Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Scribner Book Company:  Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

Del Rey Books: Malorie: A Bird Box Novel by Josh Malerman

Norton: New Reads for the Summer!

Roaring Brook Press: Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale

HP Piazza: Regain Control of Your Publishing Content - Register Now

Minotaur Books: A Brotherhood Betrayed: The Man Behind the Rise and Fall of Murder, Inc. by Michael Cannell

Editors' Note

April Fools

No laughing Mutter

Over the past week, with April 1 rapidly approaching, Shelf Awareness has had repeated but distant consultations with the CDC, as well as with a range of local, regional and state government authorities about the advisability of running an April Fool's issue today. On the advice of those experts, Shelf Awareness had taken a range of precautions in planning the issue to protect the health and safety of us and our readers, including thoroughly sanitizing every story and using short words that are harder for the coronavirus to attach to, as well as practicing social distancing--something the editors, who work in our homes, perfected long ago. We also wrestled with the question of whether an April Fool's issue is appropriate in this difficult, painful time and whether snarky satire is an "essential" service. Sadly, after much discussion, hand-wringing and thorough hand-washing, we have come to the difficult decision to postpone our annual April Fool's issue until 2021.

Thus we will forgo such tempting possibilities as an item about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ordering that his $81,000-a-year salary be reduced by at least $6,000 so he can qualify for a $1,200 check from the federal government, a story that would have included a paragraph about him seeking to have his ex-wife, MacKenzie, declared as a dependent--at least until the checks go out, allowing him to claim $2,400. We're sorry, but we just don't feel that such a thing is right at a time like this.

We will also abstain for now from jokes about the current occupant of the White House....

And now, for better or worse, back to the not-fake news.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 05.25.20


News

S&S Promoting Indies with Bookshop.org

To support independent booksellers and raise awareness and facilitate online selling during the coronavirus pandemic, Simon & Schuster is teaming up with Bookshop.org, adding Bookshop buy buttons to all S&S websites and encouraging its authors to add  Bookshop.org links and use #readlocal and #supportindies on their own websites and social media posts.

S&S is also celebrating and promoting the independent bookselling community and encouraging shopping at Bookshop.org on its many consumer-facing platforms, including e-mail marketing, social media, websites, blogs, and reading community sponsorships such as LitHub.

S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy commented: "Local independent bookstores are a crucial link in the chain that brings authors to readers, and are a vital force in building and maintaining a sense of community in cities and towns across America. As it becomes more and more difficult to buy books in person, and the threat to the very existence of bookstores becomes more acute, Bookshop.org offers a way for readers to support their favorite indie bookstore without leaving the house."

Bookshop.org president Andy Hunter said, "Supporting local, independent bookstores is always important. Right now it's essential. Every book lover needs to rally around bookstores and safeguard their future. Many have been forced to close their doors, and the best way to show your support right now is to buy books from them online. Bookshop.org makes that easy."

S&S authors are already getting involved. Stephen King said, "Independent bookstores are the lifeline of the intellect. They have to remain strong, especially in difficult times like these."

Jason Reynolds added: "Indie booksellers have consistently served as bonding agents for our communities. They work tirelessly to make sure we not only have books, but also a base, a place to come and simply be. They are, quite literally, the cover that protects the pages of who we are. And now, it's time for us to protect them."

In the coming weeks, many other S&S authors will join the campaign, too, including Mary H.K. Choi, Cassandra Clare, Jenny Han, Adam Higginbotham, Christina Lauren, Lisa Jewell, Shannon Messenger, Susan Orlean, Lisa See, Rebecca Serle, Neal Shusterman and J.R. Ward.


GLOW: Bloomsbury Publishing: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke


N.J.'s Inkwood Books Going Ahead with Move

Inkwood's current location; the new store will be just down the road.

Julie Beddingfield, owner of Inkwood Books in East Haddonfield, N.J., has decided to go ahead with moving her store to a new location, which she has planned to do since last year. 

In a Facebook post announcing her decision, she reported that the store has been closed for two weeks and she expects to be closed for at least another month. The closure, she continued, forced her to "think long and hard" about whether moving the store was a smart thing to do amid so much uncertainty and risk. But, having seen the ways in which her community rallied over the past two weeks, including delivering flowers and pizzas to health care workers, sewing masks, shopping local and more, she and her team are now "inspired, we have hope, and we're doing it!"

The new space won't have the "fancy displays, inventory and fun stuff" that Beddingfield envisioned, at least not for a while, and she won't be asking all the community members who volunteered to help with the move to lend a hand. Once the store can reopen, though, she will continue to "offer a curated selection of books for all ages, and perhaps more importantly, host our friends and neighbors who will once-again need and crave gathering together."


