Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio


Hachette Buying Workman Publishing for $240 Million

Hachette Book Group is buying Workman Publishing for $240 million, a deal that will close after regulatory approval is received, which Hachette parent company Lagardère said is expected to be this fall. Workman had sales of $134 million in 2020, up 12% over 2019.

One of the largest independent publishers left in the U.S., Workman includes Workman Publishing, Workman Audio, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Algonquin Young Readers, Artisan, Storey Publishing, and Timber Press. All but the audiobooks imprint will comprise Hachette's eighth publishing group. Workman's strongest categories include cookbooks, parenting/pregnancy guides, gardening, country living, humor, children's books, gift books, fiction, audio and calendars.

Workman has developed many popular publishing franchises, such as Brain Quest and Page-a-Day calendars. Among its bestsellers are B. Kliban's Cat, The Official Preppy Handbook, The Silver Palate Cookbook, What to Expect When You're Expecting (and the What to Expect line), Sandra Boynton's children's books and 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. The company also is the distributor for The Experiment, duopress, Erewhon Books, and Familius.

When the acquisition is completed, the new Workman group at Hachette will be led by current Workman CEO Dan Reynolds, who will report to Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch and will join HBG's executive management board. Workman executive chair and president Carolan Workman will retire at the close of the transaction. The New York Times reported that all proceeds from the sale will go to Whispering Bells, a charitable foundation set up by Peter and Carolan Workman.

The acquisition is the latest in a series of moves that have led to continued consolidation among larger publishers. HarperCollins bought Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's trade operations earlier this year, and last November Penguin Random House announced a deal to purchase Simon & Schuster, which has not been finalized yet.

About the Hachette-Workman deal, Michael Pietsch commented: "We have admired Workman for decades, marveling at the spirit of innovation that drives their business, their strong brand franchises, their focus on backlist, the work culture they have nurtured, and the outstanding reputation they have established among authors, agents, booksellers, and the media. I could not be more thrilled to welcome Workman's incredibly talented employees and their brilliant authors and illustrators to Hachette. The Workman program will powerfully complement HBG's existing publishing programs, and this acquisition will unlock new opportunities for growth in exciting directions."

Carolan Workman said, "When Peter Workman launched our quirky little company over a half-century ago, it marked the beginning of a bold and joyful voyage. All these many years later, when I recognized that the time had come for Workman to have a new home, my first and foremost goal was to find a place where Workman's unique culture could prosper long into the future, a place where we could nurture and protect our greatest assets: our authors, illustrators, and, most of all, our amazingly wonderful staff. I am so happy to be joining with Hachette. They clearly respect not only what we are but who we are. I truly believe that our two companies will thrive together in this partnership."

Dan Reynolds said, "Workman is defined by the brilliant leadership of Peter and Carolan Workman, and I am grateful that their work and, most importantly, their values will live on under new ownership. As I'm getting to know Hachette and their leadership team, I am ever more confident Workman will not only prosper in the days and years to come but remain an innovative leader in book publishing."

Peter Workman, who died in 2013, founded Workman in 1968 and the inaugural list was highlighted by Richard Hittleman's Yoga 28-Day Exercise Plan. In 1989, Workman Publishing bought Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and, later, acquired Storey Publishing and Timber Press. In 1994, Workman Publishing launched Artisan, and last year it founded Workman Audio.

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

Libélula Books & Co. Opens in San Diego, Calif.

Libélula Books & Co., an independent bookstore with a focus on community building, idea-sharing and inclusivity, has opened in San Diego, Calif., the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Located in San Diego's Barrio Logan neighborhood, Libélula Books & Co. opened its doors officially in June. Co-owners and partners Jesi Gutierrez and Celi Hernandez carry books in both Spanish and English, with a focus Chicano history, transformative justice, parenting, cooking, feminism and more. There are titles from major publishers and small presses, self-published magazines, as well as a kids' corner with books in English and Spanish.

"We wanted a space that was not only safe for folks of all walks of life and ages, but also a place that was centralized around books and knowledge and idea-sharing," Gutierrez told the Union-Tribune.

