Shelf Awareness publishes two newsletters, one for general readers and one for people in the book business.
Shelf Awareness is published each Friday and helps readers discover the 25 best books of the week, as chosen by booksellers, librarians and other industry experts. We also have news about books and authors, author interviews and more.
Shelf Awareness Pro, which we've been publishing since June 2005, provides booksellers and librarians the information they need to sell and lend books. It appears every business day and is read by people throughout the book industry.
Both newsletters are free. Sign up here.
Who We Are
John Mutter is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Shelf Awareness. He was the longtime executive editor of bookselling at Publishers Weekly and executive editor of the former PW Daily for Booksellers. He enjoys reading anything funny or mysterious and loves maps, crossword puzzles, running, visiting bookstores, travel and watching Jenn Risko demonstrate the fine art of business.
Jenn Risko is the co-founder and publisher of the Shelf. She has held sales, marketing and management positions during the past 15 years with book publishers such as Rand McNally, Insiders' Guides and National Academies Press. When she isn’t planning parties, cooking with her daughter, or at spin class, you’ll find her on her deck enjoying a drink and hatching her latest plan to take over the universe so she can keep John Mutter in fine wine and calamari.
Richard Jobes is our chief financial officer. He holds a bachelors degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska, an MBA from the University of Michigan and was a financial strategist for years in cell phone related businesses. He fell in love with cinema via basement classroom viewings of classics like Persona and The Third Man presented by various U of M film societies. Subsequent searches for complete screenplays led him many times to the cozy and well-stocked Borders bookstore in Ann Arbor--works of Dick Francis, C.S. Lewis and The Far Side collections he found there provided escape and perspective during the travails of graduate school. Richard has a deep pain-and-pleasure obsession with Cornhusker college football and women's college volleyball. He lives in Seattle, near Wide World Books & Maps, and now loves sushi even more than steak.
Neil Strandberg is our director of technology and operations and brings to Shelf Awareness 25 years of experience in the independent bookselling community, most recently as the American Booksellers Association director of technology, where he was responsible for the e-commerce platform IndieCommerce, digital content partnerships and other tech projects. Neil applies his experience with technology, retail and bookselling to support Shelf Awareness staff and its many projects and is always eager to "talk shop" with booksellers and publishers, when not enjoying the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest with his family.
Matt Baldacci is our director of business development, meaning he's the guy to talk to for anything from planning the best way to use the Shelf to reach your marketing objectives to the craziest, unlikely idea you have to sell books. He has worked as a roofer, bank teller, teacher, social chairman, and publishing executive, with experience at S&S Children's, Simon & Schuster, DK, St. Martin's Press and Scholastic. Matt lives with his wife and children in Summit, N.J., but likes Seattle and visits often. He enjoys paddle tennis, being the bartender, rooting for the Yankees, and spending time with his extended family. In fine Shelf tradition, he’s a New York Giants fan.
As marketing director at Shelf Awareness, Rachel brings 30 years of bookselling experience in many forms, from co-op manager at B&N to editorial director at Plume to associate publisher of Ecco and many more. Rachel taught herself to read at age three and has been a voracious reader ever since. She loves historical fiction, anything romantic, tightly plotted thrillers and pouring over cookbooks for recipes she is too undisciplined to follow. She lives in the Tristate area with her husband and beloved cocker spaniel, Panda. On weekends you will often find her performing wedding ceremonies, making art or eating sushi.
Jenny Brown, senior editor, grew up in Athena and John Rollins Bookstores and the Kalamazoo Public Library in Michigan (hence @Gal_Kalamazoo). She has served in editorial roles at Harper and Knopf, edited reviews at Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness and has been the librarian at Bank Street College of Education. Her tastes run from Joyce's Ulysses (the subject of her college thesis) to Toni Morrison to Maurice Sendak and Anne Lamott. When she's not reading, you may find Jenny performing at Don't Tell Mama in New York. (photo: Michael Lionstar)
Robin Lenz has been a bookseller (indie), a librarian, a bookseller (indie, then chain, then indie), did a brief stint at a large publishing house and spent many years as managing editor at Publishers Weekly. She now gets to combine her loves for things geekish and things bookish as managing editor of Shelf Awareness. Besides brightening the newsletter with more illustrations, she copyedits, organizes, scours the Internet for story leads and is our constant presence in the Twitterverse.
