Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Hunters in the Dark

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


B&N First Quarter: Sales Slip; Net Loss Rises

In the first quarter ended August 1, consolidated revenue at Barnes & Noble fell 1.5%, to $1.2 billion, and the net loss was $34.9 million, compared to a net loss of $28.4 million in the same period a year ago. The results, which included college results until the college division spinoff this summer, were below Wall Street analysts' predictions. B&N also said it will pay a quarterly dividend of 15 cents on October 30.

Sales in the retail segment, including B&N stores and, fell 1.7%, to $939 million. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.1%, mainly from "growth in non-book categories." Comp bookstore sales excluding Nook products rose 1%. The company noted that book titles including Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman and E. L. James's Grey "helped offset comparisons to the strong young adult titles in the prior year, including John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, Gayle Forman's If I Stay, and Veronica Roth's Divergent series."

Sales of Nook devices, content and accessories fell 22.4%, to $54 million. The college division, which is now a free-standing company, had sales that rose 5.7%, to $239 million, benefiting "primarily from new store growth and a 1.8% comparable store sales increase."

For the rest of the fiscal year, B&N said it continues to predict that retail core comp bookstore sales, excluding Nook products, to increase about 1%.

B&N CFO Allen Lindstrom said that the company "successfully executed its major strategic initiatives during the first quarter, including the spin-off of its College business, the conversion of the Series J preferred shares into common shares and the initiation of a quarterly dividend. As we look to the second quarter and beyond, we are focused on opportunities to increase comparable store sales and reduce expenses. The company plans to further reduce Nook expenses through synergies with the retail business and we expect to see those benefits during the balance of the fiscal year."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Black Bond Books Opens Ninth Store in British Columbia

The new Black Bond Books in Coquitlam, BC.

Black Bond Books has opened another store, in Coquitlam, British Columbia, on the edge of Vancouver; the grand opening will be in mid-September. The new store is 2,300 square feet of space in a busy regional mall; Black Bond was invited back to the mall after an eight-year absence when one of Indigo's Coles locations left. The regional chain has nine Black Bond locations and two Book Warehouse stores.

Owner Cathy Jesson said that a bookstore was one of the businesses most requested by the center's customers, adding, "The fall is looking very positive all over."

Shakespeare & Co. in Paris Opening Café This Fall

More on Shakespeare & Company's plans to open a café. The iconic Paris bookseller will open the café in an adjoining building this fall in partnership with Bob's Bake Shop. The Paris by Mouth food blog reported that the café "will serve locally roasted Café Lomi beans, fresh organic juices, hand-rolled bagels and bialys, American baked goods, and vegan and gluten-free dishes. This particular Bob's project will also have a British accent in the form of an afternoon tea menu with Postcard teas, finger sandwiches, scones with cream, and fresh sourdough crumpets."

"The space next door has been empty for over 30 years, and my father always wanted to rent it for a bookshop café," said owner Sylvia Whitman, daughter of legendary bookseller George Whitman. "When the owners of the neighboring building finally decided to rent it, it came down to another branch of the ice cream chain Amorino or us. We're really lucky they chose heart over money and went with Shakespeare & Company."

Marc Grossman, owner of Bob's, noted that there will also be literary touches including Shakespeare-stamped sugar cookies (traditional or gluten-free) with every cup of coffee, a special Shakespeare shake and picnic baskets filled with wine, cheese, picnic blanket and short story."

"We're hoping to have fun with the relationship between the café and bookshop. For now, the obvious things are events around food and book placements in the café," Whitman added.  

In the early 1970s, George Whitman "had visitors make sketches of his dream café, which he intended to open in the adjacent building, if he ever managed to take it over," the New York Times wrote.

Taschen Offers 'Concept Space' in Selfridges

In partnership with W.H. Smith, art book publisher Taschen has opened a "concept space" at the Oxford Street Selfridges department store in London. The Bookseller reported that "the visually striking area" is part of Smith's concession space and celebrates publisher's 35th anniversary.

