Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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


'Hooray for Norton!'

Alison Reid, DIESEL

Alison Reid, co-owner of DIESEL: A Bookstore, with locations in Brentwood and Larkspur, Calif., writes:

Finally, at long last, a publisher has a selling policy that recognizes the intrinsic flaw in this bookselling game and is offering a deal that will help. W.W. Norton's new discount policy, giving booksellers the opportunity to get a 50% discount on front and backlist orders, is so uplifting. I want to give the highest praise to whomever at Norton came up with this. To me, it recognizes that independent bookselling in America is built on what is basically an unsustainable business model and Norton has chosen to try to create a real solution to this problem.

If you read historical accounts from the last century, bookselling has always been a financial struggle. The popular belief is that there is a chance that a well-run bookstore could have the possibility of making a 1%-4% profit on its hard work and financial investment. This premise is built on paying low wages and benefits to staff. Not all of us can do this and that has led me to look at why our businesses doesn't give us a return on the fruit of our labours.

We have spent a lot of time looking at the outside influences that affect our sales, which include chains, Amazon and other channels that publishers support. Our hope as booksellers was to get an even playing field, so as we could have a chance. As it is, with the low discounts that we receive, it's difficult to survive selling only new books.

We are always being advised to sell sidelines so that we have a chance of making money. Isn't this telling? Would you ever think of saying to a butcher, for example, that although the meat looks good, have they considered candles?

It seems to be accepted that you can't make a living in bookselling unless there's an outside source of income. I have spent years trying to find the secret to surviving in this business without having to work extreme hours, while being able to pay decent wages and have a health plan, and I've finally realized that it's just not possible under these conditions.

I try not to hum "16 tons and what do you get?" but I do feel that the discount rate keeps us in a modern state of indenture.

I try not to look at the profits of some major publishing companies and their CEO's salaries and feel that is being earned off our backs à la the 1%.

I am hoping and praying that more publishers will recognize that if they want to have bookstores as showcases there has to be a better sharing of incomes and that they will bravely go where Norton has gone.


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


NewSouth Bookstore Now Read Herring Bookstore

NewSouth Bookstore in Montgomery, Ala., has changed its name to Read Herring bookstore, a play on the term "red herring," WAKA reported, adding that the owners made the move "to differentiate the store from the NewSouth publishers, which is in the same location."

"We just want people to come and see the new store, see the new changes that we've made. If they've been in the store in the past--we've made some updates and upgrades. But it still has that vintage, comfortable feel," said managing partner Brandie Johnson.

The name change became official Monday. Earlier this month on NewSouth's Facebook page, the owners explained: "Plans for re-launching the NewSouth Bookstore are well underway with the creation of a new logo featuring Harry, a big, red fish. In just three weeks, our store will be called the Read Herring. The change is all part of a strategy to strengthen the identity of the bookstore and to make it more of a community hub, with more new and used books to browse (lots more) and more author talks and other fun events to enjoy. Don't be a stranger!"

NCAC to Honor David Levithan and Joan Bertin

At its Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders on November 6 in New York City, the National Coalition Against Censorship will honor author and editor David Levithan and Joan Bertin, who was the Coalition's executive director for many years until she was succeeded in July by Chris Finan, former director of American Booksellers for Free Expression.

The editorial director of Scholastic Press and founder of its PUSH imprint, which publishes new voices and new authors in teen literature, Levithan is known for his novels about gay youth, including Boy Meets Boy (2003) and Two Boys Kissing (2013).

Bertin became executive director of NCAC in 1997 after a long career in civil liberties. She spent many years fighting sexual discrimination as a staff attorney for the ACLU Women's Rights Project. At NCAC, she launched the Arts Advocacy Project, the Youth Free Expression Project and the Kids' Right to Read Project and fought for the free speech rights of hundreds of artists, teachers, students, librarians and others.

"David and Joan have been leaders in the fight for free speech for over 20 years," Finan said. "We are looking forward eagerly to joining their many friends in the publishing and arts communities in celebrating their achievements."

Kids' Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

On Thursday, the second part of the e-newsletter edition of the American Booksellers Association's autumn Kids' Next List was delivered to more than a third of a million of the country's best book readers, going to 371,575 customers of 112 participating bookstores. The first part of the autumn Kids' Next List was sent on September 14.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features autumn Kids' Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Kids' Next List pick, in this case Jessica Townsend, author of Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

For a sample of the newsletter, see this one from Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books, Mendocino, Calif.

Obituary Note: Marian Cannon Schlesinger

Marian Cannon Schlesinger, "a droll and high-spirited protofeminist artist, writer and eyewitness to history in the Kennedy White House as the first wife of the president's resident intellectual, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.," died October 14, the New York Times reported. She was 105.

