Also published on this date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Velvet Was the Night

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Overlook Press: Bad Men by Julie Mae Cohen

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

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

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley

Akaschic Books, Ltd: Go the Fuck to Sleep Series by Adam Mansbach, Illustrated by Ricardo Cortés

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta


Grand Opening for N.C.'s Rofhiwa Book Café

Rofhiwa Book Café hosted its grand opening celebration Saturday at 406 South Driver St. in Durham, N.C., posting on Facebook: "We're still reeling from this past weekend. All that love. The flowers. The well-wishes. So much joy and laughter and life! Thank you for holding us up." 

On the shop's website, founder Bev Tumi Makhubele and curator Naledi Yaziyo noted that Rofhiwa "strives to reflect the expansiveness of the black imagination. We value books as repositories for collective knowledge. We endeavor to foster a spirit of heightened engagement by curating a living, active, and affective collection of books that capture the dexterity of black writers across classic and contemporary works. Rofhiwa values accessibility, we invite readers young and old to satisfy their curiosity, to wander and meet new titles or return to old favorites."

"I like to imagine that on a Saturday morning, when a family is deciding what to do with the day, Rofhiwa might be part of their plans," Yaziyo recently told INDY Week

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $40,000, Makhubele and Yaziyo launched an online store in February as they prepared for the opening of their physical shop in an 1,800-square-foot space located in East Durham

Yaziyo and Makhubele "hope to enhance the sense of community and Black excellence that has long existed in the area. Neighboring Black-owned businesses include a screen printing and t-shirt service, a barbecue supply store, a diner, and two barbershops," INDY Week wrote.

"I think when people say, 'We're so excited that this corner is coming to life,' they mean the collective effort of everybody," Makhubele said. "We're just hoping to be half as good as our neighbors.... We want to make something where Black people feel like they deserve to be there. We live here. This is home for us. And this will be home for you."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences Relocating in Tex.

Patchouli Joe's in Denton

Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences, which sells books, art, candles, cards, coffee and a variety of "indulgences," has closed its Leander, Tex., shop and is relocating the business to 221 W. Hickory St. in Denton, Community Impact reported. Co-owners Joe and Diane Mayes opened Patchouli Joe's in 2019.

In a recent Facebook post, Patchouli Joe's noted that the Leander store would be open until last Thursday, May 13, and would be busy packing and preparing for the move, but that inventory would be limited. "May 14 and beyond: Closed in Leander.... Once again, thank you all for the love and support over the last couple years. We love and will miss you...but only until our paths cross once more!"

An update yesterday noted: "We're working hard to get ready to open by the end of the month!"

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

HSU Bookstore Looking at Different Site in Downtown Arcata, Calif.

Humboldt State University, which announced in March that it is moving its bookstore to downtown Arcata, Calif., has changed plans in a way that will delay the move.

The school said recently that it will not, as previously announced, move the bookstore into a space that formerly housed Pacific Outfitters but is looking at another space downtown. As a result, the bookstore will not open downtown by July 1. The school added that it would have leased the former Pacific Outfitters space while the new opportunity "would involve a property purchase with non-state funds." The new deal should be finalized "shortly."

The University reiterated that relocating the bookstore, managed by Follett, "will be valuable for the University and the community. A downtown location will provide numerous benefits that students, community members, and visitors have been asking for. HSU has been working with the community to find ways for students, many of whom travel from more urban areas, to connect with and feel welcome in the community. The new location will help. With HSU goods, and the ability to hold student and community-centered events like guest lectures and mixers, students will have a welcoming space in the heart of Arcata."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

International Update: Irish Indies Reopen, British Book Award Trade Winners

In Ireland yesterday, all in-store non-essential retail was allowed to resume as part of the government's phased plan to ease Covid-19 restrictions. Booksellers Association head of campaigns Emma Bradshaw tweeted: "Wishing all of our members in Ireland a fabulous day full of sales and happy customers." Bookselling Ireland added: "We are delighted that bookshops are back open, and can't wait to safely welcome you back!" 

Indie booksellers were in a celebratory mood on Twitter. Among those sharing the joy of reopening were Woodbine Books, Kilkullen ("Best of luck to everyone reopening today!"), Halfway up the Stairs, Greystones ("And... we're open!"), Antonia's Bookstore, Trim ("We’re back! Drop in to say hello and browse our bookcases, full of wonderful new titles."), Banner Books, Ennistymon: "We're baaack!... It is SO good to be open again. Thank you for your support during the lockdown, THANK YOU.") and Tertulia Books, Westport: "We are Back! So happy to be open again, 'Good Times Ahead. ' "

The Maynooth Bookshop, Maynooth, checked in early to report: "We're open! Lots of very happy booksellers here, now to add customers."

