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Booksellers Look for Answers From L.A. Times Festival of Books

The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association and area bookstores are looking for answers after the L.A. Times Festival of Books unveiled its author list this week and supplied purchasing links directing readers to Amazon for nearly all the listed titles.

SCIBA Executive Director Andrea Vuleta said that she has made the bookselling community’s concerns about the links clear to the festival staff, and noted that several publishers who support programming at the festival have also added their voices to the conversation. In the meantime, Vuleta is continuing to field questions and concerns from booksellers looking for a resolution — and representation — from festival organizers. SCIBA is also planning to ask for several concessions from the festival, including discounted costs for SCIBA members at future festivals, SCIBA and California Bookstore Day advertising, and placement of store buy buttons on future author pages.

With booksellers in the throes of preparing for the April 12 –13 event, “to have something sprung like this at the last minute is very, very devastating,” said Vuleta.

Small Business Majority Offers Free Media Training

The Small Business Majority is offering free media training for small business owners. The training will be conducted via conference calls and will feature a presentation from SBM’s Media Relations Manager Allison Abney, who will teach participants about strategies for successful interactions with the media.

The calls will take place on March 11 and March 12, and booksellers should register to receive call-in details.

Supreme Court to Hear Workers’ Case Against Amazon

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that will decide if workers at companies like Amazon will be paid for the time they spend participating in anti-theft security checks at the end of their shifts, Reuters reported Monday.

In the suit, which was launched by former, temporary employees at Integrity Staffing Solutions who worked at Amazon’s warehouses in Nevada, the workers argued that under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act they should be paid for their time spent in the security checks, which could take up to 30 minutes. Integrity likened the screening to other post-work tasks such as punching a time clock or picking up a paycheck.

Linda Matthews Retires from Chicago Review Press

Linda Matthews, director of Chicago Review Press, Inc. and Independent Publishers Group, retired on Wednesday, March 5. Matthews joined CRP in 1975 as an editor and worked her way up to director, taking time in between to develop human resources policies and pen her own books through CRP.

“This company has been one of the big engagements of my life… It has been a very fine thing, being part of CRP, Inc.,” said Matthews, who will be spending her retirement writing and enjoying time with grandchildren.

Sylvan Dell Becomes Arbordale Publishing

Sylvan Dell Publishing in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is changing its name to Arbordale Publishing, effective as of March 1, due to legal issues with the current name. The publisher produces titles in English and Spanish with the focus on incorporating math and science into children’s picture books. The company’s logo will remain the same.

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalists Revealed

The finalists for the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, which recognizes the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year, have been announced. See the full list of finalists here.

The winner will be announced on April 2 and will be celebrated on May 10 at the 34th annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Ceremony & Dinner at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced

The Lambda Literary Foundation has announced the finalists for the group’s 26th annual awards, with 2014 marking the debut of the new Graphic Novel category. One winner will be chosen in each of 24 categories; see the full list of finalists here.

The Foundation received a record number of submissions this year and will be honoring dozens of writers at this year’s ceremony, to take place on June 2 in New York City.

Children’s Africana Book Award Winners Chosen

Africa Access, a nonprofit organization founded to help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of K-12 reading materials on Africa, has announced the four picks for the 2014 Children’s Africana Book Awards.

Best books for older readers:

  • Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad, by Monica Edinger, illustrated by Robert Byrd (Candlewick)
  • Once Upon a Time in Ghana: Traditional Ewe Stories Retold in English, by Anna Cottrell and Agbotadua Togbi Kumassah (Afram Publications, Ghana, Ltd. distributed by the African Books Collective)

Best books for young children:

  • Desmond and the Very Mean Word: A Story of Forgiveness, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, illustrated by A.G. Ford (Candlewick)
  • Bundle of Secrets: Savita Returns Home, by Mubina Hassanali Kirmani, illustrated by Tony Siema (CreateSpace)

The awards are designed to encourage the publication of accurate, balanced, and enriching children’s materials on Africa and to acknowledge the achievements of the authors and illustrators. The awards committee includes scholars in African studies and children’s literature. Booksellers can order Children’s Africana Book Award seals for use on the winning titles.