"Early on I decided being a painter was what I wanted to be, but I wanted to be a lot of other things too," she told the Atlantic in 2013. "I wanted to write. I wanted to play tennis. I wanted to have a lot of friends. I wanted to have a lot of beaus... I think I've been very lucky. But I think that I've made some of it for myself. I never gave up. I wanted it all, in other words, and I think I really almost got it all too."

Her books include I Remember: A Life of Politics, Painting and People (2011) and Snatched From Oblivion: A Cambridge Memoir (1979), as well as five children's books she wrote and illustrated.

The Boston Globe noted that "politics became a significant part of her life during her 30-year marriage to Schlesinger, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, published in 1965. Schlesinger, whom she divorced in 1970, died in 2007."


Image of the Day: Thrillerfest at Northshire

Northshire Books, Manchester, Vt., hosted its first Thrillerfest over the weekend. Authors presented their new books and took questions from the audience, followed by a group signing. Pictured: Jeffrey L. Diamond (Live to Tape); Lynne Constantine (aka LIV Constantine, author, with her sister Valerie Constantine, of The Last Mrs. Parrish); Eric Rickstad (The Names of Dead Girls); Cate Holahan (Lies She Told); Riley Sager (Final Girls); Valerie Constantine (The Last Mrs. Parrish); and Wendy Walker (Emma in the Night).

Happy 30th Birthday, Another Story Bookshop!

Another Story Bookshop in Toronto marked its 30th anniversary last Sunday by "celebrating the life and legacy of Sheila Koffman," the store's founder who died September 15.

Noting Koffman's "strong commitment to increasing the representation of different perspectives and ideas through literature," THIS reported that "the store has become a staple in the community and beyond, receiving orders from across the country.... Independent bookstores like Another Story are much more than a place to buy books. They become a local hub for neighbors to meet and interact, a space to launch indie authors, and where customers and staff are on a first-name basis."

THIS described the 30th anniversary as "a milestone not just because the store has survived, but because it has thrived and plans to continue what Koffman set out to do three decades ago.... Like many of the store's staff, co-manager Laura Ash was drawn to Another Story for its commitment to making a social impact through books. For the past few years, the store has been organizing book fairs in schools, bringing alternative titles directly to students. The shop continues to host author events, supporting and advocating for underrepresented writers that might not be carried anywhere else."

Ash observed: "All the bookstores that have survived and been around for so long in this city, it's because they have a community that loves them and they also support that community.... I come in every day and I still think [Koffman]'s going to call. All these books are books that she bought--this is all her."

Student/Bookseller Creates LGBTQIA+ Lit Resource

Carol Spurling, owner of BookPeople of Moscow in Moscow, Idaho, sent us a link to a University of Idaho article headlined "CLASS Creative Writing student creates resource guide to help others access queer literature."

"Awesome article on a LGBTQIA+ resource created by a student who works for me," Spurling noted. "He did it on his own time when he wasn't at the store, but still, I'm proud of him. He's a great bookseller too."

A senior creative writing major in the University of Idaho College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, Keegan Lawler has created American Queer: A Digital Library of LGBTQIA+ Literature, a website "broken into sections labeled 'Silent,' 'Hidden' and 'Proud' as Lawler collects works from as far back as the author known as Publick Universal Friend in 1736 and Michael Wigglesworth's 'Day of Doom' in 1662," the university noted.

"A lot of these things became available to me as I came to college," he said. "A lot of people are intimidated by pulling a book off the shelf, so I'd like to make it available online."

Personnel Changes at Crown; Ingram

Becca Putman has joined the Crown Publishing Group as marketing manager, Crown, Hogarth, Tim Duggan Books and Broadway Books. She formerly worked in Grove Atlantic's marketing department for the past five years.


Sarah Armstrong has been promoted from client relations coordinator for Publishers Group West to client relations manager for Ingram Publisher Services.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jeff Goodell on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Dianne Lake, co-author of Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside His Cult, and the Darkness That Ended the Sixties (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062695574). She will also appear on Nightline tonight and on Dr. Phil tomorrow. (See the trailer here.)

Fresh Air: Jeff Goodell, author of The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316260244).

CBS This Morning: Tom Friedman, author of Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations (Picador, $18, 9781250141224).

NPR's 1A: Jeff Fager, author of Fifty Years of 60 Minutes: The Inside Story of Television's Most Influential News Broadcast (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501135804).

Steve Harvey: Teresa Giudice, author of Standing Strong (Gallery, $26, 9781501179198).

The View: Denis Leary, author of Why We Don't Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches (Crown Archetype, $27, 9781524762735).