HarperCollins Buying Egmont Book Operations in U.K., Germany and Poland

HarperCollins is acquiring Egmont Books UK and Egmont's book business in Poland, as well as Schneiderbuch in Germany, the company announced today. After the acquisition, Egmont Books UK will run as a distinct children's division, headed by current managing director Cally Poplak. In Germany, Schneiderbuch will become part of HarperCollins Germany children's books. And Egmont Books Poland will become part of HarperCollins Poland. Egmont Publishing's magazines are not included in the purchase.

Egmont, with headquarters in Denmark, is a multimedia company, with book, magazine, film, TV and interactive media operations. From 2008 to 2015 it operated in the U.S., but closed that branch because it wanted to invest only in countries where it had a leading market position.

Chantal Restivo-Alessi, CEO of international foreign language and CDO, HarperCollins, said, "Egmont's expertise in the children's book market and position as a global player in licensed publishing, combined with HarperCollins global footprint will be the cornerstone for building and growing our worldwide strength in children's publishing."

Charlie Redmayne, HarperCollins UK CEO, said: "The acquisition of Egmont will give us a huge opportunity to combine their existing profile and expertise in the U.K. and in Europe with the licensing experience and capability we already have in Suzanne Murphy's HarperCollins US children's business. This will enable us to unlock the potential of licensed publishing across the broadest international reach"

He praised the Egmont UK list, which includes "iconic names such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Thomas the Tank Engine, Tintin and Mr Men."


International Update: Indigo Layoffs; Bertrams Closes

Canadian bookstore chain Indigo Books & Music laid off 5,200 of its 7,000-person staff, effective March 27. The company, which operates close to 200 locations across the country, had closed March 17 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Although the retailer "had originally hoped to reopen its doors," Quill & Quire reported that it will remain closed indefinitely, while offering free shipping for customers until April 12.

Indigo staff had been fully paid up to March 27. Indigo spokesperson Kate Gregory said the company expects "to re-embrace as many as possible when this period of store closure is over."

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In the U.K., Bertrams is temporarily closing because the risk to staff during the coronavirus pandemic is "proving too great," the Bookseller reported. In a statement, Bertram Group CEO Raj Patel said he had "rather painfully" decided to close Bertram Books, Bertram Library Services, Dawson Books and Education Umbrella temporarily, effective April 1. Orders already in the system would be fulfilled where stock is immediately available.

"Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of colleagues in my company who have worked tirelessly in these uncertain times to furnish books to our customers worldwide through their passion and enthusiasm for the book industry," he said. "While I had put in place measures to safeguard the spread of coronavirus across the seven different locations in which we operate including contactless deliveries with our logistics partners, the risk is proving too great.... New and emerging information will guide us through the coming weeks and months, and I will be in touch as soon as I can with information about resuming services and meeting the future need of our customers and book readers. Thank you for your understanding during these surreal times."

Patel added that the online business Wordery will remain running because it provides a significant public service, but he said the rest of Bertrams' business would only reopen when customers' premises started opening again: "We're just a distributor, we're only as good as the customer base."

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Bookshop and publishing house staff in Australia are among the workers who could be eligible for the federal government's A$130 billion (about US$79.2 billion) JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, Books + Publishing reported that under the initiative, the Australian Tax Office "will pay affected businesses A$1,500 [about US$915] every fortnight to subsidize the wage of each worker employed at March 1, 2020. Businesses will be required to pay at least that amount to workers. The A$1,500 fortnightly payment will be available for full- and part-time workers, as well as sole traders and casuals who have been with an employer for 12 months or more."

Affected businesses are those that have suffered a drop in turnover of at least 30%, or 50% for employers with over $1 billion in turnover. The subsidy begins March 30, with first payments to be received by employers during the first week of May.

"This is absolutely necessary," said Australian Booksellers Association CEO Robbie Egan. "It could not have come soon enough. My only concern is it may be lacking in universality; it would be excellent to not exclude anyone, including casuals who have worked for a company for less than 12 months.

"That said, it's a huge step in the right direction. Small businesses such as bookshops are the lifeblood of the economy, and it's no secret that bookshops are incredibly labor-intensive: they employ a lot of people to do the physical work of getting books onto shelves and into customers hands and, proportionately, bookshops going under would destroy a lot of good jobs. So the longevity of the scheme is to be applauded.... Bookshops are the consumer-facing end of the whole publishing industry and any losses there would be damaging to the entire ecosystem as we're all in it together.'

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The Book Warehouse, Lismore, New South Wales, posted on Facebook: "Three years ago today, floodwaters raged through our beautiful shop. Our new owners Sarah, Richard and Wendy and our wonderful team of booksellers did whatever it took to help our business flourish again. And all the while our book loving community supported us.

"Now we are dealing with this horrible virus that has changed the world, and we are again adapting and changing the way we do things. Our website is up... we're offering free delivery in the Lismore area and we're always contactable on our Facebook page. Thank you for your continued support. Books will save the world!"


How Bookstores Are Coping: Crowd-Funding, Online Sales, Transition Mode

In announcing the launch of the Bookends & Beginnings COVID-19 GoFundMe campaign, Nina Barrett, owner of the Evanston, Ill., store, began with "some dark humor from the bookstore industry:

Q: Know how you can make a small fortune selling books?
A: Start with a large fortune.

"Just to unpack the punch line," she continued. "Even though most bookstores aren't legally non-profit entities, making a 'profit' in this field is defined as not actually losing money while you are sustaining day-to-day operations.

"I am so, so proud to tell you that, since we opened in the heart of Evanston nearly six years ago, Bookends & Beginnings has operated in the black. In fact, the growing love and support for us in our community has enabled us to grow along with it. Maybe we made you a book recommendation that brightened your life or the life of someone you gave it to. Maybe we donated a gift certificate to your school's or your organization's silent auction fundraiser (we have donated gift certificates to many, many fundraisers!), or hosted an event or a fundraiser for you in the store. Maybe you got a chance to meet a favorite author, or celebrate the publication of your book or a friend's book at one of our author events. Maybe you watched your child or someone else's straddle the back of one of our beloved sheep and get lost in a story.

"We look forward to doing all these things with and for you again when the COVID-19 crisis passes. But right now we face the challenge posed to so many small retailers: without walk-in business, we simply cannot make enough money to pay our bills, especially if the store remains shuttered--as now seems likely--for weeks if not months....

"Launching a crowd-funding campaign is not something we like to be doing--especially at a time when we know so many people are anxious and trying to deal with the impact of this crisis on their own lives. But we need your donation now to ensure our survival in these uncertain times."

In a heartfelt gesture, the store is donating 10% of the proceeds of its GoFundMe campaign to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc). Good news so far: launched on Sunday, the campaign has already raised $18,000 toward its goal of $100,000.

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In Albuquerque, N.Mex., Bookworks closed to browsing on Sunday, March 15, which was the last time that employees or customers were in store. For another week after that, co-owners Danielle Foster and Wyatt Wegrzyn handled curbside pickup at the store, with customers pre-purchasing books online or over the phone and then calling when they arrived. But even wearing gloves and keeping distance, Foster and Wergrzyn felt the risk was still too high for both themselves and their customers. They ended up stopping that as well, one day before New Mexico's governor issued a stay at home order, and since then they've been doing direct-to-home delivery through their website.

Amanda Sutton, the store's marketing and events coordinator, reported that staff members are healthy and at home, though they are still doing things like posting book reviews and doing challenges together on social media. Wergrzyn and Foster are giving them frequent updates and trying to be as transparent as possible amid so many changing circumstances.

Online sales and web traffic, meanwhile, have increased exponentially, and Bookworks has been adding new category pages to its website. Sutton said the team has been so focused on driving web sales through online promotions they have not had time to try out things like virtual author events and live-streamed storytime sessions just yet, but they hope to start in the near future.

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Bear Pond Books can no longer do curbside pickup.

Claire Benedict, co-owner of Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vt., reported that her store has been closed for browsing for around 10 days. Until last Thursday, she and her co-owner were able to do curbside pick up, but a statewide order put an end to that. Since that time, they've been trying to make do with website sales.

Almost all of the store's staff is on temporary leave, with the state directive allowing only owners to enter a workplace. Benedict and her partner are in store filling orders while one employee is processing website orders from home. Benedict said that sales have been impacted but people are ordering books and keeping the store going. They've gotten a lot of community support, and pickup was very popular with customers when they were still allowed to do it.

Bear Pond Books has yet to try any virtual events, with Benedict saying they simply haven't had the time. She added: "Transitioning our entire business model every few days with limited staffing has been keeping us busy."

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Orders on the way from Books Are Magic.

"We've transformed the store into a distribution center," Michael Fusco-Straub, co-owner of Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, N.Y., told Slate. "Almost like we had to switch the kind of business we are in 24 hours." After the store closed to browsing on March 16, the staff turned it "upside down," creating stacks of books to be able to access them as quickly as possible to fulfill online orders. "My fingers hurt from tapping in manually... all the credit card stuff."

