Shelf Awareness publishes two newsletters, one for general readers and one for people in the book business.
Shelf Awareness for Readers appears Tuesdays and Fridays and helps readers discover the 25 best books of the week, as chosen by booksellers, librarians and other industry experts. We also have news about books and authors, author interviews and more.
Shelf Awareness Pro, which we've been publishing since June 2005, provides booksellers and librarians the information they need to sell and lend books. It appears every business day and is read by people throughout the book industry.
Both newsletters are free. Sign up here.
Who We Are
John Mutter is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Shelf Awareness. He was the longtime executive editor of bookselling at Publishers Weekly and executive editor of the former PW Daily for Booksellers. He enjoys reading anything funny or mysterious and loves maps, crossword puzzles, running, visiting bookstores, travel and watching Jenn Risko demonstrate the fine art of business.
Jenn Risko is the co-founder and publisher of the Shelf. She has held sales, marketing and management positions during the past 15 years with book publishers such as Rand McNally, Insiders' Guides and National Academies Press. When she isn’t planning parties, cooking with her daughter, or at spin class, you’ll find her on her deck enjoying a drink and hatching her latest plan to take over the universe so she can keep John Mutter in fine wine and calamari.
Richard Jobes is our chief financial officer. He holds a bachelors degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska, an MBA from the University of Michigan and was a financial strategist for years in cell phone related businesses. He fell in love with cinema via basement classroom viewings of classics like Persona and The Third Man presented by various U of M film societies. Subsequent searches for complete screenplays led him many times to the cozy and well-stocked Borders bookstore in Ann Arbor--works of Dick Francis, C.S. Lewis and The Far Side collections he found there provided escape and perspective during the travails of graduate school. Richard has a deep pain-and-pleasure obsession with Cornhusker college football and women's college volleyball. He lives in Seattle, near Wide World Books & Maps, and now loves sushi even more than steak.
Neil Strandberg is our director of technology and operations and brings to Shelf Awareness 25 years of experience in the independent bookselling community, most recently as the American Booksellers Association director of technology, where he was responsible for the e-commerce platform IndieCommerce, digital content partnerships and other tech projects. Neil applies his experience with technology, retail and bookselling to support Shelf Awareness staff and its many projects and is always eager to "talk shop" with booksellers and publishers, when not enjoying the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest with his family.
Matt Baldacci is our director of business development, meaning he's the guy to talk to for anything from planning the best way to use the Shelf to reach your marketing objectives to the craziest, unlikely idea you have to sell books. He has worked as a roofer, bank teller, teacher, social chairman, and publishing executive, with experience at S&S Children's, Simon & Schuster, DK, St. Martin's Press and Scholastic. Matt lives with his wife and children in Summit, N.J., but likes Seattle and visits often. He enjoys paddle tennis, being the bartender, rooting for the Yankees, and spending time with his extended family. In fine Shelf tradition, he’s a New York Giants fan.
Jenny Brown, senior editor, grew up in Athena and John Rollins Bookstores and the Kalamazoo Public Library in Michigan (hence @Gal_Kalamazoo). She has served in editorial roles at Harper and Knopf, edited reviews at Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness and has been the librarian at Bank Street College of Education. Her tastes run from Joyce's Ulysses (the subject of her college thesis) to Toni Morrison to Maurice Sendak and Anne Lamott. When she's not reading, you may find Jenny performing at Don't Tell Mama in New York. (photo: Michael Lionstar)
Children’s/YA editor Siân Gaetano has a Masters in Children's Literature from Simmons College and experience as a book reviewer, publicity assistant, reader of manuscripts for Arthur A. Levine, and as an assistant editor for the Horn Book Guide. She started the Horn Book Podcast and quite enjoyed having a platform from which she could loudly express book opinions and proudly nerd out. Siân has lived on an organic farm in Arizona, in the Cloud Forest of Monteverde Costa Rica, in the Xizhimen district of Beijing, and currently resides in Boston with an overlarge book collection and an asthmatic cat.
