Podcast and a Book!

It was inevitable…a multi-media version of a book, but not in the way you might think. We’re used to audiobooks, and podcasts, but a new book by YA author Courtney Summers does something a little different.

The first half of SADIE is narrated by the protagonist, in this true-crime YA novel mix. The second half of the book is told through supposed podcast transcripts told from the perspective of a fictional radio journalist.  And now, the transcripts have come to life in a podcast called The Girls, adapted straight from the book. Isn’t this a fun way to get into a book?

You can hear the podcast now free on iTunes, and read the book which just came out on September 4/18 to get the most of out of the story. Let’s hope this becomes a bit of a regular thing!

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New Canadian Fiction for Fall

If you love Canadian fiction like we do, you’ll be glad to know that a host of great authors are releasing books in the fall, and the lineup looks great! The CBC Books site recently released a list of the 24 Best Canadian Novels coming this fall, and it includes award winning authors like Patrick DeWitt, Esi Edugyan, Mirian Toews, and Ami McKay. You can see the full list of authors and their books–as well as read a few excerpts–here.

Not a Bookstore anymore

Chapters Indigo–the largest bookseller in Canada–is not “just” a bookstore anymore. Once, it called itself a retailer of “books and music”, but if you’ve been to one lately, they’ve changed direction, and it seems to be working.

Now touting itself as a “cultural department store”, Indigo.ca sells a lot more than books. When you enter any of the stores, you’ll immediately be faced with entire sections devoted to housewares, clothing, baby items, stationary—all very upscale and unique to the store, but certainly not the original intent of the company, which was devoted to books, with a smaller slant toward music.

And with the success of this transition, Indigo is getting ready to launch a few stores in the US to see if the market there is receptive to the same type of concept store. While print sales dropped to 58.4% of total sales, its general merchandise grew by $11 million last year alone. It might not be taking over, but the concept is certainly grabbing shoppers. While the main focus of the website looks like books, you can browse all of the other items and purchase online as well. With a fun rewards program, the deals are making shoppers happy.

Will it be a success in the US? Only time will tell, but as more and more shoppers flock to online sites, it’s nice to see that a physical store has something to offer to readers and shoppers alike.

Your Pet in a Book

As we come into present-buying season, books are always a favourite for Librarians to recommend. While we haven’t read this book, it sure does seem like a fun idea for those who might have a special pet at home.

I See Me’s fun site allows you to choose your dog’s style, include your dog’s name, and the names of up to four people who love him/her, and they’ll create the book. Sounds fun, right?  Genius. What child–or dog lover in general–wouldn’t want to get a book like this?

Let us know if you’ve purchased one of these books in the comments. We’d love to hear how it turned out!

Manipulative Purchases?

A just released YA debut novel by Lani Sarem called HANDBOOK FOR MORTALS has thrown up some red flags around the publishing world and bestseller lists. Until its release on August 15, 2017, there hadn’t been much press related to the book or the author. It’s the first book published by GeekNation, and it hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list in the first week of sales.  And while reviews on Goodreads, Twitter followers, and Facebook likes reached a fever, it started to be a little suspicious when each social media site had the same number of followers…all people without previous book reviews or posts.

So, how exactly does an unknown author, published by an unknown publisher, with very little prior advertising, rise to the top spot on the NYT list overnight? No one could quite comprehend it…until they started doing some background checks.

It seems that there were many large pre-orders and first week sales placed for the book at companies like Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. But none of the orders were large enough to raise any suspicions from the booksellers. In fact, it only made them consider ordering more copies for their stores in order to cover the possible demand for the book. Once the book reached number one, however, the New York Times had to stop and look into allegations that something was up.

As it turns out, it was something called “manipulative purchasing”. Geek Nation was behind the mass-purchasing, the reviews, and the social media frenzy. They knew just how many books to order so as not to arouse too much suspicion, and claimed they were only trying to drum up excitement for a book that was actually written as a result of a film already in development, not the other way around. While it is normal for an author to purchase large orders of their own book in preparation for an upcoming book tour or conference, Sarem’s claim that she needed the books for a ComicCon event seemed slightly defensive.

The New York Times eventually pulled the book from its Bestseller list, saying it “did not meet their criterion for inclusion”. After the somewhat devious promotion, the book actually increased in sales, which may eventually make it eligible once again for ranking on the list, but now with a slightly tarnished cap.

Would the book have reached such success on its own? We’ll never know, and it’s sad that the author didn’t really get the chance to try. Here is a summary of the book:

Zade Holder has always been a free-spirited young woman, from a long dynasty of tarot-card readers, fortunetellers, and practitioners of magick. Growing up in a small town and never quite fitting in, Zade is determined to forge her own path. She leaves her home in Tennessee to break free from her overprotective mother Dela, the local resident spellcaster and fortuneteller. Zade travels to Las Vegas and uses supernatural powers to become part of a premiere magic show led by the infamous magician Charles Spellman. Zade fits right in with his troupe of artists and misfits. After all, when everyone is slightly eccentric, appearing “normal” is much less important. Behind the scenes of this multimillion-dollar production, Zade finds herself caught in a love triangle with Mac, the show’s good-looking but rough-around-the-edges technical director and Jackson, the tall, dark, handsome and charming bandleader.

Hopefully fans of YA fantasy will draw their own conclusions.

What Books Are We Buying?

CBC has an interesting list of Canadian books that we’re buying this month. And it’s not surprising to see that Madeleine Thien’s DO NOT SAY WE HAVE NOTHING is top of the list. Giller Prize winners are always a favourite!

CANADIAN FICTION:

  1. Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
  2. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
  3. The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood​
  5. By Gaslight by Steven Price
  6. The Only Café by Linden MacIntyre
  7. Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
  8. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
  9. ​The Handmaid’s Tale (TV Tie-in Edition) by Margaret Atwood​
  10. One Brother Shy by Terry Fallis

CANADIAN NON-FICTION:

  1. No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein
  2. Embers by Richard Wagamese
  3. The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
  4. The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
  5. The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew
  6. On Trails by Robert Moor
  7. You Might Be from Canada If… by Michael de Adder
  8. The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
  9. Unsettling Canada by Arthur Manuel & Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson
  10. Secret Path by Gord Downie & Jeff Lemir

CANADIAN KIDS:

  1. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw
  2. Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Kass Reich
  3. Canada ABC by Paul Covello
  4. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
  5. Heartwood Hotel by Kallie George, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
  6. Narwhal by Ben Clanton
  7. The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield, illustrated by Terry Fan & Eric Fan
  8. ​Good Morning Canada by Andrea Lynn Beck
  9. Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland
  10. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands