Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 3, 2017

S&S / Marysue Rucci Books: The Night We Lost Him by Laura Dave

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao

Tommy Nelson: Up Toward the Light by Granger Smith, Illustrated by Laura Watkins

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker


B&N's Riggio: 'No Magic Bullet' As Company Seeks to Boost Sales

Despite what he called "almost a dizzying amount of tests" of various products and approaches, Barnes & Noble has not found a "magic bullet" to create "a rapidly ascending line of sales increases," B&N CEO and chairman Len Riggio said yesterday during a conference call (transcript courtesy of with analysts about B&N's third-quarter results. (Reaction to those results was negative: the company's stock fell 8.6%, to $9.05 a share.)

B&N's concept store in Edina, Minn

Still, Riggio said its three new concept stores--with two more on the way--are doing "very, very well" and "offer some fresh approaches to merchandising, a completely fresh approach to design and presentation." The company has learned a lot from the stores and is close, he continued, "to having a prototype that we think will carry well into the future." B&N also plans to open more stores and relocate stores.

Asked about a CEO search (he returned as CEO when Ron Boire left suddenly in August 2016), Riggio said, "I'm happy I'm doing what I'm doing." He praised new COO Demos Parneros and called him "a top candidate" for the CEO job, which the board will decide on.

Asked about the company's success in cutting expenses, Riggio reiterated that there continue to be "opportunities," but that cutting store service "would be a disaster for us and is completely unacceptable, so we're trying to do so by reducing the tasks in the stores, by being smarter managers, but we're not going to take our important sales people off the floor."

He added that cutting expenses can help only so much, and that "our future is going to be determined by reversing the negative sales."

Riggio spoke at length about retail trends that have affected B&N, calling the decline in sales at many bricks-and-mortar stores part of a long-term effect from the rise of e-commerce that has actually "abated somewhat." Although he acknowledged that B&N has lost sales "to our huge e-commerce competitor," he said that it's not "a zero-sum game." Just as store browsers may ultimately buy books they find in stores online, so online browsers who find books go to stores to see them in person and buy them there. Most important, he seemed to say, is the general decline in traffic to all retailers at the many malls and shopping areas where B&N stores are located.

Len Riggio

Riggio also cited demographic shifts "from the suburbs back to main street back to inner cities," which has made the company adjust store models, locations and offerings. Children's and teen markets continue to be strong, and "senior citizens continue to be strong in terms of our traffic count and their book purchases."

He lamented the media's natural focus on "this particular unprecedented election cycle" but noted that it has continued after the election to the detriment of book coverage. "Many, many books get their start in the media, the newspapers and on television," he said, and such coverage has nearly ended. He said that immediately after the election "sales started to look like they were righting themselves and it seemed like people were going back to their normal lives. Then we had the inauguration and it started again, and even more fiercely than we had experienced before."

He reiterated comments made last year that there was a 4%-5% difference between the company's stronger sales during the day and lower sales during the night, when he speculated that people were watching "Fox News and CNN and the MSNBCs of the world." There's also a 3%-4% gap between weekday sales, which have fallen, and weekend sales.

B&N has experimented with a variety of products, Riggio said, and "had some significant success with educational toys and games and other products. At the same time, we have the decline in movies, in DVDs and CDs, so we've tried other product and we are continuing to experiment with various types of boutiques and lines of merchandise that we put in the stores as an attempt to both increase sales and traffic."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

More Than 450 Stores Ready for Independent Bookstore Day

The third annual Independent Bookstore Day will take place in just under two months, on Saturday, April 29, and this year 457 stores from around the country are participating, up from around 430 last year and 365 in 2015. Forty-eight states are represented, with only Hawaii and Arkansas missing, and a searchable map featuring the locations of all participating bookstores can be found here.

Emma Straub, author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers, is this year's Author Ambassador. Samantha Schoech, Independent Bookstore Day program director, said Straub's participation is especially exciting "not only because she's about to be a bookstore owner herself, but because she's in the process of creating a super-secret cool giveaway" for IBD.

Among this year's exclusive IBD items are Welcome to Night Vale vinyl recordings, signed prints from authors Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston, literary tea towels with quotes from Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde, and packs of literary condoms featuring six "Give Me That Darcy" Jane Austen condoms and six "Great Expectations" condoms.

Schoech pointed to new partnerships with and Kickstarter as reasons why she is particularly excited about this year's event. is offering free audiobooks to every customer who shows up at a participating store on April 29, while Kickstarter is helping bookstores build mini-grants to throw parties. Independent Bookstore Day is also working with two PR agencies to help get the word out and make a bigger PR push than in previous years.

