Times wrote, adding that a comic novel he wrote in the 1980s, Pawn to Queen Four, and an essay collection, Gay Cosmos, were published in 1995, after which "his literary output dried up."

"I knew from the beginning that the book was sui generis," Eighner wrote in an afterword to a 2013 edition of Travels with Lizbeth, "and I have no argument with those who prefer to call it a fluke. At any rate, unlike someone who gets caught up in being the outsider flavor of the month, I knew this book could not lead to a sequel or a series."

In 2019, a panel of book critics for the Times named Travels With Lizbeth one of the 50 best memoirs of the last 50 years.


Personnel Changes at; American Psychiatric Association Publishing

Steph Opitz is joining as the director of strategic partnerships. She was the founding director of Wordplay at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and is a visiting instructor at the University of Minnesota. She serves on committees for the National Book Foundation, PEN America and LitNet and was literary director of the Texas Book Festival, the fiction co-chair of the Brooklyn Book Festival, and on the programs team for the PEN World Voices Festival. She was also the books reviewer for Marie Claire magazine for six years.


Samantha Kralstein is joining American Psychiatric Association Publishing as licensing coordinator on February 22. She was previously business development strategist with Barnes & Noble.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Matthieu Aikins on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Matthieu Aikins, author of The Naked Don't Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees (Harper, $27.99, 9780063058583).

NPR's Here & Now: Karen Cheung, author of The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir (Random House, $28.99, 9780593241431).

On Stage: Macbeth

Broadway's upcoming production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, which begins a limited engagement March 29 at the Longacre Theatre ahead of an April 28 opening night, has announced the remaining cast members who will be joining leads Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, Playbill reported. The production is directed by Tony Award-winner Sam Gold (Fun Home).

The cast will also feature Phillip James Brannon (Servant) as Ross, Grantham Coleman (The Great Society) as Macduff, Asia Kate Dillon (Billions) as Malcolm, Tony Award-nominee Maria Dizzia (In the Next Room) as Lady Macduff, Tony Award-nominee Amber Gray (Hadestown) as Banquo, Emeka Guindo (Camelot) as Fleance, Paul Lazar (Silence of the Lambs) as Duncan, Bobbi MacKenzie (School of Rock) as Macduff's Child, Michael Patrick Thornton (The Red Line) as Lennox, and Danny Wolohan (To Kill a Mockingbird) as Seyton. The ensemble will include Che Ayende (King Lear), Eboni Flowers (Slave Play), and Peter Smith (Shrill). Stevie Ray Dallimore will serve as standby for the title role.

Books & Authors

Awards: BIO Winner

Megan Marshall has won the BIO Award, given by the Biographers International Organization to "a distinguished colleague who has made major contributions to the advancement of the art and craft of biography."

Marshall is author of three biographical works: The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), winner of the Francis Parkman Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, and the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction, as well as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography; Margaret Fuller: A New American Life (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction; and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), a finalist for the Christian Gauss Prize in Literary Criticism of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

She is also the first Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor at Emerson College in Boston, where she teaches narrative nonfiction, life writing, and the art of archival research in the MFA Creative Writing Program.

She is also a founder of the New England Biography Series at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and her essays and reviews have appeared in many publications, including the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the London Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, and Literary Hub.

Marshall will give the keynote address at the 2022 BIO Conference on Saturday, May 14.

Book Review

Review: The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies by Paul Fischer (Simon & Schuster, $28.99 hardcover, 416p., 9781982114824, April 19, 2022)

Paul Fischer is a meticulous writer, screenwriter and film producer known for dismantling the secretive worlds of true crime stories. His first book, A Kim Jong-Il Production, was an eye-opening account of the world's most notorious dictator when he ran the film studio industry in North Korea and the extraordinary measures he took to fuel his cinematic obsessions.

In The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures, Fischer probes the life of Louis Le Prince, a struggling independent inventor largely lost to history, who, in 1888, first captured moving images of his family, and later secured patents in four countries for his innovation. But, in 1890, one month prior to unveiling his brainchild far and wide, Louis visited his estranged brother in Dijon, France. At the reunion of these now middle-aged siblings, Louis, with fervent passion and zeal, shared details about his creation and how he believed motion pictures "could alter the course of humankind" and "revolutionize the human experience, as drastically as the railroad and the telephone." After their visit, Louis set off to take an express train back to Paris, en route to the U.S., but somewhere between Dijon and Paris, he vanished and was never seen again.

His disappearance was never solved, but his devoted, long-suffering wife spent the remainder of her days trying to prove her husband had been kidnapped and killed--all arranged by Thomas Alva Edison, who she claimed stole his invention and, in 1894, launched it as his own. Edison--a "self-made working-class genius" from the United States, lauded for his inventions of the telegraph, phonograph and light bulb--claimed that his Kinetoscope technology marked the birth of motion pictures. Could lionized Edison really be behind Le Prince's vanishing? If so, how? Or is there more to the story?

With a spellbinding, thriller-like presentation supported by painstaking research, Fischer puts forth evidence to try to unravel the mystery of Le Prince's life and death. Deftly organized facts, coupled with the technical minutiae of filmmaking, reveal fascinating details of Le Prince's life and the challenges faced in his work, while also exposing the mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Fischer's stellar, suspenseful narrative is a work of art unto itself that finally gives Le Prince--and the impact of his often overlooked, cut-short creative genius--his due. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A spellbinding true-crime story about an underdog inventor, believed to have birthed motion pictures, who vanished before his invention ever went mainstream.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
2. Crown of Chaos by Amelia Hutchins
3. From Rhino to Unicorn by Victor Orlovski and Vladimir Korovkin
4. The Trusted Leader by Sue Dyer
5. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
6. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
7. A Kingdom of Ruin by K.F. Breene
8. The Broken One by Brittney Sahin
9. Blindsided by Amy Daws
10. The Plan by Karla Sorensen

[Many thanks to!]

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