Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 23, 2022


Little Brown and Company: A Line in the Sand by Kevin Powers

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

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

News

Amazon, B&N Buying Cutbacks Unnerve Publishers, Authors

Cuts in buying at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are unnerving many publishers and authors, as outlined in social media beginning last week and recently in Shelf Awareness communications with publishers and distributors. The cuts highlight the importance of independent bookstores as showcases for new books of all kinds.

In the case of Amazon, a range of publishers and distributors, including trade and academic presses, have said that the company began cutting back buying in the past several months, and in at least one case is negative for August. While there has been a drop in book sales at Amazon this year, an observer said, it is nowhere near as steep as the drop in orders--and might indicate another "deprioritization" of books, as happened early in the pandemic.

As for Barnes & Noble, the chain has cut back on hardcover purchases of fiction and nonfiction, adult and--most notably--children's and YA titles, intending to focus on frontlist with "proven" sales records. Trade paperbacks apparently are not included in the buying cutback.

Authors who learned of the change include Keah Brown, who said in a Twitter video that her new book, Sam's Super Seats, to be published today by Kokila, won't be stocked in any B&Ns because of the new policy that limits purchases to "the top 2% of books at your publishing house" for children's books.

Kalynn Bayron, whose The Vanquishers will be published on September 20 by Bloomsbury Children's Books, also wrote on Twitter that the book won't be carried by B&N. She said: "Marginalized authors already have the odds stacked against us. We claw and fight and scrap to get somewhere then have the rug pulled out from under us by one of the biggest booksellers in the game. This, on top of everything else, feels like too much to carry." She added, "I want to say that B&N booksellers have been incredibly supportive and it's partly because of them that my YA sales have been so good with B&N. This isn't their fault."

Kelly Yang said in a Twitter video about Key Player, the fourth book in her Front Desk series, to be published by Scholastic Press on September 6, that it, too, isn't being stocked by B&N. She noted that the policy would especially affect marginalized authors and ended, "We all deserve a chance to go for our dreams."

But apparently even authors with indisputable track records have been hurt by the B&N cutbacks. Last night, Jamie Ford, whose new novel, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy, published by Atria on August 2, is on many bestseller lists, said on Facebook that he stopped by a Seattle B&N to sign books and was told that the initial order was just three copies--in an area where his books have always sold well. Friends and fans reported seeing only a few if any copies at other B&Ns, and many said they found more copies at indie bookstores and Costco.

B&N CEO James Daunt told PW's Jim Milliot that returns on frontlist hardcover titles have run as high as 80% and so the company needs to "exercise taste and judgment. This is to buy less but, if it is done with skill, it is to sell more. Far from being just for proven authors, this will be to allow the new that is good to have the space and attention to find an audience.... Far from abandoning hardcovers, we are determined to sell these with more vigor and more invention. There is an irony, perhaps, that to do so we must exercise taste. We must champion the best and not simply pile up everything, irrespective of merit, and be content to sell very little of it."


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


Troubled Sleep Bookshop Opens in Brooklyn

Troubled Sleep bookshop, which sells used and new titles, has opened at 129 6th Ave. in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. TimeOut NY reported that, according to manager Alexander Brooks, "you can expect titles exploring 'unusual and international fiction, radical history and philosophy, sci-fi, books in foreign languages, art books, good weird comics.' Classic picture titles for kids also share space with more out-there international options."

Owned by the same art collective that runs Book Thug Nation in Williamsburg and Codex in Manhattan, the bookshop's opening last week "was met with much fanfare, with folks even taking to Twitter to pronounce their excitement over the much-needed destination."

"We know Park Slope is a literary place, so it seemed silly to us that the area from Flatbush to 15th Street lacked a used bookstore," Brooks said. "The neighborhood has welcomed us even more warmly than we expected."

The space's decor has drawn attention. Brooks noted that while "the books do the talking" upon entry, the original tile mosaic floor adds a flair of style to the venue, which he hopes will eventually be used to host readings and gatherings as well.

TimeOut noted that bibliophiles who believe the name of the shop is a reference to the 1949 Jean-Paul Sartre novel Troubled Sleep might be surprised to learn that, according to Brooks, "none of us have read it and it was not the inspiration for the name," adding that the name calls out to "book people's tendency to be insomniacs."


Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo


Andrew Stoddard Named Publisher of Nelson Books

Andrew Stoddard

Effective September 7, Andrew Stoddard has been named v-p and publisher of the Nelson Books imprint at Thomas Nelson, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. He has been editorial director for Waterbrook & Multnomah, Christian imprints of Penguin Random House.

Stoddard called it an honor to join "Nelson Books, an imprint with such a rich cultural, literary, and spiritual heritage. I am looking forward to working with the talented team and our thoughtful agent partners to champion authors with powerful, life-changing messages. I am committed to leading this imprint to publish creatively compelling, commercially impactful, and consistently faithful books for our readers."

Don Jacobson, senior v-p and group publisher for HarperCollins Christian Publishing, said, "I've known Andrew for almost 10 years and after identifying him early on as a rising star in our industry, I have kept a close watch on his career. Andrew's strengths begin with his love for the written word and its ability to shape hearts and minds. He is sincere in his dedication to authors, and he creates strategies that align with their ministry and organizational goals. Andrew is both strategic and a visionary; relational, genuine, and kind."


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


Rutgers University Press Opening U.K. Office

Rutgers University Press is opening an office in the U.K., leasing space from Princeton University Press in Oxford.

Rutgers University Press director Micah Kleit explained that the press has had "dramatic growth over the last five years, increasing our output from 75 books in 2016 to just over 150 in the past fiscal year, and accompanying that growth has been a shift in our publishing list toward subjects of interest to an international audience. As our list becomes more global, we feel it's important to have a presence outside the U.S. to reflect the strength of the list and aid in its continued success." Kleit added that the press is glad to make this move in collaboration with Princeton University Press.

Princeton University Press director Christie Henry noted that the press also leases space in Oxford to Voltaire Institute and the Higher Education Policy Institute and is happy to support Rutgers University Press in its "international publishing ambitions."

Rutgers is distributed in the U.S. by Chicago Distribution Center and in Canada by the University of British Columbia Press. Eurospan distributes and markets the press in the U.K., Europe, and the rest of the world.

Rutgers University Press also produces, distributes and markets books for Bucknell University Press and the University of Delaware Press worldwide.


Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake


Obituary Note: Gloria San Miguel

Gloria San Miguel, a longtime employee of Roebling Point Books & Coffee in Covington and Newport, Ky., died Saturday in a hit and run collision, LinkNKY reported.

San Miguel was riding her bike early Saturday morning on the 11th St. bridge between Newport and Covington when a vehicle struck her. The vehicle fled before police arrived at the scene.

"We all have a Gloria-size hole in our hearts," wrote the staff of Roebling Point Books & Coffee in an Instagram post. "We will miss her profoundly, far beyond what words can describe. She was our bright star. We loved her and she loved everyone." They will "always keep her spirit, her smile, and her song here. We'll see her dance around corners and her energy will stay and grace our days."

Richard Hunt, owner of Roebling Point Books & Coffee, said San Miguel worked at both locations and was the creator of the inspirational quotes and artwork that the bookstores displayed on their chalkboards. Hunt noted that she was increasingly focused on the Newport store, and she was a supporter of the Orchard Park community garden in Covington.

Both Roebling Point stores are collecting funds at the counter to support San Miguel's partner and daughter. A GoFundMe campaign, meanwhile, has already raised more than $32,000.

The collision remains under investigation.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams


Notes

Video: 'What Do You Do When There's No Customers in the Bookstore?'

Posted on Instagram by Vanessa Nicolle, owner of Femme Fire Books, Jacksonville, Fla.: "You know, a question that I never ever get is 'What do you do when there's no customers in the bookstore?' And so I'd ask myself the question. Then make a reel that nobody asked for LOL. Be sure to buy your books from femmefirebooks.com!!! Enjoy and happy reading!"


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Brad Meltzer on Rachael Ray

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Richie Stephens, author of The Gangster's Guide to Sobriety: My Life in 12 Steps (Post Hill Press, $28, 9781637581902).

The View repeat: Paul Hollywood, author of Bake: My Best Ever Recipes for the Classics (Bloomsbury, $40, 9781635579291).

Rachael Ray: Brad Meltzer, author of I Am Dolly Parton (Rocky Pond Books, $15.99, 9780593405925).


