Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 3, 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

Quotation of the Day

'Always Indebted to the Green Arcade and Indies'

"The relationship between independent bookstores and authors only becomes stronger through adversity. While Amazon delayed shipment of books as 'non-essential items,' indies rose to the occasion, streaming readings and Q&As, and utilizing social media to drive sales. Home Baked has been featured as 'Book of the Month' and included in window displays and bookseller reviews in far-flung parts of the country. It's all gravy. But I will always be indebted to the Green Arcade for the low-tech, bighearted welcome to author life."

--Alia Volz in the Kenyon Review, recounting how the Green Arcade bookstore in San Francisco hosted outdoor signings and helped launch her book, Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), whose publication party and author tour were cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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


AAP: 2019 Book Industry Sales Rose 1.1%, to $25.93 Billion

Revenue for the U.S. book publishing industry in 2019 rose 1.1%, to $25.93 billion, and 2.76 billion "units" were sold, according to the Association of American Publishers' StatShot Annual Report for 2019. Unlike measures that rely solely on sales data, such as the AAP's own monthly reports, the StatShot Annual Report combines annual data submitted by publishers with market modeling to estimate the total volume of the U.S. publishing industry.

Among highlights from the report:

In 2019, adult fiction sales fell 3.7%, to $4.26 billion, and adult nonfiction fell 0.6%, to $5.99 billion. By contrast, in 2019, children's/YA fiction sales grew 5.3%, to $3.95 billion, and children's/YA nonfiction grew 7.8%, to $794 million.

For the third year in a row, publisher sales to online retail channels exceeded sales to physical retail channels, with the margin continuing to grow wider. In 2019, physical retail revenue declined 9.2%, to $5.86 billion, and online retail grew 1.7%, to $8.22 billion. Over the past five years, sales to online retailers have grown nearly 20% while sales to physical retail have fallen 35.9%.

In online retail channels, 48.5% of publisher sales were print formats, 22.3% were e-books, 12.6% were instructional materials, 13.5% were downloaded audio, and 3.1% were physical audio or a different format.

In 2019, the greatest growth for publishers in sales channels was direct sales, which increased 15.5%, to $5.46 billion, compared to 2018.

Of all books sold in 2019, nearly half (47.6%) of all sales came from four print formats: hardcover, board book, paperback and mass market.

For trade titles, print formats represented 74.7% of sales in 2019. Of those print sales, hardback units represented 24.2% of the total trade units sold but generated 36.0% of total trade revenue.

E-book sales fell 4.9%, to $1.94 billion, in 2019, and are down 30.8% in the five-year period 2015-2019. E-book unit sales fell 2.6%, to 335.7 million, compared to 2018.

Downloaded audio was again the fastest-growing digital revenue segment in the industry, with sales of $1.31 billion in 2019, a 15.9% increase over 2018. In the five-year period 2015-2019, downloaded audio grew a total of 143.8%.

For more information about the report, contact the Association of American Publishers.

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

Former Cover Books Owner Planning Wine Bar/Bookstore in Atlanta

Katie Barringer, owner of the now-closed Cover Books, Atlanta, Ga., is planning to open a new wine bar/bookstore, according to, which cited a permit Barringer filed for a 2,146-square-feet space in the Buckhead neighborhood. Located in a mixed-use building, the site is in one of several retail storefronts in the building and will be called Lucian Wine Bar and Bookstore.

Barringer founded Cover Books in 2015 and closed it in 2018. In addition to its main location, the store did pop-ups around Atlanta and emphasized Barringer's interests in "art, design, food, wine, photography."

Newark's Source of Knowledge Is Finalist in $25,000 Contest

The Source of Knowledge Bookstore in Newark, N.J., is one of three finalists in the $25,000 Mayflower "Mover of Movers" contest, recognized for its "commitment to empowering the Newark community." The winner will be determined by a worldwide vote. (Fans can vote once each day from now through August 17 at this site.)

Dexter George, founder of Source of Knowledge, said, "This has been a difficult year for our business and for all small businesses, but our community needs us. This prize would help us keep our doors open and keep giving back to the community of Newark."

Source of Knowledge gained national attention this year after being featured in April on NPR and on local CBS and ABC news affiliates. The store is running a GoFundMe campaign to help cover expenses and has raised more than $65,000. In addition, the grassroots group Turn the Page stepped in to help promote the store and handle orders. Others in the community and beyond continue to offer services, money and more.

"Our community has been so supportive," added Patrice McKinney of Source of Knowledge. "And we're asking them to keep that love flowing. We need their help to keep us strong through this year and beyond."

