Happy Birthday to Us--And Many Thanks!
Yesterday marked the third anniversary of our first issue. In the past year, we've continued to grow, to the point that we can safely say we have a real staff and Jenn and John are able to catch breaths--occasionally!
Melissa Mueller joined Shelf Awareness late last summer fulltime in the Seattle office and is the key person for booking ads. Perhaps more important, she helps her boss, Jenn Risko, keep track of and act on the many thousands of little details that comprise the business. We thank her for adding some calm and order.
In addition to contributing his enlightening weekly column, Robert Gray now regularly writes many of the news items and BookTV listings and occasionally puts together whole issues and sends them out, giving John Mutter much-appreciated breaks. We thank him as ever for his witty, elegant commentary.
Jennifer M. Brown continues to cover children's books--in addition to writing a children's book review once a week. She will be contributing even more in the coming year and is as cheerful as ever.
Shannon McKenna Schmidt writes on a variety of bookselling issues--and her first book, co-authored with Joni Rendon, Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West (National Geographic), came out last month and was excerpted here. Congratulations!
Our CFO, Richard Jobes, has taken on ever more business and financial duties and continues to provide wise financial counsel. Graphic designer Alex Baker is as creative as ever, especially in coming up with theme Viks (such as the one at the top of today's issue). And Braden Vinroe explains the unexplainable--he gives us all kinds of indispensable computer and technical advice.
We've added four book reviewers, and now reviews of books on a wide range of subjects appear in almost every issue of Shelf Awareness. Many thanks to Nick DiMartino, Debra Ginsberg, Harvey Freedenberg and John McFarland, who have done excellent work and are ably managed by Marilyn Dahl. Marilyn still writes her own stylish reviews and also edits the wildly popular Book Brahmin feature.
Booksellers Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Susan L. Weis continue to write from time to time about titles and issues in graphic novels and New Age, respectively. We're looking for other booksellers or librarians to cover certain areas, including sci-fi, audio, mystery and gay and lesbian.
Our readership has increased to 15,000, up 5,000 in the past year--and continues to grow.
We launched the Drop-In Title database, which has proven to be an effective a tool for booksellers and librarians to learn about crash titles.
During our fourth year, we plan to continue creating more tools to help booksellers and librarians do their jobs better and have some fun while doing it, particularly at a time when the book world becomes more challenging. Like many readers, we are distressed that some well-known bookstores have closed in the past year. But many new ones have opened and established ones have expanded. We don't want to contribute to a perception that more indies are closing--perhaps those situations stick out because we tend to run a series of stories about their travails as well as many remembrances while the new stores are unknown and usually are covered once. And, of course, many of us know and love the departing stores, while the new ones are little known. (See Notes below for examples of both situations.) Still, as many of our readers know, the book business offers a lot of opportunities and much to celebrate. Here's to a healthy second half of 2008 for all of us.