Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 17, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Kin: A Memoir

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., Opens Gift Boutique

Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., opened a second location devoted to stationery and gift items last month. Located around the corner from the original space, which owner Nina Barrett opened six years ago, the new Bookends & Beginnings boutique contains all of the non-book items the main store used to sell, as well as a limited selection of gift books, crossword puzzle books and books about Evanston and Chicago history.

In normal times, Barrett explained, Evanston sees a huge amount of tourist traffic, much of it due to Northwestern University, and she was always frustrated that she couldn't attract more of that tourist traffic to the store, which is located in an alley. The boutique is on one of Evanston's busiest streets and is aimed at attracting a less book-focused customer while also pointing those customers toward the main store.

So far, Barrett continued, it seems to be doing exactly that, though much less robustly due to a combination of factors, including Covid restrictions on Northwestern's campus and restaurants essentially being paralyzed, as well as a brutal cold snap and spate of snowstorms that have turned Chicago into the "new Siberia."

Opening the boutique has given Barrett and her team much more room for books in the main store. They've relocated sections that were getting overcrowded and can now give display space to titles that they were never able to face-out before. After the nearest Barnes & Noble closed, Bookends & Beginnings started carrying more in genres that had never sold much before, such as romance, mystery and thrillers, and the move has allowed the store to grow those sections. The children's section has also been significantly expanded.

Barrett reported that customers are very happy about the boutique and are cheering the store on, and she noted that several forces seem to be converging right now. The Shop Local message has really gotten through to people, the store is no longer competing directly with Barnes & Noble, and everyone is "really worried about the toll that Covid is taking on their downtown."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Matty Goldberg Retiring After 45-Year Career

Matty Goldberg

After 45 years working in bookselling, publishing and wholesaling, Matty Goldberg, v-p of sales and acquisitions at Ingram Content Group, is retiring at the end of March.

He started his career as a warehouse manager for Brentano's on Long Island in New York. He then become a buyer at Golden-Lee Book Distributors in Brooklyn and worked at Doubleday Book Shops, at Barnes & Noble, where he helped create the first B&N superstores, and at Waldenbooks. He eventually moved into publishing, working at Workman, HarperCollins and Chronicle Books, before landing at Perseus Books Group for 17 years. There he was instrumental in building both the sales department and the culture of the company, which bought CDS, Consortium and PGW. He joined Ingram in 2016 when it acquired Perseus's distribution business, and since then ran part of the sales team at Ingram Publisher Services and helped sign many publishing clients for Two Rivers. In 2018, he was honored by the UJA as the recipient of the Harry Scherman Service Award.

Goldberg said, "I have been extremely fortunate in first choosing bookselling as a career and then being able to make a difference over the course of my career. I have worked for some truly smart and dedicated people and was lucky to be mentored by some of the best in the business. I have in turn, done my best to mentor my team and others. These last five years at Ingram have been particularly rewarding, as my role led me to draw upon my network, skills, and experiences over all these years."

Sabrina McCarthy, v-p and general manager at Ingram, said, "If you know Matty or had the privilege of working with him, you know he cares more than most, stands by his word, and above all else wants publishers and retailers to thrive in a world where books make a difference. Matty and I have worked together for the past 23 years, and I've seen first hand what a meaningful impact he's had on this industry and his colleagues, not to mention me. We will miss him and wish him much happiness in his retirement."

We at Shelf Awareness wish Matty well and still remember fondly when we first "met" him: he was the author of the lively, informative, entertaining weekly newsletter from Doubleday to bookstore staff that influenced how Shelf Awareness developed.

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

Deadline: Sign Up for ABA's Trivia Night Fundraiser for Binc

Today is the deadline to sign up for the ABA Trivia Night Fundraiser for the Binc Foundation, which will take place this coming Saturday, February 20, 5:10-6:25 p.m. Eastern, as part of the closing program for this year's Winter Institute.

Trivia enthusiasts are invited to join their book industry colleagues for a virtual trivia night in support of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. Players do not have to be booksellers to participate in the event, nor do they have to be registered for Wi16 to take part. Teams will be organized by the quiz master at the beginning of the event.