Movies: The Greatest Beer Run Ever

A trailer has been released for The Greatest Beer Run Ever, based on the book The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by John "Chick" Donohue and J.T. Molloy. People reported that Zac Efron "stars as real-life accidental local hero Chickie Donohue, who in 1967 decided on a whim to bring beer from his New York neighborhood to his friends serving in the Vietnam War." The film, which also stars Russell Crowe and Bill Murray, premieres in theaters and on Apple TV+ September 30.

"When I met with Zac, what struck me was he was at a very interesting place in his career," said director Peter Farrelly. "He said, 'I really want to do something different.' And what he does here, in my eyes, is that.... Zac's the most open actor I've ever worked with. A lot of times you do a scene, you go up to the actor afterwards, and you're giving him notes, but you can see they're in their own head, like running it through, figuring it out themselves, they're really not listening to you. Zac's the opposite."



Books & Authors

Awards: Barbara Jefferis Shortlist

The Australian Society of Authors has released a shortlist for the 2022 Barbara Jefferis Award, which celebrates women in literature and is awarded biennially for "the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society." The winner, who will be named at a ceremony on September 22, receives A$50,000 (about US$34,590), with a further A$5,000 (US$3,460) distributed among the shortlisted authors. The shortlisted titles are:

Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down 
Ordinary Matter by Laura Elvery 
Benevolence by Julie Janson 
Revenge: Murder in Three Parts by S.L. Lim 
Smart Ovens for Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan 
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld 


Book Review

Review: Which Side Are You On

Which Side Are You on by Ryan Lee Wong (Catapult, $24 hardcover, 192p., 9781646221486, October 4, 2022)

In Ryan Lee Wong's dynamite debut novel, Which Side Are You On, set in Los Angeles, with its history of race riots, an Asian American college student committed to social justice rethinks how best to live out his ideals in the real world.

Reed and his Brooklyn friends are staunch Black Lives Matters activists. Their latest cause is protesting the killing of a Black man by an Asian American police officer (the actual 2016 killing of Akai Gurley by Peter Liang). Reed has devoted so much energy to following the subsequent trial that he's now on academic probation. In fact, he intends to drop out of Columbia University to take up full-time activism. That is, until he goes home to Los Angeles for a few days.

The occasion for this visit is unfortunate: Reed's grandmother has had a stroke and isn't expected to live much longer. When his brassy mother picks him up from LAX, they head straight to the care home to visit her mother. Right away, it's clear this is a family with unresolved issues. Although his mother is reluctant to discuss her childhood in South Korea, Reed manages to coax her into divulging her story of domestic violence and abandonment.

Meanwhile, she pokes holes in her son's self-righteous attitude. She cofounded a Black-Korean Coalition in the 1980s, and knows firsthand that nothing is ever simple; situations that appear clear-cut are more complicated when you get to know people and understand their motivations. Reed's father, a Chinese American employed by a union, shares her history of community organizing. They don't want their son repeating their mistakes.

Wong probes this generational gap through snappy dialogue and enjoyable scenes that constitute an incidental tour of multi-ethnic L.A. (for instance, Reed's mother takes him for a haircut in Koreatown, but also indulges in chicken and waffles). This exchange, over a family meal at a K-Town barbecue restaurant, exemplifies the novel's satirical sense of humor:

"[Reed:] 'I just think we have to be aware of each interaction, or else we're blindly upholding the white supremacist heteropatriarchy.'

'That's a mouthful,' said Dad.

'How else would you say it?'

'Back then,' said Mom, 'we said, "The Man." ' "

Full of vibrant characters, this punchy story, a perfect companion to Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha, offers no simple answers to ongoing racial conflicts. The portrait of a sanctimonious young man who wakes up to the reality of generational trauma and well-meaning failure is spot-on. Truly, a book for the contemporary moment. --Rebecca Foster, freelance reviewer, proofreader and blogger at Bookish Beck

Shelf Talker: Ryan Lee Wong's dynamite debut novel weaves timely issues of racism and protest--and much nuance--into a pacy, funny story of generational differences and idealism versus cynicism.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Swamp Spirits (Miss Fortune Mysteries Book 23) by Jana DeLeon
2. Deserving Alaska by Susan Stoker
3. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
4. Forever Protected (Forever Bluegrass Book 18) by Kathleen Brooks
5. The Virgin Next Door by Lauren Blakely
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
7. The Super Health Diet by KC Craichy
8. BattleWolfe by Kathryn Le Veque
9. Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
10. The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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