Also published on this date: Monday, April 24, 2023: Maximum Shelf: Little Monsters

Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 24, 2023

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


Kunokuniya to Open 'Southeastern Flagship' in Atlanta

In June, Kinokuniya is opening a store in Johns Creek, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, that will be its second-largest in the U.S., following the New York City store. The 11,200-square-feet location will be the company's "flagship for the southeastern U.S.A.," Kinokuniya said, serving as "a foothold for business expansion" in the region, which has seen "remarkable population and economic growth in recent years."

The Atlanta store will offer "a wide range of books, especially manga, which has been gaining popularity in recent years, as well as high-quality, functional, and well-designed Japanese stationery and general merchandise." Inventory will include anime, Ghibli goods, Godzilla products, and Gundam plastic models. The company added that "while absorbing the diverse cultures of the local Atlanta community and its residents, the store will be a space where people with different cultures and values can gather and stimulate each other's intellectual curiosity."

The Johns Creek store is Kinokuniya's 21st store in the U.S.; the first opened in San Francisco, Calif., in 1969. The 95-year-old company is one of the largest booksellers in Japan and, besides the U.S., has branches in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Cambodia. Since 2016, Kinokuniya sells Japanese books in Vietnam in partnership with FAHASA.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

B&N to Open Store in West Lebanon, N.H.

Barnes & Noble plans to open a store in West Lebanon, N.H., according to Valley News. Until 2018, B&N College, a separate company from B&N, managed the Dartmouth Bookstore in nearby Hanover. Otherwise B&N recently has had no presence in the area known as the Upper Valley.

The new B&N will be on Route 12A, in a spot that was once the site of a Party City location. The B&N store will have 10,000 square feet of space and stock about 30,000 titles.

Janine Flanigan, director of store planning and design at B&N, told Valley News that the company is "targeting early August" for opening.

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

LBF2023: The Audio Boom Continues

Current audio sales are estimated at $5 billion worldwide, and predictions are that they will grow about 14% a year and reach $9 billion by 2026, according to Videl Bar-Kar of Bookwire, who moderated the panel Global Audio Publishing Opportunities last Wednesday at the London Book Fair.

Michelle Cobb of the Audio Publishers Association added more milestones for audio's phenomenal growth, noting that in the U.S., audio has had 10 years of double-digit growth and that in 2011, 7,000 audio titles were produced, while in 2021, 74,000 audio titles were produced. There are many more opportunities for audio: a recent survey showed less than half of Americans have ever listened to an audiobook. Bar-Kar noted another sign of audio's potential: only 8%-10% of e-books are available in audio.

(From l.) Michelle Cobb, David Kaefer, Chantal Restivo-Alessi, and Videl Bar-Kar

Cobb added that more and more titles are being produced in more categories and that multi-voice drama is attracting more listeners. And an increasing amount of audio titles are not based on traditional books, but are originals or poetry, for example.

Another positive trend is that more people are listening to audio while not doing other things such as while driving or doing the laundry. "They're just listening to relax and get away from screens," she said.

Saying that her company has "always believed in audio" and that "there are huge opportunities," Chantal Restivo-Alessi of HarperCollins suggested that publishers offer a book "in any format," including print, digital, and audio, with simultaneous publication. "Consumers don't care necessarily about format." Instead, they "want the title."

She acknowledged that simultaneous publication can be a problem when translations are involved. She noted, too, that during the pandemic, audio borrowing grew in libraries, and "parents discovered audiobooks for children."

Restivo-Alessi said some retailers were especially good at bringing an author's backlist to the attention of consumers, adding that HarperCollins has 200 years of backlist to mine--"the job is never finished."

As at many panels during the fair, the strengths and limitations of AI were discussed. Restivo-Alessi said that there are "great opportunities" in AI-generated narrations that start with "respecting the wishes" of authors and their estates. Sometimes, she noted, especially with translations, it's "easier to put out a product in text-to-speech," and she observed that some self-published authors are using AI narrations.

AI has been very helpful in streamlining work flow, Restivo-Alessi added. "It's exciting how much more productive it can be."

Cobb said that while AI will be part of the business and "technology cannot be stopped, we will never lose that amazing connection we have when you listen to an audiobook performed by a human narrator. That emotionality is something that I can't imagine a machine bringing to me." Thus, Cobb believes that "a portion of the market" will be done by AI, but "we'll still have amazing multi-voice audio dramas and single voice productions that can't be created in the technology space." She added that AI is great in post-production.

David Kaefer of Spotify recounted that the company has expanded from offering just music to podcasts and then audio in an effort to be a "listening-first platform."

