Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh

Ballantine Books: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Island Press: The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature's Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne


Gardners' Parent Company Buys Baker & Taylor UK

The Little Group has bought wholesaler Baker & Taylor UK, the Bookseller reported. The Little Group owns U.K. wholesaler Gardners, education wholesaler Browns Books, library wholesaler Askews & Holts and the Hive website for indie bookshops, among other companies.

Baker & Taylor UK will continue to conduct business with its name, and there will be no staff changes. Executive chairman Gareth Powell and managing director Annette Burgess will remain on the board of directors and continue to be actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company, the Bookseller wrote.

Last November, Follett Corp., which had bought Baker & Taylor in 2016, sold the company to a private investment group led by B&T president and CEO Aman Kochar. In the past few years, B&T exited trade wholesaling in the U.S. and sold its entertainment division to Ingram. Earlier this month, B&T founded Paw Prints Publishing, a children's imprint.

The Little Group said Baker & Taylor UK will benefit from access to Gardners, which stocks some 500,000 titles and is especially strong in Europe. Jonathan Little, chairman of the Little Group, said, "We are pleased to welcome Baker & Taylor UK to the group, complementing our offer to the U.K. and international book markets, and we look forward to building on this to provide even better services in the future for both new and existing customers."

Powell said: "We are proud of the immense progress the business has made, particularly against the backdrop of the challenges of the past two years. Our teams have worked tirelessly, with skill and commitment, to make this business stronger than it has ever been and we are now honoured to take this forward with the support of our loyal customers for the new horizons this opens.

William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

AAP: March Sales Drop 4.2%, Trade Off 6.4%

Total net book sales in March in the U.S. fell 4.2%, to $804.4 million, compared to March 2021, representing sales of 1,366 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. (Figures do not include pre-K-12, because of delays in data collection.) For the first quarter of the year, total net book sales were up 1.1%, to $2.97 billion.

In March, total trade book sales fell 6.4%, to $702.5 million. Trade hardcover sales fell 19%, to $238.1 million, paperbacks rose 8.6%, to $266 million, mass market dropped 30.7%, to $14.3 million. Total e-book sales dropped 12.2%, to $76.9 million. Printed books accounted for 75.6% of all trade sales.

The strongest categories in the month included high ed; adult, children's/YA and religious paperbacks; and downloaded audio. Among the categories with the biggest declines were all hardcovers and most e-books.

Sales by category in March 2022 compared to March 2021:

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

International Update: Detention of Publisher, Bookseller in Belarus; New Frontlist Strategy for the Works in U.K.

Andrey Yanushkevich

The International Publishers Association, the Federation of European Publishers and the European and International Booksellers Federation have strongly condemned the detention of Belarussian publisher and bookseller Andrey Yanushkevich and his associate Nasta Karnatska for selling copies of George Orwell's 1984. They were reportedly detained after they opened a general bookstore in Minsk and continued to sell copies of the novel, which was banned, along with other publications, on May 19.

Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee, said: "We recognized independent Belarusian publishers in the 2021 IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist. We know that publishing and bookselling is so difficult in Belarus now and incidents like this will undoubtedly lead to self-censorship on the part of authors, publishers and booksellers. We continue to offer our support to all those publishers in Belarus who want to publish freely."

EIBF co-president Jean-Luc Treutenaere commented: "We are concerned by the reports of book-banning, bookshop searches and overall censorship coming from Belarus. We call on the full respect for the freedom to publish and sell books, and we stand firmly with the Belorussian, European and international publishing community against any form of censorship of the written word."

Peter Kraus vom Kleff, president of the Federation of European Publishers and CEO of the Börsenverein, said: "George Orwell's book 1984 denounces totalitarianism and mass surveillance. These are issues that, together with the role of truth and facts within politics and the ways in which they are manipulated, calls for increased consideration from politicians and society at large. No book, perhaps especially this one, should ever be banned. Freedom to publish and freedom to sell books are central to a democratic society."


Nina Findley, commercial director of the Works, a discount retail chain selling gifts, arts, crafts, toys, books and stationery through more than 500 stores in the U.K. and Ireland, told the Bookseller that a recent change in strategy, including an expansion of its frontlist book ranges, is helping to build its "credibility and reputation" as a bookseller. 