The store also offers free Wi-Fi and a shared laptop that neighborhood residents can use for things like writing resumes, filling out job applications and doing schoolwork. Having these resources available to community members was very important to Gutierrez, who has "personally seen the need for access to technology among students in Barrio Logan and surrounding communities" through her work with neighborhood schools; she also grew up in a household without Wi-Fi or a computer, and understands that need firsthand.

She and Hernandez hope to bring in more community laptops through donations. They reported that neighborhood kids are already hanging out at the bookstore during the day, despite it being relatively new.

Their event plans include author readings and educational events. In the near future Libélula will partner with the San Diego Brown Beret National Organization to host free tutoring sessions for elementary schoolkids. Hernandez, meanwhile, is turning the store's basement into a gallery that will display works from local artists.

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Plans in Place for Bookstore Romance Day

More than 260 bookstores across the U.S., Canada and Australia will be participating in Bookstore Romance Day this coming weekend. A total of 16 virtual events are scheduled for Saturday, August 21, and Sunday, August 22, with more than 60 authors set to take part. 

The focus of this year's Romance celebration is crossover fiction. Authors Donna Herren and Bree Bridges, who write the Merceneray Librarians series under the name Kit Rocha, are serving as this year's Bookstore Romance Day Ambassador. At 3 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday they will be in conversation with Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, who write together under the name Christina Lauren.

All events are free, but space is limited and the events are ticketed. Readers who register for the panels A Little Bit Gothic; Double Your Fun with Cross-Genre Romance; Ghouls, Golems, and Giggles; and Historical Mystery, with Love, will be entered to win a collection of books from St. Martin's Press. Some participating stores will be offering custom candles from Hardin Soy Candles with the scents Historical Romance, Contemporary Rom-Com, Historical Mystery and Fantasy Romance.

The complete schedule can be found here, while the complete list of participating bookstores can be found here.

International Update: #ShopLocal Campaign for Australia's Book Week, New U.K. Indies Defy Pandemic

To support this year's edition of the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book Week, scheduled for August 21-27 with the theme "Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds," the Australian Society of Authors and the Australian Booksellers Association are promoting a "#ShopLocal, #ReadLocal" campaign online, encouraging readers to buy Australian books from Australian booksellers.

"We know that CBCA Book Week is an important time for authors and illustrators, not only for the thrill of being able to share stories and a love of reading with young students, but also as a significant source of events and book sales income," the ABA and ASA said in a joint statement. "With lockdowns and travel restrictions affecting parts of the country, we know that Book Week will be impacted for many authors and illustrators with canceled or postponed events, or in-person events moved online."

The new campaign is a key way to counter the challenges. The organizations added: "Because when you buy a local book from a local independent bookstore, you are not only buying something of value, you're investing in Australian literature and the stories that may have comforted or sustained you over the last year, you're creating jobs in your community, you're supporting emerging authors and the bookstores which nurture them, and you're ensuring that a thriving literary community will feature in our post-pandemic world."


More than 60 bookshops have launched in the U.K. and Ireland in the past 18 months, the Guardian reported in a piece that showcased five of "the risk-takers who opened bookshops during Covid," along with author Val McDermid's thoughts on indies. The booksellers featured were:

Amanda Truman of Truman Books, Farsley: "It's been quite moving actually. People are super-excited to have this bookshop in their village. I had a guy in the shop today saying, 'We're all really giddy that you're here.' That was lovely. I'm really giddy that I'm here as well."

Ralph Baillie and Kate Davies of Adventure into Books, Blairgowrie, Scotland: Davies noted that "the community has been very supportive. It's at the point where people come in, having found a book they want on the big A [Amazon], and they say, 'But I want to buy it from you.' That's just fantastic. It feels like there's real pride in the town that somebody opened a business here during a pandemic."

Chrissy Ryan of Bookbar, north London: "The whole thing is about making books social and bringing people together through books, so having to launch online [as she did in February, after the second lockdown] seemed kind of counterintuitive.... I love what I'm doing and it feels like I'm only at the tip of the iceberg of all the things I envisage I'll do."