Kaefer stressed the importance of matching new audio users with the right first title. "It's not easy out of the gate," he said. But Spotify's podcasting experience "gives us a good start." The company is emphasizing the importance of making discovery as easy and efficient as possible for consumers--and making sure that "what they find is fantastic." --John Mutter

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Obituary Note: John Maggitti

John Maggitti

John Maggitti, co-founder of Novel Bay Booksellers, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., died April 8. He was 63. The bookstore posted on Facebook, in part: "Our hearts are heavy at the loss of Novel Bay co-founder John Maggitti. John passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday evening with Liz at his side. Per John's request there will not be a service.... Thank you to all our friends and customers who have been so supportive during this time, and continue to support the dream John and Liz have had to promote literacy and make the joy of reading accessible to the community."
Maggitti's early career "as a high-energy physicist included working on defense and national security assignments with occasional years in the private sector," his obituary noted, adding that later "John moved to Sturgeon Bay with Liz and supported her dream of opening a bookstore, Novel Bay Booksellers, in 2018 in the heart of the downtown. John enjoyed sharing his love for literature and wide depth of knowledge in many subjects."
Lion's Mouth Bookstore in Green Bay posted a tribute on Facebook: "During our few brief encounters as fellow booksellers, we were often struck by John's energy and love for the business of bookselling. John brought a certain zest to the trade that could be felt long after the visit was over, and the buzz from Novel Bay could be felt all the way down here in Green Bay. Our sympathy & love goes out to Liz and the staff, and to the tight-knit community that surrounds the Novel Bay family. May you all find moments of peace during this difficult time.... Rest easy, John, and thank you for your tireless contribution to the independent bookselling community. You will be missed."


'10 Black-owned Bookstores Across America to Visit & Support'

Showcasing "10 Black-owned Bookstores Across America to Visit & Support," Ebony magazine noted: "Even in the age of the Internet and social media, books continue to serve as important tools to educate and entertain ourselves. And let's be honest, there's nothing better than curling up with a good book! When you're searching for independently published authors of color or banned books from Black authors who speak from a truly authentic voice, it can be a challenge to find what you are looking for.

"Luckily, a variety of Black-owned bookstores across the country have stepped up to give voracious readers a safe haven to discover Black authors of the past and give new writers a platform to sell their works. Nestle yourself between the stacks inside these 10 Black-owned bookstores the next time you're in their towns."

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

Tiffany Schultz has been promoted to marketing manager at Sourcebooks.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Judy Blume on Fresh Air

CBS Mornings: Michael Gardner and Ava Gardner, authors of Daddy Dressed Me (Aladdin, $18.99, 9781665921954).

Today Show: Meghan Trainor, author of Dear Future Mama: A TMI Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood from Your Bestie (Harper Horizon, $28.99, 9781404117594). She will also appear tomorrow on the View.

Good Morning America: Emily Henry, author of Happy Place (Berkley, $27, 9780593441275).

Also on GMA: Kountry Wayne, author of Help Is on the Way: Stay Up and Live Your Truth (Harmony, $27, 9780593236475), and Madison Beer, author of The Half of It: A Memoir (Harper, $23.99, 9780063237698).

The View: Chita Rivera, author of Chita: A Memoir (HarperOne, $29.99, 9780063226791).

Tamron Hall: Kim Gravel, author of Collecting Confidence: Start Where You Are to Become the Person You Were Meant to Be (Thomas Nelson, $28.99, 9781400238453).

Drew Barrymore Show: Michelle Obama, author of The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times (Crown, $32.50, 9780593237465).

Here & Now: Alissa Quart, author of Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream (Ecco, $32, 9780063028005).

NPR's Marketplace: Rebecca Solnit, co-editor of Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility (Haymarket Books, $16.95, 9781642598971).

Fresh Air: Judy Blume, whose Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret is being released as a film this week.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Laura Dern, co-author of Honey, Baby, Mine: A Mother and Daughter Talk Life, Death, Love (and Banana Pudding) (Grand Central, $30, 9781538720370). She will also appear tomorrow on Live with Kelly and Mark.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Alison Roman, author of Sweet Enough: A Dessert Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9781984826398).

CBS Mornings: Miranda Lambert, author of Y'all Eat Yet?: Welcome to the Pretty B*tchin' Kitchen (Dey Street, $35, 9780063087781). She will also appear on Live with Kelly and Mark.

Good Morning America: Lane Moore, author of You Will Find Your People: How to Make Meaningful Friendships as an Adult (Abrams, $24.99, 9781419762567).

Also on GMA: Dolly Parton, co-author of Dolly Parton's Billy the Kid Makes It Big (Penguin Workshop, $19.99, 9780593661574).

Rachael Ray: Christopher Kimball, author of Milk Street Noodles: Secrets to the World’s Best Noodles, from Fettuccine Alfredo to Pad Thai to Miso Ramen (Voracious, $35, 9780316387767).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Rep. Katie Porter, author of I Swear: Politics Is Messier Than My Minivan (Crown, $28, 9780593443989).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Clint Smith, author of Above Ground (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316543033).

