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Chicago Booksellers’ Response to Coming Amazon Store Draws Media Coverage

Chicago booksellers’ joint statement in reaction to Amazon’s announcement that it would be opening a new physical bookstore in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood garnered significant media attention last week.

The statement, which cited the Civic Economics study “Amazon and Empty Storefronts,” was covered in local publications, including Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Business Journal, DNAinfo, and Time Out Chicago.

Signatories to the statement included Women & Children First, Anderson’s Book Shop in Naperville, Unabridged Bookstore, Volumes Bookcafé, The Book Cellar, Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, and The Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, as well as the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA).

“Industry experts speculate that the purpose of brick-and-mortar Amazon stores is to continue to collect information that would aid Amazon in future non-book sales endeavors,” the statement read. “To Chicago’s independent bookstores, customers are not just instruments for data collection to enable future sales; rather, customer support is the lifeblood that helps sustain both the stores and the vital communities those stores create.”

SIBA Fall Show to Move to Spring in 2018

Beginning in 2018, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Discovery Show, which usually takes place in the fall, will be held in March in Atlanta in conjunction with the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) and the AmericasMart Atlanta (MART) markets.

SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell announced the new partnership this week, affirming it as the result of several years of collaboration and brainstorming for ways to better serve the needs of each show’s target audiences while sharing the costs for new programming.

While the move will be an adjustment for members, exhibitors, and attendees, said Jewell, there are a number of benefits that come with moving the show to the spring, including the fact that admission to the SIBA Discovery Show will now include admission to MART and GABBS. Additionally, an off-season show will allow for publishers and exhibitors to focus on the SIBA show and SIBA booksellers, and allow booksellers the opportunity to better plan for the year ahead. Jewell also noted that Southern football will no longer prevent many bookseller members from attending the show. 

The 2016 show will be held from September 16 to 18 in Savannah, Georgia; the 2017 show will take place in September in New Orleans. The dates for the March 2018 show in Atlanta will be announced in early 2017.

Counterpoint Press to Merge with Catapult

Independent publishers Counterpoint Press and Catapult will merge following a deal that makes Catapult co-founder and publisher Andy Hunter, who also founded nonprofit literary website Electric Literature, publisher of both companies.

New York-based Catapult, which Hunter co-founded with Elizabeth Koch in 2015, will continue to publish books under the Catapult and Black Balloon imprints. Editorial operations at Catapult will be overseen by Catapult Associate Publisher Jennifer Abel Kovitz.

Counterpoint will remain in California under the editorial leadership of Jack Shoemaker and Dan Smetanka, and CEO Charlie Winton will retire from day-to-day operations while continuing as an editor-at-large. Counterpoint’s Soft Skull Press will return to New York City to be led editorially by Yuka Igarashi. All books will continue to be distributed by Publishers Group West. 

John Ingram to Receive 2016 BISG Award for Excellence

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) will present John Ingram with its 2016 BISG Award for Excellence at the BISG Annual Meeting of Members on Friday, September 30, in New York City. This year, the Annual Industry Awards are also a celebration of BISG’s 40th anniversary.

Ingram, the chairman of Ingram Content Group, Inc., will be honored for leading his company and transforming Ingram Book Company into Ingram Content Group, a comprehensive publishing industry services company that offers services including physical book distribution, print-on-demand, and digital services.   

The 2016 BISG Distinguished Service Award will also be presented at this year’s BISG Annual Meeting of Members and pay tribute to the ongoing dedication and efforts of the BISG’s Committee and Working Group Chairpersons.

Oprah’s Book Club Selects Love Warrior

Oprah’s Book Club has chosen Love Warrior, the new memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton (Flatiron), as its newest reading group selection.

The memoir recalls Melton’s journey after she discovers her husband’s infidelity and her ultimate path to redemption. Melton, who founded the Momastery online community, is also the author of Carry On, Warrior (Scribner), which concerns her decades-long struggle with bulimia and substance abuse.

“I read it as a testament to the power of vulnerability,” said legendary talk show host and Oprah’s Book Club founder Oprah Winfrey, whose Harpo Films has already optioned the film and television rights. “Through it, Glennon shows us the clearest meaning of ‘To thine own self be true.’ It’s as if she reached into her heart, captured the raw emotions there, and translated them into words that anyone who’s ever known pain or shame — in other words, every human on the planet — can relate to.”

Shortlist Announced for 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction announced the shortlist for their annual First Novel Prize, which is awarded to the best debut novel published between January 1 and December 31 of the award year. The 2016 shortlist is as follows:

  • The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron (Seven Stories Press)
  • The Girls by Emma Cline (Random House)
  • Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
  • How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee (Viking)
  • We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin)
  • What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (FSG)

The author of the winning book will be awarded $10,000, and each shortlisted author will receive $1,000. The shortlist and winner are chosen by a panel of five writers, including Viet Thanh Nyugen, who won the 2015 First Novel Prize for The Sympathizer (Grove Press). Nyugen will announce this year’s winner at the Center’s Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on December 6 at New York City’s Metropolitan Club.

Winners Announced for William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Stanford Libraries has announced the winners of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. The organization’s biennial competition for newly published books commemorates the life, legacy, and intentions of author William Saroyan and is intended to encourage new or emerging writers.

The prizes for two books published between January 2014 and December 2015 were given to Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (William Morrow) in the fiction category and Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe by Lori Jakiela (Atticus Books) in the nonfiction category.

Jakiela and Johnson will each receive $5,000 at a reception honoring both winners and their works this fall.