Article here.

A quick publisher search for Sasquatch shows 423 titles in Polaris including ebooks.

The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest by Audrey Benedict, of which we hold the most copies, has  circulated nearly 1000 times.

The Salish Sea

“Fashioned by the violent volcanism of the Pacific Rim of Fire, plate tectonics, and the sculptural magic wrought by Ice Age glaciers, the Salish Sea straddles the western border between Canada and the United States and is connected to the Pacific Ocean primarily through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This fascinating visual journey through the Salish Sea combines a scientist’s inquiring mind, beautiful photographs, and a lively narrative of fascinating stories, all of which impart a sense of connection with this intricate marine ecosystem and the life that it sustains”– Provided by publisher.

The Guardian in an article titled Banned Books Week: ‘In 2017, censorship comes from an outraged public’ raises the difficult and interesting question of whether “mob mentality” online can amount to a uniquely modern form of informal censorship, because even though there is no authority banning publication or issuing threats of fines or imprisonment, a potentially provocative opinion or viewpoint can be effectively and truly “suppressed” anyway if authors or their publishers cave to a din of intimidation.  There it gets tricky maybe, as motivation could be important. Is the creator or distributor of the viewpoint acting out of fear in a way that chills free debate and all its benefits, or is the motivation a rational retraction in light of consumer taste – to avoid staining one’s reputation, staining a brand, or just hurting profits too  much? After all, publishers are private companies that should also be free to protect their brands and control their messages. On the other hand, like libraries, the professional media, and educational institutions, they have a special role in society protecting open discussion. From the article:

“Twenty years ago,” [anti-censorship campaigner Jodie] Ginsberg added, “it required a lot of effort to campaign against something. Now you can create that outrage and pressure almost instantaneously. And publishers respond to that very quick outrage on social media. It’s really vital for publishers who have invested in their books and believe in their value to defend them even when the madness of the mob descends. What worries me is that publishers do sometimes cave in, when they should be part of the frontline [defending] free expression.”

This article also lists the ALA’s latest list of most challenged books, showing for one thing that mixing anything remotely sexual and an intended younger audience is a sure formula for landing there.

Make Something up Eleanor & Park  George  I Am Jazz! My Big Lie

Amazon Imprints Impress?

August 30, 2017

An article by Jane Friedman (9 Statistics Writers Should Know about Amazon) contains some interesting stats and presents the case that print books’ recent “resurgence” is simply about price, while Amazon is responsible for much of that and increases in ebooks as well.  The Audible explosion (doubling 2014-16!) is also impressive but not surprising given how many new bestselling titles are available exclusively as audible files long before they get to eAudio or books on cd.  Fortunately, more and more people have caught on to the unfortunate fact that an Audible edition does not necessarily mean any other audio edition is forthcoming. This used to be a common tantalizing pitfall in RINCs, or maybe you all are catching them right away.

Amazon now boasts several imprints putting out original trade paperbacks and some classic reprints. It has taken on some eye-catching popular names like Marcia Clark, Carolyn Brown and Rachel Caine, newly published or “poached.” The range of output seems serious, too, including science fiction (47North), romance (Montlake Romance), thrillers (Thomas & Mercer), literary fiction and serious non-fiction (Little A) and even translations and international writers (Amazon Encore and Amazon Crossing), among several others.  While we are trying to take a look at most of these as they approach publication, I’m still holding off on many of them unless the author has a track record.  It’s still nice to keep an eye on it as some authors are perpetually requested, while the circulation of collected titles is a bit hit and miss.  Let me know if customers expect more proactive selection or if this approach seems right for now.

Sorry no ARC’s this time but a sample:

Snap Judgment Snap Judgment by Marcia Clark. Summary: When the daughter of prominent civil litigator Graham Hutchins is found with her throat slashed, the woman’s spurned ex-boyfriend seems the likely suspect. But only days later, the young man dies in what appears to be a suicide. Or was it? Now authorities are faced with a possible new crime. And their person of interest is Hutchins. After all, avenging the death of his daughter is the perfect reason to kill. If he’s as innocent as he claims, only one lawyer has what it takes to prove it: his friend and colleague Samantha Brinkman. It’s Sam’s obligation to trust her new client. Yet the deeper she digs on his behalf, the more entangled she becomes in a thicket of family secrets, past betrayals, and multiple motives for murder. To win her case, she’s prepared to bend any law and cross any boundary that stands in her way. Sam has always played by her own rules, and it’s always worked … so far. But this case cuts so deep and so personal that one false move could cost her everything.



The Queen's Poisoner

The Queen’s Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler.  Summary: “King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles… and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life” — back cover.




The Barefoot SummerThe Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown. Summary: “Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she’s shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s not the only woman with that idea. Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive—so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter’s sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda—twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg…with a dogged detective right behind who’s convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. One momentous summer filled with revelations, quirky neighbors, and barefoot evenings on the porch offers three women the chance to make the journey from enemies to friends, and claim a bright, new beginning.”–Cover, page 4.

A report from AAP says in 2016 trade sales were up 1.5% with religion, children’s/teen, and non-fiction leading the way.  From the PW article:

E-book sales fell for the third straight year in 2016, down 16.9% to $2.26 billion. E-books remained the most popular format in adult fiction, where they accounted for 33% of sales, the AAP reported.

As for downloadable audio, sales rose 19.7%. Downloadable audio sales were put at $643 million by the AAP, more than double the 2012 figure.

