The ALA Midwinter Galley Chase

Galleys, galleys, galleys. The floor at the ALA Midwinter conference in Philadelphia this past weekend was aflood with them. For the most part, giveaways weren’t scheduled, as they have tended to be at past ALA shows and at BookExpo America, contributing to a general sense of IMG_scally1discovery. Galleys that were really moving included Paula Brackston’s The Midnight Witch, about a young aristocrat who becomes Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven (Macmillan); David Downing’s crime-series starter, Jack of Spies, and Sean Madigan Hoen’s gritty memoir, Songs Only You Know, with 200 copies each distributed in the first hour and a half of the show (Soho); and Gabrielle Zevin’s quirkily charming The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Algonquin).

Also popular: Amy Talkington’s Liv Forever (Soho Teen) and Gae Polisner’s The Summer of Letting Go (Algonquin Young Readers), just two of the many YA titles spotted at the conference—not surprisingly, as according to LJ’s 2014 Materials Survey, YA circulation has inched up one percent annually over the past few years. YA titles really lit up the twitter buzz.

Over at the HarperCollins booth, two titles of interest included Susan Gloss’s Vintage, featuring a Midwestern vintage clothing store, a debut novel like so many titles on the floor, and Brian Payton’s The Wind Is Not a River, a World War II tale of love and survival that was a LibraryReads pick. Another tale of survival, Shane Bauer & others A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran, was a big draw at the Houghton Harcourt booth, as was Stacey D’Erasmo’s Wonderland, about a woman rocker on a comeback tour.

Not surprisingly, there were lots of long lines for Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, an Oprah 2.0 Book Club that’s No. 1 on the New York Times best sellers list. Those are just a few of the titles that moved; I’ll check on more, and anyone with titles to volunteer, speak up!

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.


  1. Judith Everitt says:

    How about the long line for Rainbow Rowell? So pleased to see her recognized for ELEANOR AND PARK at the Awards presentation.

  2. J. Ross says:

    Per Virginia Stanley at Harper Collins, the Holocaust story “50 Children” was a hot pick, and they ran out of copies early.