Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 11, 2020: Maximum Shelf: Siri, Who Am I?

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 11, 2020

William Morrow & Company: Polostan: Volume One of Bomb Light by Neal Stephenson

Shadow Mountain: The Legend of the Last Library by Frank L Cole

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Elements of Marie Curie: How the Glow of Radium Lit a Path for Women in Science by Dava Sobel

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly


AAP Sales: In 2019, Children's/YA Up 6.8%, Adult Down 2.7%

Total net book sales in 2019 in the U.S. rose 1.8%, to $14,766.3 billion, representing sales of 1,361 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. The year ended on a positive note, with total net book sales in December up 11.8%, to $1.233 billion, and trade revenue up 9%, to $728.9 million.

Trade sales for the year were essentially flat, up 0.1%, to $7.9 billion. Children's/YA books had strong results, up 6.8%, to $2.26 billion, while adult books slipped 2.7%, to $4.99 billion. Downloaded audio jumped 22.1%, to $576.9 million, while e-books fell 4.2%, to $983.3 million. Printed books account for 74% (or $5.8 billion) of 2019 trade revenues.

Running Press Kids: Your Magical Life: A Young Witch's Guide to Becoming Happy, Confident, and Powerful by Amanda Lovelace

COVID-19 Update: More Cancellations & Postponements

As the coronavirus (and worries about it) continues to spread across the globe, the book business is being affected in numerous ways, including more indie bookstores canceling or postponing author events due to concerns regarding COVID-19.

In a message to customers, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Brentwood, Calif., wrote: "We've been getting phone calls and e-mails asking if our events are still going on in the wake of current events, and the answer is 'Yep, they are! Unless...' and regrettably this post is about a couple of those 'Unless...' cases.... Ultimately, we're leaving the decisions to continue with, cancel, or postpone their events up to the authors involved and if you don't hear from us about a specific event, it's still happening. However, anything could change so don't hesitate to reach out to us to make sure."

Terry Tazioli of University Book Store, Seattle, Wash., sent out an e-mail detailing all of the store's event cancelations and changes for March as of March 9, adding: "Other than these, I'd tell you to monitor the Events page at"

Citing "concerns for the health and well-being of our community," Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif., postponed or canceled several events, noting: "We will announce new dates once they have been rescheduled. Thank you for your patience and understanding and please stay safe!"

In announcing that last night's event with Jessica Lanyadoo had been cancelled, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, Calif., said it is leaving the decision about events "to the discretion of the authors" and that "as for business itself, also, we're doing pretty okay so far! Thank you for supporting independent businesses, in good times & bad! We can't do any of this without you.

"If time comes that you have to self-quarantine, remember we have a great, easy-to-navigate online store that's available 24/7: No reason you have to give your brain wholly over to the streaming media demons."

Saying that "we know there are people throughout the Bay Area that would like to visit their local Books Inc. bookstore but are instead stuck at home or trying to limit exposure to public places," Books Inc., with 10 stores in the Bay Area, has begun a free shipping program for all Postal Service media mail orders and reduced pricing for ground shipping. "We're all in need of a good book, especially now, and we want to make it as easy as we can for you to continue to support local independent bookstores like Books Inc. while we collectively learn about and try to manage the impact of the Coronavirus."

Books Inc. added that "unless otherwise announced, scheduled readings will continue as planned. We will continue to have hand sanitizer and/or wipes available."

Kirsten Hess of Let's Play Books, Emmaus, Pa., announced that the inaugural Lehigh Valley Book Festival, originally scheduled for the last weekend in March, will be postponed to June 5-7, noting: "Your health and wellness as well as the health and wellness of our community is our first priority."


The National Book Critics Circle canceled its finalists reading on March 11 and its awards ceremony on March 12 in New York City "due to the volatile nature of the current health crisis." The board plans to deliberate tomorrow and announce the results via press release and social media, as well as with individual e-mails to finalists and winners. The annual gala benefit and reception will be rescheduled for the fall, and the winners of all awards will be celebrated at that time.

"We are all crushed. We did not make this decision lightly," said NBCC president Laurie Hertzel. "We discussed it as a board for days and with the New School at length, but this was really the only possible decision. We are looking forward to celebrating our winners at the rescheduled gala this fall."


