PW reports cookbooks and SciFi were biggest gainers in recent retail sales figures (Cooking and Sci-Fi Are the Hot Print Segments This Year So Far by Jim Milliot).

Also of note is a 10% increase in Western sales (genre extinction again delayed) and slight declines in biography, art and architecture, and crafts.  Cooking and entertaining were up 21% and self-help up 12%.  Romance was down 16%, which given its success in e format might be understandable.

Some of you have noticed I’ve been a bit cuckoo for cookbooks this year and nothing tells me to stop, but I am really trying to dial it back on some other new non-fiction categories going forward after an initial influx from an allocation increase this year and a need to stock two new demonstration branches.  I’m going to take it easy on biographies, especially of social media stars whose book following is unknown, and well-reviewed titles of quality but maybe not needed quantity.  I welcome feedback on relative investment in non-fiction from what you observe on your shelves.

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A Library Journal ARC on offer.  They are asking for comments and blurbs on these so if you have any let me know.  I’ll be posting the fiction ones soon.  This was an interesting read, due in November, about rulers from Merneith to Hatshepsut to Cleopatra and will soon be in the catalog. Comment to claim.

Cooney, Kara. When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt. National Geographic, November.

When Women Ruled the World

Nicely avoiding the mire of technical details and information, When Women Ruled the World is instead replete with vivid descriptions of the life circumstances and political realities of the handful of ancient female pharaohs that truly ruled ancient Egypt. The lightly touched appeal to hard evidence demonstrates the Egyptologist author’s bona fides, while honest but plausible speculations invite the reader to consider different scenarios and their application to contemporary issues around female leadership. The central insight, that while female “kings” ultimately relied upon and actually sustained patriarchal power structures, they nonetheless demonstrated unique styles of wielding power as women that could serve as a stabilizing and effective model in any society, is massaged in with gentle persuasion throughout. This is a digestibly substantive and intriguing book with multiple appeals to today’s readers.

It looks like this wasn’t caught by our standing order because of the mystique they were creating with the release date revelation, etc. so we’re getting it all placed today. Thanks for your patience. Colleen reports this is showing correctly in Bibliocommons now – let the holds commence.   I’m not seeing as a preorder yet in OverDrive so will ask our rep about that.

 

 

 

book cover

NORTON summary: Andre Dubus III’s first novel in a decade is a masterpiece of thrilling tension and heartrending empathy.

Few writers can enter their characters so completely or evoke their lives as viscerally as Andre Dubus III. In this deeply compelling new novel, a father, estranged for the worst of reasons, is driven to seek out the daughter he has not seen in decades.

Daniel Ahearn lives a quiet, solitary existence in a seaside New England town. Forty years ago, following a shocking act of impulsive violence on his part, his daughter, Susan, was ripped from his arms by police. Now in her forties, Susan still suffers from the trauma of a night she doesn’t remember, as she struggles to feel settled, to love a man and create something that lasts. Lois, her maternal grandmother who raised her, tries to find peace in her antique shop in a quaint Florida town but cannot escape her own anger, bitterness, and fear.

Cathartic, affirming, and steeped in the empathy and precise observations of character for which Dubus is celebrated, Gone So Long explores how the wounds of the past afflict the people we become, and probes the limits of recovery and absolution.

Sorry no ARC for this, but I wanted to mention as it’s been coyly advertised as “Murder Mystery” by “John Smith” but its identity is now revealed. It is due out September 18th. Here is a story on the fan Mugglenet site.

From Hachette website:

Lethal White is the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series from the international bestselling author Robert Galbraith…When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.  Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

Lethal White

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Nancy just confirmed with Acquisitions that A Conspiracy of Bones, which was going to be published at the end of next month, has been cancelled due to a health concern. Hope all will be well with Kathy Reichs!

From Reichs’ website:

So.  The bad news.  While I was very much looking forward to releasing a book this fall, and to touring and interacting with many of you, I find I must cancel.  At the urging of my physician, and with the blessing of my publisher and my agent, I will be taking what Tempe might call a sabbatical in order to heal and recover.  What Pete might refer to as R and R.  A period of rest and relaxation. 

A Conspiracy of Bones

PW and Shelf Awareness report that Audio Publisher Association sales figures show a 22.7% increase in audio sales in 2017.  The article also lists a number of observations from Edison research that I think are noteworthy.  Here’s a subset of these:

  • More than half (54%) of audiobook listeners are under the age of 45.

  • More and more audiobook listeners use smartphones: the percentage of listeners most often using smartphones to listen to audiobooks is 47% in 2018 vs. 29% in 2017 and 22% in 2015.

  • Smart speakers are becoming more popular: 24% of listeners said they have listened to audiobooks on a smart speaker and 5% said they listen most often on a smart speaker.

  • The most popular genres in audiobooks were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction and romance.

When I first read “Smart speakers are becoming more popular” for a few seconds I thought they meant listeners are particularly attracted to sophisticated, eloquent narrators.  What a fuddy duddy.  But in fact the tech trend toward wireless speakers is another factor nudging us to eAudio from discs, along with changes in new cars.  The last point, about fiction genres being especially popular, is something to note as we transition, too. In physical audio I have not been emphasizing these genres, mainly because of the difficulty of keeping series together and because standalone bestsellers circulate even better.  That might be worth a re-think in eAudio, especially when you can buy one copy of something that won’t automatically go away.  Almost no audio files are metered.

Despite how it’s stuffing our shelves, the audiobook collection continues to have a respectable turnover, still higher than many print collections, but circulation shows an undeniable “soft landing.” Here are numbers from our Operational Report.

(Adult) Audiobook First Checkouts Jan – May 2017 61807
Audiobook First Checkouts Jan – May 2018 54651
eAudio Circulation Jan – May 2017 196300
eAudio Circulation Jan – May 2018 250934