Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 11, 2022

Harper: Black Girls Must Have It All (Black Girls Must Die Exhausted) by Jayne Allen

Berkley Books: Mrs. Nash's Ashes by Sarah Adler

Berkley Books: Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune

Pantheon Books: Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Scholastic Press: The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1) by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Kevin Hong


New Voices, New Rooms: Income Beyond Selling Books

Lisa Swayze, general manager and buyer for Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, N.Y's community-owned independent bookstore, opened the discussion of "Income Beyond Selling Books" at New Voices, New Rooms, the NAIBA/SIBA joint virtual conference, by noting a stat from the ABA's Abacus survey: 20% of bookstore income is generated by sidelines. Blue Willow's Valerie Koehler confirmed: 20% of income at her Houston, Tex., store has come from categories other than books for 15 years.

Lisa Swayze
Valerie Koehler

Most stores carry sidelines such as stationery, journals, greeting cards and games. But consider other income streams, like renting out board games--$10 for 10 days--as owner Candice Huber does at Tubby & Coo's in New Orleans, La., or simply enabling tips on your Square checkout.

Julia Davis, owner of the Book Worm Bookstore in Powder Springs, Ga., stages a "live" game of Candyland, converting her store's floor into the board game, and for every $5 they spend, customers advance on the board. Davis keeps a copy of the game behind the counter so folks can keep track of where they left off and see where their competitors are. The game has generated "lots of repeat customers" and social media activity. 

Other ideas: display a copy of Danny Caine's How to Resist Amazon and Why next to an "Amazon swear jar"; Evan Schwartz of Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park, Pa., donates the jar's proceeds to BINC. How about a gumball machine: 25¢ for a book recommendation (from Julia Davis at the Book Worm). Or buy a treat for the bookstore cats, suggested Dorothy Pittman at Horton's Books & Gifts, Carollton, Ga. (Linda-Marie Barrett, SIBA executive director, piped in, "Feed a bookseller.")

Sally Sue Lavigne at the Storybook Shoppe in Bluffton, S.C., offers a book subscription service with home delivery and nationwide shipping. Koehler said Blue Willow began a similar service with a baby "Celebration" subscription box, and that now goes up to book lovers four years old.

B2B partnerships generally continue to be fruitful: pet shops; bookstore crawls (with a passport of all participating stores and a prize and party at the end); storytime with a firefighter who brings a team and a truck; and artists and craftspeople setting up tables to sell in-store. Pop-ups are popular: cafés, beer on tap, kid entrepreneurs' lemonade stands and Girl Scout cookies (the latter two not for a percentage of sales but rather for the foot traffic they generate). And Davis also mentioned food trucks as partners, in front or parked in the lot, all of which generate crowds. --Jennifer M. Brown

Arcade Publishing: A Mysterious Country: The Grace and Fragility of American Democracy by Normal Mailer, edited by Michael J. Lennon and John Buffalo Mailer

Chicago's Semicolon Bookstore Launching Lit Fest This Fall

Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, Ill., will host the inaugural Lit Fest, a one-day street festival devoted to literature, this fall, Block Club Chicago reported.

Scheduled to run from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, the festival will take over a section of Division Street in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood and will feature author talks, vendors, cocktails and live music.

Danielle Mullen, owner of Semicolon Bookstore, told Block Club Chicago she wants "people to get excited about literary festivals like they do about festivals like Lollapalooza, or, you know, Taste of Chicago. And so we had to create it; that's what we're interested in doing."

Authors José Olivarez, Jessamine Chan and Sidik Fofana are slated to attend, with more appearances to be announced. Among the vendors will be Black-owned independent bookstores from around the U.S., and there will be food trucks and a DJ.

Attendance is free, but the bookstore is offering VIP tickets that will give access to all author signings as well as specialty cocktails or mocktails paired with each author. The VIP tickets will go on sale this Friday, and all benefits will go to Parenthesis, a literacy nonprofit run by Mullen.

"We wanted something that will allow people to actually interact with the authors they love, but also in a fun atmosphere, where we would be able to just share our love of books, among other things," Mullen said.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon

Indigo First Quarter: Sales Rise 18.9%; Net Loss Increases

In the first quarter ended July 2, revenue at Indigo Books & Music rose 18.9%, to C$204.6 million (about US$160.3 million, and the net loss increased 16%, to C$25.4 million (US$19.9 million).

Indigo attributed the gain in sales to "the success of Indigo's omnichannel business; a strong recovery in the retail channel where traffic levels continued to normalize, and an ecommerce business that sustained incremental growth of 80% of fiscal 2020 levels. Double-digit growth was generated in both the print and general merchandise businesses. The print business continued to benefit from a resurgence of reading, which the Company has leveraged through the launch of a partnership with TikTok Canada, to further capitalize on the popularity of reading on the platform (#BookTok)." Indigo added that its main proprietary brands--OUI, NÓTA and LOVE & LORE--continued "to gain prominence in the general merchandise assortment" and accounted for more than 30% of the quarter's general merchandise revenue growth.

As for the net loss, Indigo said "current macro-economic conditions had a negative impact on margins and costs given supply chain disruptions, higher freight costs and inflationary pressures. The company also incurred additional costs with investment in technology aimed at driving productivity and growth."

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "We are pleased to see the positive sales growth, fueled by a steady improvement to store traffic and the continued success of our online business. Our strong customer commitment reinforces the decisions we are making to invest in talent and technology for future profitability."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Other Scams by Philip Ellis

Waterstones Warehouse Weathers New System Woes

Following the installation of a new Blue Yonder stock distribution system in its warehouse last month, Waterstones has fallen so far behind in shipping orders to the chain's more than 300 stores that it's created a crisis for the company and the U.K. book business.

The Guardian reported that the bottleneck has led to unfilled orders and shortages of inventory in stores, particularly of new titles. Some Waterstones booksellers, who themselves are frustrated by the situation, have said that customers are very frustrated, too, and have occasionally taken that frustration out on booksellers.

Some publishers have been shipping directly to stores to make up for the shortfalls from Waterstones's central warehouse. Booksellers have reportedly been encouraged to suggest alternative titles that are in stock when customers request an unavailable book.

Waterstones COO Kate Skipper told the Bookseller that the chain is "making progress towards normality each week, albeit at a slower pace than we would like. Volumes have been steadily building and we expect this week to deliver the biggest week of hub despatches so far. We prioritise as far as possible the most important new publishing, rather than any particular publisher."

She added that "publishers are being wholly supportive, working closely with us to get stock through as efficiently as possible, for which we are enormously appreciative. Our hub, IT and central teams are working tirelessly to get the business back to normal service levels. We continue to send publishers regular updates on progress, with our expectation to have worked through the backlog and returned to normal operations over the generally quiet weeks of August."

Obituary Note: Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell, business director at Albert Whitman & Company who worked for the children's publisher for close to 30 years, has died. He was 52.

Campbell joined Albert Whitman & Co. in 1993. He held a variety of roles during his time at the company, including customer service rep, supervisor and operation manager. He was an integral part of handling AW's contracts, royalties, accounting and distribution, and "brought his wisdom, experience and love of literature to all work that he did."

John Quattrocchi and Pat McPartland, co-owners of Albert Whitman & Co., remembered Campbell for his large personality and the role he had in shaping the company's identity over the last 30 years. "He cared deeply about sharing stories with kids and working with Albert Whitman & Co.'s contributors. We will long remember Joe’s honesty, friendship, and all the passion he brought to his work in publishing."