Some booksellers had taken advantage of the lockdown for a little facelift, including Bridge Street Books, Wicklow: "Annnnnd we're open!! Freshly painted inside and out, shelves stacked to the absolute brim with fantastic titles and some very eager booksellers ready to help you choose one... or 2.. or more!!" 

Charlie Byrne's Books, Galway, was also dressed up for the occasion: "How happy are we staff to be standing in front of our newly painted shop front in advance of our doors opening this morning?? Very happy, is clearly the answer! The bookshop is nothing without our customers and we are delighted to welcome everybody back to the physical browsing."

Gutter Bookshop, Dublin, checked back in later in the day to share one of the pleasant challenges of facing the public again: "I'm EXHAUSTED... I'm so out of practice at being nice... ;).

And a last word from Kennys Bookshop, Galway: "Lights out after day 1. Good to be back."


Congratulations to the Bookseller's British Book Award winners Moon Lane in Ramsgate (Book Retailer of the Year, Children's Bookseller of the Year) and Sevenoaks Bookshop in Sevenoaks (Independent Bookshop of the Year). Check out the complete list of BBA Trade and Book of the Year winners here

BBA's judges lauded Moon Lane's care of its staff throughout the pandemic, and its partnerships with other businesses and reading agencies: "It's an embarrassment of riches... there's energy and innovation in everything Moon Lane does. It hasn't just served its own communities during the lockdowns--it's built whole new ones and found extra ways to keep the magic of children's books alive. It's simply amazing." 

"I'm full of praise and wonder for Sevenoaks' team," said one of the judges. "It's easy to forget how scary things were at the start of the pandemic, and the creativity and fortitude they have shown is amazing," said another. "To expand at a time when the high street is hunkering down is astounding... the love and enthusiasm for books shines through and inspires us all."


The Dutch Foundation for Literature, De Schrijverscentrale and the Dutch Booksellers Association announced the launch of a follow-up aid measure to encourage writers' appearances in bookstores, the European & International Booksellers Federation's NewsFlash reported. Successfully implemented earlier this year, the intiative has returned "now that the bookstores across the country are open again, and with the Boekenweek [May 29-June 6] approaching, bookstores are invited to book one or more authors at a discount for on-location, online or hybrid performances." --Robert Gray

Ingram Centralizing IPS Distribution in Jackson, Tenn., Warehouse

Beginning June 1, Ingram will make its Jackson, Tenn., warehouse the single shipping point for its distributed lines, including Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, Ingram Academic, Ingram Publisher Services, Publishers Group West and Two Rivers.

The move, the company says, will result in simplified ordering and shipping, improved stock availability information, a single returns location and other benefits for distributed titles.

With the change, booksellers must order Ingram Distribution titles from the Jackson warehouse to receive the Publisher Direct discount; orders of distributed titles from the other Ingram warehouses in Ft. Wayne, Ind., La Vergne, Tenn., Chambersburg, Pa., and Roseburg, Ore.--all Ingram Wholesaling facilities--will be sold at the less-advantageous wholesale discount.

Ingram is also changing its free shipping policies. For five years, indies have been able to receive free freight on 15 or more titles combining both distribution and wholesale orders. As of June 1, orders can't be combined for free freight, but the minimum for free freight for distributed titles, from the Jackson warehouse, will be reduced to 10 copies. (The minimum for free freight remains 15 for wholesale orders.)

The changes have caused concern among some West Coast indie booksellers who fear that they won't receive distributed titles in a timely way, going from a day or two for shipping to up to a week, and that they'll cost more.

However, Mark Ouimet, v-p and general manager of IPS, PGW and Consortium, said that in anticipation of the change, Ingram, which previously shipped from Jackson twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, is now moving to shipping and processing every day, Monday through Friday. Orders received by 1 p.m. Eastern will begin processing the same day. Current estimated shipping times from Jackson range from one day in nearby states to two days in the South, much of the Midwest and as far northeast as New York; three days in most of New England, most of the Rocky Mountain states and most of California; and four days for Oregon, Washington and parts of California, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and Colorado.

Ouimet said that although he can't talk about the efforts in detail yet, Ingram is "looking at ways to get books quicker to the West Coast" and has begun instituting several changes to do that.

As of June 1, on-hand stock levels at Jackson will be visible on Ingram's IPS cart on ipage. Jackson is established as a DC for IPS only, and is not a Ingram Wholesale warehouse. On ipage, a bookseller can place an order for Jackson using the "IPS-Publisher Direct Discount Cart." Orders can be placed on POS systems with the IPS SAN 6318630. Ingram noted that it is working with IndieCommerce to have Jackson inventory display on it by June 1.