Children’s/YA editor Siân Gaetano has a Masters in Children's Literature from Simmons College and experience as a book reviewer, publicity assistant, reader of manuscripts for Arthur A. Levine, and as an assistant editor for the Horn Book Guide. Siân currently resides in Providence with an overlarge book collection and two cats named after cheeses.
Partnership program manager Kristianne Huntsberger has worn a few hats: writer, teacher, storyteller and bookseller (Elliott Bay Book Co. Pioneer Square alum). Some of her earliest reading memories are The Phoenix and the Carpet and Hans Christian Anderson. The book she reads most frequently is Moby-Dick. Her bookshelves are full of travel narratives, off-kilter fiction and fairytales. When she's not traipsing about in far-flung corners of the world, she walks wide circles around town to discover strange landmarks in familiar places and record them on Spectator Spots.
Dave Wheeler, associate editor, joined Shelf Awareness after working for several years as a bookseller, at both The Elliott Bay Book Company and Village Books. His favorite authors include Bill Hayes, Hari Kunzru, Ruth Ozeki and Hanya Yanagihara. When he's not reading he's writing, and he earned his BA in Creative Writing from Western Washington University. In his spare time, he likes to try recipes from cookbooks that he has primarily accumulated for the pictures. Results vary widely.
Alex Mutter is our associate editor. He profiles booksellers, covers author events and reports on trade shows. His first job was a part-time gig at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, N.J., and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in Creative Writing. Before joining Shelf Awareness, he interned with Publishing Perspectives as an editorial assistant. He is an avid hiker and traveler. His German is poor, but he tries. When he's not working, he's reading, writing, drinking coffee with abandon and obsessing over the New York Giants. He is an evangelist for Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan, and True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.
Robert Gray is a contributing editor and weekly columnist for Shelf Awareness. For 15 years he was a bookseller and buyer at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt., but before that he worked as managing editor of Sailboard News, a windsurfing trade magazine based in landlocked Vermont. Learning how to read unpredictable, sometimes hazardous winds and waves proved to be ideal training for understanding the publishing world. He has written for numerous publications, ranging from Cimarron Review to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
Casey Stryer is the production assistant at Shelf Awareness. Before joining the Shelf, he was a bookseller for 14 years, starting his career at Barnes & Noble, and then working at the venerable Elliott Bay Book Company for a decade. Casey can be found most days walking his dogs, Orpheus (Orphie) and Watson, reading young adult or middle grade novels, bingeing on television, or cooking something he found at the farmer’s market that week.
Hartley Christensen is the sales and marketing assistant at Shelf Awareness. She previously worked in publicity, editing, and sales at Big Five and boutique publishing houses. She loves to hike, veganize recipes, and explore her new home in the Windy City. As clichéd as it sounds, used books with penned-in notes, rich coffee, and the Oxford comma keep her lights on and conversations charged.
Elaine Cho is our publishing assistant and most recently comes from a stint as a bookseller at the illustrious Elliott Bay Book Company. She's worked for various arts nonprofits around Seattle and has an MFA in Flute Performance from CalArts. There, she first cut her teeth on improvisation during a rehearsal where the conductor suddenly hissed at her: "We need flutey stuff! Play some flutey stuff!" Other than flutey stuff, she loves watching and talking film (anything from Edward Yang to aspect ratios to which Fast and Furious movie is the best), and is a film critic for Mediaversity.
Alex Baker is the art director, mascot dresser and designer for Shelf Awareness. He has a background in painting, fine-art printmaking and book design and binding and is probably the only member of staff to have actually done a saddle stitch. When not designing or playing the role of wrench in an otherwise well-oiled machine, Alex can be found experimenting in the kitchen, reading, playing with his old cars or trying to finish the remodel on his house. Or drinking.