Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 12, 2013

 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron


AAP Sales: Lousy December, Solid Year for Trade

In December 2012, total net book sales fell 7.3%, to $1.58 billion, compared to December 2011, representing sales of 1,193 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the full year, net book sales slipped 2.2%, to $14.9 billion.

Despite the grim December, trade publishing as a whole had a solid year: for all of 2012, adult book sales rose 5.6%, to $4.86 billion; children's/YA was up 13.1%, to $1.68 billion; and university press rose 10% to $33 million. All other categories declined: religious slipped 5.4%, to $576.6 million; professional was off 5.1%, to $712.1 million; higher ed was down 5.3%, to $4.24 billion; and K-12 fell 15.9%, to $2.68 billion.

In December, three of the four categories that rose were e-books, although only one, university e-books, up 158.9%, had the phenomenal growth rate that used to be associated with e-books. Sales of adult e-books continued to slow, although the 19.5% gain was No. 3 among categories. 

To emphasize the erratic nature of month-to-month sales for some categories, mass market was the worst category in October--with sales that had fallen 28.1%, to $28.2 million--but in November mass market was No. 2 on the list, with sales of $38.2 million, a gain of 75.5%. In December, mass market was down 11%, to $31.4 million.



% Change

 University press e-books

 $1.1 million



 $172.7 million


 Adult e-books

 $97.8 million


 Religious e-books

 $4.8 million





 University hardcovers

  $5 million


 Downloaded audio

 $10.8 million


 Children's board books

  $5 million


 University paperbacks

  $7.3 million


 Higher ed

 $743.7 million


 Professional publishing

 $89.9 million


 Mass market

 $31.4 million


 Adult paperbacks

 $120.7 million


 Adult hardcovers

 $120.5 million


 Children's/YA e-books

 $10.5 million


 Children's/YA paperbacks

 $39.9 million


 Religious hardcovers

 $22.7 million


 Religious paperbacks

 $12.2 million


 Physical audiobooks

  $8.1 million


 Children's/YA hardcovers

 $55.6 million



G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood

General Retail Sales in March: 'Tepid' Growth

General retail sales for March were "tepid" for the second consecutive month, "blasted by cold weather and a still-uncertain consumer," and "weren't helped by Easter landing early this year," the Wall Street Journal reported. For the month, Thomson Reuters reported that sales at stores open at least a year increased 1.9%, short of the anticipated 2.2% gain, for the 11 retailers tracked, compared to 7.1% a year ago.
"The mass public is still not feeling good about discretionary spending," said Nancy Liu of Kurt Salmon. "Gas prices are still high, the job market is still slow to recover, so there is a lack of confidence."

Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Futter Named Publisher of Twelve

Deb Futter has been named publisher of Twelve, and will continue in her role as president, editor-in-chief of Grand Central Publishing. Futter joined GCP in 2007 after spending 25 years at various Random House imprints. She replaces Cary Goldstein, who is leaving to pursue other interests, though he will remain as a consultant through May 1.  

"The Twelve list is a jewel in the publishing landscape," she said. "Since its inception, Twelve has been a singular publisher and I am excited to shepherd a new era for this illustrious imprint."
Jamie Raab, Grand Central's president and publisher, said she "can't think of a sharper or more experienced editorial voice to shape this dynamic list than Deb. Since she came to Grand Central, her editorial eye has enhanced the entire GCP publishing program and I can't wait to see what she brings to Twelve."

Health-Food Cafe Opening at breathe books

Breathe books, Baltimore, Md., plans to add a health-food cafe to its store next month, offering gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and Ayurvedic options, the Baltimore Sun reported. Owner Susan Weis-Bohlen said the cafe "will not be using white flour or white sugar; every ingredient will have some sort of nutritional quality. So we'll use dates instead of white sugar--or agave or maple syrup or honey; things that have vitamins and minerals."

She raised $150,000 in funding for the cafe through loans and investments from friends and customers, and is "using the money to build a commercial kitchen in the 1880s-era building and set up tables in the bookstore and on the second floor, as well as build a coffee bar on the wrap-around porch," the Sun wrote.

"The people who invested said, 'Yes, we need something like this in the community,' " Weis-Bohlen observed. "And for me that's the really exciting part of this."

Winstead "Ted" Rouse, founder of Big City Farms and one of those lenders, said, "I'm very enthusiastic about the food they plan to make and I don't think there's anything quite like it in Baltimore. I love helping locally owned businesses because they're so much more likely to recirculate our dollars in our cities and our charities. It's very much a triple-bottom-line business--people, planet, profit."

The staff will include Renee and Don Gorman, who previously owned a health-food restaurant  and now have a popular food stand at the Waverly farmers' market, as well as pastry chef Joanne Goshen, formerly of the old Louie's Bookstore Cafe.

"These are people who have lived this lifestyle for decades already," Weis-Bohlen said. "This is not a fad, this is their passion."

Marketplace Fairness Act: Booksellers' D.C. Fly-In

Sarah Pishko of Prince Books, Norfolk, Va., and Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan., joined a number of other small business owners in Washington, D.C., yesterday to meet with members of Congress, Bookselling This Week reported. With U.S. Representatives Steve Womack and Jackie Speier, they also held a press conference highlighting the importance of passing the Marketplace Fairness Act this year. The "fly-in" was organized by the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.

"No online retailer should get a free pass when it comes to collecting sales tax," said Pishko. "Government should not have two different sets of rules for retailers that compete against one another, that sort of interference in the free market is driving local retailers out of business. By coming to Washington, I hope our leaders can see how important this issue is to small businesses in Virginia that make up the backbone of our communities." Now Selling E-Books in U.S., a retailer of e-books in Spanish based in Argentina, opened its portal for business in the U.S. yesterday, allowing Spanish-language readers to download more than 50,000 books, novels and textbooks on a variety of devices, including iPads, smartphones and tablets with Android OS, netbooks, notebooks or desktop computers.

Viviana Zocco, founder and president of parent company VI-DA Group, expressed confidence "that we will provide a much needed service to millions of people, whether they are a casual reader or a student studying Spanish." They are entering an extremely competitive market here, however, with Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble already offering Spanish-language e-book stores.

Obituary Note: Melvin Weiner

Melvin Weiner, sales manager at Sellers Publishing since 1994, died on April 8 of cancer. He was 63.

Weiner was the first employee at what was then Ronnie Sellers Productions, which had all of eight calendar titles and was located in a bedroom of Sellers's home in Kennebunk, Maine. Weiner was instrumental in helping the company grow over the past 19 years. Before joining Sellers Publishing, he was a founder, co-owner and sales manager of Renaissance Greeting Cards.

The company said Weiner "will be remembered by his co-workers, customers and colleagues for his unwavering reliability, his unparalleled attention to detail, his indefatigable sense of humor and his vast collection of outlandish neckties. A testament of Melvin's character and commitment to his co-workers and customers is that he continued to mentor Jeff Hall, who is assuming Melvin's sales responsibilities, even while he was engaged in his fight against cancer."

Contributions may be made in Weiner's honor to Pathways to Peace, P.O. Box 1057, Larkspur, Calif. 94977.


Image of the Day: The Signing Must Go On

From a stormy post Wednesday night on the Facebook page for Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.: "A tornado warning interrupted our Dinner Party with Mary Roach [Gulp], so we're forging ahead with an impromptu book signing in the basement of L'Ecole Culinaire! Mary's signing in the stairs like a rock star."

Hickory Stick's Fran Keilty: 'This Is a People Business'

"I never wanted to own a bookstore, but if I was going to, this was the one," Fran Keilty, owner of Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, Conn., told Rural Intelligence. "This is where I came when I was a child. I've always been a bookseller; before this I was part of [New Haven's] Atticus, commuting over two hours a day. Then this opportunity presented itself about ten years ago, and everything fell into place. Not to mention this is eight minutes from my house."

Keilty, the fourth owner in Hickory Stick's 60-year history, noted that real estate agents "use having a local bookstore as a great selling feature. Litchfield County is filled with so many writers, artists, literary agents, and people who make books and like books, it's perfect.... You have to be connected to people. This is a people business. Lots of other towns have high-end things. But Washington is rare. It's where you can really live. It has a hardware store, clothing stores, a grocery store, and good restaurants. The Hickory Stick is one of the amenities.... We are a community bookstore. If we are not going to act as a community bookstore, we have no reason to exist."

OUP's Distribution Center: The Video Tour

Abraham Associates sales rep John Mesjak's My3Books blog featured a video tour of Oxford University Press USA's distribution center in Cary, N.C. "This video from one of my client publishers... will show you the tall racks with multiple levels of pallets, as well as the smaller shelves with individual piles of books. 4.5 million books in stock at any given time! That is a lot of books. And they mounted a camera on a box on the conveyor belt! Awesome!" Mesjak wrote.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sherman Alexie on Moyers & Company

This morning on the Today Show: Gabrielle Reese, author of My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life (Scribner, $25, 9781451692662). She will also be on NBC's Rock Center today and on Weekend Today tomorrow.


Tomorrow morning on Weekend Today: Gabrielle Reese, author of My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life (Scribner, $25, 9781451692662).


Tomorrow on Moyers & Company: Sherman Alexie, author of Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories (Grove, $27, 9780802120397).


Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend Edition: Marie Arana, author of Bolivar: American Liberator (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781439110195).


Tomorrow on Fox's Huckabee: Carol Burnett, author of Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 9781476706412).


Sunday on CNBC's On the Money with Maria Bartiromo: Cass R. Sunstein, author of Simpler: The Future of Government (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476726595).

Movies: Summer in February; Beautiful Ruins

The first trailer has been released for Summer in February, adapted from the book by Jonathan Smith (who also wrote the screenplay), Indiewire reported. Directed by Christopher Menaul, the project stars Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning and Dan Stevens.


Cross Creek Pictures' Todd Field (Little Children) "is teaming up with Smuggler Films to produce, co-write and direct Beautiful Ruins," based on the novel by Jess Walter, Indiewire reported, calling it "an ambitious project to tackle."

Books & Authors

Awards: IACP; Edward Lewis Wallant; Walt Whitman; Griffin

Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed Press) was named Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, honoring the best in food writing, photography, design and journalism. Jerusalem also won in the international category. Check here for a complete list of IACP category winners.


Joshua Henkin won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, presented annually to "an American writer whose published creative work of fiction is considered to have significance for the American Jew," for his novel The World Without You (Vintage), which has just been released in paperback. Henkin will be honored at an awards dinner and presentation April 17.  


Chris Hosea won the Walt Whitman Award, which recognizes an American who has never before published a book of poetry, for Put Your Hands In. Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, the prize includes $5,000, publication by Louisiana State University Press and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center.


Shortlists for the Griffin Poetry Prize have been announced. The winners of the $65,000 international and Canadian prizes will be named June 13. This year's finalists, who each receive $10,000, are:

Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems by Ghassan Zaqtan, translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah
Liquid Nitrogen by Jennifer Maiden
Night of the Republic by Alan Shapiro
Our Andromeda by Brenda Shaughnessy

What's the Score? by David W. McFadden
Sailing to Babylon by James Pollock
Personals by Ian Williams

Book Brahmin: Christina Schwarz

photo: Deone Jahnke

Christina Schwarz writes fiction because, she says, "nothing in her real life is all that interesting." She was born and raised in Wisconsin and then went to Yale, where she became simultaneously convinced that she wanted to be a writer and that she would never be a writer. To avoid writing, she taught high school English in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. She lives with her family in Southern California. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club pick Drowning Ruth. Her new novel is The Edge of the Earth (Atria, April 2, 2013).

On your nightstand now:

An advance copy of Sparta by Roxana Robinson. Every time I open one of Robinson's books, I'm newly impressed by her ability to convey emotion with freshness and precision, and by her fearlessness in writing about subjects that I assume are far outside of her own experience. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans by T.R. Fehrenbach (research for the novel I'm working on now). V.S. Prichett's Complete Collected Essays. Sports Illustrated Kids (my son colonizes all surfaces with his own reading material).

Favorite book when you were a child:

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Koningsburg and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. You could bury me with these and I'd be both entertained and comforted through eternity.

Your top five authors:

Such an impossible question! I particularly admire writers from the late 19th and early 20th century--Edith Wharton (I can't even choose a favorite among Age of Innocence, House of Mirth and Ethan Frome), William Dean Howells (especially for The Rise of Silas Lapham and Hazard of New Fortunes) and Leo Tolstoy. They do it all--expose society's foibles, capture the manners of their time, effortlessly employ graceful and exacting prose, and concoct interesting plots, while keeping character and psychology--for me the essence of compelling fiction--at the center of their stories. And they were prolific--I admire that, too. I treasure Barbara Pym; how acutely and wryly and with what sympathy she recognizes and minutely defines the drama that fills even the most quotidian exchanges. (Of course, this also means I'm a Jane Austen devotee.) I'm overawed by the genius with which Virginia Woolf transforms ideas and sensations into words on paper. Gustav Flaubert must be on my list, since I think Madame Bovary is a perfect novel. Contemporary authors I'm nearly always delighted with include Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Kate Grenville, Kate Atkinson, Jane Smiley, Elizabeth Strout, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Lodge.... Is this more than five?

Book you've faked reading:

I kept Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man by Garry Wills on the floor near my bed for literally years, moving it from Los Angeles to New York to New Hampshire, but I never actually finished it. I want to be the kind of person who devours exceptionally thoughtful and well-written nonfiction but to my dismay I'm apparently not. Yet.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell--this masterpiece that crystallizes the emotions, attitudes and inchoate yearnings of an upper-middle-class housewife in prewar Kansas City keeps being resurrected and then seems to get lost again. William McPherson's elegant Testing the Current, which conveys the inevitable poignancy of growing up. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis and New Grub Street by George Gissing--both superb novels, at once funny and bleak, and filled with characters and incidents strikingly and uncomfortably true, by authors whose other works are flawed.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A new edition of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The covers of Persephone Books and of new Virago hardcovers are particularly beautiful as well. I could also list those I've read most recently--The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins and Good Behaviour by Molly Keane--under a question like "Books that made you want to read everything else by their authors."

Book that changed your life:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. My mother gave me both these books when I was in seventh grade and I read them in the car driving from Wisconsin to Wyoming and back. (I almost missed the Badlands.) I'd feared that my reading life--the pleasure I felt at being sucked into the world of the book at hand--would end when I crossed into the realm of what I assumed to be dull adult literature (admittedly, a weird, reader-girl anxiety), and was immensely relieved to find that grown-up books were just as engrossing as the ones I'd always loved. Maybe these aren't books that changed my life so much as books that showed me that my life would never change.

Favorite line from a book:

"I am the blind date!" from In God We Trust (All Others Pay Cash) by Jean Shepherd. Reeling self-awareness following on the heels of hilarious self-delusion is Shepherd's hallmark. His books also fall into the category of "Favorite Stories to Read Aloud."

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

These would be books filled with delicious tension that have surprising but satisfyingly inevitable ends:
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara.

Book Review

Review: The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley (Ecco, $15.99 paperback, 9780062099440, April 23, 2013)

Folkloric elements blend with pure romance in Rhonda Riley's startling The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, a debut novel that raises questions about how well we ever know our loved ones--and whether it even matters.

In the aftermath of World War II, the course of Evelyn Roe's young life changes forever when she unearths a horribly scarred person buried in the red clay of her family's North Carolina farm. At first she assumes she has found a former soldier, injured in combat, but as the apparent scarring quickly transfigures itself into new skin and features, Evelyn realizes something fantastical is at work. She finds herself in charge of a fully grown being who remembers nothing of its past, who can change form as well as gender, who is both otherworldly and completely human.

Determined to protect this innocent life, Evelyn makes up a history for "A" (also known as Adam) that will allow them to live a normal life--they marry, work the land and produce children, their love and commitment strengthening as the years pass. However common their lives may seem, though, questions remain: Who--and what-- is Adam? More importantly, perhaps, how much of their father's nature have their daughters inherited, and how can Evelyn explain that to them when she herself does not understand?

Riley's unusual meditation on the private worlds we build to shelter our partners and our children is written with earthiness and deep appreciation for the power of the land. Adam's supernatural qualities are balanced by a naïve joy and acceptance of the world at face value that Evelyn, with her greater understanding of human society, must temper in order to protect their secrets. Her guilt over the lies she must tell her family is mitigated by the discovery that her parents have in turn kept a secret for the sake of protecting her--that humans use layers of deception not only for evil purposes but out of love.

Both dreamily erotic and filled with the relatable minutiae of day-to-day life, Evelyn and Adam's love story will make readers reassess the topography of their own origin stories and question whether it's possible to divorce what has happened in the past from what is happening in the present. --Jaclyn Fulwood

Shelf Talker: A young woman falls deeply in love with a supernatural being she unearths on her family's farm but must hide his nature from the outside world.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Poetry Month--A Geographic Sampler

Can you hear it? That's the subtle hum, like an electric current, of poetry being written, read and spoken nationwide every day. All you have to do is pay attention. In April, there's so much happening it would be impossible to showcase a small percentage of the Poetry Month festivities and programs, but here are three different approaches that attracted my attention recently for different reasons.

Mitchell Kaplan's Book & Books is a sponsor and official bookseller for the O, Miami Poetry Festival. His relationship to poetry is deeply connected with his vocation. "Our very first event, over 30 years ago, was an open poetry reading," he recalled. "We were a very small, 500-square-foot store then and so many people turned out that we had to have the reading in shifts. For years and years we continued with our last Friday of the month open poetry reading."

Kaplan said that from the beginning, his desire to support poets and poetry was "hard to separate from my desire to open a bookshop. It was in a 20th-century poetry class at the University of Colorado that I first thought about opening a store. It's where I learned about Shakespeare & Company and discovered poets like Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Pablo Neruda, et al. I discovered City Lights editions and went to readings by Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg, who were making appearances at the Naropa Institute in Boulder. Having a bookstore to carry poetry and have readings seemed like the calling I was looking for. Over one Thanksgiving holiday, I made it to City Lights Bookstore and felt like I was home."

After leaving law school, Kaplan chose "to find my way in the world by becoming a bookstore owner. I devoted a large space to our poetry section and ordered everything I could find." And now, decades later, he offers high praise to Scott Cunningham, a young poet who "reminds me of me back then. He has a passion for poetry and poets and has taken it upon himself to be the driving force behind the second O, Miami Poetry Festival. He's doing a wonderful job bringing poetry to non-traditional audiences and he has a wonderful aesthetic."

In the Midwest, Common Good Books, St. Paul, Minn., is hosting "a slew of readings--17 poets at last count," according to David Enyeart, event coordinator and assistant manager. "They come from Minnesota, of course, but also from across the country." Another project, 20 Questions, asks poets: "Where, ideally, would or do you plan to put some poetry this month?"

The bookstore is also sponsoring its first annual "Common Good Books Amateur Love Poem Contest," which garnered more than 150 submissions. Proprietor Garrison Keillor "has selected 12 finalists. The chosen poems are now hanging on large posters (three by four feet) throughout the store," Enyeart noted. "Readers can read them all and vote for their favorite. All the finalists have been invited to our April 21 celebration of poetry, hosted by the proprietor himself. The finalists will read their entries, and we'll announce the winner of the contest."

Tavern Books making a donation drop at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Tribal Library. r.: founding editor Michael McGriff, managing editor Natalie Garyet, founding editor Carl Adamshick, head librarian Marion Mercier.

In the Pacific Northwest, Tavern Books publishers Michael McGriff and Carl Adamschick launched Poetry State, an ongoing campaign to build and sustain the circulating poetry collections in Oregon libraries. They collect donated poetry books from publishers, individuals and bookstores (in addition to purchasing new titles) and then distribute them free of charge to any library in the state expressing need for an enhanced poetry collection, with a particular focus on those serving rural communities of 5,000 or fewer, Tribal populations and Oregonians in need. The project also provides books to alternative book-lending programs and social services. To date, 2,500 poetry books have been donated.

"The program is expanding rapidly, and we find ourselves constantly reminded of the need for this service within Oregon libraries," said managing editor Natalie Garyet. "Running it has proven to be a formative experience for Tavern Books as well; it has allowed us to give back to our community in a tangible way and to enact our mission to 'disseminate books in a way that benefits the reading public.' "

Can you hear it now? That, my friends, is the exquisite sound of poems making their way in the world. Poetry is everywhere. "We can leave it out on the counter for our beloved, like a bowl of yellow pears," Dobby Gibson observes in his answer to that question posed by Common Good Books. "Or we can fold it up into a tiny square and bury it in our sock drawer, like our most dangerous secret. Either way, it will lie there patiently and wait to be discovered." --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now).

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles on in March

The bestselling books on in March:  

1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
2. Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All by Russell Simmons
3. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
5. The Best of Cooking Light by Cooking Light Magazine
6. The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey
8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
10. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The bestselling signed books on in March:

1. Wool by Hugh Howey
2. The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee
3. The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates
4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
5. Sum It Up by Pat Summitt
6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
7. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
8. Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia
9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
10. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt    

[Many thanks to!]

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