An avid golfer and longtime Chicago sports fan, Campbell "always found time to spend with his mom, was a dedicated and proud uncle to his nieces and nephew, a lover of a Whoopercheesie at Superdawg, and was known for his great sense of humor and big heart." His publishing legacy will "live on through the pages of the many books he helped get into the hands of readers around the world."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Crane Husband
by Kelly Barnhill
GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

In this imaginative retelling of a Japanese folktale, Kelly Barnhill's second novel for adults, a pragmatic Midwestern teenager must grow up fast to protect her family. On the outskirts of what was once her family's farm, a girl raises her younger brother and manages the household while her artist mother weaves tapestries. But when her mother brings home a sharp and foreboding six-foot-tall crane who has ensnared her heart, the girl becomes desperate to bring her mother back to reality and snap her out of her obsession. For Tor editor Jonathan Strahan, Barnhill's singular novel stands out for its compelling depiction of one teenage girl facing "a world becoming less and less understandable, where the rules seem to change." There are three words to describe this fierce and evocative book: passionate, powerful, beautiful. --Alice Martin

(Tordotcom, $19.99 hardcover, 9781250850973, February 28, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Busman's Holiday

Bookends & Beginnings owner Nina Barrett with Raven Bookstore's Danny Caine.

Danny Caine, co-owner of Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kan., stopped by Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., yesterday.

The store posted:

"Look who came and visited our store! @dannycaine from @ravenbookstore! 📚

"His book How to Resist Amazon and Why has sold more copies in our store than any other bookstore outside of The Raven Bookstore itself at over 150 copies! It's important that we are opening up the doors to these necessary conversations about the impact of corporations such as a/mazon on independent businesses.

"Stop in to get a signed copy of his book today!"

Publishers Group West Adds 10 Publishers

Ingram's Publishers Group West has added 10 clients, all effective this fall:

Aeon Books Ltd, a U.K. publisher of books with a focus on botanical medicine. The publisher was established by two practicing medical herbalists with a goal to publish and promote the best writing in contemporary complementary medicine.

Barbican Press publishes novels, poetry and nonfiction that help them explore different cultures, places and people around the globe.

DeVorss & Company publishes and distributes metaphysical, inspirational, spiritual, self-help, and new thought titles. Since its beginning in 1929, DeVorss & Company has been committed to providing booksellers and readers worldwide material that promotes spiritual awareness.

Erewhon Books publishes science fiction and fantasy. It champions diverse, effortlessly strange stories.

Golden Notebook Press will launch its publishing program with Abigail Thomas's new memoir Still Life at 80. Her A Three Dog Life won the 2006 Inspirational Memoir Award given by Books for a Better Life. The press will publish five new titles in 2023.

The Hero's Journal publishes journals and planners that help users build a positive life narrative and achieve their goals, combining the best in goal setting science with the power of story.

Jawbone Press, London, England, which was founded in 2007 and publishes books about music and popular culture, including memoirs of and commentary on a range of popular music covering everything from Bowie to Wilco to Tiny Tim.

Medicine Wheel Publishing publishes Indigenous books, resources and tools for moral and cultural education. Each book teaches a positive moral message designed to invite all children, youth and adults to engage and participate in culture with authenticity and respect.

ScienceWiz publishes books and kits designed to teach fundamental scientific concepts to children through hands-on play.

Shoemaker & Co. was founded by publishing veteran Jack Shoemaker and will focus on literary ventures with a focus on mindfulness and political awareness. It will launch with the publication of Wendell Berry's new work of nonfiction, The Need to Be Whole.

Cool Idea of the Day: Authors for Abortion Rights Event

Next week, Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the National Network of Abortion Funds are partnering for an online event in support of abortion rights. Authors Jasmine Guillory (The Wedding Date), Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before), Emily Henry (Beach Read), Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) and Jia Tolentino (Trick Mirror) will join for a night of interviews, conversations, games and fundraising, while Emma Straub, author and owner of Books Are Magic, will host.

The event is ticketed, and money from every ticket sold will go to one of six abortion funds the participating authors have chosen. At any point during the event, viewers will be welcome to send donations to the bookstore's Venmo, which will then be sent to a fund of the sender's choosing or distributed evenly among the six chosen by the participating authors. More information can be found here.