Ouimet emphasized that Ingram already ships all new title releases from Jackson all over the country, even while many West Coast indies have ordered backlist from the Roseburg, Ore., warehouse.

He called the June 1 shift the last part of an 18-month effort to centralize distributed titles in Jackson. (Some IPS Distribution publishers were previously centralized in Ingram's Chambersburg, Pa., warehouse.) Having bookstores' IPS Distribution titles all shipped from Jackson is, he said, "the last piece of the puzzle for centralizing. Instead of moving books all over the country, we can focus on having everything come from Jackson."

Ouimet said, too, that the company is hosting weekly q&a sessions on Zoom about the Jackson warehouse, on Wednesdays through June 30, at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern. Booksellers are encouraged to "bring your questions." Ingram also has information online about IPS Distribution changes, with a FAQ section.

Ingram acquired the Jackson warehouse in 2016 when it purchased Perseus's distribution operations, which included Consortium, PGW, and Perseus Distribution. Since then, Ingram has, it says, made the warehouse "a highly efficient, state-of-the-art facility" by investing heavily in several areas; these include, among other things, moving the warehouse management system to Ingram's, PKMS, and shifting to Ingram's order-management system; reconfiguring the pick system at the American Drive facility; switching from air pillow to paper fill; and improving carton quality.


Pagination Bookshop vs. Jeff Bezos

Pagination Bookshop, Springfield, Mo., pointed out telling differences between the founder of a certain online corporate behemoth and an indie bookseller in the Midwest. 

On Facebook, Pagination posted: "Jeff Bezos is purchasing a 417-foot superyacht that's so massive it has its own 'support yacht' with a helipad, according to Bloomberg. The estimated cost, not including the boat's support boat, is $500 million. The cost is a small fraction of the $75 billion that Bezos gained in 2020 alone. His total net worth stands just shy of $200 billion, according to Bloomberg.

"Pagination Bookshop is reportedly using books to hold up other books they have carefully curated for customers they know and love while also hosting author events, promoting local arts and literacy, partnering with other small businesses, contributing tax dollars to their local community, employing their neighbors, participating in the local economy, and remembering how excited your mom is about that new Jeff VanderMeer and holding back a signed Indie Bookstore Day special edition for her the next time you come in with your two nieces, who will play on the bean bags in the children's book room while they take down Frog and Toad and read aloud to each other and then get stickers and extra bookmarks when they leave with a book about women scientists they didn't know they absolutely needed until they saw it."

Indie Spring Fever: 'Who Is Ready for Outdoor Reading!?'

At Inquiring Minds

Many indie booksellers were sharing their warm weather thoughts on social media going into this past weekend.

"Who is ready for outdoor reading!? We are loving this warmer weather," Readers World Bookstore, Holland, Mich., noted.

" 'Tis the season to be gardening," according to Inquiring Minds Coffee House and Bookstore, Saugerties, N.Y. "We have lots of gardening books and field guides as the weather gets nicer and you're spending your time outdoors! P.S. can you tell Jamie likes flowers?"

And in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Ernest & Hadley Booksellers advised that "the warm Alabama weather is coming quick, and we've got beach reads galore! Stop by to check out all of our newest summer books."

Personnel Changes at Grand Central; Arcadia & the History Press

Roxanne Jones has joined Grand Central as a publicity manager. She formerly worked at HarperCollins/Harlequin, where she created publicity campaigns for authors and titles across the Hanover Square Press, Park Row Books, Mira Books and Graydon House Books imprints. Before that, she worked at Berkley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


At Arcadia Publishing & the History Press:

Lynda Zuber has joined the Arcadia sales team in the newly created position of national sales manager, special markets. For two years, she provided business development strategies to Minted, Tra Publishing, Vooks and Lunii. Before that, she held various sales director positions in special markets, premiums, licensing and other channel sales with Chronicle Books. She will be based in San Francisco.

Chuck Deane has joined the Arcadia sales team as a business development manager. He has held a variety of sales positions at John Wiley & Sons and IDG Books. He will be based in Indianapolis.

Megan Petrie has been promoted from publicist for Arcadia Publishing & the History Press to managing publicist for Arcadia Children's Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Seth Rogen on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Jack Nicklaus II, co-author of Best Seat in the House: 18 Golden Lessons from a Father to His Son (Thomas Nelson, $25.99, 9780785248361).

CBS This Morning: John Green, author of The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet (Dutton, $28, 9780525555216).

Today Show: Yusef Salaam, author of Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice (Grand Central, $28, 9781538705001).

Fresh Air: Seth Rogen, author of Yearbook (Crown, $28, 9781984825407).