Robin Lenz has been a bookseller (indie), a librarian, a bookseller (indie, then chain, then indie), did a brief stint at a large publishing house and spent many years as managing editor at Publishers Weekly. She now gets to combine her loves for things geekish and things bookish as managing editor of Shelf Awareness. Besides brightening the newsletter with more illustrations, she copyedits, organizes, scours the Internet for story leads and is our constant presence in the Twitterverse.
Partnership marketing director Kristianne Huntsberger has worn a few hats: writer, teacher, storyteller and bookseller (Elliott Bay Book Co. Pioneer Square alum). Some of her earliest reading memories are The Phoenix and the Carpet and Hans Christian Anderson. The book she reads most frequently is Moby-Dick. Her bookshelves are full of travel narratives, off-kilter fiction and fairytales. When she's not traipsing about in far-flung corners of the world, she walks wide circles around town to discover strange landmarks in familiar places and record them on Spectator Spots.
Dave Wheeler, associate editor, joined the Shelf after working for several years as a bookseller, at both The Elliott Bay Book Company and Village Books. He loves peculiar novels and stark poems; he's likely reading one right now with a little nip of bourbon in his glass. When he's not reading he's writing, and his first book of poems is Contingency Plans (T.S. Poetry Press).
Alex Mutter is our associate editor. He profiles booksellers, covers author events and reports on trade shows. His first job was a part-time gig at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, N.J., and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in Creative Writing. Before joining Shelf Awareness, he interned with Publishing Perspectives as an editorial assistant. He is an avid hiker and traveler. His German is poor, but he tries. When he's not working, he's reading, writing, drinking coffee with abandon and obsessing over the New York Giants. He is an evangelist for Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan, and True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.
Robert Gray is a contributing editor and weekly columnist for Shelf Awareness and gives John Mutter much-appreciated breaks. He also teaches a bit and has written for publications ranging from Cimarron Review to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. For 15 years he was a bookseller and buyer at the Northshire Bookstore, but before that he worked as managing editor of Sailboard News, a windsurfing trade magazine based in landlocked Vermont. Learning how to read unpredictable, sometimes hazardous winds and waves proved to be ideal training for understanding the publishing world.
Casey Stryer is the production assistant at Shelf Awareness. Before joining the Shelf, he was a bookseller for 14 years, starting his career at Barnes & Noble, and then working at the venerable Elliott Bay Book Company for a decade. Casey is a Seattle native, and can be found most days walking his dog, Orpheus (Orphie), reading young adult or middle grade novels, bingeing on television, or cooking something he found at the farmer’s market that week.
Devon Ashby is our marketing and sales assistant. She's a former bookseller and video store clerk from Los Angeles. She loves bourbon cocktails, mumble rap, robata skewers, mini-cigarillos, her boyfriend Rashad and revival cinemas that project in 35mm. Before relocating to Washington, Devon was a floor supervisor at Downtown L.A.'s infamous Last Bookstore. She's also a proud alumnus of West L.A.'s celebrated "analog alley," where she pulled shifts at both Alias Books (now defunct) and Cinefile Video (still going, amazingly). Devon spends most of her free time devouring shocking amounts of reality television, reading extremely depressing manga and having illicit adventures about town.
Emma Levy is the publishing assistant at Shelf Awareness. She has a Masters in English Studies from Western Washington University. Before joining the Shelf, Emma taught English at Western, edited fiction for the Bellingham Review, interned at Fantagraphics, and worked at Third Place Books in Seward Park. When she is not reading or writing, she spends her time sullenly participating in fitness classes, flipping through fashion magazines, and thinking of new nicknames for her cat.
Alex Baker is the art director, mascot dresser and designer for Shelf Awareness. He has a background in painting, fine-art printmaking and book design and binding and is probably the only member of staff to have actually done a saddle stitch. When not designing or playing the role of wrench in an otherwise well-oiled machine, Alex can be found experimenting in the kitchen, reading, playing with his old cars or trying to finish the remodel on his house. Or drinking.