"The full branded space features the new Taschen brand identity, our bookworms designed by London based agency Graphic Thought Facility, and is now a focal point for the books both big and small," said a Taschen spokesperson. "With plans for future events to take place in the store, this is great opportunity for people visiting the Selfridges store to see Taschen's luxury product."

Taschen has about a dozen stores in the U.S. and Europe, including New York, Beverly Hills and Hollywood.

Lynn Cully New Publisher of Kensington--Again

Lynn Cully

Lynn Cully has been named publisher of Kensington Publishing. In April, she re-joined the company as director of sales after a hiatus of 15 years. In 1990, she originally joined Kensington as director of sales and was later promoted to publisher. She left in 2000 to focus on her family.

Kensington president and CEO Steven Zacharius commented: "Even though we interviewed many well-qualified people over the past year, we chose to wait until the absolute perfect candidate was available to take the job--and I'm glad we did. Lynn is the ideal publisher for Kensington. She's wonderful with accounts, agents, authors and co-workers. A voracious reader with a generous heart, Lynn is extremely dedicated to the success of this company. We are very fortunate that after being gone for 15 years, Lynn decided to come back home to Kensington."

Obituary Note: Rhoda Lerman

Rhoda Lerman, "whose critically praised novels melded history with contemporaneity, mythology with social criticism, feminism with a Jewish sensibility and snark with seriousness," died August 30, the New York Times reported. She was 79. Lerman's books include novels Call Me Ishtar, The Girl That He Marries, Eleanor, The Book of the Night and God's Ear and a nonfiction work Elsa Was Born a Dog, I Was Born a Human... Things Have Changed.


Morning Edition Focuses on the Tattered Cover

This morning NPR's Morning Edition is airing a story about the Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., with comments from long-time owner Joyce Meskis and future owners Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan. Among the many gems in the story, Meskis described her original concept of the store this way: "I was there to buy a book.... But I also wanted to be comfortable. I wanted service sometimes. Sometimes I just wanted to be by myself. It's nothing more than treating the customer as you'd want to be treated."

Interestingly, it turns out NPR correspondent Scott Horsley is a Tattered Cover alumnus. Near the end of the piece, he noted: "I got a taste of [Tattered Cover's thorough] training when I held an after-school job as a shipping clerk at the bookstore in the 1980s. Meskis warned me the work would not be glamorous, and there wouldn't be much time for reading. There was a radio in the stock room, though, where I first heard a program called All Things Considered. (We listened carefully any time a book was mentioned, because listeners would unfailingly come looking for it the following day.)"

See and hear the story here.

Main Street Books Owner a 'Pillar of Downtown'

Since opening Main Street Books in downtown Hattiesburg, Miss., in 2002 with her husband, Jerry, co-owner Diane Shepherd "has been much more than a business owner. She's a pillar of downtown whose involvement has been felt throughout the Hub City," the Clarion-Ledger reported.

"We just were talking about something we could do together when we both retired," said Shepherd, who from the beginning worked to cross-promote Main Street Books with other downtown businesses. "(Downtown) just came natural to me because this is where I was born and raised, and I have very close ties to downtown. It just seemed like the natural progression."

Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association noted that Shepherd has "always got something going on in the store, whether it's an artist or something else. She promotes the other stores, whether it's A Gallery or Southern Fried Comics, or Click Boutique and Stitched when they were here. And she's always willing to kind of mentor with other merchants. She brainstorms ways to help them better market, and she's very creative."

Shepherd's theory is a simple one: "This is my home, and home is good. As much as I've visited--and there's still places I'd like to visit--there's no place like home. It's just where God dropped me, and it's where I've been, and I just can't ask for a better life."

Bittersweet Books & Coffee: 'A Taste of the Sweet Life'

"Not only does the new Bittersweet Books & Coffee have the distinction of being the only bookstore in Americus, Georgia; it is also, uniquely, housed within a renovated 19th century opera house in the city's historic downtown," Bookselling This Week reported in a profile with the tasty headline: "Bittersweet Books & Coffee Offers a Taste of the Sweet Life."