"To me, these partnerships represent how much cachet bookstores have," said Schoech. "People want to get in on this because they know bookstores still have the best customers and word-of-mouth power out there." --Alex Mutter

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

The Fashion Book Store in L.A. to Close

The Fashion Book Store, which is located in the lobby of the California Market Center showroom building and "has been serving Los Angeles' fashion industry and the region's stylish people" for about 25 years, will close March 31, California Apparel News reported. Co-founder Bill Golant cited high rents as a reason for the decision. His wife and store co-founder Linda Brand added that there are no plans to take the shop online.

When the company launched in 2001, it published and sold business directories. "Gradually, it began offering international fashion magazines, as well as tomes on subjects such as Russian embroidery and how to build a business," California Apparel News wrote, adding that Brand said no title was too obscure for the store: "I kept buying as much as I could. I wanted people to say, 'Whatever I need, I'll buy here.' "

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

Voting Begins for Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards

Every Child a Reader has announced the finalists in four categories for the 10th Annual Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards, which was launched in 2008 by ECR and the Children's Book Council. There are seven finalists in each of the three Children's Choice Book Awards categories (K-2nd grade, 3rd-4th grades, and 5th-6th grades) and seven finalists in the Teen Choice Book Award category.

Voting begins today in an online "voting booth" featuring jacket art and descriptions. It will continue until Sunday, May 7, the final day of Children's Book Week. Teachers, librarians, and booksellers can also collect group or classroom votes to enter online. Fifty copies of every winning book and all the finalists will be donated to children in need across the country in June.

The winning authors and illustrators will be announced on May 31 at BookExpo during a ceremony featuring Gene Luen Yang, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Newly designed award stickers will be distributed to bookstores, libraries and schools across the U.S.

The children's award finalists were chosen in voting by 36,000 children, with supervision by the International Literacy Association. Teens nominated their favorite books of the year at, and their top picks are the Teen Choice Book Award finalists.

"We love the fact that this is the only book awards chosen by kids and teens," said Shaina Birkhead, programming & strategic partnerships director for Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader. "They know the books they love and we are proud to work with so many teachers, librarians, and booksellers to help gather the votes."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Obituary Notes: Dewitt Baker, Charlie Trachtenbarg, Gary Lawton

Dewitt "Bud" Baker, longtime publishing executive, died February 13. He was 92.

Baker was in the publishing business for more than 45 years, starting in sales at Affiliated Publishers and Simon & Schuster. He was president of Golden Books, Western Publishing. He went to Random House as executive v-p and CFO and later was president of Baker & Taylor and E.P. Dutton. He also worked for R.R. Donnelley and later started several small businesses. He was a founder of the Book Industry Study Group.


Charlie Trachtenbarg, longtime regional manager for Putnam, Morrow and then HarperCollins, where he was most recently manager of sales analysis, died on February 23.

In an announcement to staff, Josh Marwell, president of sales at HarperCollins, called Trachtenbarg's death "a big loss to us" and described him as "a devoted and talented colleague and big-hearted and generous friend."

There will be a celebration of his life on Sunday, March 12, in Mission Viejo, Calif. Donations in his honor can be sent to the Big Sur Land Trust or First Book.


Gary Lawton, a longtime publishers sales rep and sales executive, died on February 14. He was 78. After graduating from college, he joined Westminster Press, selling religious books. He then worked for Hopkins University Press, Harvard University Press and HarperCollins and retired in 2003. A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held tomorrow, Saturday, March 4, at 2 p.m. in St. Matthew's United Methodist Church, 435 Central St., Acton, Mass. 01720. Burial services will be held privately at the convenience of the family.


Image of the Day: CBC Panel Talks Children's Book Trends, Marketing

The Children's Book Council hosted a panel with McNally Jackson children's/YA book buyer Cristin Stickles; New York Public Library senior young adult librarian Chantalle Uzan; and v-p and creative marketing director Erin Berger of Penguin Young Readers. Shelf Awareness director of business development Matt Baldacci served as moderator, and the group spoke to about 40 children's marketers and editors about trends and effective marketing practices. Left to right: Berger, Stickles, Baldacci, Uzan.

Marathon 1984 Reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz

Steve Kettmann begins the reading of 1984.

