BTW News Briefs

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Booksellers Share Updates as California Wildfires Spread

Severely dry conditions combined with the powerful Santa Ana winds have caused the Thomas Fire, which began in Ventura County, California, last week, to spread to Santa Barbara County, and have made it difficult to fight, according to a report by Reuters.

So farthe wildfires have led some ABA member stores in the affected areas to temporarily shut down. Bart’s Books, an outdoor bookstore in Ojaiwhich is part of Ventura Countyclosed due to smoky airwhile others, like Chaucer’s Books and The Book Den in Santa Barbara, have remained open despite a marked decrease in customers due to smoky conditions, Publishers Weekly reported.

On WednesdayDecember 13, The Book Den shared a Facebook post written by a neighboring storeItalian Pottery Outlet, urging customers to patronize the local business community to make up for stores’ lost holiday business. The Book Den commented on the post, writing: “We all understand why people might not want to come out to shop in the current conditions. But please remember your favorite stores when things get better. They need and deserve your support. And by the way, Italian Pottery Outlet rocks!”

Since its start on December 4, the Thomas Fire has destroyed 700 homes and led to the displacement of 74,000 people, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire ProtectionReuters has reported that the wildfires burning through San Diego and Los Angeles counties for the past week, including the Skirball fire, which affected numerous stores in Los Angeles, are now mostly under control.

As the crisis continues, booksellers in need of immediate financial need or recovery assistance should contact the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc). The organization can be contacted toll-free by calling (866) 733-9064 or by e-mailing or texting

Children’s Book Council Offers Resources to Encourage Voting for 2018 Teen Choice Book Award

Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council are asking publishers and booksellers to encourage teens to vote for the 2018 Teen Choice Book Award by using their social media platforms and websites and employing the hashtag #TeenNom2018.

From December 11 through February 1, teens can fill out the survey, where they will select titles from a curated list of starred reviews by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and School Library Journal, as well as some bestsellers.

Graphics and banners can be downloaded in a variety of sizes from CBC’s Dropbox. CBC also has social media templates available. Here are a few sample templates:

  • To all of our Teen readers: Vote for the YA books you want as Finalists for the upcoming 2018 Teen Choice Book Award! Select here:  @CBCBook @TeenReads
  • Attention Teen readers! YOU can choose the books YOU want as Finalists for the 2018 Teen Choice Book Award now through 2/1! Don’t miss your chance! Vote here: #TeenNom2018 @CBCBook @Teenreads 

Boston Globe Reports on Indie Bookstores’ Resurgence

Last week, the Boston Globe published an article exploring how many independent bookstores are thriving and the number of indie booksellers rising despite the growth of Amazon and e-books, among other changes in the book industry.

The Globe cited data from ABA that shows that between 2009 and 2015, indies across the country grew by 35 percent, from 1,651 stores to 2,227. The report also made reference to the soon-to-be-released study by Ryan Raffaelli, an associate professor at Harvard Business School who found that booksellers have learned to adapt to industry changes through curation and community.

The story, “Bookstores escape from jaws of irrelevance,” also quotes outgoing New England Independent Booksellers Association Executive Director Steve Fischer, who emphasized the increasing number of newcomers who are keeping the industry vibrant. Fischer also told the Globe that publishers have come around to the idea that indie booksellers, through word-of-mouth and personal recommendations, can have a big impact; this effect can be seen in bookstores like the newly opened Riffraff in Providence, Rhode Island, which also serves alcohol, as well as stores that offer events, entertainment, and a curated selection of non-book items.

A number of New England bookstores are referred to in the story, including Savoy Bookshop & Cafe in Westerly, Rhode Island; Print in Portland and Hello Hello in Rockland, Maine; and Jeff Kinney’s An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Massachusetts. The piece also features comments from Kate Layte, owner of Boston’s Papercuts J.P., on the growth of her store over the last three years.

Bonnier Zaffre Expands Into U.S. Market

Bonnier Zaffre has announced its plan to expand into the U.S. market, the company reported Monday.

A division of Bonnier Publishing UK founded in 2015, Bonnier Zaffre has had publishing success with debut authors while introducing established authors to an international audience. The company announced that it plans to continue building on brand-name authors, initially focusing on internationally bestselling authors Wilbur Smith and Lynda La Plante.

In addition, Bonnier Zaffre will join Bonnier Publishing USA’s distribution agreement with Simon & Schuster effective immediately.

Valentina Rice has been appointed vice president of sales, marketing, and publicity, and will report to Mark Smith, CEO of Bonnier Zaffre. Previously vice president of international sales and marketing for Penguin Group (USA), Rice will join the 30 staff members based at Bonnier Publishing USA’s New York headquarters, while Smith will remain in Bonnier Zaffre’s headquarters in London, reporting to Bonnier Publishing UK CEO Perminder Mann.

FedEx Holiday Help Hub Provides Shipping Assistance

PartnerShip, an ABA business service affinity partner, is encouraging ABA member booksellers to check out the FedEx Holiday Help Hub, which features information on holiday shipping with FedEx.

This online resource contains up-to-date holiday service schedules and information on delivery and shipping options, as well as packaging tips for small businesses.

To enjoy savings from FedEx and other shipping companies, booksellers can enroll in the ABA Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip, at no cost.

Shelf Awareness Founders Honored With PubWest’s Rittenhouse Award

PubWest has awarded their Jack D. Rittenhouse Award for lifetime achievement to Shelf Awareness co-founders John Mutter and Jenn Risko.

The annual award was established in 1990 as a way to thank “those who have made a real contribution to the western community of the book.” Nominations are open to publishers, authors, booksellers, sales representatives, librarians, book designers, and others who have contributed to the literary community of the West.

Mutter, Shelf Awareness’ editor-in-chief, and Risko, Shelf Awareness’ publisher, will accept the Rittenhouse Award during the PubWest 2018 conference, scheduled for February 15–17 in Pasadena, California.

National Book Critics Circle Chooses 2017 John Leonard Prize Finalists

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) has named six finalists for the 2017 John Leonard Prize, which is awarded to a first book in any genre. This year’s finalists are:

  •      What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Riverhead)
  •      Marlena by Julie Buntin (Holt)
  •      What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons (Viking)
  •      Whereas by Layli Long Soldier (Graywolf)
  •      Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf)
  •      My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead)

Nominations for the Leonard Prize are open to any regular voting NBCC member; a panel of member volunteers will select the winner, to be announced in January. The prize will be presented at the NBCC Awards Ceremony at The New School in New York on March 15, 2018.