How does this compare with our recent lending figures?  Growth in downloadable audio sales definitely gels with lending increases, while the contraction of ebook sales is not reflected in library lending.  The July OverDrive dashboard indicates a new record last month (though not quite the month before), with circulation figures vacillating month-to-month and bumping up to new highs rather than rocketing. Here they are:


Christian Book Awards

May 8, 2017


Christianity Today, magazine mouthpiece for a broad evangelical audience, has posted the Christian Book Awards for 2017. We owned most of them, except for a cultural work of interest that I am ordering this week, highlighted below.  Popular devotional works in Christianity and Buddhism especially are popular and have a high turnover, but selecting particular titles can be challenging.  It is worth paying close attention to industry coverage in PW, bestseller lists, and other sources within this niche.  For instance, one of the bestselling Christian titles of recent years hands down is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which I never received a *single* RINC for but which after I finally ordered it has circulated over 220 times.  SINC’s in any of these areas are most welcome.

The prolific right-leaning Evangelical presses include Zondervan, Multnomah, Thomas Nelson, and Eerdman’s, among many others.  Liberal faith is represented by Beacon Press and HarperOne. Buddhist publishers include Shambhala and Wisdom Publications.  Wiccan interest is covered by Llewellyn, Catholic interest by Ignatius and Loyola Presses and unbelief and skeptical viewpoints by Prometheus Press. These are a few dedicated imprints but in general the Big Five and university presses also produce prodigious output.


Tebow, Tim.  Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms.  Waterbrook, 2016. [7 copies]

Shaken“First, he was a beloved college football champion, media sensation, and best-selling author drafted in the first round of the 2010 Draft. Then he had a miracle playoff run with the Denver Broncos before being traded to the New York Jets. After one season he was cut by New York, next signed by the New England Patriots, then let go after training camp. Tim Tebow has achieved big victories and plunged the depths of failure, all while holding firm to his faith. In Shaken he explains why neither the highs nor the lows of his life can define him–and he reveals how you, too, can find an unshakable identity and purpose. In revealing passages, Tebow pulls back the curtain on his life, sharing the vulnerable moments of his career that have shaken him to his core–while also teaching the biblical principles that will enable you to keep the faith, no matter what comes your way.”–Baker & Taylor.




Glaspey, Terry.  75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know. Baker, 2015. [Soon  in catalog]

75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and FilmSome of the greatest artists have taken their inspiration from their faith. Now you can discover the stories behind seventy-five masterpieces of art, literature, music, and film–and the artists who created them. From the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt, from Bach to U2, from John Bunyan to Frederick Buechner, author and historian Terry Glaspey unveils the absorbing true stories behind these masterpieces and shares the faith-filled details you might have missed.

Today’s PW Daily had a link to a Guardian article titled “How eBooks Lost Their Shine: Kindles Now Look Clunky and Unhip,” which presents the case for the idea that, far from bulldozing traditional print books into the dust, ebooks have lost sales in the recent couple of years and are settling into a certain specific use and marketing niche while the book itself as an object has become more appreciated.  One of the interesting points is the preference of teens for print when reading actual books, in part because of digital technology’s tendency to distract the reader with the draw of other digital forms of entertainment and interaction.  This article talks about the UK’s situation, but the New York Times in late 2015 published an article, “The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead” noting the same phenomena already developing here as well.

There is a rebutting argument, however, taking notice that all of this is focused on sales by publishers as reported to the Association of American Publishers, which these days hardly covers the entire ebook market.  Robert Springer in an article on the site EContent, clearly lays out the opposite case, quoting Smashwords CEO and Founder Mark Coker

Amazon’s virtual stranglehold on ebook sales is another reason that subscription services are struggling. The ecommerce giant controls “something north” of 70% of the ebook market, says Mark Coker, the founder and CEO of Smashwords, a company that helps authors and publishers distribute ebooks. For $9.99 a month, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program allows ebook readers to choose from more than 1 million ebooks.

So, ebooks sales of content by traditional publishers are settling if not outright declining, but “independent” author content sold by Amazon on the cheap represents a large segment of the ebook market, which Coker estimates at already 10-20% of the total book market.  Coker presented a program on this topic last summer at BEA, which I attended.  The Smashwords founder was critical of both traditional publishers (for not adapting effectively to the new situation) and of Amazon for habituating readers to the idea that books should be virtually free, for promoting quantity over quality, and for rigidly exclusive contracts with ebook independent authors (as part of the KDP Select program).

Smashwords incidentally, is the one indie title source that provides ebook content to OverDrive for us to lend. Still, the traditional publishers, while they seem to have succeeded in pulling back some of their own business to print, are the main drivers of our customers’ electronic borrowing, especially in the sharply increasing eaudio market but with respect to ebooks as well.  Sno-Isle’s OverDrive statistics showed over 130,000 checkouts last month, for instance, compared to less than 70,000 in April 2015.  Perhaps would-be buyers of some published ebooks are choosing to borrow them from their libraries instead?


Becky shared with the department and Nancy wanted to share on the blog this new Bowker study of self-publishers and the tremendous growth in their output from just five or six years ago.  For example CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing arm) has grown over 1000% since 2010.

In the past this might have been considered that much more to simply ignore but no longer.  The list of self-publishing established authors with developed fan bases keeps growing, including Kristen Ashley and Jamie McGuire.  Diary of An Oxygen Thief by Anonymous was originally self-published also.  Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear by Stephen Manes has circulated nearly 90 times.

With the explosion in the supply of titles and a steady number of readers reading a steady number of books, it is going to be increasingly challenging to connect readers with the right books, but perhaps all the more appreciated for that.