We Need Diverse Books announced it will cancel the Diversity in Children’s Literature Symposium and the Walter Dean Myers Award Ceremony, set for March 13, "out of an abundance of caution.... The health of the authors, educators, librarians and students scheduled to attend the event is of greatest concern to We Need Diverse Books. In the next several weeks, we will be assessing our options for holding these events at another time and will keep everyone informed.... Please join us in celebrating the 2020 winners and honorees as well as Walter Dean Myers Award for Leadership and Advocacy in Children’s Literature recipient."



The 2020 Tucson Festival of Books, which was scheduled for March 14-15 and annually draws more than 100,000 people to the University of Arizona campus, has been canceled amid concerns over coronavirus.

In a statement, the board of directors cited several reasons, including more than 100 author cancellations, which affected the author panel schedule "and we anticipate more changes and cancellations will be forthcoming.... We realize that this change in course is significant for the Tucson community, our financial supporters, exhibitors, food vendors and other partners."


"In light of public health concerns related to the coronavirus and out of an abundance of caution," the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, originally scheduled for April, has been rescheduled and will be presented October 3-4 in association with the University of Southern California. Organizers said the Book Prizes awards ceremony, planned for April 17, will not be held this year. Winners and honorees will be acknowledged through an announcement.


The 2020 Virginia Festival of the Book, scheduled for March 18-22 in Charlottesville, has also been canceled. Organizers said: "At its core, the festival is a community event that brings together writers and readers from across the country and around the world. As such, we are committed to prioritizing and protecting the wellbeing of our community, as well as visiting speakers and attendees.... We ask that you please consider purchasing books (from local booksellers) by authors whose programs you were hoping to attend. Further, we will do our best to share information in the future about local events with authors who had been previously scheduled to speak at this year's event."


The Texas Library Association conference, scheduled for March 24-27, will have at least one less exhibitor. A Macmillan spokesperson said yesterday: "Due to an abundance of caution for our employee safety regarding COVID-19, Macmillan Publishers has made the decision to not exhibit at TLA in Houston." 


Penguin Random House will not be sending its teams to the rescheduled Bologna Children's Book Fair. The Bookseller reported that the company's "decision not to send teams from the U.S. or U.K., comes after Simon & Schuster also pulled out of the fair last week, citing the health and safety of staff." Fair organizers had announced in February that this year's event would be delayed by a month to begin on May 4 following the coronavirus outbreak, which has since escalated in Italy.

A spokesman for PRH UK told the Bookseller: "In light of the travel risks related to the coronavirus and our ongoing concerns for the health and wellbeing of our employees, authors, and partners, Penguin Random House will not participate in the Bologna Book Fair."

And just this morning, Hachette took action as well, saying in a statement, "In light of the unprecedented action the Italian government is taking to contain the spread of the coronavirus and our ongoing concern for the safety of our colleagues, authors and partners, Hachette UK, Hachette Livre and Hachette Book Group have decided to withdraw from the Bologna Book Fair."

Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, publisher at Macmillan Children's Books, told the Bookseller it was "too early to say" if her teams were still going to Bologna: "We are monitoring the situation closely day by day and of course we would love to attend, but it is just not possible to confirm one way or the other at this point in time."


Last Friday, the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) said Italy's book market "fell 25% in the previous week, with those areas worst-hit by the coronavirus--such as Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia--seeing drops of 50% and above," the Bookseller reported.

The AIE presidential committee held a meeting about presenting their case to government. President Ricardo Franco Levi warned of a "crisis, serious and profound," related not just to initial fall in book sales, but also the longer-term consequences which he said were unpredictable.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

Lion's Tooth Looking to Open Physical Bookshop

Lion's Tooth, a small press and graphic novel subscription service based in Milwaukee, Wis., has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a bricks-and-mortar storefront. 

Owners Shelly McClones-Carriere and Cris Siqueira told the Milwaukee Record that they're hoping to open a bookstore cafe that, like the subscription service, will specialize in titles from small presses as well as graphic novels. They'll sell books for all ages, and their event plans include storytime sessions, book clubs, art exhibits and live music performances.

Since launching the subscription service last fall, McClones-Carriere and Siqueira have also started a series of monthly pop-up book clubs hosted at a Milwaukee bar called The Sugar Maple. Their monthly subscription packages, meanwhile, include a new release, a zine or print from a featured artists, Lion's Tooth's own mini-zine and a variety of swag such as cards, stickers and magnets.

Nonprofit Boneshaker Books Closes

Boneshaker Books, a nonprofit, collectively owned bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn., has closed after almost 10 years of operation, City Pages reported.

