Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 24, 2021


Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

News

Ingram Warns of 4th-Quarter Supply Chain Disruptions

Ingram Content Group warned customers yesterday afternoon of a "perfect storm brewing" that will likely cause significant supply chain issues this holiday season. 

Due to a variety of issues caused or exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, including labor and supply shortages, transportation problems and the rising costs of goods, Ingram expects the global publishing industry to see shipping disruptions, cost increases and shortages of manufacturing supplies and other materials this fall.

At the same time, the company expects to have difficulty finding workers for many of its warehouse locations and manufacturing plants, along with "enough transportation assets to move our products at the speed of supply our industry enjoys."

Ingram anticipates the second week of December to be the "highest volume week throughout the carrier network," and is encouraging customers to order as early as possible and, when possible, in quantities of 15 units or more. In addition to stocking up early, Ingram also recommends that customers review excess inventory early and make room for new stock, and speak to publishing reps about anticipated titles, which will help Ingram predict demand.

To help address these challenges, meanwhile, Ingram is developing wage structures to meet market demand; ordering warehouse-related materials earlier and more aggressively; encouraging publishers to send books early; and working with transportation partners to anticipate and remove challenges where possible through the delivery of continuous shipping forecasts.


Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar


How Bookstores Are Coping: Avoiding Mask Confrontations; Event Plans on Hold

Melissa Taylor, general manager at E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Ga., reported that the store is "pretty much operating normally right now," though the Delta variant surge has led to the city of Savannah reinstating a mask mandate. 

Taylor and the rest of the E. Shaver team, who are fully vaccinated, are all wearing masks in store, and they've put signs back out asking people to wear masks, but this time around they decided they're "not going to have confrontations with people about not wearing a mask." They are through "being spit on and screamed at for asking people to wear a mask."

There are masks available at the store for anyone who hasn't brought their own, and Taylor said about 90% of people who visit the shop are fine with wearing one. The store's events are still primarily online, so "not much has been affected on that front." There have been a few in-person events but capacity is capped and attendees are required to wear masks. Book clubs are once again meeting in the store and "all of our book club members have been fine with wearing masks for the meetings."

Taylor said the store has seen a "slight slowdown in business" over the past week or so, but it is hard to know whether that's because of the Covid-19 surge or because the store is in a tourist-heavy area and kids are starting to go back to school. One customer, she noted, called in to say that they had tested positive for Covid and would not be able to pick up a special order for a while.

"Savannah's Covid numbers right now are higher than they were at what we thought was the peak of the pandemic," Taylor said. "We are constantly monitoring all the numbers in our area and are ready to change our operations if the need arises."

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For most of the summer, Hills & Hamlets Bookshop in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., and Underground Books in Carrollton, Ga., saw record sales and a "return to mostly normal, pre-Covid operations," owners Josh Niesse and Megan Bell reported. Over the past few weeks, however, the stores have seen a "sharp downturn in in-store sales," though online sales have remained robust. 

Bell and Niesse reopened the stores only after all of their booksellers were fully vaccinated, which happened to be around the same time that the CDC said vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks in-doors. They've since reinstated their own mask mandate, and customers have responded very differently at the two stores.

At Hills & Hamlets, which is in a progressive planned community, there have been very few complaints. At Underground Books, which is in downtown Carrollton, there has been "significant pushback." On a daily basis, customers tell Niesse, Bell and their booksellers that they won't enter if they have to wear a mask and some "have been pretty nasty about it." The store's core customer base is "fine with it and supportive," they noted, but it is "definitely hurting our casual walk-in traffic from our busy downtown square."

Bell and Niesse had already suspended the majority of their event plans prior to the Delta surge, mainly because of "how overwhelmed we are with the e-commerce part of our business on the used and antiquarian end, which has been booming all year." They have one outdoor event on the calendar for the first week of October, but "the current surge, and the conflict about masking in our very conservative region, has definitely confirmed for us that we will not be planning any more events in the near future." --Alex Mutter


William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor


International Update: 'Ideal Age' for Canadian Backlist Titles, Women in Bookselling in Nigeria

"What's the ideal age for a backlist title?" That's the question BookNet Canada took on recently in its latest analysis of backlist sales "to confirm the anecdata we'd been hearing throughout the winter--that backlist sales were growing across the country." Using SalesData, the company's national sales tracking service for the Canadian English-language trade book market, BookNet Canada pulled data for 2019 and 2020 (full years) along with 2021 year-to-date, and compared the sales of print books in each of the below "age categories." Among the highlights: 

Across all subjects, frontlist titles made up 37% of sales in 2019 and 35% in 2020, but sales of books in the 2-5-years-old category totaled 25% of all sales in 2019, and 26% in 2020, second only to frontlist. They were followed by one year old titles (17%-18%), 6-10 years old (10%-11%) and 11-plus years old (10%).

BookNet cautioned that one thing to keep in mind is that its 2021 data "is only for year-to-date, against full years for 2019 and 2020. We know that book buying trends up in the second half of the year, not only for holiday and back-to-school shopping, but also to pick up hot new reads! As we covered in our half-year review looking at the number of titles by publication date, September and October are typically the most popular publication months of the year."

Despite the strong performance of titles in the 2-5 years old bracket thus far in 2021, "the overall trend seems quite similar to what we've seen the past few years--especially since the latter part of the year tends to see a surge in publication dates and new releases that can contribute to a higher overall share of frontlist sales," BookNet Canada reported. In 2021 year-to-date, 2-5-year-old books are 28% of all sales, compared to frontlist titles (27%), one-year-old titles (21%), 6-10-year-old titles (13%), and 11-plus-year-old titles at 11%. 

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During the annual general meeting and book presentation at this year's Nigeria International Book Fair in Lagos, the Booksellers Association of Nigeria called on the federal government "to recognize the book sector as an industry and avail it of necessary support, such as financial assistance through grants and low interest loans via the Bank of Industry, since finance constitutes a major challenge to the sector," the Nation reported.

BAN's conference this year featured the theme Women in Bookselling in Nigeria: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. The event "offered an opportunity for stakeholders in the book business to appraise the role of women in promoting the reading culture in Nigeria and Africa in general, noted that despite the strategic importance of women in the book sector, the number of women involved in the sector remained low compared to that of men. In a bid to boost women's involvement in the book sector, the conference called for 40% 'affirmative action' which should be based on competence and merit for more involvement of women in the sector," the Nation wrote.

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Upon first arriving in the Huangyang district of Taizhou in eastern China to begin design work for the new Duoyun Bookstore, Wutopia Lab principal architect Yu Ting "felt instantly refreshed. Though urban, the atmosphere here is enhanced by its position on a wide peaceful river, the presence of the surrounding mountains, and a significantly slower pace of life than Shanghai, where the firm is based," Yahoo News reported.

"Suddenly, I decided there should be a cloud, calmly and slowly rising over the river," Ting said. "Clouds have a sophisticated and pure beauty." 

As a result of this inspiration, "a particularly unique bookstore was born, incorporating a series of indoor and outdoor spaces that take you on a meditative journey, clearing your mind to make way for all the written content you're about to devour," Yahoo News wrote. "If the layout looks familiar, that's because it's based on the traditional courtyard houses of China, in which the most important internal spaces are grouped pavilions looking out onto a central outdoor area."

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Harper's Bazaar featured "five English bookstores in Saudi Arabia that need to be on your radar," noting that "with so many of us in the Kingdom unable to travel abroad, now is the perfect time to get lost in a series, beating the heat while traveling vicarious through our favorite protagonists." --Robert Gray


Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job


Obituary Note: Jill Murphy

Jill Murphy

British author and illustrator Jill Murphy, who was best known for writing the children's book series the Worst Witch and the Large Family, died August 18. She was 72. The Guardian reported that Murphy "started writing the Worst Witch while still at school, completing her first manuscript at the age of 18. Her mother once commented that Murphy and her two friends looked like witches in their dark school uniforms, which gave the author the idea for her first book."

Although she initially struggled to find a publisher for her first novel, the book went on to sell millions of copies. Murphy's works also won many awards, including the Smarties prize for The Last Noo-Noo. Peace at Last and All in One Piece were both commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal. 

The Bookseller noted that Murphy "started drawing and writing stories from an early age and by the age of 11 had made 90 books, which she kept and used to inspire children at events in later life."

Pamela Todd, Murphy's friend and agent of more than 30 years, said: "It's a sad day for children's books. Jill was so creative, beautiful and funny. Her genius lay in the way both the child and the adult could identify with her stories, which she wrote and illustrated herself. Children who grew up on Peace at Last, Whatever Next! and The Large Family... are now buying the books for their children's children.... Jill was just coming into her prime and had so much more to offer. This is a great loss, not least to me personally, but we are comforted that she leaves an amazing legacy of books for generations to come." 