For Annie Philbrick, owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., and the Savoy Bookshop, Westerly, R.I., the "coronavirus shutdown is like no other she's faced, even the one in 2012, when her Mystic store flooded during Hurricane Sandy, Slate noted. "The tide came in and the tide went out. I saw an end to that," she recalled, adding that she knew roughly about how long it would take to move all the books out, rip out the floors and repaint the walls and reopen her doors. But now, "the future is so uncertain, we don't know how long this is going to go on. The tide hasn't gone out yet."

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From RoscoeBooks, Chicago, Ill.: "Hello friends! We hope you're all staying safe and healthy, and finding time to read. We are so grateful for the support the last two weeks. We cannot thank you enough. We have finally caught up a bit and we wanted to let you know we are definitely still taking web orders (www.roscoebooks.com) and offering $1 shipping. So stock up! And if you need some recommendations, swing by our Twitter feed (@roscoebooks) for our running list of our favorite 'comfort reads' all this week. Thank you, and be well!"


Obituary Note: Kate Mattes

Kate Mattes, owner of Kate's Mystery Books, Cambridge, Mass., died on March 25 at age 73, her sister, Emily McAdoo, confirmed in a statement shared by mystery author Hallie Ephron.

For 25 years, from founding the bookstore in 1983 until its closing in 2009, Mattes was "the doyenne of mystery bookstore owners," as Steve Fischer, former executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, put it. Many New England mystery writers had book launches there, and she was close friends with Sue Grafton, Stephen King, Sarah Paretsky, Robert B. Parker, Dennis Lehane, Katherine Hall Page and Jane Langton, among others. Kate's Mystery Books specialized in mysteries by American authors but also built up its selection of international mystery writers and was known for its many readings and book signings.

"Local authors were her specialty and she made sure they got recognized and promoted," remembered Karl Krueger, field sales manager for Penguin Random House, who sold to Mattes for many years. "If you had only one backlist title or if you had 30, she had them in stock and would keep them in hardcover for as long as possible. Her collector customers knew she was their source for signed first editions and hard-to-find titles long before the world went online.

"I loved bringing her new authors for events and stock signings. She gave them the warmest welcome and always wanted to talk about the origins of their work. I remember taking Lee Child and C.J. Box there for their first books and then seeing how happy she was to watch them rise with each new title. I spent many hours in that one-of-a-kind store (if you like black cats, her décor would have you over the moon). I'll never forget showing up at 8 a.m. with Patricia Cornwell for a stock signing. She greeted us in pink pajamas and a fuzzy robe."


Notes

Image of the Day: The Masked Bookseller

Once Upon a Time's intrepid bookseller manager Jessica Palacios is packed up and ready to go to the post office to mail some of the dozens of online orders the store has received. The Montrose, Calif., store is also helping distance learning by providing local school book clubs with contactless curbside pickup.

Coronavirus-fighting Ideas: Reading Initiative, Supporting Nonprofits, Edible Books

Gottwals Books has closed two of its four Georgia stores, and about half of its dozen Walls of Books franchise locations have also temporarily closed.

"Trying to make something positive out of all the turmoil," Gottwals Books is sponsoring the #RobinsReads initiative of the Robins [Ga.] Regional Chamber of Commerce by heading up a virtual book club for readers aged 10-18. This morning, 9 a.m.-noon, Gottwals Books representatives will give out free copies of The Boys in the Boat Young Readers' Edition at three pickup points, including two Gottwals Books locations (in Warner Robins and Macon). The representatives will wear gloves and hand over one copy of the book for each person aged 10-18 in the car. The store has 3,000 copies available. Shane Gottwals and friends from the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce will lead the virtual book club. Information about meeting times will be distributed with the books.

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Nonprofit love: "It's no secret that we love our hometown," Reads & Company Bookshop, Phoenixville, Pa., noted. "With a special affection for all the incredible NONPROFITS providing vital services and events for our community. And like all the small businesses here, the nonprofits are hurting. Please consider supporting our friends directly across the street at The Colonial Theatre. The LEGENDARY & HISTORIC Colonial Theatre--yes, home of The Blob and so much more...."