"It's really encouraging and exciting," she said. "We have a real role to play in the book market and I think publishers are supporting us with that and are keen to help us continue down that road." 

There has been a focus on introducing a broad range of adult fiction in stores, including new and midlist titles, rather than relying on backlist offered as multibuy deals. For children's books, there is more of a focus on "evergreen titles," offering these at low prices or as part of bundles to encourage families to shop in store.  

Looking ahead, Findley said, "I think we're a really open and welcoming brand and we really pride ourselves on trying to be as inclusive as we can, and I think there is more we can do there. We need to be showing diversity and making sure that customers in our stores are seeing an array of those different titles that recognise that life is not one way. This is something that the team are looking at to see what more they can do in that space."


A consortium of Dutch publishers is launching a subscription platform for digital books. The European & International Booksellers Federation's Newsflash reported that Fluister will feature a catalogue of audiobooks, e-books and podcasts accessible for €12.99 (about $13.70) per month. 

"In the Netherlands, there is an appetite for reading and listening to books digitally," said Josja Zijlstra, director of Fluister. "But, until now, there hasn't been a model that was fair to the publishers, nor [have they been able to] receive user-habit data. We wanted a Dutch service created by the Dutch industry." 

In addition to Dutch content, Fluister will also offer its subscribers an English-language catalogue. The platform is to be launched in June.


In India, 19 writers recently partnered for Bangalore Bookshop Love Weekend 2022. The Hindu reported that the event "is a celebration of brick-and-mortar bookshops by writers who care about the city's unique culture of reading and book shop-hopping." The writers "bid goodbye to Covid-19 by hitting the streets and talking about their favorite books, bookshops and bookshopping habits." Participating booksellers included The Bookhive, Blossom Book House, Goobe's Book Republic, Select Book Shop, Higginbotham's and Bookworm. --Robert Gray

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

Shelf Awareness Delivers Indie Pre-Order E-Blast

Last Wednesday, Shelf Awareness sent our monthly pre-order e-blast to more than 900,000 of the country's best book readers. The e-blast went to 901,894 customers of 198 participating independent bookstores.

The mailing features eight upcoming titles selected by Shelf Awareness editors and a sponsored title. Customers can buy these books via "pre-order" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on each sending store's website. A key feature is that bookstore partners can easily change title selections to best reflect the tastes of their customers and can customize the mailing with links, images and promotional copy of their own.

The pre-order e-blasts are sent the last Wednesday of each month; the next will go out on Wednesday, June 29. Stores interested in learning more can visit our program registration page or contact our partner program team via e-mail.

For a sample of the May pre-order e-blast, see this one from The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop, Niwot, Colo.

The titles highlighted in the pre-order e-blast were:

Dirtbag, Massachusetts by Isaac Fitzgerald (Bloomsbury)
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)
Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark (Scribner)
Bake: My Best Ever Recipes for the Classics by Paul Hollywood (Bloomsbury)
The It Girl by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout)
The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything by Matthew Ball (Liveright/W.W. Norton)
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf)
The Bad Guys in Open Wide and Say Arrrgh! (The Bad Guys #15) by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic)
Tracy Flick Can't Win by Tom Perrotta (Scribner)
Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator by Sofia Warren (Top Shelf)
Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus #3) by Katee Robert (Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Grown Ups by Marie Aubert, translated by Rosie Hedger (Pushkin)

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

Obituary Note: Robert Goolrick

Robert Goolrick, "who after being fired as an advertising executive in his early 50s wrote a blistering memoir of his Southern family and a bestselling novel about a wealthy widower whose mail-order bride turns out to be nothing like the woman he had hoped for," died April 29, the New York Times reported.  He was 73.

In The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes From a Life (2007), Goolrick "uncorked a lifetime of secrets in stylish, penetrating prose," and said after being "vertiginously" pushed out of advertising, he was freed to expose the "terrifying interior" of his apparently ordinary life.

Goolrick graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1970 and eventually settled into a career as an advertising copywriter, rising to executive positions at AC&R Advertising and Grey Advertising (now the Grey Group) and working on campaigns for products including Mumm Champagne and Foster's beer. "Advertising taught him to write economically, but it did not satisfy him," the Times noted. 

"I think advertising takes people who have talent but no specific ambition and uses their talent in specific ways," he said in 2013. "When I was young, I suppose I had a good deal of talent and imagination, but I really didn't have any direction."

