Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 2, 2021: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Kyle's Little Sister

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Union Square Kids: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

Tor Teen: Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Peachtree Teen: Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard

Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz and Rob Schwartz

Neal Porter Books: All the Beating Hearts by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Cátia Chien

News

APA Report: Audiobook Market Remains Strong

Publishers' audiobook revenue grew 12% in 2020 to $1.3 billion, the ninth straight year of double-digit growth, according to the Audio Publishers Association's Sales Survey, conducted by InterQ. The APA's Consumer Survey of American audiobook listeners ages 18 and up, conducted by Edison Research, found that although listening habits changed in the last year, audiobook use remained strong and stable despite the pandemic. 

The APA noted that the most significant change in listener behavior was the shift in listening location from car to home as American commuter patterns changed dramatically. The survey found that 55% of listeners said they listened most often at home, compared to 43% the previous year; and 30% cited the car as their primary listening location in 2020, compared to 41% the previous year.

This year's survey also showed that 67% of audiobook consumers said one of the reasons they enjoy listening to audiobooks is to reduce screen time. In addition, the percentage of parents of children ages 17 and younger who said their children listened to audiobooks last year was 49%, up from 35% previously.

Other notable findings from the APA surveys include:

  • The percentage of Americans 18+ who have ever listened to an audiobook is now 46%, up from 44% in 2020.
  • Membership in audiobook services increased, with 38% of listeners indicating they subscribe to at least one such service.
  • 56% of audiobook listeners are under the age of 45; this is up from 52% in 2020.
  • 70% of consumers agree audiobooks are a good choice for relaxing.

Key corresponding data from Edison Research's Share of Ear report, which tracks daily listening habits for Americans 13-plus:

  • The overall share of time spent listening to audio (Share of Ear) for audiobooks has grown 60% since 2017.
  • Daily audiobook listeners spend more time listening to books than any other form of audio (radio, podcasts, etc.).
  • Daily reach of audiobook consumption has grown 71% since 2017.
  • Daily audiobook listeners spend nearly 2 hours more per day listening to audio than the general population (5:35 vs 3:46).

More than 71,000 audiobooks were published in 2020, a 39% jump over 2019, the APA reported.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline


Professional Bookseller Certification Program's Inventory Management Module

The Inventory Management module of the Professional Bookseller Certification Program of the Professional Bookseller School, Inc., starts on July 7 and is open for registration.

The module is designed to teach owners and/or store buyers how to efficiently select and order the new book inventory that will sell best at their store; how to maintain cash flow via returns, turns and budgets; how to integrate marketing and merchandising into the buying process so that the carefully selected inventory actually sells; and how to analyze and improve the buying process over time. See the syllabus here.

The Inventory Management course will be hosted on the first, second and third Wednesdays of the month, 7-8:30 p.m. Eastern, beginning July 7 and ending on February 2, 2022. (Classes are not held on holidays, and there are course breaks for the holiday sales season.) Please register only if you can devote the time to complete this course. The registration fee is $250. Space in this certification classes is limited to 50 people. Only one person from a store may apply to attend. Binc and the regional bookseller associations have pledged scholarships, so your registration fee may be refunded when you successfully complete the course.

The dean of this module is Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C., who worked with a team of instructors, mostly booksellers around the country, to create the training module.

The Professional Bookseller Certification Program launched in January 2021 with the Events Management module, followed by this, the Inventory Management module. Two more modules are in development. The final modules, Staff & Human Resources and Career Fast Track, will be the last modules to launch, likely in the third quarter of 2022. Each module will run from three to eight months, depending on the curriculum and homework. Once a module launches, the intention is to make courses available for registration at least twice a year.

Booksellers who successfully complete a module will receive a certification. A bookseller who completes five modules (on events, inventory, store operations, basic bookselling, and staff & human resources) OR the career fast track module will receive the designation of Professional Bookseller. Booksellers are encouraged to take the modules that suit their career path in bookselling.


GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill


Chesapeake & Hudson, Melman-Moster Associates Merge

Northeast U.S. commission rep companies Chesapeake & Hudson and Melman-Moster Associates have merged, effective yesterday. The combined group is operating as Chesapeake & Hudson.

The new team--eight field sales representatives and three sales assistants--will call on independent bookstores, museum stores and national accounts in the Mid-Atlantic and New England territories. The organization is headquartered at the current Chesapeake & Hudson offices in Virginia. 

"We will continue to provide quality sales and marketing support and the best-in-class customer service that publishers and accounts have come to expect from the Chesapeake & Hudson and Melman-Moster Associates groups," the company said.


Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam


Ingram Sells Vitalsource Technologies

Ingram Content Group is selling education technology solutions provider VitalSource Technologies to Francisco Partners, an investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology businesses. Ingram acquired VitalSource in 2006. 

Ingram Content Group president and CEO Shawn Morin commented: "Under Ingram's leadership, VitalSource was transformed from a small venture serving a niche market to a global leader in digital content distribution. I have been fortunate to watch the transformation over the years and have great respect for the many dedicated teams who made this possible. We will miss our VitalSource friends tremendously. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this dynamic and innovative company." 

Ingram executive and VitalSource president Kent Freeman, who will transition to the Francisco Partners team, said the acquisition "is a great fit for our business, for our team, and for our customers and partners. It ensures that we will be able to expand our efforts to deliver affordable and impactful learning solutions for students and professionals. We are proud of the work we have done to become a leader in the educational technology industry, and we are poised to accelerate those efforts with this investment from Francisco Partners. I couldn't be more excited to lead the team into this next part of VitalSource's journey."


Weiser Books: Mexican Sorcery: A Practical Guide to Brujeria de Rancho by Laura Davila


Square One Buys Upper Access Assets

Square One Publishers has acquired the assets of Upper Access, Inc., Hinesburg, Vt.

Founded in 1986, Upper Access focuses on nonfiction titles designed to improve the quality of daily life with subjects ranging from home repair to death and dying to herbal remedies. Titles include Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death by Joshua Slocum and Why the Wind Blows: A History of Weather and Global Warming by Matthys Levy, both of which will be updated and released in 2022.

Upper Access founder and publisher Steve Carlson said that Square One will offer his titles higher visibility and a more aggressive marketing platform.

Square One publisher Rudy Shur said, "Our model remains simple. By providing a variety of titles that answer people's most important questions, we have a list of books that people want to buy. It turns out that the Upper Access titles serve that same crucial need for readers, which makes it a perfect fit for us."

IPG, Upper Access's current trade distributor, should complete the transfer of Upper Access inventory to Square One by July 16. Bookstores, libraries, and book wholesalers can check on the Square One website beginning July 1 for any/all specific details regarding Upper Access titles.


Car Smashes Into Atlanta B&N

On Memorial Day, a car smashed through one of the front display windows of the Barnes & Noble store at the Peach Shopping Center in Atlanta, Ga. FOX5 reported that the "driver of a Toyota Corolla accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake and ran over the handicap parking sign and into the side of the business." No one was injured in the incident.


Notes

Image of the Day: Surprise Guest at Rainy Day's Grand Reopening

While visiting his mother in his hometown of Kansas City, Chip Fleischer, publisher of Steerforth Press/T2P Books, Lebanon, N.H., yesterday stopped by Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan. It happened to be Rainy Day's grand reopening, the first day the store was open to the public since the pandemic began, and the first day Rainy Day was showing off the many renovations it made while doors were closed. Here Fleischer (l.) and Rainy Day owners Vivien Jennings and Roger Doeren share a happy moment.


Happy Belated 10th Birthday, Ada's Technical Books & Café!

Congratulations to Ada's Technical Books & Café, Seattle, Wash., which is celebrating its 10th anniversary a year later than anticipated. The bookseller posted on Facebook yesterday: "Happy Anniversary to us! After missing our 10 year celebration last year due to the chaos of pandemic, it feels particularly good to be able to celebrate our 11th year in business with all of you today! Stop by for some cake and an affogato if you're able, and if you're celebrating with us from afar, type in 'Happy Anniversary' in your order comments for a free Ada pin with any purchase of $30+."


Shoutout to 'My Bookseller Friends and Colleagues'

Marianne Reiner

Marianne Reiner, who closed the physical location of Run for Cover Bookstore, San Diego, Calif., last July, offered a shoutout to indie booksellers in a Facebook post yesterday, noting: "I would like to take the time today to speak about some of my bookseller friends and colleagues. In the last several weeks I had the chance to browse the shelves of La Playa Books @laplayabooks, Bluestocking Books @blusoxsd and The Book Catapult @thebookcatapult. All three of these bookstores are owned and operated by people I greatly admire, respect and always find it enriching when I get to have a conversation with them....

"I no longer have four walls to browse bookshelves so I particularly enjoy doing so at friends' bookstores. And I would not have been able to pivot in the way I am doing things if it had not been for the support and encouragement of these 3 and Teri at UCSD bookstore, Maryelizabeth at Creating Conversations and Scott at the Library Shop. 

