SHOP LOCAL Amor Towles’s third novel, “The Lincoln Highway,” is at No. 4 in its 13th week on the hardcover fiction list. Here’s a small but notable fact about the former Wall Streeter turned full-time writer: He is one of the few best-selling authors whose website sends potential readers to buy books from Indiebound before Amazon. If you’re a publishing geek like me, you’ll notice how many popular writers profess to be grateful to independent bookstores for the success of their novels, memoirs, thrillers, picture books and self-help guides — but mosey over to their personal pages and you’ll find click-to-buy links that whisk you directly to Jeff Bezos’ Everything Store (do not pass an artfully curated front window, do not hear bells chime as you walk in the front door, do not collect a free bookmark by the cash register). Yes, there is the ease of one-click ordering your next read along with your paper towels; yes, if you present purchasing buttons in alphabetical order, Amazon will land at the top of the list. But if you are an author, like Towles, who claims to appreciate local bookshops for “hand selling” your work, why not direct your readers straight to Indiebound, which helps keep the light on in those stores? John Grisham, Mitch Albom, Nicholas Sparks and Diana Gabaldon, I’m looking at you.
SPELLBOUND Good luck finding an author website where you can buy Stacey Abrams’s debut picture book, which enters the list this week at No. 1; you’re more likely to land on a page where you can donate to the Georgia Democrat’s gubernatorial campaign. Abrams is certainly not the first political insider to get in with readers on the ground floor: Former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the former second lady Karen Pence have all published picture books of their own, covering patriotism, feminism, a bunny’s-eye view of the capitol, superheroes and dyslexia. Once you get your hands on “Stacey’s Extraordinary Words,” exuberantly illustrated by Kitt Thomas, you can expect a solidly bipartisan reading experience. The story is a celebration of language, told through the eyes of a girl who is invited to participate in a spelling bee. “Stacey loved words,” Abrams writes. “She adored fun words, long words, unusual words. Words with wonderful histories and weird combinations. Whenever Stacey learned a new word, it was like making a new friend.” Who’s with her?