When Grey fired him in 2002, Goolrick reinvented himself as a writer, working on his first novel, A Reliable Wife. Although he completed the novel, his memoir "was the first to be acquired and published, by Algonquin. After its success (it has sold about 40,000 hardcover, paperback and e-book copies), Algonquin purchased A Reliable Wife, which turned into a blockbuster, selling more than a million copies. It spent nearly a year in 2010 and 2011 on The New York Times's trade paperback bestseller list, including three weeks at No. 1," the Times wrote.

Goolrick published three more novels: Heading Out to Wonderful (2012), The Fall of Princes (2015) and The Dying of the Light (2018). Columbia Pictures optioned A Reliable Wife in 2009, but to date no film has been made.

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo


Image of the Day: Sinkhole at Atomic Books

To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Sinkhole (University of New Orleans Press), Atomic Books in Baltimore, Md., hosted Davida G. Breier in conversation with William Patrick Tandy. Breier is co-director of sales and marketing for the books division of Johns Hopkins University Press and director of Hopkins Fulfillment Services, and she's pictured here with some of her colleagues who came out for the event.

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Gottwals Books' Shane Gottwals Wins County Commission Primary

Shane Gottwals

Congratulations to Shane Gottwals, co-founder in 2007 of Gottwals Books, which has four stores in Georgia, and the franchise company Walls of Books, which has more than a dozen stores in eight states; he is the latest bookseller to win a local election. With 57% of the vote, he won the Republican primary for a seat on the Houston County Commission in Georgia. In November, he will run in the general election and says he feels "very confident." This is his first run for elective office.

Personnel Changes at Scholastic; Booksparks

At Scholastic:

Brooke Shearouse, formerly publicity manager at Abrams Children's Books, has rejoined the company as associate director of publicity.

Elisabeth Ferrari has been promoted to publicity manager.

Victoria Velez has been promoted to publicity coordinator.

Amanda Trautmann has joined the company as publicity assistant.


Keely Platte left her role as publicity director at Booksparks and can be reached via e-mail.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Sedaris on Fresh Air

CBS Mornings: John Grisham, author of Sparring Partners (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385549325).

Good Morning America: James Kirchick, author of Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington (Holt, $38, 9781627792325).

Also on GMA: Emily Griffin, author of Meant to Be: A Novel (Ballantine, $28, 9780425286647).

Fresh Air: David Sedaris, author of Happy-Go-Lucky (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316392457).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Terry Crews, author of Tough: My Journey to True Power (Portfolio, $27, 9780593329801).

Drew Barrymore repeat: Antoni Porowski, author of Antoni: Let's Do Dinner (Mariner, $30, 9780358395324).

Coast to Coast AM: Terry Jastrow, author of The Trial of George W. Bush (Square One, $16.95, 9780757005060).

CBS Mornings: Ben Feller, author of Big Problems, Little Problems (Tilbury House, $18.95, 9780884488903).

The Talk: Steve Leder, author of For You When I Am Gone: Twelve Essential Questions to Tell a Life Story (Avery, $27, 9780593421550).

Jimmy Kimmel Live repeat: Van Lathan Jr., author of Fat, Crazy, and Tired: Tales from the Trenches of Transformation (Legacy Lit, $26, 9780306923722).

Movies: Stone Mattress

Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) will direct Stone Mattress, an adaptation of Margaret Atwood's 2011 New Yorker short story, Deadline reported. Starring Julianne Moore and Sandra Oh, the film is being adapted by Ramsay with Tom Townend, with production set to begin this September in Greenland and Iceland. 

"With the current repeal in women's rights across the world, particularly regarding the overturning of Roe v Wade in America, this story, with its themes of stolen motherhood and unaccounted sexual abuse, feels more important than ever," Ramsay said. "I first read Margaret Atwood when I was a teenager, and her work has gripped me ever since. She is simply one of the most intelligent, prophetic and engaging writers around and 'Stone Mattress' is another perfect illustration of that. I was immediately gripped by the way it framed the deeply buried trauma of a post-menopausal woman--an age group we hear from all too rarely--through the dynamic and multifaceted character of Verna."