Yesterday, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., hosted a live, cover-to-cover reading of George Orwell's classic--as well as increasingly popular and relevant--novel 1984. Steve Kettmann, author and founder of the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, kicked off the reading at 10 a.m., and every 20 minutes a new reader took over, including Laurie R. King, Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth McKenzie, Paul Fleischman, Mayor Cynthia Chase as well as students, activists, actors, educators, librarians and politicians.

"At any given moment, there were 20-50 people in the audience and we also hosted Santa Cruz Indivisible to lead a postcard writing campaign at a nearby table using postcards with Orwellian quotes and photos," Bookshop Santa Cruz owner Casey Coonerty Protti told Shelf Awareness while the reading was still underway. "A great time was had by all. Right now, at almost 5 p.m., we are still going and will keep the store open late if we need to in order to finish the text." The last reader, journalist Wallace Baine, read the final words of the novel at around 8:30 p.m.

Cool Idea of the Day: Colorado Author Visit Packages

BookBed will provide accommodations for visiting authors.

Five Colorado independent bookstores have teamed up to entice authors with a one-stop, multi-destination events package. Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver; Boulder Book Store, Boulder; Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins; BookBar & BookBed, Denver; and the Bookworm, Edwards, offer five different markets and audiences, all within reasonable driving distance of one another.

The booksellers plan to work together to offer a package of up to five store events (one at each bookstore). Organizers noted that "in addition to robust marketing for each store's region, experienced event hosting, and extras such as guided hikes and ski lift ticket options, authors will enjoy a complimentary stay at BookBed during their Colorado visit. Make your next author tour a vacation." For more information, contact

Hachette to Distribute Michel Thomas and John Murray Language Courses

Effective July 1, Hachette Book Group will handle North American sales and distribution services for Quercus & Teach Yourself's Michel Thomas and John Murray Languages courses. Oxford University Press will continue to receive and process returns until September 30. HBG will begin to accept returns as of July 1.

"We would like to thank Oxford University Press for their excellent work in developing and maintaining our brands over the years," said Gutcher, sales director for Teach Yourself. "We are looking forward to working with the fantastic teams at Quercus and Hachette Book Group, who already distribute several of our other lines in North America."

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown

At Little, Brown:

Brandon Kelley is promoted to executive director of marketing operations.

Kaitlyn Boudah is promoted to marketing coordinator.

Maggie Southard is promoted to senior publicist

Julie Ertl is promoted to publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jason Turbow on Weekend Edition

NPR's Weekend Edition: Jason Turbow, author of Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544303171).

Movies: The Dinner

The Orchard has released a new trailer for The Dinner, based on Herman Koch's novel, Deadline reported. Written and directed by Oren Moverman, the film stars Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, Chloë Sevigny and Adepero Oduye. It opens May 5.

Books & Authors

Awards: Jake Adam York Poetry

Analicia Sotelo won the inaugural $2,000 Jake Adam York Poetry Prize for her manuscript, Virgin. The award is facilitated by the editors of Copper Nickel, with the winning manuscript published by Milkweed Editions in February 2018. This year's judge was poet Ross Gay.

Milkweed publisher and CEO Daniel Slager said: "We are very excited to be partnering with Copper Nickel, and to be publishing Analicia Sotelo's Virgin, an exceptionally exciting debut collection of poems. We are also touched to be part of launching a poetry prize named after Jake Adam York, a poet whose life and work expanded our collective sense of the role poetry plays in public life."

Reading with... Christine Lennon

photo: Darcy Hemley

Before leaving New York City for the West Coast, Christine Lennon was an editor at W, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, television writer Andrew Reich, and their twins. The Drifter (Morrow, February 14, 2017), her first book, is about a group of friends whose lives are changed forever by a violent event they experience in college. It's a love letter to the 1990s, and a story about the complexities of friendships and the secrets that can ultimately destroy us.

On your nightstand now:

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline, The Potlikker Papers by John T. Edge, The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer and Parenting Without Power Struggles by Susan Stiffelman (as if). There are more. This is just the top of the stack.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Has anyone ever picked just one book? If I absolutely had to choose, I would say The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. My copy had the Braille alphabet on the back cover. My mom read it to me, and I would lie in her lap and trace the tiny bumps with my fingertips trying to memorize it all.

Your top five authors:

There are so many, but Jennifer Egan, Ann Patchett, Kate Atkinson, Carson McCullers and Joan Didion are at the top of the list. And Steve Martin.