The volunteer-run shop opened in the city's Seward neighborhood in 2011. The bookstore had a radical and progressive bent along with a large children's section and extensive literature collection. With the shop's lease set to expire in 2020, the collective looked at the bookstore's finances and came to the conclusion that the store was no longer viable.

"Ten years of nonprofit operation is no failure," the collective wrote in a Facebook post, "and we couldn't have done it without all of those who have lent their time, ideas and voices over the past decade."

Boneshaker Books was home to many community events, such as the short fiction reading club Cracked Walnut and the Twin Cities Queer Book Club. It also served as the center of operations for the Women's Prison Book Project, which supplied free reading materials to prisoners.

Although the shop is officially closed, the Boneshaker collective does plan to reopen for a one-day final sale, date to be announced.

Obituary Note: Paul Addison

Historian Paul Addison, who "examined many aspects of military and civilian war experience, and became a leading international scholar of Winston Churchill," died January 21, the Guardian reported. He was 76. When he "embarked on studying the politics of the second world war, there were few scholarly studies to draw on and sources were thin on the ground."

Addison's best-known book, The Road to 1945 (1975), was "a landmark in the writing of contemporary history and had a huge impact on that field," the Guardian wrote, adding that the book "became a focal point for discussion and debate about the political history of wartime and postwar Britain. It remains an essential title on student reading lists."

His other titles include Now the War Is Over (1985); No Turning Back (2010); "and a long list of edited volumes dealing with different aspects of the British military and civilian war experience," the Guardian noted, adding that the most recent of these volumes, The Spirit of the Blitz, is due to be published later this year.

In addition, Addison became a leading international scholar of Winston Churchill, having worked in the late 1960s as a research assistant for Churchill's son, Randolph, who was compiling his father's official biography. Among Addison's works in this field are Churchill on the Home Front (1992) and Churchill: The Unexpected Hero (2005).


Image of the Day: The Occurrence at the Strand

The Strand Book Store, New York City, hosted an event in the Rare Book Room for Robert Desiderio's debut thriller, The Occurrence (Post Hill Press), moderated by his wife, actress Judith Light. Sandra Bernhard, Bette Midler and daughter Sophie Von Haselberg were in attendance. Pictured: Desiderio, Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden and Light.

Happy 10th Birthday, {pages} a bookstore!

{pages} created this video to celebrate its birthday.

Congratulations to {pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, Calif., which is celebrating 10 years "of beating the brick and mortar bookstore odds," the Beach Reporter wrote, adding that "over the past 10 years, as popular chain booksellers like Borders and Crown Books have closed, a little book store with a big following is thriving."

Linda McLoughlin Figel, who owns the store with Patty Gibson, cited loyal customers as the secret to success: "It's hard to compete against the online retailer, who shall remain nameless, who sells books at a price oftentimes below what we can buy them for. So those challenges don't go away. And doing business in California is tough, increasing minimum wages and rents going up. All of those things make it very difficult, but we love what we do and we can't wait for the next 10 years."

She added that {pages} "benefited from a national shop, local support indie movement. I think there's a bit of a pendulum swing, where people would rather have an experience of coming in a bookstore and talking to somebody and smelling books as opposed to everything so available digitally."

Figel and Gibson started a book club about 20 years ago, and then, a decade later, took the bookseller leap. "About 12 years ago, she (Gibson) said, 'What do you think about doing a bookstore?' " Figel recalled. "And we kind of looked at it and I said, 'I'm in if it makes sense, but I don't want an expensive hobby.' "

The bookstore "has also become part of the community through outreach and involvement in local events," the Beach Reporter noted. "They bring in more than 100 authors a year and host five book clubs, focusing on mysteries, literature, nonfiction, as well as two children's clubs and a weekly story time."

"That's a really important part of what we do," Figel said. "It's a great way to bring culture and community and intellectual exchange into the community." Supporting local education foundations is also key: "Every kindergartner who starts in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District gets a gift card from us that welcomes them to the world of reading and education and we encourage them to come spend that with us."

Ingram Academic Services to Distribute Edinburgh University Press

Effective in June, Ingram Academic Services will provide distribution, sales, and academic marketing services for Edinburgh University Press in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Edinburgh University Press's books and journals programs include Classics & Ancient History, Film, Media & Cultural Studies, History, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, Language & Linguistics, Law, Literary Studies, Philosophy, Politics, and Scottish Studies.

Timothy Wright, managing chief executive of Edinburgh University Press, commented: "We are confident that our rapidly growing list in the humanities and social sciences, together with our increasing global author base, will benefit from Ingram's significant investment in academic and scholarly fulfilment services."

