Getting Ready for ALA Midwinter: What I Learned from the Galley Guide


With the success of Library Journal’s BookExpo America and American Library Association galley guides, could a galley guide for ALA Midwinter be far behind? Obviously not, and it will be available any minute and it’s now ready to download! Featuring more than 250 titles and facilitated by sponsorship from Random House, for which LJ is grateful, this guide aims to help conference goers navigate the show floor.

The timing of this guide proves fortuitous. While the BEA and ALA guides inevitably focus on big fall titles, the ALA Midwinter guide provides a complement by highlighting books from the first half of the year. This guide should therefore be useful even for those not attending the conference. It’s instructive to learn, for instance, that Random’s biggest giveaway is Walter Walker’s legal thriller, Crime of Privilege, that Hachette is boosting Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon, and that at Soho, demand for Matt Bell’s In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods is already through the roof.

Trends are worth noting, too. The trade paperback original keeps rising, literate 19th-century American saga is emergent (see Kent Wascom’s The Blood of Heaven and Philipp Meyer’s The Son), fantastical elements are appearing in nonfantasy works (see Rhonda Riley’s The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope and Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni), thrillers are becoming intensely psychological and family-centered (e.g., Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia), Africa draws our attention in literature as in the news (see Yejide Kilanko’s Daughters Who Walk This Path and Eleanor Morse’s White Dog Fell from the Sky), and small-town dysfunction is still with us (see Holly Goddard Jones’s Next Time You See Me and Laura Lee Smith’s Heart of Palm).

Strikingly, little nonfiction will be available on the show floor, perhaps because, as LJ’s 2013 materials survey determined, fiction outcircs nonfiction at a rate of 65 to 35 percent on average in public libraries. Then, too, publishers have always found libraries especially fertile ground for fiction beyond the blockbusters. At ALA Midwinter, along with big books like Marian Keyes’s The Mystery of Mercy Close: A Walsh Sister Novel and James Thompson’s Helsinki Blood, you’ll find plenty of works by debut authors and rising stars, from Jamie Quatro’s first collection, I Want To Show You More, to Elanor Dymott’s Every Contact Leaves a Trace. That’s gratifying—and the heart of the galley hunt at ALA.

Download the 2013 ALA Midwinter Galley Guide



Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.