"Indie bookstores are truly a gift to the communities they are in. And whether they are 'traditional,' 'medium size' or 'small,' in-person or virtual or 'non-traditional' they are a vital piece of our localities and our democracy. Thank you for supporting all of us as often as you can."


Personnel Changes at Harlequin

At Harlequin Trade Publishing:

Justine Sha has been promoted to senior publicist.

Lia Ferrone has been promoted to publicist.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Carol Anderson on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Carol Anderson, author of The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781635574258).

Tomorrow:
Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Jake Tapper, author of The Devil May Dance: A Novel (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316530231).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: George Saunders, author of A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life (Random House, $28, 9781984856029).


TV: Gossip Girl Reboot

"Guess who's back!" Entertainment Weekly teased before revealing: "Kristen Bell returns as the elusive, sharp-tongued voice of New York City's Upper East Side social scene in the first teaser trailer for the Gossip Girl reboot." The original hit series and reboot are based on the novels by Cecily von Ziegesar.

In addition to the teaser trailer for the new 10-episode series, HBO Max released several posters "graffitied with Gossip Girl's 'XOXO' to introduce the new cast of characters," EW noted. The reboot stars Jordan Alexander, Eli Brown, Thomas Doherty, Tavi Gevinson, Emily Alyn Lind, Evan Mock, Zion Moreno, Whitney Peak and Savannah Lee Smith.

Joshua Safran--a writer and executive producer on the original series, which was developed by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage--is the showrunner for the project. Schwartz and Savage also executive produce. Gossip Girl premieres July 8 on HBO Max.



Books & Authors

Awards: Danuta Gleed Winner, Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Shortlist

The Writers' Union of Canada announced that Jack Wang's We Two Alone won this year's C$10,000 (about US$8,280) Danuta Gleed Literary Award, recognizing the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2020 in the English language.

The jury praised Wang's book as "an instantly engaging and achingly poignant collection of stories about people struggling to preserve their way of life and seeking stability, connection, and meaning. Focusing on Chinese immigrant experiences, Wang's stories range freely and easily across many decades and a dizzying assortment of geographies. All of Wang's characters are vividly rendered, their struggles and agonies richly conceived and indelibly portrayed. The writing throughout is atmospheric, highly visual, and peppered with startling and persuasive detail. Long after finishing it, We Two Alone lingers in the mind as a compassionate work by a profoundly talented writer who cares deeply about what it means to be human in turbulent times."

Runners-up Dominoes at the Crossroads by Kaie Kellough and How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa each receive C$1,000 (about US$830).

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A shortlist has been released for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, the Bookseller reported. This year's winner will be announced June 23 at a 21st anniversary party hosted by Champagne Bollinger. The winning author receives a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, the complete set of the Everyman's Library P.G. Wodehouse collection, and a pig will be named after their winning book. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton 
Between Beirut and the Moon by Naji Bakhti
Temporary by Hilary Leichter 
Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler
The Accidental Collector by Guy Kennaway 
Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu


Reading with... Cassandra Lane

photo: Daniel Rarela

Cassandra Lane is author of We Are Bridges (Feminist Press, April 2021), a poetic reconstruction of her family's lost history, winner of the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize. Lane received an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the editor-in-chief of L.A. Parent magazine and previously worked as a newspaper staff reporter. Her stories have appeared in the Times-Picayune, Everything but the Burden, Ms. Aligned, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Writers Resist, Expressing Motherhood, Fury: Women's Lived Experiences During the Trump Era, the New York Times's "Conception" series and more.

On your nightstand now:

I'm not a night owl, so pretending that I can slip under the covers at night and read a novel or other long work is hilarious. No matter how hard I try, I'm out like a light within minutes. But before I meet the dreamworld, I do love to soak in a poem. What's on my nightstand right now are Patricia Smith's dazzling Blood Dazzler and my late friend Richard Beban's beautifully observant What the Heart Weighs. Richard and I shared a birthday--April 23 (Shakespeare's birthday, World Book Day), and each year we toasted each other and literature in general. In honor of our birthday this year, I re-read his poem "The Ascension." All of the poems are so cinematic and soulful. He was an amazing photographer, too.

Favorite book when you were a child:

My favorite book as a child (after I finished sneaking and reading my mother's romance novels) was Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I felt so gangly and awkward for all of my childhood, and that book helped me give voice to some of the emotions I had been harboring. It was a salve and inspired me to embrace a life journey of journaling.

Your top five authors:

So many, but these five are masters representing vastly different styles: Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton, Edwidge Danticat, Jamaica Kincaid, Jo Ann Beard.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses by James Joyce. I've had it for a hundred years and keep it on the TBR shelf, but every year slips by without me cracking it open.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I have been telling everyone about Lynell George's new book A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler. One: it's about Octavia Butler, so, yes! Two: it captures all the challenges and triumphs and minutiae that she used to carve herself into a writer. Three: Lynell's research and deep investment in this woman/seer/artist is so palpable and the writing is gorgeous.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge. Okay, I wanted it for more than the cover--cannot wait to fully sink into what I know is going to be a lush ride--but the cover is wall hanging-worthy.

Book you hid from your parents:

The romance books I stole that belonged to my mom!

Book that changed your life:

Reading Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon at around 20 years old while taking my first African American Literature class blew my mind. I had not been exposed to Black authors in high school and earlier, so meeting this masterful writer through this dense and complicated and magical novel blew my mind wide open.

Favorite line from a book:

"Mountains were stories before they were mountains." --Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot

Five books you'll never part with:

Alice Walker's The Color Purple--my copy is falling apart and I will never replace it: a classic.

James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain--so much of it reminded me of my childhood.

Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak--a beautiful YA novel that poet Yona Harvey first told me about, a book I wish I'd had as an adolescent.

Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf, a classic favorite--strange and hair-raising and delicious.

Lucille Clifton's Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980--this book and this poet is my literary mother.

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

Paule Marshall's Brown Girl, Brownstones. I remember reading it in my backyard in New Orleans and weeping over its beauty and brilliance. I want to revisit what moved me so.

Two excellent and exquisite debut short story collections:

Eat the Mouth That Feeds You by Carribean Fragoza and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw.


Book Review

Children's Review: Maya and the Robot

Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing, illus. by Christine Almeda (Kokila/Penguin Random House, $16.99 hardcover, 224p., ages 6-9, 9781984814630, July 13, 2021)

Sociologist and poet Eve L. Ewing's Maya and the Robot is an encouraging and poignant middle-grade debut that features a budding scientist and her homemade robot.

Patricia Maya Robinson is excited to start fifth grade at her Chicago elementary school. Now she can officially participate in the school science fair with the "certified, record-breaking greatest friends in the solar system," Jada and MJ. There's only one problem: for the first time since they were five years old, the three Black friends aren't in the same classroom together. While her friends are with Ms. Montgomery, a scientist who plays the blues guitar, Maya is with Ms. Rodriguez, a dead ringer for Matilda's Miss Trunchbull, who doesn't know to call Maya by her preferred name. Maya, lonely and defeated, struggles to make new friends but ultimately turns inward.

One bright spot in Maya's week is the time she spends helping Mr. Mac at his "everything" convenience store: "If we ain't got it, you don't need it." While cleaning out a storage closet, Maya finds a nonfunctioning robot named Ralph built by Mr. Mac's son, Christopher, along with his notebook detailing the construction. After hearing about Maya's disappointing first week of school, Mr. Mac lets Maya take Ralph home. With the help of Christopher's notes, Maya is able to get Ralph up and running. Before she knows it, her problems don't seem as bad.

In this inspiring illustrated middle-grade novel, Ewing (1919; Electric Arches) highlights the importance of STEM and community while also touching on some of the more upsetting aspects of city life (such as gun violence in Chicago). Ewing perfectly captures the anxieties and feelings of a young person who's experiencing change and shows readers ways in which STEM can be used to work with these feelings. Not only is this story about using one's curiosity and ingenuity to get through a tough time, it's also about the power of community. Ewing demonstrates the importance of people working together and how necessary friendship is for mental health, while also showing the effects an event like a shooting can have on a neighborhood. Ewing handles this delicate subject with aplomb and nuance, with just the right amount of detail for a young audience. Christine Almeda's spot and full-page black-and-white illustrations are expressive and include depictions of Ewing's diverse cast of characters. Winning illustrations and relatable topics make Maya and the Robot significant and meaningful. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader

Shelf Talker: In this heartening middle-grade novel, a young Black budding scientist finds a robot that helps her overcome anxiety brought on by change.


The Bestsellers

Libro.fm Bestsellers in May

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstores during May:

Fiction
1. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave (Simon & Schuster Audio)
2. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (Macmillan Audio)
6. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Macmillan Audio)
8. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Macmillan Audio)
10. The Huntress by Kate Quinn (HarperAudio)

Nonfiction
1. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. What Happened to You? by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry (Macmillan Audio)
6. Yearbook by Seth Rogen (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson (HarperAudio)
8. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. You Are Your Best Thing by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson (Macmillan Audio)


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