Kurt Hettler, director of Ingram Academic Services, add: "With our robust academic marketing options and extensive distribution network, we are confident that we will enhance Edinburgh's brand identity and grow the readership of their books."

Personnel Changes at The Experiment

Will Rhino, formerly at Atria Books, has joined The Experiment as sales and marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ben Hubbard on Fresh Air

NPR's Here and Now: Barry Sonnenfeld, author of Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker (Hachette Books, $29, 9780316415613).

Fresh Air: Ben Hubbard, author of MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman (Tim Duggan Books, $28, 9781984823823).


Live with Kelly and Ryan: Joan Lunden, author of Why Did I Come into This Room?: A Candid Conversation about Aging (Forefront Books, $28, 9781948677295).

Rachael Ray: Daymond John, co-author of Powershift: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome (Currency, $28, 9780593136232).

Movies: The Boys in the Boat

George Clooney will direct The Boys in the Boat, based on the book The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, Observer reported. Mark L. Smith (The Revenant) wrote the screenplay. Clooney will also produce alongside Andy Mitchell, Milos Brajovic, Kerry Roster and Grant Heslov.

Partnering with MGM on the film is Lantern Entertainment, which acquired the assets of the Weinstein Company in bankruptcy. Observer noted that "TWC originally acquired the rights to the book before being sunk by Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault and harassment charges."

Books & Authors

Awards: Lambda Literary Finalists; LBF International Excellence

Finalists have been announced in 24 categories for the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards (the "Lammys"), which recognize "the crucial role LGBTQ writers play in shaping the world" and celebrate "the vast range of LGBTQ literature." Winners will be named June 8 at the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York City. See the complete list of this year's finalists here.

"The Lammys are a testament to the LGBTQ community's longstanding contribution to literature," said Sue Landers, executive director of Lambda Literary. "The awards celebrate authentic LGBTQ storytelling in all of its beauty, complexity, and power."


Among the many winners of the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, announced today and done in conjunction with the Publishers Association, are:

Bookstore of the Year: Unity Books Auckland, New Zealand, cited for its "wonderful and 'dangerously tempting' store, and for developing career booksellers, growing their business substantially, and their commitment and actions to become carbon zero by 2025."

Library of the Year: Maadi Public Library, Egypt, cited for its "sheer energy, diversity and vibrancy" and its "holistic programme, including management and leadership activities and entrepreneurial skills for women and girls, a focus on global issues such as water scarcity and new ideas around digital skills."

Literary Translation Initiative Award: Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, Mass., which judges called "a unique organisation that involves the public, publishers, libraries, and upcoming generations of translators in a broad and imaginative programme to preserve the past and safeguard the future of this language and its culture."

Academic and Professional Publisher Award: Princeton University Press.

Note: usually presented in conjunction with the London Book Fair, which was cancelled this year, the awards were announced online.

Reading with... Cassandra Clare

photo: Kelly Campbell

Cassandra Clare is the author of the Eldest Curses series, the Dark Artifices trilogy, the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices trilogy. She is the coauthor of The Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson; Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman; and Ghosts of the Shadow Market with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link and Robin Wasserman. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide, have been translated into more than 35 languages and made into a feature film and TV show. Clare lives in western Massachusetts. Her new book, Chain of Gold (Book 1 of The Last Hours), was just published by McElderry Books/S&S.

On your nightstand now:

The Weird Tales of Tanith Lee by Tanith Lee.  She has always been one of my favorite writers. While I was growing up, I collected all her books. She was also a prolific writer of short stories. Since they were published in the days before the Internet, they weren't always so easy to find. Now, posthumously, they are being reissued. This book is a collection of all the short stores that she ever published in Weird Tales magazine.

My mom lent me a book called Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. It's the story of three women whose lives intersect at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. It's a brutal story, but as someone who always searches for meaning in what happened to my family in the Holocaust, it feels necessary.

I also just started The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin, which has a fascinating historical setting in 1836 Istanbul.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It would be a tie between The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper and The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Both of them are epic fantasies. The Dark Is Rising takes place in our world--albeit a version full of hidden magic--while The Chronicles of Prydain take place in the magical, invented land of Prydain. These books cemented my love for fantasy!

Your top five authors:

Jane Austen taught me about writing humor and realistic characters. Dorothy L. Sayers drove my love for clever, twisty mystery. The Sherlock Holmes books by Arthur Conan Doyle taught me to adore troubled main characters with dark secrets. Kazuo Ishiguro taught me that the most delicate observations are often the most true and striking. Gabriel García Márquez taught me that being human is magical.