Watch What Happens Live: Michael Rapaport, author of This Book Has Balls: Sports Rants from the MVP of Talking Trash (Touchstone, $26.99, 9781501160318).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Gretchen Carlson, author of Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back (Center Street, $27, 9781478992172).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Megyn Kelly, author of Settle for More (Harper, $16.99, 9780062495143).

Tonight Show: JB Smoove, co-author The Book of Leon: Philosophy of a Fool (Gallery, $25, 9781501180712). He will also appear on the Chew.

Movies: Big Guns

Indie producer J. Todd Harris and his Branded Pictures Entertainment have optioned the film rights to Big Guns, a novel about the gun industry by former New York congressman Steve Israel. Deadline reported that the book, which will be published next April by Simon & Schuster, is "on a fast-track for development, as gun legislation continues to be a galvanizing national issue."

Harris said: "In 1992, my half-brother was shot and killed by his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend. He shot and killed them both when they opened up the door. It bore a permanent hole in my family and that set me on the path of trying to understand gun legislation and also the safety issue. We all know that the NRA started out as a gun safety organization and there is a lot of speculation as to how it morphed to what it is today. All I care about is how we go forward.... I think that if people see a movie like this, maybe a spoonful of humor would make the medicine go down."

Books & Authors

Awards: Sunburst; Readings New Australian Fiction

Winners have been announced for the 2017 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Adult and YA winners receive CA$1,000 (about US$800), while the short story category honoree gets CA$500 (about US$400). This year's Sunburst Award winners are:

Adult: Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey
YA: Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
Short story: "The Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)" by A.C. Wise


The Windy Season, a debut novel by Sam Carmody, has won the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. The judges said, "All at once a mystery, a family drama, and an examination of masculinity and violence, as well as a meditation on Australian coastal landscapes, The Windy Season demands attention and a place in our literary cannon. The language is immersive, the pace relentless. It roars down and batters the senses. It is, in a word, unforgettable."

Book Review

Review: Catalina

Catalina by Liska Jacobs (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $15 paperback, 240p., 9780374119751, November 7, 2017)

Catalina's narrator, Elsa, is fresh off a summary termination from her job at the Museum of Modern Art for an ill-advised affair with her married boss. She retreats home to California, to a Santa Monica boutique hotel, where she nurses her wounds with day drinking, drugs and an attempt to reconnect with old friends. Miffed that her boss threw her under the bus when MoMA caught wind of the affair, Elsa brazenly flirts with the hotel staff in a drug-fueled haze. She embarks for a weekend debauch on Catalina Island with her friends and their wealthy, handsome, 40-something pal with a yacht and a bar of single malt scotch. Then her life goes south.

Liska Jacobs's first novel resonates like the work of Eve Babitz, the L.A. artist and writer whose 1977 Slow Days, Fast Company defined that city's hedonistic worship of sex, money and booze. A Los Angeles native with an MFA from UC-Riverside and writing in The Rumpus and The Millions, Jacobs has Southern California in her blood. Catalina is rife with local details, the kind that made Babitz such a spokeswoman for that scene. The hotel's facial creams, for example, are organic: "shea butter and lavender and sweet almond oil. The ingredients written first in French and then in English." Her once-adventurous childhood friend Charly now sports "a look of cul-de-sac contentment, a future filled with barbeques, pool parties, and play dates." Jacobs covers the territory of producers not producing much, busboys slinging coke, hairdressers fashioning up-dos, even a remembered visit to an East Los Angeles neighborhood with "lots of stucco and duplexes, small yappy dogs everywhere." But it is on Catalina itself that Elsa's circling-the-drain intensifies. With a pharmacopeia of uppers and downers, sunshine and skin, her Catalina weekend becomes the last gasp of desperation of a young woman at loose ends in her life.

As her characters tumble over the cliffs they have built for themselves, Jacobs doesn't let up. Broken promises, marriages and lives trail in Elsa's wake. Back at her Santa Monica hotel, out of money and pills, she has little choice but to move on--even though there is no going back and no clear way forward. Catalina is a novel of the dark side of the City of Angels told with spirited and intense prose. It takes Babitz a notch up--a contemporary spin of fast days, fast company. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: A first novel of exquisitely told debauchery, Catalina is the story of a young Los Angeles woman adrift and desperately grasping for an anchor--anywhere she can find one.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. You Do Something to Me by Bella Andre
2. Rescuing Bryn by Susan Stoker
3. Dead Man Talking by Jana DeLeon
4. From This Moment by Melanie Harlow
5. Best of 2017 by Various
6. Jax by Cristin Harber
7. If I Didn't Know Better by Barbara Freethy
8. Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 by Various
9. The Surprise by Alice Ward
10. Sweet Tea Tuesdays by Ashley Farley

[Many thanks to!]

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