Books & Authors

Awards: Nebula, German Nonfiction Book Winners

This year's winners of the Nebula Awards, sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to recognize "the most outstanding speculative fiction works released in 2021," are:

Novel: A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
Novella: And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed (Neon Hemlock)
Novelette: "O2 Arena" by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Galaxy's Edge 11/21)
Short Story: "Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather" by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3–4/21)
Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade & YA Fiction: A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: WandaVision: Season 1 by Peter Cameron, Mackenzie Dohr, Laura Donney, Bobak Esfarjani, Megan McDonnell, Jac Schaeffer, Cameron Squires, Gretchen Enders & Chuck Hayward (Marvel Studios)
Best Game Writing: Thirsty Sword Lesbians by April Kit Walsh, Whitney Delagio, Dominique Dickey, Jonaya Kemper, Alexis Sara & Rae Nedjadi (Evil Hat Games)

SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award: Mercedes Lackey
Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award: Arley Sorg, Troy L. Wiggins, Petra Mayer (posthumous)
Kevin J. O'Donnell, Jr., Service to SFWA Award: Colin Coyle


The winner of the €25,000 (about $26,950) 2022 German Nonfiction Book Prize is Die Hohenzollern und die Nazis: Geschichte einer Kollaboration (The Hohenzollern and the Nazis: History of a Collaboration) by Stephan Malinowski, a professor of European history at the University of Edinburgh, Börsenblatt reported.

The jury said that the "exceptionally researched and brilliantly told" book shows that in the establishment of the Third Reich, the Hohenzollern family, which ruled Germany until Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918, and the Nazi movement forged "a symbolic-political alliance. The book connects social and political contemporaneous history with a family portrait and is at the same time a polished study of conservative and rightist hostility to the [Weimar] Republic."

Book Review

Review: Mercury Pictures Presents

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra (Hogarth Press, $28.99 hardcover, 432p., 9780451495204, August 2, 2022)

Mercury Pictures Presents is the outstanding third work of fiction from Anthony Marra, whose debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, quickly became a magnet for prizes and accolades, and whose follow-up story collection, The Tsar of Love & Techno, reconfirmed his proficiency in storytelling. Although Marra may have panned away from the distressed Chechen settings that established him, instead choosing to focus on grandiose Hollywood backdrops for this novel, the treacheries of war and propaganda continue to emerge as a profound theme in his work.

Maria Lagana is an Italian émigré who works for Mercury Pictures, a B-grade studio owned and operated by the unscrupulous Feldman brothers, Artie and Ned. Her job is to slip illicit content past the stringent Production Code censors of 1941. One such film illustrates the power of propaganda and happens to explode into the mainstream at a crucial moment in history. Soon after, the U.S. War Department taps Mercury to make pictures that promise to drum up support for American involvement in World War II.

Marra quickly and nimbly expands this premise into CinemaScope, establishing depth and nuance for even his most marginal characters. In Mercury Pictures Presents, there are no small parts. All of them are rendered in language as textured and colorful as it is succinct. One Italian immigrant in Los Angeles "claimed he was 'born an American' as if it wasn't a nationality but an astrological sign. There was nothing he wasn't willing to fail at. Besides denying his racism, it was his most American quality." Even a bus stop gets its close-up as "a fashionable destination for local vandals and public urinators. Several lives ended and several more were conceived on its bench."

Throughout the novel, foreign nationals who had narrowly escaped the rise of fascism in Europe awaken to an adoptive country spiraling into its own forms of jingoistic paranoia. Yet Marra's belief that hope and the human spirit can triumph over hatred and cynicism never falters. He has crafted a dazzling historical novel that sparkles with buoyant humor and resilient characters, in spite of the atrocities that entangle them.

Mercury Pictures Presents is a marvelously smart and delightfully absorbing novel from a writer who continues to one-up himself, and appears to take great joy in doing so. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: With wit and tenderness, Anthony Marra examines the human lives swept up by the machines of war and propaganda in a dazzling novel set in 1940s Hollywood.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Mutts & Magnolias (South Carolina Sunsets Book 9) by Rachel Hanna
2. Then Came Love (Oak Falls Book 9) by Melissa Foster
3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
4. Lighthouse Way by Kristen Proby
5. The Hot Zone by Carly Phillips
6. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
7. Code Name: Libra by Janie Crouch
8. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
9. Kiss My Giraffe by Erin Nicholas
10. The Project by R.L. Mathewson

[Many thanks to!]

AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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