Book you've faked reading:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I know. It's amazing. I'm a loser.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Dish by Jeannette Walls is so entirely compelling. I was telling everyone about her writing years before The Glass Castle. In this book, Walls explains how and why the thin line between "news" and "gossip" has vanished over the years. I'm a journalist who interviews celebrities and I live in Los Angeles so it's riveting stuff for me. But I think anyone who is interested in Old Hollywood would love what she writes about people like Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe.

Book you've bought for the cover:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents paid zero attention to what I was reading when I was a kid, which was fine by me. The only thing I even sort of hid was Forever by Judy Blume because it was infamous at the time for being frank about sex, and was passed between friends on the school bus.

Book that changed your life:

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. A friend gave this counterculture bible to me when I was in college, at a time when I was slogging through books written by a bunch of 19th-century writers who made reading feel like hard work. I tore through it, and it helped me realize that no matter how much reading I had to finish for school or, later on, for work, I had to make time for the really fun stuff, too.

Favorite line from a book:

I wish I could commit every line of Jenny Offill's poetic Dept. of Speculation to memory, but this is the only one that sticks:

"Some women make it look so easy, the way they cast ambition off like an expensive coat that no longer fits."

Five books you'll never part with:

My husband is a borderline hoarder of books, so I will never say never when it comes to parting with them for fear that we will one day be crushed by stacks of them. But I know that I would miss all of the E.B. White books, because it reminds me so much of my childhood and they have brought my kids so much joy.

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

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which is, coincidentally, about reincarnation and second chances.

Book Review

Review: The Satanic Mechanic

The Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew (Ecco, $26.99 hardcover, 384p., 9780062397690, March 28, 2017)

In Sally Andrew's mystery debut, Recipes for Love and Murder, South African journalist Maria van Harten branched out from sharing her favorite dishes to dispensing relationship tips. Maria's weekly column for the Klein Karoo Gazette now gives equal space to culinary delights and warm, practical advice on love. But although Maria (affectionately called "Tannie" or "Auntie" by her younger colleagues) relishes her role in helping others solve their problems of the heart and the kitchen, her own love life is more complicated. Still haunted by memories of her abusive husband (now deceased), Tannie Maria is hesitant to open herself up to her still-new boyfriend, Detective Henk Kannemeyer. When Tannie Maria sees a man poisoned at an arts festival and witnesses another murder days later, her relationship with Henk (who is investigating both cases) becomes much more fraught. Andrew stirs up another engaging mystery in her second Tannie Maria novel, The Satanic Mechanic.

"I was maybe too hungry for love and ended up with murder on my plate," Tannie Maria admits as the novel opens. She and Henk, both widowed, are gradually moving forward as a couple, but there are complicating factors, including the orphan lamb Henk has adopted and Maria's penchant for getting mixed up in murder investigations. Determined to move past the dark memories of her marriage, Tannie Maria starts attending a local counseling group run by a gentle former Satanist named Ricus, the titular mechanic. But as Maria begins to confide in her fellow group members, Ricus's shadowy past comes back to haunt them. Meanwhile, Tannie Maria's fellow reporter Jessie is determined to solve the murder of a local Bushman activist, but her digging may turn up some unpleasant truths.

Tannie Maria's first-person narration is studded with Afrikaans words, most of them related to food, and luscious descriptions of the dishes Tannie Maria cooks. (A sheaf of recipes at the end--both savory and sweet--will satisfy readers who want to try making Maria's lamb pie or her "Venus cake.") For readers more interested in the mystery plot or the South African setting, Andrew weaves together the two murders with issues of land rights and discrimination against indigenous peoples. And for those cheering for Tannie Maria to find love again, Andrew gently nudges her protagonist forward, not minimizing her past wounds but helping her deal with her pain in new ways.

In short, Tannie Maria's second adventure is like the meals that come from her kitchen: a bit eclectic, with many different influences, but ultimately a satisfying feast for readers. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Sally Andrew's second mystery combines a double murder with South African culture, mouthwatering recipes and matters of the heart.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Happy #WorldBookDayUK!

We've endured a lot of unsettling headlines in recent months, but yesterday I woke to this one from ITV Cymru Wales: "More than 1,000 Harry Potters parade in Merthyr for World Book Day." I smiled and, quite suddenly, the morning was off to a good start, thanks to #WorldBookDayUK.

While much of the reading planet celebrates UNESCO's World Book & Copyright Day on April 23, the U.K. and Ireland have traditionally gotten a jump on the festivities due to conflicts with school holidays. And so, March 2 has become a day of books, costumes and events.