Ellen: Stacey Abrams, author of While Justice Sleeps: A Novel (Doubleday, $28, 9780385546577).

The View: Dorothy A. Brown, author of The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans--and How We Can Fix It (Crown, $27, 9780525577324).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Action Bronson, author of F*ck It, I'll Start Tomorrow: A True Story (Abrams, $26, 9781419744785).

Movies: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Will Speck and Josh Gordon will direct Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, a live-action hybrid film based on Bernard Waber's classic children's book, for Sony Pictures, Deadline reported. Will Davies is adapting the screenplay for the movie, which will be released July 22, 2022.

Speck and Gordon are producing alongside Hutch Parker. Dan Wilson is executive producing for Hutch Parker Entertainment and Kevin K. Vafi is executive producing for Speck and Gordon.

Books & Authors

Awards: Plutarch Winner; RSL Christopher Bland Shortlist

The Mystery of Charles Dickens by A.N. Wilson (HarperCollins) has won the Biographers International Organization's Plutarch Award as the Best Biography of 2020. Kate Buford, chair of the Plutarch Committee, said, "During an unprecedented year marked by political upheavals, the Covid pandemic and many publishing challenges, we were struck by the compelling humanity and deft artistry of Wilson's biography. It is a biographer's biography."

BIO also gave a Special Citation to Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Crown), in recognition of "its summoning of Baldwin's penetrating voice and eyes that remind us of the post-Civil War and post-civil rights betrayals of racial justice."


The shortlist for the £10,000 (about $14,140) RSL Christopher Bland Prize 2021 for a debut writer of fiction or non-fiction aged 50 or over consists of:

The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka
Mr Atkinson's Rum Contract by Richard Atkinson
One of Them by Michael Cashman
People Like Us by Louise Fein
Broken Greek by Pete Paphides
The Lost Homestead by Marina Wheeler

The winner will be announced June 3.

Book Review

Review: The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science

The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science by John Tresch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30 hardcover, 448p., 9780374247850, June 15, 2021)

Mention Edgar Allan Poe to most readers and the name will conjure a chilling memory of a macabre tale like "The Pit and the Pendulum," or perhaps an image of a tortured artist who died young. It's almost certain those associations won't connect the writer to the world of science.

The Reason for the Darkness of the Night by John Tresch (The Romantic Machine) may help change that. Tresch, professor of History of Art, Science, and Folk Practice at the Warburg Institute in the University of London, undertakes a comprehensive examination of this little-known and significantly underappreciated facet of Poe's career. It's an admiring, intellectually stimulating portrait of a man Tresch describes as nothing less than "an analyst, a philosopher, and a detective, seeking to crack the code of the universe."

Poe's interest in astronomy dated at least to his teenage years, and he studied that subject, along with mathematics and geometry, at West Point. It was an age when science was beginning to professionalize and assume a more prominent role in American life, as the young country began to challenge Britain for primacy in the field. While he was conversant with many of these developments, Poe worked along a parallel path, offering "an alternative vision of science and the cosmos in which intuition, feeling, and imagination played leading roles."

The quintessential example of that approach is the lecture Poe delivered in February 1848 in New York City, later issued in book form as Eureka. In it, Poe presented a cosmology that melds art and science, one that in some of its elements prefigured the notion of the Big Bang. While Tresch calls Poe's talk "a mess: a serious mess, a glorious mess, but a mess," he also credits Eureka with being one of the "most creative, audacious, and idiosyncratic syntheses of science and aesthetics in nineteenth-century America."

Tresch's book is not a conventional literary biography, but he devotes ample attention to his subject's classic short stories, poems and extensive body of criticism. Moving from one editorial position to the next, usually involuntarily, Poe struggled for economic survival as circumstances, often exacerbated by his alcoholism, prevented him from finding a permanent home among any of the prominent journals of his day.

Edgar Allan Poe's status as a major American literary figure is long established. But John Tresch's Reason for the Darkness of the Night now should encourage the curious and open-minded to devote fresh attention to the artist's contributions to the advancement of scientific thought. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: A professor of history offers a refreshing scholarly examination of Edgar Allan Poe's unheralded contributions to 19th-century scientific thinking.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Frightfully Fortune (Miss Fortune Mysteries Book 20) by Jana DeLeon
2. Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Patricia Spigarelli Aston and Jack A. Sprigarelli
3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
4. The Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout
5. Overliked by Rob Singleton
6. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
7. The Elites by Various
8. Too Good to Be True (The Siren Island Series Book 5) by Tricia O'Malley
9. The Blind Date by Lauren Landish
10. Love as a Business Strategy by Mohammad F. Anwar and Frank E. Danna

[Many thanks to!]

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