On its GoFundMe page, the store wrote in part, "Covid almost killed us! We're glad you're here to help us out. We are the only Black bookstore in Newark. We have the largest selection of Black history books, books by Black authors and Black writers you can find. However, as NPR reported recently, with the lack of customers, cash flow, and frankly any business, we could not pay our bills.... And unfortunately, we are not out of the hole yet, which is why we have started our GoFundMe campaign and need you to donate."

Winners of the First Duende-Word BIPOC Bookseller Award

The winners of the inaugural Duende-Word BIPOC Bookseller Award, meant to celebrate and boost Black, Indigenous and People of Color booksellers and their work, have been announced. The annual award is a collaboration between Duende District Bookstore and the nonprofit organization The Word and includes three categories: activism, innovation and leadership.

Serena Morales
Chawa Magaña
Hannah Oliver Depp

Serena Morales, bookseller at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, N.Y., won the award for activism, which honors a bookseller who "goes above and beyond to advocate for Black and Brown booksellers and literary representation" both in their store and their community.

Rosaura "Chawa" Magaña, co-owner of Palabras Bilingual Bookstore in Phoenix, Ariz., won the innovation award, which is given to a bookseller "whose vision, whether entrepreneurial or programmatic, has shown us what the future of the industry should be."

And Hannah Oliver Depp, founder of Loyalty Bookstores in Washington, D.C., and Silver Spring, Md., won the leadership award, for her work "supporting, uplifting and leading Black and Brown booksellers," as well as fighting for systemic change in the industry.

The awards come with a $700 prize and were given during a virtual ceremony that was part of [margins], a conference for writers from marginalized backgrounds that is being held this week. Bookseller Kathy Burnett, owner of Brain Lair Books in South Bend, Ind., and Aida Lilly of The Word served as judges.

Eugenia Pakalik Joining McNally Jackson as Store General Manager

Eugenia Pakalik

Eugenia Pakalik is joining McNally Jackson Books as general manager at the Prince Street store in Nolita in New York City. Previously she was director of trade sales at Chronicle Books, director of sales & operations and distribution services at W.W. Norton and director of national accounts at the Perseus Books Group. She has also held management positions at Barnes & Noble and Rizzoli Bookstores.

Douglas Singleton, the previous manager of the Prince Street store, has been promoted to director of McNally Jackson Books.

IngramSpark Head Robin Cutler to Retire

Robin Cutler

Robin Cutler, longtime director of IngramSpark, Ingram Content Group's self-publishing platform, is retiring at the end of the year. Cutler joined Ingram in 2011, and in 2013 led the launch of IngramSpark, which has grown dramatically every year and is one of the most popular self-publishing platforms in the world. She also recently ended her tenure as a board member of the Independent Book Publishers Association.

"I've been planning to step down for some time but decided to stay on through 2020 when the pandemic hit," she said. "We weren't quite finished with what we needed to do to support our community during this challenging time."

She started her publishing career in 1982 as the design and production manager of the University of South Carolina Press. "Since then I have worked at both Amazon and Ingram to help build platforms that enable thousands of authors around the world to successfully self-publish their work," she continued. "It's been a privilege to have led businesses that have made such a difference during such a transformative time in the publishing industry."

Kelly Gallagher, v-p of Ingram Content Group's Lighting Source, commented: "Every once in a while, a leader comes along who can help lead the transformation of a business, or market. Robin's stewardship of IngramSpark has helped transform Ingram Content Group's business into one that allows anyone who wants to be involved in publishing a chance to succeed. We will miss Robin greatly and wish her the very best as she moves on to her next adventure."

Ingram has begun a search for the next head of IngramSpark.


Bookshop Cat: Minerva at Arts & Letters Bookstore

Arts & Letters Bookstore, Granbury, Tex., showcased its new feline bookseller on Facebook, posting: "We would like to introduce you all to our latest employee. Her name is Minerva, and she is about 8 weeks old. Her favorite pastimes are meowing and playing with her toy mouse. So come by and say hi to our special little bookstore cat!"

Sign of the Times: Downtown Books

As tourists swarm summer vacation destinations, Downtown Books, Manteo, N.C., shared a photo of a sign in the window of a neighboring business, which offers a friendly reminder that, despite pandemic precautionary measures, holidays are meant to be fun: "A little reminder from our friends at @amityboutique_duck that we are all doing our best on the to give you the most normal masked #outerbanks vacation you've ever had! Thanks for the patience, support and good vibes. We're all in this together!" 

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Margaret Sullivan on Fresh Air

Kelly Clarkson Show: Al Roker, author of You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success (Hachette Go, $28, 9780316426794).

Fresh Air: Margaret Sullivan, author of Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy (Columbia Global Reports, $15.99, 9781733623780).

The Talk: Melody Thomas Scott, author of Always Young and Restless: My Life On and Off America's #1 Daytime Drama (Diversion Books, $26.99, 9781635766943).