#WorldBookDayUK's 20th anniversary also marked the release of the National Literary Trust's survey of more than 9,000 pupils, showing that 89.5% were aware of the event and almost 60% were inspired to read more because of it. The Bookseller noted that "one in four children (25.2%) said that the first book they had ever bought was with the WBD token issued last year and for pupils receiving free school meals, this increases to almost a third (32.9%)."

"We're extremely proud of how deep and wide the impact of World Book Day continues to be in the lives of children and young people all over the U.K. and Ireland, particularly in light of the recent news that one in ten people don't own a single book [poll carried out by Censuswide Research on behalf of Aviva last year]," said WBD director Kirsten Grant. "Evidence suggests that there is a lost generation of readers amongst today's adults, but we truly hope and firmly believe that, through giving children and young people greater access to books, World Book Day is ensuring that the next generation carry a love of reading with them on into adulthood."

Kids at Saint Rose of Lima School in Glasgow dressed up as their favorite literary characters to celebrate WBD. (via)

So what was happening yesterday besides the running of the Harry Potters in Wales? Plenty.

Dulwich Books: "Happy World Book Day 2017! Do something booky--bring your token in today for a free book."

The Bookshop Kibworth: "Happy #WorldBookDay! Bring us your #WBD2017 voucher & we will help you make friends with a new book to keep for ever."

Jaffé & Neale, Chipping Norton: "Today the 'Cider Bench' has been renamed The Reading Bench @booksaremybag  #worldbookday".

Booka Bookshop, Oswestry: "All set for a fun packed @WorldBookDayUK with schools & @AndyGbooks @Sibealpounder & @stephanieburgis @panmacmillan @KidsBloomsbury".

Gutter Bookshop, Dublin: "Always lovely to see the guys at @IrelandAMTV3--one day I'll stop getting so excited about books that it sounds like I'm going to explode!"

Emily's Bookshop, Chipping Campden: "Jam Tarts for the #queenofhearts #worldbookday2017 #chippingcampden thank you @thorntonrigg1".

Chorleywood Bookshop: "We are SO excited it's @worldbookdayuk #worldbookday20 we are off to spend the afternoon w/ @chrisriddell50 eeeeeeek!"

Drake the Bookshop, Stockton-on-Tees: "Thrilled to see this when I arrived at #lingfieldprimary this morning."

Linghams Booksellers, Heswall: "Happy @WorldBookDayUK A big shout to Heswall and Gayton Schools who will be joining us today @LinghamsBooks to celebrate! READ ALL THE BOOKS".

Newham Bookshop, London:‏ "wow, 200 children have redeemed their vouchers in the shop today so far. @worldbookdayuk, a great introduction to books."

The University of Glasgow posted a video featuring "a look at some of our local West End book shops."

On a more serious note, Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon observed in the Guardian that #WBD2017 marked "the third time I've written a Horrid Henry book especially for it. I, like this year's nine other World Book Day authors, who include Jacqueline Wilson, David Walliams and David Almond, get no royalties for these £1 books, and publishers donate all their costs. So why do it?

"I once did an author event in a bookshop, and a child came up to me afterwards. 'Are we allowed to touch the books?' he asked. I realized he'd never been inside a bookshop, and this strange environment was as alien to him as stepping into a betting shop would be for me. A book token is a passport: the 15 million tokens that will be distributed among all school pupils in the U.K. and Ireland will enable them to go to any bookshop to choose a free book. For many, this will be their very first book...."

And on a less serious note, Manchester United soccer legend Wayne Rooney tweeted pics of his kids dressed up as Horrid Henry.

At the end of a long World Book Day, literary Happy Hours were not out of the question. Ian Rankin seemed ready. And Time Out London reported that at Holborn's Bloomsbury Club Bar, "guests who bring a paperback book along to the bar will see their read exchanged for a literature-inspired cocktail." The books will be sold to second-hand bookshop Skoob Books, with all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. For patrons of the Lobby Bar at the London Edition, "three original tipples come accompanied with a free copy of a Penguin Classic that complements the cocktail." A £2.50 donation from each drink sold is going to Ministry of Stories.

All for a good cause. Cheers!

Baroness Gail Rebuck, World Book Day U.K. founder and chair of Penguin Random House U.K., told the Bookseller: "In 1997 the level of children's engagement with reading was at a point of national crisis. The previous year a government report had been released showing that 42% of 11-year-olds failed to achieve level 4 in reading and writing on entry to secondary school. We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then--that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives. I've seen first-hand how World Book Day has affected social change and long may it continue." We agree. Happy #WorldBookDay20!

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

Powered by: Xtenit