Book you've faked reading:

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls because I absolutely refuse to read books where bad things happen to animals, especially dogs.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. It's twisty, it's turny, it's fantastic. It's my answer to people who say children's books are too simplistic.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I bought The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert for the cover, and then I was glad I did because it turned out to be terrific!

Book you hid from your parents:

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. It's an incredibly disturbing book, but I think my parents would have taken it away from me because it is also a terribly written book. When I was 11, I found it fascinating!

Book that changed your life:

Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny taught me that you can mash up different genres and come up with something completely new, like the way he mashed up noir detective fiction and high fantasy.

Favorite line from a book:

"Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to." --Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Five books you'll never part with:

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell (all 12!), The Wandering Unicorn by Manuel Mujica Láinez, Kindred by Octavia Butler.

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

The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It's an exceptionally clever and entertaining read--both extremely funny and also terrifying in places. I wish I could read it again for the first time and be amazed by its originality and beauty.

Book Review

Children's Review: A Story About Afiya

A Story about Afiya by James Berry, illus. by Anna Cunha (Lantana Publishing, $17.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 5-8, 9781911373339, April 7, 2020)

In 1991, prolific Jamaican poet and Coretta Scott King Honor author James Berry (A Thief in the Village) wrote "A Story About Afiya," an exquisite celebration of the simple magic of childhood. Lantana Publishing, founded "because all children deserve to see themselves in the books they read," here debuts a dazzlingly illustrated posthumous edition of the poem magnificently enhanced by Brazilian artist Anna Cunha's work.

Afiya is a lively young girl with "fine black skin/ that shows off her white clothes/ and big brown eyes that laugh/ and long limbs that play." Her wardrobe consists of a single "white summer frock/ she wears and washes every night." But this dress is something spectacular: "every day [it] picks on something/ to collect, strangely." Throughout the summer, each of Afiya's daily adventures imprints memorable details onto the blank canvas that is her summer frock: "Afiya passes sunflowers and finds/ the yellow fringed black faces there." As her summer outings continue, she emerges from a walk through a resplendent garden with red roses in "clustered bunches." On another day, she wanders through high grass and returns adorned with butterflies. Despite the dress's nightly washings, "the sharp pictures in colour" remain untouched; yet, by morning, that same dress is "cleared and ready,/ hanging white as new paper" in anticipation for her next great discovery: pigeons in formation, tigers at the zoo, "fishes under ruffled waves." With so much to do, Afiya's summer passes quickly, too soon revealing the "windswept leaves/ of October, falling," ushering in the autumn season.

Berry, who lived in Great Britain, was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to poetry before he died in 2017. The poet's partner, Myra Barrs, an author, teacher and publisher, writes in a brief foreword that "James Berry created a magic world for Afiya." She adds that Anna Cunha "has re-imagined the poem and created an enchanting fantasy landscape for Afiya's adventures." Each double-page spread is a marvelous new portrayal of Afiya, who seems perpetually in motion, dancing, flying, climbing, exploring and enjoying the delightful panoramas all around her. When readers open the book, its initial square shape expands into a wide beckoning landscape, with each page turn revealing a dynamic new view. From front to back, even the endpapers extend gorgeous, inventive invitations to readers.

As if emphasizing Afiya's glowing, rounded pink cheeks--her Swahili name means "health"--Cunha generously infuses her palette with rich pink and vibrant red hues. In visually accentuating Afiya's free-roaming, outdoor-oriented, boundless explorations, Cunha affirms the essential necessity of encouraging childhood creativity to be untethered and free. As Barrs rightfully concludes, "This book is a wonderful weaving together of two imaginations." Indeed, indeed! --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: The posthumous publication of Jamaican poet James Berry's "A Story About Afiya" makes its debut in this visually spectacular edition illustrated by Brazilian artist Anna Cunha.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. A Nantucket Affair by Pamela M. Kelley
2. Just One Year by Penelope Ward
3. Crazy Heifer (The Valentine Boys Book 2) by Lani Lynn Vale
4. Titan's Addiction by Anna Zaires and Dima Zaires
5. Once a Myth by Pepper Winters
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
7. Better than Sexy (The Sexy Series Book 3) by Carly Phillips
8. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
9. Alec's Dream (Gemini Group Book 4) by Riley Edwards
10. Black Out (Black's Bandits Book 3) by Lynn Raye Harris

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit