Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 3, 2017

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


Magic City Books Opening Next Month in Tulsa, Okla.

Magic City Books, a bookstore owned by the nonprofit Tulsa Literary Coalition, is set to open in downtown Tulsa, Okla., in November, Tulsa World reported. Magic City Books will be the anchor tenant of the newly renovated Archer Building, a warehouse in the city's Brady Arts District that dates back to 1925. Along with a book inventory of all new titles, the store will also have an indoor cafe selling coffee, tea, craft beer, wine and light food. It will be the first independent bookstore in Tulsa to sell new books since Steve's Sundry Books and Magazines closed in 2013.

Jeff Martin, president of the board of the Tulsa Literary Coalition, told Tulsa World that the store will aim to have something for everyone: "If you're into mystery novels or food writing, we want to have something interesting here. If you get a passion in something, we want to help you follow it and maybe it will lead to other things."

Magic City Books will launch with three full-time employees and a staff of 14 part-timers, all with prior experience in bookselling or as librarians. The store will also become the home of BookSmart Tulsa, a program run by the Tulsa Literary Coalition that has hosted author events around the city for almost 10 years. The store also plans to host at least five book clubs and work with other literary organizations to promote book and author events.

"We want to show people who are at all levels of reading that they can dive deeper and get to another level of enjoyment," Cindy Hulsey, executive director of the Tulsa Literary Coalition, told Tulsa World. "Through reading, you can gain great empathy, understand different cultures, and we want to show how beneficial reading for pleasure is."

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Politics and Prose Expanding Main Store

Politics and Prose, which opened one branch at the Wharf last month and will open another early next year at the Union Market, is also expanding its flagship store, on Connecticut Ave. in Washington, D.C.

The store is taking over the former site of Regal Customs Cleaners next door. Part of the space will be used for books and non-book items; the rest will be for offices and storage areas and allow some staff members currently housed in a nearby condo to work out of the store itself.

Owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine wrote that the history of the store has been one of "periodic expansion," and the store's current 11,500 square feet of space isn't enough for the store's "increasing activities and staff."

Renovations on the new space have begun and should be completed by February. "The retail portion of the new space will have much the same look as the existing store but will feature a skylight and an additional checkout desk," Graham and Muscatine said. "Sale books, currently shelved on the store's lower level, will be shifted to the new upper level, and the downstairs space now occupied by sale books will be transformed into a classroom for P&P's growing schedule of literary classes."

They added that "the opening of the two branches reflects our desire to be a part of growing neighborhoods in other parts of D.C., while our decision to expand the main store represents an abiding commitment to the city's northwest neighborhoods, whose residents have done so much to help strengthen and sustain P&P from its inception in 1984."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Plans in Place for Indies First/Small Business Saturday

With Indies First/Small Business Saturday less than a month away, plans for the annual celebration are being finalized at bookstores around the country. This year's festivities will be held on Saturday, November 25, with young adult author Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down; All American Boys) serving as the official Indies First spokesperson.

In preparation for the event and the larger holiday shopping season, Baker & Taylor will give American Booksellers Association member stores a 45% discount on trade books and sidelines, plus free freight on shipments of 15 or more units, for two weeks, between November 18 and December 2. No promo codes or order minimums will be required for the 45% discount. Additionally, all titles featured in regional booksellers associations holiday catalogues will be discounted 45% through December 15.

Indies First spokesperson Jason Reynolds

Four publishers are also getting in on the Indies First action with the creation of exclusive items and content for independent bookstores, per Bookselling This Week. Fabled Films Press is running a co-op promotion for The Nocturnals series by Tracey Hecht that includes signed bookplates, bookmarks and stickers. Restless Books has created a printable chapbook by the film director Alejandro Jodorowsky, while Workman has made "beautiful moment" corkboards to send to independent bookstores to promote Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst's A Book That Takes Its Time: An Hurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness. And, later this month, Holiday House will make a printable one-sheet featuring flash fiction by young adult author Jon McGoran (Spliced) available on its website.

Watermarks Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kan., is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Indies First Day. There will be treats and refreshments available in store, and Kansas author Debra Seely will drop by to discuss and sign copies of her book Grasslands. First published in 2002, Grasslands has been reissued by Watermark Press; it tells the story of a 13-year-old boy moving to Kansas in the 1880s.

In San Diego, Calif., Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore will have story time sessions with and recommendations from a variety of guest booksellers and children's authors, including Dee Leone (Dough Knights & Dragons), Lisa Desimini (The Fleatastics), Marcie Colleen (Love, Triangle), and Greg Grunberg and Lucas Turnbloom (Curse of the Harvester, Dream Jump Book 2).

At Women & Children First in Chicago, Ill., there will be coffee available in the morning and baked goods in the afternoon. There will be giveaways, including tote bags and literary prints, for customers who spend $50 or more, and a percentage of the day's take will be donated to the Chicago Women's Health Center.

The Dog Eared Book in Palmyra, N.Y., will be celebrating Indies First with giveaways and 15% off all purchases. On November 25, the store will also be taking part in the village of Palmyra's Candlelight Night, during which every store is stays open until 8 p.m. and lines "the sidewalks with luminaries." Festivities will also include caroling and hay rides on Main Street.

At Mac's Backs-Books on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, there will be a signing with Mike Belkin and Carlo Wolff, authors of Socks, Sports, Rock and Art, in the afternoon, and throughout the day there will be special sales, raffles and refreshments.

And, in Albuquerque, N.Mex., Bookworks will welcome author Daniel Gibson (Skiing New Mexico: A Guide to the Snow Sports in the Land of Enchantment), have poetry from Swimming with Elephants Publications, and live music from singer-songwriter Lara Manzanares and the folk group Eileen & the In-Betweens.

Deals of the Season

Ingram has updated its free freight program "in time for the high-volume holiday season." Effective two days ago, retailers now can obtain free freight on wholesale and distribution shipments with a minimum of $350 in list price or 15 books, whichever is met first. The company said its goal is "to make it easier for booksellers to order and reorder higher-priced illustrated, art, lifestyle, design and photography books that are in high demand during the holiday gift-giving season."


During November and December, Baker & Taylor is offering a holiday rebate program to all eligible independent bookstores that register by November 10 and increase their orders with B&T compared to November-December 2016.

B&T is also offering indies additional discounts on the titles featured in the nine regional bookseller associations' holiday catalogs. Those titles will receive a 45% discount through December 15.

And for University Press Week, which runs November 6-11, B&T is offering ABA member bookstores extra discounts on more than 650 titles from 41 university presses through November 13.

(The company has specials for Indies First and Small Business Saturday, too; see article above.)

Wm. B. Eerdmans to Close Its Bookstore

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company is closing the Eerdmans Bookstore in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the end of the year, the company announced. The store will be offering discounts on its remaining inventory beginning November 13.

"We would like to thank our customers for their loyalty and support over the years," said Eerdmans v-p of sales and marketing Tracy Danz. "We understand the need to adapt in a changing marketplace as we continue to explore the best ways to get our books into the hands of readers. While we are sad to say goodbye to our store, we remain committed to publishing books with the high literary and intellectual standards that have always characterized Eerdmans."

BookCon 2018 Unveils Initial Author Lineup

The fifth annual BookCon will be held June 2-3, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, immediately following BookExpo, and will be "headlined by bestselling authors and the world's hottest Hollywood talent," organizer ReedPOP said.

The initial guest list for BookCon features actor and singer Taye Diggs (Rent; Empire) and Shane Evans promoting their upcoming children's picture book, I Love You More; social media star Zach King (Zach King: The Magical Mix-Up), and Diane Guerrero (Orange Is the New Black; Jane the Virgin) discussing her book My Family Divided.

Other authors scheduled to appear include Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give), Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen novel War Storm), Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars), Kami Garcia (Broken Beautiful Hearts), Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down) and Marissa Meyer, who will be previewing the first book in her new Renegades series. More authors will be announced at a later date.

BookCon's events will include a series of panels, screenings, author q&as and autographing sessions, as well as the debut of interactive content, including four writing workshops produced in conjunction with Sarah Lawrence College, writing contests and more. 


Image of the Day: Denis Leary and Firefighter Fans

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio, hosted Denis Leary for his new book, Why We Don't Suck (Crown Archetype). Among the attendees were members of the Norwood Fire Department.

Parnassus Books Leads 'The Reader's Workout'

"If there's one question we get most around here, it's, 'What should I read next?' If there are two questions, the other is, 'How do you stay in such great shape?'* And because booksellers are nothing if not generous of spirit, we are delighted to share our fitness tips with you today." the staff at Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., noted in a post on the store's blog headlined The Reader's Workout: 10 Fitness Tips for Book-Loving Minds and Bodies.

"(*Entirely possible that we've only imagined anyone asking us this question.)"

While the booklover's workout primarily involves three steps (lift book, read, repeat), "if you want to get creative with it, you could try these additional moves," the booksellers suggested.

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown

At Little, Brown:

Alyssa Persons has been promoted to associate publicist from assistant publicist.
Jennifer Shaffer has been named assistant publicist, effective November 6.

Abrams to Distribute Cameron + Company

Beginning with the Spring 2018 lists, Cameron + Company, including the Cameron Books and Cameron Kids imprints, will be sold and distributed to the trade in North America by Abrams.

Cameron + Company, Petaluma, Calif., specializes in books on photography, art, food and wine, children's books and regional interest.

Cameron publisher Chris Gruener commented: "Over the years, we have carefully built our list, and we are excited to be joining forces with a publisher known for their illustrated books."

Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs added: "Cameron + Company and the books they publish align well with Abrams' own aesthetic and sales capabilities. We're happy that they have joined our first-class family of distribution partners and look forward to helping them bring their books to market."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Donna Brazile on ABC's This Week


Fresh Air: Alexandra Horowitz, author of Being a Dog: Following the Dog into the World of Smell (Scribner, $17, 9781476796024).

Pickler & Ben: Matt Moore, author of The South's Best Butts (Oxmoor House/Time Inc. Books, $26.95, 9780848751852).

MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt: Chris Matthews, author of Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781501111860).

ABC's This Week: Donna Brazile, author of Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House (Hachette Books, $28, 9780316478519).

Movies: My Life on the Road; Grant

Julianne Moore will star in My Life on the Road, the June Pictures film based on Gloria Steinem's memoir, Deadline reported. The movie will be directed by Julie Taymor (FridaAcross the UniverseTitus). Tony-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl (In the Next Room, The New World) is writing the screenplay.


Lionsgate and Appian Way have acquired movie rights to Grant, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses S. Grant. Deadline reported that David James Kelly will adapt the book for the big screen, with Appian Way's Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson producing and Chernow as the executive producer.

Books & Authors

Awards: Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo; Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book

Becoming Ms. Burton by Susan Burton (New Press), a memoir written with Cari Lynn, has won the inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, which "celebrates the power of the written word to create change in the name of justice for all people."

The organizers described the winning book as tracing Burton's "life from an abusive childhood through teen motherhood--and the tragic loss of her five-year-old son to a hit-and-run driver. With no access to counseling for her grief, Burton self-medicated with alcohol and cocaine. Six prison terms later, she finally got the treatment she needed and began to heal. Now Burton runs a network of safe houses in Los Angeles that help formerly incarcerated women start new lives through education and employment."

"Becoming Ms. Burton is both an unforgettable autobiography and a powerful call to reform our criminal justice system," said Josh Marwell, president of sales at HarperCollins and Book Prize spokesperson. "We could not have found a better book to express the ideals of this award."


Finalists have been named in 15 categories for the 12th annual Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, which were created to "celebrate the extraordinary quality of Irish writing, to help bring the best books to a wider readership annually, and to promote an industry under severe competitive pressures."

