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Bookseller Essays Sought for New Series

Independent booksellers in different regions of the country are invited to submit personal essays for a nine-book series to be published by Unbridled Books.

The collection will contain essays that reflect the territories of regional independent bookstore associations across the U.S. The collection’s editor, Carl Lennertz of, is asking for pieces about each bookseller’s unique experience in his or her current or home state — life, travels, observations — past or present.

Ron Rice, editor of the 2012 book My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers), will gather the essays for publication, and Bob Minzesheimer, formerly of USA TODAY (and now an indie bookseller), will write the foreword for each volume. 

A portion of the profits from the series, which will be printed in paperback by McNaughton & Gunn, will go to a literacy program chosen by the booksellers. Unbridled will release one or two volumes each year, depending on how many essays are received.

Submission guidelines will be available at BookExpo America at the Unbridled Booth near the ABA Lounge and will also be e-mailed to booksellers after the conference.

Children’s Book Council to Receive BEA’s Industry Ambassador Award

BookExpo America has selected the Children’s Book Council (CBC) to receive its 2015 Industry Ambassador Award. This is the first time an organization, and not an individual, has been selected to receive the prize, which recognizes a major innovator or creative business leader in the book industry.

BEA officials announced on Tuesday that they chose the CBC, a national nonprofit trade association for children’s book publishers, because of its work bringing children’s publishers together to address important industry issues, such as fostering literacy, diversity, and education. The CBC’s initiatives include educational programming, literacy advocacy, and collaborations with other national organizations. 

BEA Show Manager Steven Rosato will present the fifth annual Industry Ambassador Award to Jon Colman, executive director of CBC, at a ceremony at BEA on Wednesday, May 27,  at 4:00 p.m. in Room 1E12/1E13/1E14 at the Javits Center in New York City.  

PEN to Stage “Shadow Expo” During BEA to Shed Light on Chinese Censorship

As the publishing community welcomes China as the guest of honor at this year’s BookExpo America in New York City. PEN American Center will host a two-event “Shadow Expo” on May 26 and 27 to draw attention to Chinese censorship.

PEN’s objectives for the events are spreading information about China’s silenced authors and artists, demanding an end to censorship, and calling for the release of those in China who have been imprisoned for their writing.

On Tuesday, May 26, PEN will host “Censored in China: Dissident Writers Speak Out,” a conversation on the challenges of free expression in China and its growing literary market. The event at 6:30 p.m. at the Lynne Redgrave Theater will bring together three of China’s leading literary dissidents whose work is banned in their home country — Xiaolu Guo (author, I Am China), Bao Pu (publisher, New Century Press), and Murong Xuecun (author, Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu).

Then, on Wednesday, May 27, American authors Paul Auster, A.M. Homes, Ha Jin, Francine Prose, and BEA opening speaker Jonathan Franzen will gather on the steps of the New York Public Library at 6:00 p.m. for a “Rally for Silenced Writers,” where they will read from works by imprisoned Chinese writers Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, Ai Weiwei, and Ilham Tohti  

Los Angeles Preliminarily Approves $15 Minimum Wage

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to increase the city’s minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 an hour by 2020. The council’s 14–1 vote must come back before the panel for final approval, but L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he plans to sign off on the measure to implement the raise.

If approved, the 67-percent pay increase would be put in place gradually, starting in 2016 at $10.50 an hour for employers with more than 25 employees and meeting the $15 pay level by 2020. Smaller businesses with 25 workers or fewer would be subject to a slower implementation plan, giving them an extra year to comply.

Officials of the nation’s second-largest city said the plan would increase the pay of an estimated 800,000 workers in the city.

However, opponents of minimum wage hike, including the Los Angeles-area Chamber of Commerce, say it places an undue burden on businesses and would force employers to lay off workers or move.

“There is simply not enough room, enough margin in these businesses to absorb a 50-plus percent increase in labor costs over a short period of time,” the Chamber’s senior vice president of public policy, Ruben Gonzalez, told the city council.