Players can purchase a ticket here. Donations may also be made using that link, regardless if one chooses to play the game. Tickets are $5 per participant, and all proceeds benefit the Binc Foundation. Participants will receive a Zoom link via e-mail prior to the event.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

How Bookstores Are Coping: Coming Up for Air; Online Up 300%

In Cohasset, Mass., Buttonwood Books & Toys recently increased its capacity to 22, owner Kathy Detwiler reported, and though customers still sometimes have to line up outside on the weekends, the wait is usually short now. A recent game changer was making use of the unrented space next door. During the holidays the space served as the gift-wrapping station, but now it is even more valuable as a "private and safe space" for her staff to use for lunch and breaks.

Currently, Detwiler and her team are trying to "maintain a positive sense of store normalcy" with the launch of its annual Give Back Campaign, through which the store donates a percentage of the proceeds from a given picture book to a nonprofit. This year the book is Kind: A Book About Kindness by Alison Green, and the nonprofit recipient is a pediatric palliative care program called Fragile Footprints.

Detwiler added that in some ways, it feels like the store is just coming back up for air after a very busy end to 2020. All in all, the store was down only single digits compared to 2019, which Detwiler said she takes as a win, given how bad things were from March through early June last year.

Looking ahead in 2021, Detwiler said she expects the store to be flat or slightly up in revenue. While she is optimistic, she did point out that the store's profitability will be lower given the higher payroll costs from added Covid roles as well as a minimum wage increase. She is ordering sidelines "heavier and earlier" to avoid shipping and supply chain problems, and in general many of the store's vendors are communicating better about delays and shortages.

The team is also tracking shipping fees carefully, as there have been large jumps in rates across the board, and trying to build those fees into their retail costs where possible. Another cause for optimism, she added, is that the store is starting to plan some author events for the spring and summer that will be a hybrid between virtual events and sidewalk signings.

The community's continued support for the store, Detwiler said, has been its "lifeline." A major bright spot over the last year has been the store's community partnerships. Schools and teachers are buying from the store more frequently; last week the Friends of the Library purchased a large amount of gift cards for a school vacation reading challenge; and a local dentist is working with the store to purchase 100 books for families in the community.


Bea and Leah Koch, owners of The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif., reported that things are still "very far from a pre-pandemic normal," but not much has changed from the store's new normal that has been in effect since about June. Around 90% of the store's sales are online, foot traffic is minimal and events are prohibited.

All told, the store ended 2020 on much better footing than they would have expected back in May. While in-store sales were down 50% from 2019, online sales were up 300%, and the launch of the store's new subscription box was a major bright spot.

January was slow, but the store is used to that. Being a romance-only bookstore, Valentine's Day is a "big deal," and over the past few weeks they've been quite busy putting together gift boxes for the holiday. Looking further ahead, they are still very much taking this "day by day," and, given the state of the vaccine rollout in Los Angeles, they don't anticipate much of a change until at least the summer. --Alex Mutter

International Update: Waterstones Partners with Next on Concession Store, Dundurn Press Rebrands

Waterstones is opening a concession store in the new Fosse Park branch of U.K. clothing and homewares retailer Next in Leicester, "the first of what could be an ongoing partnership for the retailer," the Bookseller reported, adding: "The 'light and airy space' will be staffed by Waterstones booksellers, led by an experienced team alongside new staff who will be recruited."

Kate Skipper, Waterstones COO, said: "We have been keen to bring a bookshop back to Fosse Park for a number of years, something that has been missing since Borders sadly closed their doors. We are delighted to have found a way to make this happen and are thrilled to be working on this new venture with Next. Next are leading the way as they rethink retail space and we look forward to opening our new shop with them immensely."

She also noted that if the shop proves to be successful, there would be "significant further opportunities to work with Next to bring our bookshops to new locations."


Canadian publisher Dundurn Press unveiled a new logo and mandate to "recognize and honor Dundurn's history, while signaling a change in the vision of the press, following the sale of the company in 2019." The changes also include the opening of a storefront later this year.

"I'm excited that we're becoming a contemporary, forward-facing business," said publisher Scott Fraser. "With a new street-level retail storefront opening later in 2021 [a safe date for opening TBD], we're opening ourselves up to the community and publishing innovative books in a welcoming environment, instead of behind the walls of Dundurn as a castle."