Winners will be announced November 28 at a gala ceremony in Dublin, where David Walliams will receive the 2017 Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award "in recognition of his significant contribution to children's literature in the past decade." Check out the complete Irish Book Awards shortlists for fiction and nonfiction here.

Reading with... C. Morgan Babst

photo: Craig Mulcahy

C. Morgan Babst is a native of New Orleans and studied writing at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Yale and New York University. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Garden and Gun, the Oxford American, GuernicaHarvard Review and New Orleans Review, among other journals. The Floating World (Algonquin, October 17, 2017) is her first novel.

On your nightstand now:

The Futilitarians by Anne Gisleson: This brilliant memoir by one of my first writing teachers is both deeply intellectual and emotionally raw.

Tin House: True Crime: Tin House is one of my favorite journals. The marvelous Claire Vaye Watkins is in this issue, talking about stealing beauty with her mother as a child.

Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis: I read this book of poems cover to cover one rainy day, and now I am reading them again. They are corporeal and fierce.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby: Does it count if I'm listening to it while I fold the laundry? I'm loving this outrageous and funny audiobook.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein: I mean, he has a tailor make him a marshmallow suit! And I think I still have red wool from the hunters' caps between my teeth.

Your top five authors:

Five is not enough. Here's a relatively random 10:

Mikhail Bulgakov
Anne Carson
William Faulkner
Vladimir Nabokov
Maggie Nelson
Flannery O'Connor
Jesmyn Ward
Virginia Woolf
Richard Wright

Book you've faked reading:

This is a very long-held secret: no one in my AP English class read Conrad's Heart of Darkness. We tried, but we decided it was like wading through mud, and so we quit en masse. Then, everybody plagiarized their papers (literally, everybody--it was a conspiracy). I was the only one who didn't get caught, because I plagiarized mine from a different source. I felt so bad about it that I proceeded to suffer through three separate required readings of Molloy (if Conrad is mud, then Beckett is tar), but I've still never read Heart of Darkness. Both times my husband has tried to make me watch Apocalypse Now, I've fallen asleep halfway through.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Michael Hulse): This is Rilke's only novel--a brilliantly (pre)post-modern heartbroken howl of a book--and most people don't know it exists. This semiautobiographical false document ranges from existential dread beside hospital walls in Paris to the ruin of Brigge's ancestral home and ends with a retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Among the heartbreaking images of house-ghosts and girls with half-buttoned dresses are revelations about home and love that changed the course my life.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: I wanted that book with my body--I was hungry for it. Looking at it now, I can't see what precisely I was so excited about--maybe it was the quality of the red.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents are not the kind of people you have to hide books from.

Book that changed your life:

Citizen by Claudia Rankine: Being invited into the intimate experience of racism through the shifting, multivalent "you" in these poems was absolutely revelatory. If, after Katrina, I'd begun the process of waking up to the real story of race in America, this book was the cold shower that got the sleep out of my eyes. Copies of this book should be dropped from crop-dusters across the country.

Favorite line from a book:

"I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art." --the penultimate sentence of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Five books you'll never part with:

After a decade and a half of frequent moves and tiny apartments, I finally have a library big enough for all my books, and you're telling me I only get to keep five? I will never part with any of them again. But I will tell you what I took when I evacuated New Orleans the day before Katrina:

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor (the Pontius Pilot scenes dog-eared)

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson (primarily for fragment 94 and the longing inside the brackets which tell us where the original papyrus was torn)

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (a beautifully bound 1961 edition given to me by my parents' best friends)

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (a second printing, found in a used book store for $5, with hand-cut, vellum-soft pages that altered the way I think about narrative)

Ada and Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (Ada still annotated and Post-It-noted from my college thesis; Pale Fire rumpled from a boat trip off Cancun)

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (the cheap paperback copy I'd used to kill ceiling mosquitos when I lived in St. Petersburg)

These were all books that, for various reasons, had traveled with me for some time. I also evacuated with my favorite pair of shoes (painted floral stilettos).