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

At Scholastic:

Lia Ferrone has joined the company as senior publicist. Previously she was publicist at Harlequin.

Aleah Gornbein has joined the company as publicist. Previously she was associate publicist at Holiday House.

Naomi Duttweiler has been promoted to associate manager, licensed marketing & publicity.

Meredith Wardell has joined the company as marketing assistant, school & library/conventions. Previously she was an intern at Hachette Book Group and Apprentice House Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Will Jawando on Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall repeat: Will Jawando, author of My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374604875).

Kelly Clarkson Show repeat: Porsha Williams, author of The Pursuit of Porsha: How I Grew into My Power and Purpose (Worthy Books, $26, 9781546015901).

This Weekend on Book TV: Patrick Radden Keefe

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, August 13
6:20 p.m. David Hackett Fischer, author of African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals (‎Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781982145095). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:20 a.m.)

7:10 p.m. Jane Turner Censer, author of The Princess of Albemarle: Amélie Rives, Author and Celebrity at the Fin de Siècle (University of Virginia Press, $29.95, 9780813948195). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:10 a.m.)

Sunday, August 14
8 a.m. Jason Kander, author of Invisible Storm: A Soldier's Memoir of Politics and PTSD (Mariner, $28.99, 9780358658962). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

8:55 a.m. Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks (Doubleday, $30, 9780385548519). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:55 p.m.)

2 p.m. Blair Sadler, co-author of Pluck: Lessons We Learned for Improving Healthcare and the World (Silicon Valley Press, $29.99, ‎ 9781735873176).

3:30 p.m. Thomas Fisher, author of The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER (One World, $27, 9780593230671).

4:30 p.m. David McSwane, author of Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick (Atria/One Signal, $28, 9781982177744).

7 p.m. Malcolm Nance, author of They Want to Kill Americans: The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250279002).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 16:

Overkill by Sandra Brown (Grand Central, $29, 9781538752012) is a thriller about a a former football star whose ex-wife lingers on life support after an assault.

Benevolence by Julie Janson (HarperVia, $27.99, 9780063140950) follows an Aboriginal girl in Australia during the beginning of European settlement.

A History of Present Illness: A Novel by Anna DeForest (Little, Brown, $25, 9780316381062) follows a young woman starting her career as a doctor.

Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America's Overdose Crisis by Beth Macy (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316430227) is from the author of Dopesick.

Diana, William, and Harry: The Heartbreaking Story of a Princess and Mother by James Patterson and Chris Mooney (Little, Brown, $30, 9780759554221) is a novelistic biography of Princess Diana and her sons.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala (PUSH/Scholastic, $18.99, 9781338745313) is a YA horror novel with Midsommar vibes.

Being You: A First Conversation About Gender by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, illus. by Anne/Andy Passchier (Rise x Penguin Workshop, $14.99, 9780593521878) is a new picture book edition of the popular board book.

Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could by Adam B. Schiff (Random House Trade Paperbacks, $20, 9780593231531).

Becoming Family: A Novel by Elysia Whisler (MIRA, $16.99, 9780778386469).

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel by Quentin Tarantino (Harper Perennial, $17.99, 9780063241572).

The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything by Mike Rothschild (Melville House, $17.99, 9781685890186).

What About the Baby?: Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction by Alice McDermott (Picador, $16.99, 9781250849229).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Work Wife: A Novel by Alison B. Hart (Graydon House, $27.99, 9781525899768). "Three women, a Hollywood high roller, and an explosive day set the stage for a novel that will blow you away. Any woman whose work has been overlooked, underestimated, uncredited, or unrewarded needs a copy of The Work Wife. Hear her roar!" --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minn.