Today Show: Jenna Bush Hager, author of Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062960627).

Movies: Lost Dog: A Love Story

Netflix "won a competitive auction" for the rights to Lost Dog: A Love Story, based on British journalist Kate Spicer's memoir, which "was published in the U.K. last year to strong reviews and went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller," Deadline reported. Bash Doran (Outlaw King, Traitors, The Looming Tower) is attached to write the adaptation. Lynn Harris is producing with her Weimaraner Republic partner Matti Leshem (The Shallows).

Books & Authors

Awards: Hugo Winners

The 2020 Hugo Award winners were announced during CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, held virtually this year:

Best Novel: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Tor)
Best Novella: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga Press)
Best Novelette: Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin (Forward Collection/Amazon)
Best Short Story: "As the Last I May Know" by S.L. Huang (, 23 October 2019)
Best Series: The Expanse by James S.A. Corey (Orbit US)
Best Related Work: "2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech" by Jeannette Ng
Best Graphic Story or Comic: LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: The Good Place: "The Answer", written by Daniel Schofield, directed by Valeria Migliassi Collins (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal Television)
Best Editor, Short Form: Ellen Datlow
Best Editor, Long Form: Navah Wolfe
Best Professional Artist: John Picacio
Best Semiprozine: Uncanny Magazine, editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, nonfiction/managing editor Michi Trota, managing editor Chimedum Ohaegbu, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky
Best Fanzine: The Book Smugglers, editors Ana Grilo and Thea James
Best Fancast: Our Opinions Are Correct, presented by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
Best Fan Writer: Bogi Takács
Best Fan Artist: Elise Matthesen

And two non-Hugo awards:
Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book: Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
Astounding Award for Best New Writer, sponsored by Dell Magazines: R.F. Kuang

Book Review

Review: Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body

Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig (HarperOne, $25.99 hardcover, 256p., 9780062936790, August 25, 2020)

A candid and engaging memoir-in-essays, Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Body offers readers deep insight and broad perspective on disability, as reflected in Rebekah Taussig's life.

Taussig, an independent woman, successful educator and prolific Instagrammer (@sitting_pretty), became paralyzed at age three following treatment for childhood cancer. Because her parents didn't treat her any differently than her five siblings--several years passed before she got her first wheelchair--Taussig initially didn't see herself as disabled. "I continued to sleep on the top bunk on the top floor of the house. I learned how to pull my body up the side of my bunk bed, my feet mere props as I used my arms to lift myself up higher and higher until I tumbled onto the top mattress." Like many young children, "I believed that I was royally beautiful, valuable, and fully capable of contributing to the group." That idyllic view changed as she began to understand--often painfully--how society considered people like her. "I consumed and digested the culture around me and slowly learned, with certainty, that I was not among those who would be needed, admired, wanted, loved, dated, or married." 

Sitting Pretty is a groundbreaking and candid memoir that immediately draws the reader into Taussig's world with a casual, witty and confident tone. Through her interactions with friends, family and strangers, Taussig shows that concepts such as ableism ("favoring, fetishizing, and building the world around a mostly imagined, idealized body while discriminating against those bodies perceived to move, see, hear, process, operate, look, or need differently from that vision") permeate society. She addresses the lack of accessible housing and the dearth of gainful employment (with health insurance) for people with disabilities; shatters misconceptions that they are helpless and devoid of sexual attraction; and takes on the media's influence in perpetuating stereotypes and disability through the lens of "inspiration."

While acknowledging her privilege and position as someone who is highly educated (she holds a Ph.D. in disability studies), Taussig conveys that her greatest struggles aren't always physical. Sitting Pretty poignantly demonstrates that the biggest obstacle is the common inability to see past disability so that all people can be fully accepted and integrated into society. Only with that emotional connection will it be possible to create a community of understanding and respect. Sitting Pretty is a refreshingly welcome and necessary addition to the voices that may help get everyone there. --Melissa Firman, writer, editor and blogger at

Shelf Talker: A powerfully engaging memoir-in-essays that blends one woman's experience as someone who uses a wheelchair with society's perception of people with disabilities.

The Bestsellers Bestsellers in July

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstores during July:

1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (HarperAudio)
4. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green (Penguin Random House)
6. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Hachette Audio)
7. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (HarperAudio)
8. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Quill Tree Books)
9. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (Simon & Schuster Audio)

1. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (Beacon Press)
3. Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump (Simon & Schuster Audio)
4. So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo (Blackstone Publishing)
5. Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman (Simon & Schuster Audio)
6. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds (Hachette Audio)
7. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (Novel Audio)
9. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Brilliance Audio)
10. Untamed by Glennon Doyle (Penguin Random House Audio)

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