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

Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet: I was so confused when, as a life-long Catholic schoolgirl, I picked this up at the age of 16. I thought it was going to be about the Virgin Mary. Instead it's a book about death and sex written on toilet paper while Genet was in prison. I would love to read it again now, properly prepared, but every time I've tried, I get distracted by how baffled I was as a virginal teenager by what Sartre called "the epic of masturbation."

Book you're itching to get your hands on:

Appropriate and Other Plays by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins: I ordered this book from my local bookstore last spring when, over a year after having seen a production of Jacobs-Jenkins's An Octoroon, I found I still couldn't get it out of my head. Jacobs-Jenkins is obviously a genius, and I'm dying to read the other plays, but they keep pushing back the pub date! It's driving me crazy.

Book Review

Review: Supernormal: The Untold Story of Adversity and Resilience

Supernormal: The Untold Story of Adversity and Resilience by Meg Jay (Twelve, $28 hardcover, 400p., 9781455559152, November 14, 2017)

According to clinical psychologist and popular TED speaker Meg Jay (The Defining Decade), before age 20, some 60%-75% of children and teens encounter at least one significant adverse event or circumstance--such as the death of a parent; verbal, physical or sexual abuse; life in a household with a drug addict or alcoholic. Jay's Supernormal is a wide-ranging study of young people who overcome more than the average amount of this adversity and don't merely endure, but go on to "soar to unexpected heights." Both disturbing and inspiring, it offers an unretouched picture of the profound challenges facing millions of American youth and a map of the path some may be able to follow out of their despair.

Rejecting a simplistic definition of resilience as merely the ability to "bounce back" from adversity, Jay argues that it represents a "much more complicated and courageous" form of adaptation, what she calls a "heroic, painful, wondrous and often perilous journey." The many remarkable accounts she offers provide dramatic support for that thesis and justify the "supernormal" tag she attaches to her subjects.

Jay draws extensively on her clinical practice. With empathy and the observational talent of a good storyteller, she reveals the painful memories her patients have shared with her, illuminating extraordinary behavior patterns--ranging from courageous flight to channeled anger--that helped them rise above their circumstances. She blends these accounts seamlessly with the stories of well-known people--politicians, businesspeople, entertainers and athletes--who overcame profound childhood trauma and went on to lead lives of surpassing achievement. Among the most striking accounts are those of Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz, who spent his early years in public housing in Brooklyn, N.Y., as his family dodged debt collectors pursuing his unemployed father for payment of medical bills, and actor Viola Davis, who grew up in poverty in Rhode Island, whose alcoholic father regularly beat her mother.

As Jay explains it, the quiet daily heroism of people whose triumph over adverse circumstances is known only to their family and friends is every bit as impressive as the achievements of those who've overcome comparable obstacles on the road to success. While she never minimizes the devastating effect of childhood trauma, she has a fundamentally optimistic view of its victims' ability to blunt some of the most harmful effects. "It is never too late for one good person--or for a collection of good people--to change our lives for the better one moment, one day, one year at a time," she writes. For all its darkness, Supernormal's inspiring message and Jay's portraits of how to act on it make this a valuable and important book. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Clinical psychologist Meg Jay takes a fascinating look at how young people can triumph over profound adversity to lead fulfilling lives.


Violet Valley Bookstore Opening Soon

The local press we relied on for some of the information in our story about the opening of Violet Valley Bookstore in Water Valley, Miss., rushed things a bit: the new LGBTQ store "has not quite opened its doors yet," according to volunteer bookseller Ellis Starkey. "We shall be open officially later this month." Our apologies.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Food for Thought at #MPIBA17

When school is in session at a book industry trade show, you have to choose from a menu of concurrent panels. That's a good thing. At the 2017 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Fall Discovery Show, I did what I usually do--study the menu and make, well, educated selections of education sessions. I made excellent choices, but probably couldn't have gone wrong with any of the offerings.

Ron Krall, Nicole Magistro & Vicki Burger

I was, as I often am, intrigued by food for thought, those quotable moments when big ideas are wrapped up neatly in a few sentences. A panel on "Back Office Operations" featured Nicole Magistro of the Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo.; Ron Krall of Off the Beaten Path, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and Vicki Burger of Wind City Books, Casper, Wyo. They focused on financial operations, human resources and filing.

Or, as Krall noted in his opening remarks: "Okay folks, welcome to the most boring, most frustrating, most irritating topic of the whole Discovery Show. You're very brave. The reason I'm up here talking about this at all is that somewhere around five or six years ago I began to be aware of how much time and energy was being spent in doing what we're going to be talking about back office operations and beginning to wonder, Do we need to spend that much time and energy? And so over a bunch of years we worked to try to minimize these tasks."

He advised his colleagues to "spend a moment trying to think of how many hours a week you or your staff devote to those tasks.... Back office time is all the time you're not spending with customers. It's all time you're not doing activities that generate sales."

Magistro pointed out that they were "not discounting the other things that happen in the back office--buying, marketing, events management, anything like that that sometimes happens off the floor in some stores.... Those things are designed to be creating new sales, to be driving sales.... With the rising minimum wage issues, and with just in general living wage issues for our staff, the other way that you can think about this is not just as a savings to the owner or the bottom line of the store, but also to potential cash flow so that you can give more substantial raises."

Two questions were put forward to consider: For any task that is being done behind the scenes, does it need to be done at all? And if it does, how can you do it more efficiently?

"Being a small store, I don't have the luxury of having different people assigned different tasks like buyer, marketer, event manager," Burger said. "And some of the back office efficiencies I've learned I learned accidentally." She cited as an example a staff member who took it upon herself to bring order to Burger's admittedly borderline chaotic office practices. "Just being willing to take advantage of your employees in a sense really can make a huge difference, particularly if you're small like I am."

Magistro agreed, adding: "This doesn't mean eliminating people's jobs or eliminating hours, but instead it means optimizing and accepting that perhaps how it's being done right now is not necessarily the best way. And even if you do that, and you created that system, it's okay if somebody does it better."

Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, Valerie Koehler & the Literary Trivia Championship trophy

The American Booksellers Association presented an informative "Maximizing Backlist" session at the regionals this fall. For the MPIBA show it was helmed by senior program officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger and Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex., who proudly displayed the Literary Trivia trophy won by the Texas team the previous night.

"You, too, can go home with this trophy if you take advantage of what you're going to learn today," Dallanegra-Sanger joked to open a session that explored important backlist title strategies, options and opportunities.

At one point, Koehler observed that "backlist is not just books that are a year old. For those of you who have strong children's departments, that's really where the backlist just shines because there's so much backlist in the children's department. And how many times can we sell Goodnight Moon? That's the beauty of the children's department is you have so many classics that never go away and that you always have on the shelf. And you can take advantage of those backlist offers to beef up your section."

"Angry customer" Matt Miller of Denver's Tattered Cover Book Store "confronts" Anne Holman of the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah, during a lively session of Bookseller Improv: What You Want to Say vs. What You Should Say

After they showcased numerous examples of creative backlist store displays and promotions, Koehler advised: "When you go back to your stores, ask some of your newer booksellers what's something you loved 10 or 15 years ago... and maybe ask your booksellers, what were we selling 15 years ago that we really liked? Because now you have some new customers, you have some new booksellers, and you can all get excited about some of the backlist titles that you did sell."

One last note: If you have any doubts about the importance of that Literary Trivia trophy and the camaraderie/rivalry surrounding it, outgoing MPIBA board president Anne Holman of the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah, brought the subject up once again when she told me after the show: "Serving as the president of MPIBA for the past three years has been a pleasure and a privilege. Our membership is increasing, the winter catalogue sales are better than ever, and the booksellers seem to get younger and younger. My only sorrow is that Utah hasn't won the Literary Trivia contest in the last six years."

For the record, I was on the losing Texas team in 2016 and the Utah team in 2017. Maybe... it's me. Food for thought.

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

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