In conjunction with the rebranding, Dundurn Press is also creating a literary imprint, Rare Machines, "which seeks to publish works of literary fiction and poetic nonfiction that are playful, unusual, daring, or innovative." The first Rare Machines titles will be released in fall 2021.


"Traditionally, the Seoul neighborhood of Seochon has been closely connected to people committed to self-expression and creativity," the Hankyoreh noted in showcasing the area's many literary attractions, including several independent bookstores. Kim Su-jin, who runs Off to Alone bookshop, said, "About five years ago, I attended an exhibition here, and I just loved the neighborhood. The narrow alleyways were beautiful, the tiny restaurants and cafes had character, and I also liked the creative atmosphere. So I just up and moved here."

Other booksellers in the neighborhood include Of One Book, which "only puts one book on sale each month"; the Book Society, "one of Korea's first independent bookstores"; Irasun, where owner Kim Jin-yeong "stresses that he personally visits exhibitions in Paris and New York to pick out the photography books on display"; and Boan Books, with its "gorgeous view of Gyeongbok Palace from the window, but even more striking is Yeondu (meaning 'light green')--a Scottish sheepdog who lives at the bookstore." --Robert Gray

DK's Mary Marotta to Become Group Sales Director at Knopf Doubleday

Mary Marotta

Mary Marotta is leaving her position as senior v-p, DK North America, to become senior v-p, group sales director, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, effective March 8. Both companies are part of Penguin Random House.

In announcing the appointment, Jaci Updike, president of sales, PRH U.S., praised Marotta for her "long and stellar history of building and motivating collaborative teams across sales and publishing to deliver significant backlist and frontlist growth, and to increase sales for major brands and bestselling authors. She has played a key role in the launches of multiple highly successful imprints and brands, including Harry Potter at Scholastic, as well as successful relaunches of ongoing brands, such as DK's bestselling travel series, in 2018."

She noted, too, that the move "represents a kind of homecoming for Mary: as a sales assistant at Bantam Doubleday Dell in 1991, her first publishing job, she was present for the launch of John Grisham's first Doubleday book, The Firm." Marotta has also been director of national accounts at Scholastic and then, at Simon & Schuster, first v-p, children's sales, and later deputy publisher, children's division. She joined DK in 2017 as v-p, sales, marketing & publicity, and was promoted to her current position in 2018.

Shelf Awareness's Best Ads of 2020

Last year, we ran thousands of ads across all of our publications--so we know a thing or two about great book marketing!

Join us next Tuesday, February 23, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern or on Friday, February 26, at 2 p.m. Eastern, for a virtual session celebrating the best ads in the Shelf for 2020.

We'll go over all our offerings, highlight the highest performing and most innovative Shelf Awareness ads from last year, and break down what's so special about them. Join us as we geek out on stats, swoon over awesome creatives, and bow to our publishing colleagues who take home the top honors.

Registration is required, and is open to all publishing industry folks as well as any curious booksellers or librarians. Capacity is limited to the first 100 approved registrants, so be sure to register early. For more information and to register, click here.

We hope to see you then!


Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore: 'Why We Love Being Booksellers'

Winick's excited fan shows off his signed book.

Last week, Judd Winick was at Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore, Berkeley, Calif., for a socially distanced stock signing of his latest HILO title, Gina--The Girl Who Broke the World. Coincidentally, a boy and his mom had stopped by for a curbside pickup of the book, and then a little biblio-magic happened.

Winnick later tweeted: "This was one of those things that every storyteller should get to experience at least once. I was at @MrsDsBooks signing books. These two showed up and asked, 'Can we pick up the new HILO book?' And I was able to turn around and ask, 'Would you like me to sign that?' "

"It was our feel-good moment of this pandemic year and reminded us why we love being booksellers," Carolyn Hutton of Mrs. Dalloway's noted. 

'Scenes of not-Mardi Gras': Octavia Books

Posted on Facebook by Octavia Books, New Orleans, La.: "Scenes of not-Mardi Gras in our neighborhood. This house float, 2021--A Space Meowdyssey, is found just across Laurel Street from the bookstore." And: "What we are NOT doing today, 'Flat Tuesday.' This was last February 21 while Covid-19 was viciously, unsuspiciously taking root. Nonetheless, we are  happy to be open today--the first time ever on Mardi Gras day! Do come get a book and enjoy a quiet and safe time ensconced with it in your recliner at home." And: "Yes, we are open till 6 this beautiful cold quiet Mardi Gras day!"

Dearsha Johnson, Customer Service Professional of the Year

Dearsha Johnson

Congratulations to Dearsha Johnson, bookseller and children's department specialist at Story & Song Bookstore Bistro in Fernandina Beach, Fla., who won the Customer Service Professional of the Year Award from the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce.

The store noted that "Johnson has been an integral part of Story & Song's crew since its inception in 2018. In addition to her frontline bookselling role, she coordinates a weekly Story Time, a monthly 'Book Hugs' subscription program, and is responsible for buying and merchandising both book and non-book selections. Even under the most trying conditions, you'll never find Johnson without a genuine smile and hearty laugh."

Story & Song Bookstore Bistro was founded by Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman, partners in The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates. The award presentation on February 10 coincided with the bookstore's third anniversary celebration.

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

At Chronicle Books:

Joyce Lin has been promoted to senior publicist, food & lifestyle.

Joelle Engolia has joined the company as marketing manager, games & toys.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Heather McGhee on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (One World, $28, 9780525509561).

TV: The Haunting of Alma Fielding

New Pictures announced that Fosse/Verdon writer Charlotte Stoudt and director Minkie Spiro will adapt Kate Summerscale's novel The Haunting of Alma Fielding into a TV series, Deadline reported. The project will be executive produced by New Pictures CEO Willow Grylls alongside Stoudt and Spiro. 

Books & Authors

Awards: The Novel, SoA Translation Winners

Jessica Au won the inaugural $10,000 Novel Prize, a "biennial award for a book-length, unpublished work of literary fiction written in English by writers around the world," for her novel Cold Enough for Snow, the Bookseller reported. The prize recognizes novels that "explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style." 

Au receives a cash prize as well as simultaneous publication by Fitzcarraldo Editions in England, Giramondo Publishing in Australia and New Directions in the U.S. The book will be published in early 2022. Jacques Testard, publisher at Fitzcarraldo Editions, praised Au’s winning novel  as "a stellar addition to the Fitzcarraldo Editions list."


Literary translators shared £13,000 (about $18,000) in prizes at the Society of Authors' annual Translation Prizes. In a series of short online films, sponsored by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society and featuring speeches and readings from winners and judges, six awards were made for translations from Arabic, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Turkish. See the complete list of winners here.

SoA head of prizes and awards Paula Johnson said: "It is wonderful to be celebrating the SoA's Translation Prizes just now. They have been awarded annually since the 1960s and they have always seemed to hold a special relevance for our times. This year's 13 winners and runners-up and 35 short-listees are no exceptions--each a compelling example of the power of translated words."

Reading with... Paul Vidich

photo: Bekka Palmer

Paul Vidich was a senior executive in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years. After leaving his business career, he turned to writing full time. He is the author of An Honorable Man, The Good Assassin and The Coldest Warrior. His essays and nonfiction have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Lithub, the Nation and CrimeReads. His fourth novel, The Mercenary, was just published by Pegasus Books.

On your nightstand now:

Deacon King Kong by James McBride. Set in a fictionalized version of the Brooklyn housing project where McBride grew up. It begins with an attempted murder that takes place in front of 16 witnesses, many of whom know the shooter and the victim. The novel is crowded with characters whose backstories are connected and fates intertwined.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes. I grew up in the Caribbean and was drawn to the setting. This is a delightfully evil tale of pirates and children. Its dreamlike action begins among the decayed plantation houses of late 19th-century Jamaica, before moving out to sea, where Hughes tells the story of a group of children thrown on the mercy of a crew of pirates.

Your top five authors:

In alphabetical order, my top six: Jorge Luis Borges, Charlotte Brontë, Graham Greene, Jhumpa Lahiri, John le Carré and Alice Munro. All great storytellers with strong moral convictions.

Book you've faked reading:

Moby-Dick. For 20 years, I talked about the book as if I'd read it, but I'd only read the first 100 pages. I finally finished the book several years ago and I'm glad I did. It's a masterpiece.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. For its distinctive voice, compressed narrative style and the unforgettable Miss Brodie. She is an imperious but irresistible fictional character whose schoolteacher's life with her students jumped off the printed page to become a part of British culture in the 1950s.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I adore the original pulp fiction covers of Jim Thompson's and Raymond Chandler's books, but you can't buy them anymore, except as collectibles at Otto Penzler's Mysterious Book Shop in lower Manhattan.

Book you hid from your parents:

I never hid a book from my parents. It was the opposite. My mother tried to push Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint on me as a teenager and I would have none of it.

Book that changed your life:

The Day of the Jackal. It was 1971. I was trying to figure out what to do with my life and I read Frederick Forsyth's thriller. I thought, I should try writing something like that. I reread it recently and it holds up.

Favorite line from a book:

"O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right." Hamlet, end of act one. Hamlet's dilemma. To avenge one murder, he must commit another.

Five books you'll never part with:

Books I go back to for inspiration: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carré; Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë; A Coffin for Dimitrios, Eric Ambler; The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith. They have in common a captivating central character. And the writing is superb.

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

The Road, Cormac McCarthy. Gripping and frightening.

Great spy novels written by women:

While researching a top-10 list of spy novels, I was surprised to discover that spy novels, which started in England before World War I, were mostly written by men. British mysteries, on the other hand, were mostly written by women. This began to change with Helen MacInnes, who was among the first women to write popular spy novels. Stella Rimington is another excellent writer in the genre, as is Gayle Lynds, who Library Journal calls "the reigning queen of espionage fiction." Current young authors joining the club include Lauren Wilkinson, whose American Spy is deservedly well-regarded.

Book Review

YA Review: Victories Greater than Death

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Teen, $18.99 hardcover, 288p., ages 13-up, 9781250317315, April 13, 2021)

The teenage clone of an alien war hero navigates love and her birthright as she joins the fight against a murderous enemy in Victories Greater than Death, the captivating interstellar adventure YA debut from award-winning author Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky).

Tina is no ordinary teenager: disguised as a human and hidden on Earth, she is the clone of alien intergalactic war hero Captain Thaoh Argentian. She is also the last real hope for the Royal Fleet in their decades-long war against the Compassion, a genocidal terrorist group bent on eliminating all non-humanoid alien civilizations. Tina is eager to begin "claiming my legacy... the person I was meant to be," but when she finally joins the Fleet, she finds Argentian's accomplishments--saving "millions of lives, and [safeguarding] the peace on countless worlds"--beyond daunting. To make her transition all the more difficult, she is, for some unknown reason, failing to regain Argentian's memories. Still, she is determined to help, and alongside her military peers and five of the most brilliant human teens from Earth, she embraces the fight against the deadly Compassion. As she deals with her own sense of failure while attempting to stop the ultimate evil in the universe, Tina finds herself drawn to one of the human teenagers, Elza, a beautiful and brilliant transgender hacker. But how does dating work when Tina is "not even human?" And besides, it's not like she can date if she doesn't survive.

Victories Greater than Death is full of imagination, empathy and a diverse cast of characters. The coexisting alien civilizations vary in physical appearance and base philosophies, and their communities include different species, such as the skeletal Aribentors, who "worship doubt," and the Grattna, whose three-numbered wings, eyes, limbs and brains make them a non-dualistic society with three sides to any equation. The self-titled "Earthlings"--Tina and her five human companions--fit perfectly into this intergalactic melting pot with contrasting cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations and identities. United in their differences, the teens also seek love, self-efficacy and belonging in their intergalactic mission.

While Tina and the Fleet's exhilarating mission to stop the Compassion and even greater evils makes a compelling plot, it is Anders's multi-faceted and sparklingly distinct worldbuilding that make this book such a smashing read. --Jennifer Oleinik, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: In this electrifying YA debut from a Nebula Award winner, an alien war hero's teen clone embarks on an intergalactic mission to save several civilizations, all while finding romance and herself.

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