Her most recent picture book, Just One of those Days, was published last September. Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, managing director at Macmillan Children's Books, said: "She had an unparalleled talent for storytelling through words and pictures and, without doubt, her picture books have become timeless children's classics. When she drew the Bear family again for her latest book last year, it was as though they had never left her. The characters were the same, but undeniably contemporary and relevant, and ready to enchant new readers. Jill was funny, warm and kind and she was friends with many of us. She leaves a big hole in our hearts at MCB and will be missed very much, not least by me." 

Francesca Dow, managing director at Penguin Random House Children's, added: "At Puffin, we are so proud to publish Jill Murphy and the hapless adventures of Mildred, Maud, Enid and Ethel at Miss Cackle's Academy. Children across the globe have discovered the joy and power of reading through Jill's magical stories, and we look forward to ensuring the Worst Witch continues to fly high on her broomstick, in memory of her incredible creator, for many years to come." 

Karen Lotz, managing director of the Walker Books Group, added: "Jill herself lived with enormous dignity and dedication to her craft despite having to face difficult challenges. We were enormously proud to publish her at Walker and Candlewick, and it's a consolation to know that her wholly original work will continue to brighten the lives of children and families across the world."

Sanchita Basu De Sarkar, owner of Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill, north London, told the Bookseller: "One of our greatest recent pleasures in the bookshop has been to introduce a single page from her recently published Meltdown... to our customers, without context. The illustration is so brilliantly funny, and it depicts a toddler experience so absolutely universal that without fail, they have all bought it. It is greatly comforting to know that her books will always have a place in children's hearts."


Notes

Image of the Day: Bookseller Stanley Hadsell Retires

Market Block Books in Troy, N.Y., the sister store to the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, celebrated the retirement of long-time employee Stanley Hadsell, manager since the Troy store opened in 2004. Prior to taking the helm at MBB, Hadsell worked at the Book House, totaling 23 years of service as an indie bookseller. The store wrote, "Beloved by staff and customers alike, Stanley is known for his Zen-like attitude and presence, his thoughtful recommendations, and his love of artisanal pizza. We will deeply miss his daily presence in the store, but wish him well in his much-deserved retirement! The Book House's Steve Stock takes over from Stanley, bringing with him many years of bookselling experience and excellent customer service, at Borders and the Book House."
 
Pictured: Susan Taylor, buyer and bookseller; Stanley Hadsell; Susan Novotny, owner of the Book House and Market Block Books.



Lerner Publisher Services to Distribute Soaring Kite Books

Lerner Publisher Services, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, will be the exclusive book distributor for Soaring Kite Books, effective January 1, 2022.

Founded in April 2020, Soaring Kite Books, Washington, D.C., publishes "uplifting and diverse children's books that give a voice and a presence to underrepresented characters." Its first list distributed by Lerner Publisher Services includes the picture book Dear Mama's Loving Arms, written by Ceece Kelley and illustrated by Sawyer Cloud. The list also includes Drawn to Friends and Classroom Confidence, two new books in the Georgie Dupree series for new and emerging readers, written by Ceece Kelley and illustrated by Chloe Guevara.

Ceece Kelley, principal author and publisher for Soaring Kite Books, said, "What started as a way to ensure families like mine were represented in books has turned into a platform for diverse authors around the world to share their cultures in children's literature."

David Wexler, executive v-p of sales for Lerner Publishing Group, said, "Lerner Publisher Services is dedicated to inclusion in children's books and that is the main mission of Soaring Kite Books. Children will build confidence and self-esteem as they relate to the characters and the beautiful illustrations featured in books from Soaring Kite."


Sneak Peek at the New Busboys & Poets in Columbia, Md.

Baltimore Business Journal offers a slideshow of the Busboys & Poets branch that will soon open in Columbia, Md., and will be the restaurant/bookstore company's largest location yet. Construction on the 10,771-square-foot building began in 2019. The space features indoor and outdoor dining areas, bars, a meeting room, and a bookstore. The new Busboys & Poets is tentatively scheduled to open in October.

Owner Andy Shallal said, "We're a place where art and culture and politics come together and intentionally collide, and we hope this will be a space for that kind of collision. Every community needs a watering hole. Every community needs space where they can have the tough conversations that oftentimes are not had, or when they are had they're had in auditoriums where people walk in with the same people that they leave with, and very little interaction happens."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Philipps on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: David Philipps, author of Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALS (Crown, $28.99, 9780593238387).

Tomorrow:
Drew Barrymore Show repeat: Cat Deeley, author of The Joy in You (Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780593181416).

Kelly Clarkson Show repeat: Seth Rogen, author of Yearbook (Crown, $28, 9781984825407).


TV: The Man Who Fell to Earth

Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is the New Black, Star Trek: Voyager) will have a key recurring role opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris in Showtime's series The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the Walter Tevis novel and 1976 film that starred David Bowie, Deadline reported. 

Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet are writing and executive producing the series and will serve as showrunners along with executive producer John Hlavin. Kurtzman will also direct multiple episodes. The series is produced by CBS Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Timberman/Beverly. Production is underway in London, with premiere set for 2022 on Showtime.



Books & Authors

Awards: Writers' League of Texas; RNA Joan Hessayon Shortlist

The Writers' League of Texas has announced the winners, finalists, and discovery prize winners for its WLT Book Awards, celebrating books published in 2020 by Texas authors.

The winners:
Fiction: We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin
Nonfiction: The Dragons, the Giant, the Women by Wayétu Moore
Poetry: Year of the Dog by Deborah Paredez
Middle Grade/YA: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry
Picture Book: William Still and His Freedom Stories by Don Tate

See the list of winners, finalists and discovery winners here.

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The Romantic Novelists' Association has released a shortlist for the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers, which honors "authors whose debut novels have been accepted for publication after passing through the RNA's New Writers' Scheme," the Bookseller reported. The winner will be named September 18 at the RNA's York Afternoon Tea at Merchant Taylors' Hall in Aldwark. This year's shortlisted titles are:
 
Hope Nicely's Lessons for Life by Caroline Day 
The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson 
Twice in a Lifetime by Helga Jensen
The Secrets of Saffron Hall by Clare Marchant
The Viking Chief's Marriage Alliance by Lucy Morris 
Love Life by Nancy Peach
Midsummer Man by Zelah Roberts 
Recipe for Mr. Right by Anni Rose
You've Got Mail by Kate G Smith 
The Cottage of New Beginnings by Suzanne Snow
The Italian Holiday by Victoria Springfield


Book Review

Review: Harlem Shuffle

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, $28.95 hardcover, 336p., 9780385545136, September 14, 2021)

Harlem Shuffle once again shows off Colson Whitehead's ability to master myriad genres, this time with his first crime novel, the eagerly awaited follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning novels The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. After delving into zombie fiction (Zone One) and even a nonfiction book about poker (The Noble Hustle), long-time readers might not be wholly surprised to see Whitehead confidently staking his claim to new genre territory: a pressure-cooker novel about a used furniture dealer sliding into criminality in tumultuous early-1960s Harlem. Ray Carney is trying to escape the shadow of his father, a long-time crook, by establishing himself as a legitimate businessman, while sometimes dabbling in dubiously acquired merchandise. But it's his association with his cousin Freddie that threatens to drag Ray into real trouble again and again, as Freddie's harebrained criminal schemes inevitably go sideways. Harlem Shuffle makes excellent use of time-honored techniques, piling problem upon problem onto Ray's shoulders while readers are left eagerly waiting to see if and how he can scramble his way out of each predicament.

Harlem Shuffle also benefits from a lived-in sense of place, depicting a Harlem "after the neighborhood tipped over from Jews and Italians and became the domain of Southern blacks and West Indians. Everyone who came uptown had crossed some variety of violent ocean." The neighborhood is far from exempt from civil rights-era battles, though Whitehead's hard-bitten characters tend to view these struggles with a pragmatic, even cynical eye. After committing a major robbery on Juneteenth, Miami Joe says: " 'If it pissed people off... good.' If it made it look like there was a racial aspect to throw everybody off, so much the better." Similarly, Ray has no illusions about the world he's living in--one where even the Black elite look down on him because of his background and skin color. He is too concerned with corrupt police officers, vicious gangs and the elusive promise of getting ahead, of moving his growing family out of their cramped apartment, to do anything but face his reality.

As the novel's events come to a head, Ray comes to realize what grabbing a piece of the American dream will cost in a country rigged against him, and has to decide whether he can pay it. For readers, Ray's constant balancing over the abyss makes for a gripping story, as lovingly detailed as it is good pulpy fun. --Hank Stephenson, the Sun magazine, manuscript reader 

Shelf Talker: Harlem Shuffle is Colson Whitehead's wildly entertaining foray into crime fiction, a pressure-cooker story set in early 1960s Harlem.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Finding Lexie by Susan Stoker
2. Our Class Is a Family by Shannon Olsen, illus. by Sandie Sonke
3. Verity by Colleen Hoover
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
5. Gen Pop (Souls Chapel Revenants MC Book 6) by Lani Lynn Vale
6. The Art of the Real by Daniel Lebensohn
7. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
8. Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
9. Skittles (The Trident Series Book 7) by Jaime Lewis
10. Into the Dark by Various

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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