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Good news! The annual Edible Book Festival at Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio, "is ON for 2020. We're going virtual!... While we'll miss the in-person camaraderie (and delicious after party!) we hope this serves as a joyful creative outlet while we're stuck at home. Invite friends and family in different locations to join virtually! Loganberry will donate $1 for every Festival entry to the @clefoodbank, and if you're able, we encourage you to make a donation as well to help support the enormous work at the Food Bank is doing to provide food for so many experiencing food insecurity during the Covid-19 crisis. So get cooking! We can't wait to see what you create. Pictured: 'A Sprinkle in Thyme' by Colleen Domerell, 2019 Loganberry Books Edible Books Festival Best in Show Winner."


Thames & Hudson to Distribute Anthology Editions Outside North America

Thames & Hudson will distribute Anthology Editions for all sales outside of the United States and Canada. Illustrated publisher Anthology Editions, Brooklyn, N.Y., is the book arm of Anthology Recordings and focuses on art, music and pop cultural history.


Personnel Changes at St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books

Mary Moates, formerly publicist at Random House, has joined St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books, as publicity manager.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Nott on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: David Nott, author of War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line (Abrams, $26, 9781419744242).


Movies: Set My Heart to Five

The film rights to Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson were pre-empted by Working Title Films and Compete Fiction Pictures, with Focus/Universal. Edgar Wright (Baby Driver) is attached to direct, with Stephenson adapting from his manuscript. HarperCollins imprint Hanover Square Press will publish the novel in September 2020.

The story's logline: "Set in an all-too human 2054, Set My Heart to Five introduces Jared, an android who undergoes an emotional awakening and embarks on a quest to convince humans that he and his kind should be permitted to feel. It's a quest, sparked in part by Jared's introduction to '80s and '90s movies, that leads to an unforgettable adventure across the West Coast of America, after he determines to write a film script that will change the world."


Books & Authors

Book Review

Children's Review: Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us by Lauren Castillo (Knopf, $16.99 hardcover, 128p., ages 5-9, 9781524766719, May 5, 2020)

Like William Steig's Abel's Island and Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series, Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us balances small but thrilling escapades with an earnest, whimsical, often droll friendship story.

In this first title of a proposed series, Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo (Nana in the City; It Is Not Time for Sleeping) introduces readers to a ragtag band of meadow and woodland characters--and one human girl--who are poised for adventure. First, we meet Hedgehog and her beloved friend, a sweater-wearing stuffed dog named Mutty, who live "between the great forests, in the center of the river, on a teeny tiny island." When a terrible storm blows in one day and carries Mutty away, Hedgehog is bereft. But she knows that tears won't bring anyone home, so she sets out to find Mutty. Crossing the river is her first step not only to being reunited with her companion, but also to making new friends. On the shore opposite her island home, Hedgehog is tiny beneath looming green, gold and brown trees. Soon, though, she encounters a wiggly Mole, an erudite Owl, a peevish Beaver and a distracted mother hen and her chicks, all of whom bring the scene down to Hedgehog scale as they burrow in tunnels and raft down the river in their efforts to help her find Mutty.

Castillo uses pen, pencil, watercolor and Photoshop in an earthy palette to illustrate her winsome characters and fetching settings. Keen-eyed readers will catch sweet details, like carrots hanging through Mole's ceiling and an acorn cap collecting drips of water after the squall. Dynamics begin to take shape as the group picks through bits of detritus (aka "storm treasure") tangled amid marsh grass and shrubs. Hen discovers a "crown" but "Nope, nope," Beaver says, "That's a bottle top." Mole, who is comforting and helpful when she hears Hedgehog's tale of woe, turns out to be afraid of water and in need of Hedgehog's support when they board the raft. And Annika Mae Flores, the girl who recently moved into the neighborhood, puts on a brave front, but she misses her old home and friends.

Castillo has blended a just-right, Winnie-the-Pooh-esque combination of gentle plot and homey setting. Small details, like Mole greeting every friend with one of her multilingual salutations ("Bonjour," "Guten Tag," "Salaam") bring out personalities as much as the lively illustrations, which wend their way through the pages like the serpentine river the characters all live in and around. (A two-page illustrated map at the beginning allows readers to follow along with Hedgehog and her pals.) Young readers ready to move on from picture books will find the short, generously illustrated chapters a satisfying way to break into the exhilarating world of chapter books. The absolutely delightful Our Friend Hedgehog is sure to be an "Again! Again!" read-aloud for many children. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: This hugely appealing first book of a proposed series promises adventure, lovable characters and sweet messages about helpfulness and tolerance, packaged with illustrations both atmospheric and sweet.


KidsBuzz: G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR: Middle School's a Drag, You Better Werk! by Greg Howard
KidsBuzz: Page Street Kids: The Ninja Club Sleepover by Laura Gehl, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley
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