Opened in May by Elena Albamonte and Chuck Faaborg, the business "has since become a haven where community members can find new and used books for all interests; browse a wide selection of vintage and new comic books; and indulge in gourmet chocolates, coffee and desserts at the store's café."

"For this town, it's a very unique kind of store," said Albamonte. "We wanted our bookstore to be a sort of community hangout place, where everybody would be comfortable."

PGW to Distribute Annick Press in U.S.

Publishers Group West will handle sales and distribution of Annick Press print books in the U.S. PGW will begin shipping Annick's backlist titles in January 2016, with a Spring 2016 launch for frontlist.

Founded 40 years ago, Annick Press, with editorial offices in Toronto and Vancouver, publishes children's and YA fiction and nonfiction. Annick is well known for its picture books, including Robert Munsch's The Paperbag Princess. In recent years, Annick has developed middle grade nonfiction series on educational topics ranging from ancient history to science and animal behavior. Annick is also committed to publishing books on issues that affect young adults, such as bullying, relationships, and sexuality.

PGW head of business development Kevin Votel said, "This new partnership with Annick is a great opportunity for PGW to continue to build on our strong and growing children's catalogue. We've long admired Annick's award-winning program and look forward to working together to increase their presence in the U.S. market."

Personnel Changes at David Godine

At David Godine, Publisher:

Sue Berger Ramin has returned to the company as associate publisher. She formerly was director of business development for Bibliomotion, and before that she worked at Godine for nine years in editorial, marketing and rights. She has also worked at Penguin (as v-p, film & TV publishing), Collins, Macmillan and Andre Deutsch.

Tildy Banker-Johnson has joined the company as sales manager, with an interest in children's books. She previously worked at Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth Mass., Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., and the Carolyn Jenks Literary Agency.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Damon Tweedy on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Damon Tweedy, author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflection on Race and Medicine (Picador, $26, 9781250044631).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: David Gregory, author of How's Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451651607).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Luther Campbell, author of The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and Liberty City (Amistad, $24.99, 9780062336408).


Tomorrow on Entertainment Tonight: Beverly Johnson, co-author of The Face That Changed It All: A Memoir (Atria, $28, 9781476774411).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Seth Meyers: Neil Patrick Harris, author of Choose Your Own Autobiography (Three Rivers Press, $16, 9780385347013).

Movies: Beasts of No Nation Trailer

Writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga's Beasts of No Nation "has only just begun screening at film festivals, but it is earning rave reviews out of the gate," the Wall Street Journal reported in featuring a trailer from the film based on Uzodinma Iweala's novel. The movie, starring Idris Elba and Abraham Attah, is Fukunaga's first directorial project since his Emmy-winning season one of HBO's True Detective. Beasts of No Nation debuts on Netflix and in select theaters October 16.

Books & Authors

Awards: Richell for Emerging Writers; Commonwealth

A longlist of 21 writers has been announced for the inaugural $10,000 (about $7,025) Richell Prize for Emerging Writers, which was jointly established in May by Hachette Australia, Guardian Australia and the Emerging Writers' festival in memory of Matt Richell, the former Hachette Australia CEO who died in a surfing accident in 2014. In addition to the cash award, the winner will receive a year's mentoring from a publisher at Hachette, which will have first option to publish the book.

"I can think of no greater tribute to a man who so passionately supported writers and the writing process. I guarantee the judges are going to have their work cut out for them deciding on the winner," said Fiona Hazard, Hachette Australia publishing director.

The shortlist will be released by Guardian Australia September 21 and a winner named October 29. You can see the complete longlist here.


Jonathan Tel won the £5,000 (about $7,685) 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for "The Human Phonograph." From the U.K., Tel was the winner, in May, of the Canada & Europe region.

Book Brahmin: Arthur Benjamin

Arthur Benjamin is a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., and a professional magician. He performs worldwide as a mathemagician; together, his TED talks on mathemagic and the magic of Fibonacci numbers have been viewed more than 10 million times. His new book is The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring out Why (Basic Books on September 8, 2015.

On your nightstand now:

Single Digits: In Praise of Small Numbers by Marc Chamberland. This book contains nine chapters, on the subjects 1 through 9, respectively. It is filled with facts that will entertain math enthusiasts of all education levels.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. This is the book that introduces a character called The Mathemagician.

Your top five authors:

My favorite author is Martin Gardner, who has done more to popularize mathematics than anyone in history. Gardner teaches mathematics through games, puzzles, magic and extremely clear writing. He has also written books on philosophy, science, magic and poetry. I enjoy many of the authors who have followed in Gardner's footsteps, including Alex Bellos, William Dunham, Ivars Peterson and Ian Stewart. Dave Barry makes me laugh. I am also a connoisseur of the musicals (and especially the lyrics) written by Stephen Sondheim, who can express complex human emotions through beautiful music and intricate rhymes.

Book you've faked reading:

Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. It combines the works of a great mathematician, artist and composer, all of whom I admire, but I just couldn't finish it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics by William Dunham. The mathematically inclined reader will learn a lot about history and the historically inclined reader will learn some beautiful mathematics.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Human Face of Big Data by Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt. This book can be thought of as a day in the life of the Internet, put together by award-winning photographers. It is my current coffee-table book.

Book that changed your life:

Mathematical Carnival by Martin Gardner. I read this book at the end of high school and was disappointed to see a mathematical formula that I thought I had discovered a few years earlier (which had actually been known for centuries). But it also showed me a fun side of mathematics, which I have aspired to learn and communicate ever since.

Favorite line from a book:

"A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas." --G.H. Hardy, from A Mathematician's Apology

Which character you most relate to:

Lincoln Rhyme, the quadriplegic detective in Jeffrey Deaver's novels, who solves crimes through the power of pure logic.

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

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll was fun to read as a kid, but should be even more enjoyable with the additional mathematical education.

Book Review

YA Review: Orbiting Jupiter

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion, $17.99 hardcover, 192p., ages 13-up, 9780544462229, October 6, 2015)

Gary D. Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor winner (Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; The Wednesday Wars), tells the terrific, gut-punching story of a 14-year-old boy who is the father of a baby he's never seen... a child named Jupiter.

Joseph Brook is delivered by the state of Maine to the Hurds' farm under strained circumstances. The story was that he swallowed "something bad" a kid gave him in the boys' restroom and tried to kill a teacher when she came in after him. The social worker warns the Hurds that Joseph won't wear orange, won't be touched, won't eat canned peaches and, by the way, has a baby somewhere--but the eager foster family is undaunted. Twelve-year-old Jack Hurd knows Joseph is an okay guy when the family cow, Rosie, takes a liking to him: "You can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him," says Jack.

Orbiting Jupiter grabs readers by the collar right away, with Jack's direct, plain-spoken voice bursting with heart. Jack is a person anyone would want as a foster brother or friend. He doesn't play games, he's loyal, he pulls Joseph off the treacherous river ice and out of a school fight. He tells him he's glad he's around. Joseph warms up to Jack, too, but he's haunted by his past. At night he cries out the pet name of his true love: the baby's mother, Maddie.

The cold Maine winter is like a character in its own right; the ice and darkness seep into the pages: "And sunset closed the day with a quick wink. No kidding. One minute it was bright daylight, and then you turned your back and it was full dark, like it was trying to catch you." One silver moonlit night, sitting around the fire after ice-skating on the frozen pond with Jack and his parents, Joseph says, "I have to see Jupiter. Will you help me?"

The odds are stacked against Joseph ever reuniting with his baby, and his sinister, abusive father isn't helping matters. In fact, readers will want to scream out warnings, like in a horror movie, whenever Mr. Brook comes around the farm. To the bitter end, the Hurds remain as comfortingly steadfast and true as "the smell of hay and old wood and leather and cow" of their barn. Love doesn't conquer all in this spare, masterful novel, but it's a force to be reckoned with. --Karin Snelson, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: A tough-but-tender teen father finds love in a foster family in this heart-wrenching novel by two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt.

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