TV: Before I Let Go

Kennedy Ryan's novel Before I Let Go is in development at Peacock from UCP and Universal Television, Deadline reported. Malcolm D. Lee will direct and executive produce via his Blackmaled Productions banner alongside Dominique Telson as executive producer. Also exec producing are Get Lifted Film Co. alongside Debra Martin Chase via her Martin Chase Productions, and author Ryan. A writer has not yet been attached to the project.

The author of novels The Kingmaker, Queen Move, and the historic Audie-award winner Reel, Ryan "is the first Black author to win the romance industry's prestigious RITA Award, recently redubbed the Vivian, for her novel Long Shot," Deadline noted.

Books & Authors

Awards: Prix Voltaire Shortlist

The International Publishers Association has released the shortlist for the Prix Voltaire, which honors those "who have typically published controversial works amid pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment, be it from governments, other authorities or private interests. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record of upholding the values of freedom to publish and freedom of expression." The laureate, who receives CHF10,000 (about $11,200), will be announced on May 22 during the World Expression Forum in Lillehammer, Norway. The shortlist:

Mazen Lateef Ali, Iraq. He is the founder of the publishing house Dar Mesopotamia, which has published a range of books, including many about the Jewish communities and individuals of Iraq. On January 31, 2020, he was kidnapped at gunpoint, and his fate remains unknown.

Günışığı Kitaplığı Publishing House, Turkey. Founded in 1996, this publisher specializes in contemporary literature books for children and young adults; many of its titles have been banned and declared obscene.

Mehr Husain, Pakistan. She is a journalist, editor, author, and publisher--and founder of ZUKA Books, which aims to "create a cultural disruption by speaking up for the freedom of creative expression, gender equality, and inclusive publishing."

Ahmed Mahmoud Ibrahim Ahmed, Egypt. He is an author, photographer, and co-founder, in 2016, of Kotopia, the Egyptian publishing house. He was arrested during the Riyadh International Bookfair in October 2022 and released and returned to Egypt only last month.

Mercier Press, Ireland. Founded in 1944 by Captain Seán and Mary Feehan, Mercier Press provides accessible histories and cultural books for all who are interested in Irish life. Its titles have "challenged Catholic dogma which dominated Irish society as well as censorship in Ireland."

Book Review

Review: Sidle Creek

Sidle Creek by Jolene McIlwain (Melville House, $17.99 paperback, 256p., 9781685890414, May 16, 2023)

Jolene McIlwain's riveting debut collection, Sidle Creek, is a showcase of vivid, empathetic stories that defy the stereotypes about her home in rural Western Pennsylvania. There are hard times in these pages to be sure, but McIlwain's characters defy any single narrative; they are waitstaff, restaurateurs, farmers, miners, professors, parents, children, people who can't wait to leave, and people who've come to the area to retire. Through themes of class, nature, community, and justice, McIlwain shines light on the darker aspects of the human experience, and the ways in which people help each other and persevere.

The titular "Sidle Creek" follows a teen suffering her first menstrual cycles and her single father trying to help her through what they learn is endometriosis. Much of the story is spent fishing or thinking about the creek's purported healing powers. In the end, the creek can't provide a cure, but while the medical establishment dismisses women's pain, her father and the creek are a source of comfort for the girl. In this, McIlwain sets the tone for her collection: some pain cannot be removed, but the outdoors and loving humans provide respite.

Female infertility and child loss feature in several entries, but the stories often focus on men: on their relationships with the women in their lives, with animals, with their own humanity. McIlwain seeks to dispel narratives about Appalachian life, especially the stereotype of the stoic working man. In "Steer," for example, a middle-aged man thinks about his 16-year-old son, and wonders how to teach him to be a man without the brutality of his own father. "He feared his son would inherit from him the maintenance and heft of this border around his heart he was constantly buttressing and closing off to guarantee hurt would not breach it."

While all short story collections offer natural rest points, Sidle Creek is truly difficult to put down. McIlwain's metaphors are beautiful but not overly wrought, and while it's a pleasure to sit with her words, she's structured the collection in a way that propels readers forward. The 22 stories in Sidle Creek vary widely in length and subject but remain connected. They are brutal, softly magical, visceral, abrupt, heartbreaking, hopeful, inspiring, and frustrating. Sidle Creek is a rare gem, a compelling blend of nature and humanity perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer and Daisy Johnson's Fen. --Suzanne Krohn, librarian and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: In her debut short story collection, Jolene McIlwain dispels common narratives about Appalachian life, and explores themes of nature, community, class, and justice.

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