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Calling for a Blanket Dance: A Novel by Oscar Hokeah (Algonquin, $27, 9781643751474). "This is an incredible family epic in sleek, unpretentious form. Hokeah uses his characters as crisp prisms through which we see the nature of family: vicious and precious, mournful and joyful, everything in-between. A remarkable debut!" --Amanda Qassar, Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif.

Intimacies: A Novel by Katie Kitamura (Riverhead, $16, 9780399576171). "A cool and precise portrait of a woman and system on the verge of breaking, this latest literary thriller from Kitamura quietly insinuates itself into readers' consciousness with subtle and haunting force." --Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
If You Find a Leaf by Aimée Sicuro (Random House Studio, $17.99, 9780593306598). "I adore this picture book that captures the possibilities of a child's imagination. The potential for a leaf as a plaything is an all-day affair in this book. I can't wait to read it to children and see what other possibilities they see!" --Jen Wills Geraedts, Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery, Park Rapids, Minn.

For Ages 8 to 12
Grounded for All Eternity by Darcy Marks (Aladdin, $18.99, 9781534483361). "A rollicking adventure of fallen angel kids experiencing a far greater torment than the hell they call home--being stuck on earth. Humorous and heartful, with queer representation." --S. Kitty Garza, Bards Alley, Vienna, Va.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Boys I Know by Anna Gracia (Peachtree Teen, $17.99, 9781682633717). "June's always felt she wasn't good enough, and validates her worth via really poor choices in boys. These choices lead to painful realizations about herself and her seemingly perfect sister. You can't help but root for June to figure it out." --Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Empathy Economics: Janet Yellen's Remarkable Rise to Power and Her Drive to Spread Prosperity to All

Empathy Economics: Janet Yellen's Remarkable Rise to Power and Her Drive to Spread Prosperity to All by Owen Ullmann (PublicAffairs, $32 hardcover, 480p., 9781541701021, September 27, 2022)

Janet Yellen is a fascinating figure: not only is she the first woman to hold several key U.S. financial positions, including Treasury secretary, but her approach to high-level economics consistently aims to benefit ordinary citizens. Journalist Owen Ullmann's second book, Empathy Economics, is a thorough, well-researched biography of Yellen's life and career, and also a crash course in the workings of the U.S. financial system.

Ullmann begins with (and repeatedly returns to) Yellen's early life in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The daughter of an affluent doctor, she did not lack for basic necessities, but saw her father's patients struggle to pay him for vital medical care. Those inequalities, and her father's consistent compassion for patients of different income levels, had a deep impact on Yellen and shaped her into an economist who has always cared about Main Street as well as Wall Street.

The book traces Yellen's academic career, from Fort Hamilton High School and Brown University to her years as a professor at Harvard and Berkeley. Ullmann notes Yellen's important contributions to academic research in her field, and draws on extensive interviews with family, friends and colleagues to paint a picture of her work style and personality. At every turn, his sources portray her as compassionate, thoughtful, fiercely intelligent but modest, and always the most prepared person in the room.

Though Yellen is cognizant of gender discrimination in her field and many others, she has rarely spoken publicly about it, even while smashing several glass ceilings in her academic and public service work. She oversaw a landmark report on the gender pay gap during her tenure as the second female chair of Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, and later became the first female president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Throughout her career, though, she has emphasized excellence and preparation (her trademark) over gender politics, only more recently acknowledging that she is proud to serve as a role model for young women. 

Ullmann ably explores Yellen's career in economics in the political and social context of the last several decades, including the financial crisis of 2008 and the following Great Recession. He leads readers through a sometimes confusing maze of financial policy, including governing bodies and regulations, explaining abstract concepts in clear language (as Yellen is famous for doing). Readers will emerge with a greater understanding of not only Yellen herself, but the system which she has worked for many years to improve--and a deep appreciation of the empathy that informs her policy work and her entire life. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Owen Ullmann's thorough biography of Janet Yellen traces her life and career, focusing on her trademarks of preparation and empathy.

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