Malcolm and Charlie Richards of Bookbag, Exeter: When they reopened in mid-April, "you could feel the excitement of people starved of the kind of sensory pleasure that you get from going into a bookshop," said Charlie Richards. "We had queues outside in the first few weeks."

Mary Ruddy and Vincent Murphy of Books at One, Letterfrack, Ireland: "Our idea was that for most of the day we'd be sitting around reading books, and the odd customer would come in and we'd talk about books," said Ruddy. "But I'm glad to say that there's more than the odd customer coming in now."

"One of the few genuine positives to come from the last 18 months is that so many people have rediscovered the pleasure of escaping into a book. (And that some of them have decided to service our addiction by becoming dealers...)," McDermid wrote, adding: "Books are an adventure, and independent bookshops are the secret maps for the journey."


Increased interest in pets is leading to the growing popularity of books on cats in South Korea, ranging from titles on "cats' physical features and tips on nutritious feeding to books about moving on after a cat's passing," according to the Korea Bizwire, which noted that online bookstore Yes24 reported "a 2.7 times increase in the number of books on cats, going from 60 books in 2010 to 160 in 2020."

There have been 111 new books about cats as of July 2021 (70% of last year's record), and sales of cat-related titles jumped by 30.2% last year and another 46.5% early this year, the Korea Bizwire wrote. Primary buyers include customers in their 40s (48.3%) and 30s (28.2%), with women accounting for 62.2% of purchases. --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Keith Howard

Keith Howard

Keith Howard, founder and owner of Emerald Publishing in the U.K., died August 12. He was 89. "Throughout both his academic and publishing career, Keith was an inspirational, respected and committed leader, and will be deeply missed by all who knew him," a statement released on behalf of the publisher said.

Howard founded Emerald in 1967 "with a group of academic colleagues from the University of Bradford," the Bookseller reported, adding: "Famously dissatisfied with the publishing outlets available to management academics at the time, they acquired Emerald's first journal, Management Decision, for just £1. Since then the Emerald portfolio has grown to more than 350 journals alongside 'a thriving' books and cases program."

The statement announcing Howard's death also noted: "From modest roots in Bradford, Emerald has also grown into a global business with over 450 colleagues across the group and across all parts of the world. All of this is testament to Keith's leadership, guidance, and appetite for both trying something new and being close to our communities....

"Keith was also a key part of the local community, widely recognized as a philanthropist and great supporter of the arts and sport. Though he was ever modest, he was honored to be presented with a Medal for Arts Philanthropy by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2009; and in 2011 the Queen awarded Keith an OBE for services to business, sport and the arts in West Yorkshire."

Howard stepped down as chairman of the Emerald Group at the end of 2017, but remained on the board "and was a regular and welcome presence in the office," the statement noted. "Known and loved for his sharp wit, dry sense of humour, and absolute commitment to the business and all its employees, Keith will be much missed by the whole Emerald family."


MahoganyBooks Gives 'Bookselling Squad' a Shout Out

"Gotta shout out the dopest bookselling squad on the planet and Wakanda!" MahoganyBooks, Washington, D.C., posted on Facebook Saturday. "During our store celebration last week, this crew faced the rain and served almost one thousand customers who came through our doors and they did it with enthusiasm, excellence, fun and grace. Did we say rain and a host of moving logistical parts? We did and they rocked it! So proud of them (sprinkled with a few friends and family volunteers). We're also looking to add a few more to our squad. Check a couple of posts back for details."

Display: 'Beautiful Bike-Turned-Table' at Maria's Bookshop

Posted on Facebook by Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo.: "If you have a chance, swing by and check out this beautiful bike-turned-table on display in the shop (It's a 1896-98 Dayton Tandem bicycle)! Many thanks to local filmmaker and bike collector John Sheedy for letting us display this awesome art piece, as well as a few other bikes from his collection. These include a 1897-98 Stearns bicycle, originally from New York, and a 1909 Sportsman bicycle, also originally from New York."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Billie Jean King on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Billie Jean King, co-author of All In: An Autobiography (‎Knopf, $30, 9781101947333).

The View repeat: D.L. Hughley, co-author of How to Survive America (Custom House, $27.99, 9780063072756).

TV: Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn

Daniel Gordis's prize-winning nonfiction book Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn, will be adapted into a television docuseries. Deadline reported that director Matthew Mishory (Artur Schnabel: No Place of Exile) will serve as creator and direct all six episodes, with production expected to begin in 2022. 

Bradford L. Schlei's Stone Canyon Entertainment (Who Are the Marcuses?, The Trust) acquired the rights to the book, and the producers "will film additional material for the series' final episode to cover the period since the book's publication, including: the Abraham Accords; shifting alliances in the Middle East; Israel's new and highly-symbolic diverse governing coalition; and the ascendence of the Israeli green economy," Deadline wrote.

"We're honored to have the opportunity to adapt Daniel's essential and critically-acclaimed work for the screen," said Schlei. "And I am thrilled to be partnering again with Matthew to tell another story of Israel's complex, fascinating, and ultimately uplifting history."

Books & Authors

Awards: FT/McKinsey Business Book Longlist

A longlist of 15 titles has been chosen for the £30,000 (about $41,725) 2020 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year, recognizing a book that offers the "most compelling and enjoyable insight" into business issues. The shortlist of six, each of which receives £10,000 (about $13,910), will be released September 23 and the winner named December 1. 

Book Review

Review: The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova (Atria, $27 hardcover, 336p., 9781982102548, September 7, 2021)

Zoraida Córdova's The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a gorgeous work of magical realism that follows the Ecuadoran and Ecuadoran-American Montoya family on a spellbinding journey as they fight for their home and their future against dangers from an obscured past.

Orquídea Divina, bruja matriarch of the Montoya family, has outlived several husbands, built an unusually productive farmstead and raised a large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The novel begins as she summons the entire family back to Four Rivers to "collect" as she prepares for death, with short cinematic chapters following various family members as they receive invitations. The author juxtaposes scenes from Orquídea's early life with present-day events; most notably, at the beginning, Orquídea is in one chapter a half-feral girl fishing in Ecuador and the next an aged woman becoming a tree as her family surrounds her.

Córdova (Incendiary) adeptly depicts this large family, but focuses on three of Orquídea's grandchildren so that readers are quickly caught up in their struggles and dreams. Following the family gathering, Marimar stays on to take over the farm, and Rey returns to New York City to resume his life's dream of painting. Tatinelly, the "ordinary" cousin, is settled with a husband and daughter, completely normal as far as anyone can tell. And if unusual things happen to all three of them--like those flowers growing from their skin--well, that's just their inheritance from Orquídea.

But life for the Montoya family has never been simple, and seven years after the family disperses, people start dying and a mysterious, menacing figure appears to each of the three cousins. Desperate for answers, they reunite and travel to where it all started--Orquídea's first home in Ecuador. As the cousins unearth long-buried secrets and connect with their ancestors, Córdova gives readers Orquídea's experience of the events that would shape her life and that of the Montoya family for decades to come.

"You have to focus all of your energy on that connection every family has. It's in our bones, our blood. More than that, it's in the questions we need answered. The secrets, traumas, and legacies that we don't know we've inherited, even if we don't want them."

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a magical story with complex characters, masterful plotting and a sprawling family encompassing a range of Latinx experiences. Readers will be captivated. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

Shelf Talker: Readers will eagerly follow the fiercely devoted Montoya cousins as they trace their witchy grandmother's past to preserve their future.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Verity by Colleen Hoover
2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
3. Singe by Chelle Bliss
4. Sweet, Sexy Heart by Melissa Foster
5. Uncommon Leadership by Ben Newman
6. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
7. Toxic Forgiveness by Beatríz Pelayo-García
8. Eight Ways to Tequila by Tricia O'Malley
9. Because You're Mine by Layla Hagen
10. Winning With Him by Lauren Blakely

[Many thanks to!]

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