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From the Shelf Awareness Newsletter:

Holiday Hum: Benediction for Fiction Addiction

It's been a holiday season of change at Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C., which opened in 2001 selling used books but whose merchandise has since expanded to include new titles. "Our goal this year has been to make people think of us for gift-giving," said owner Jill Hendrix. Her strategies are working: December sales are up 50% over last year.

Along with significantly increasing new books inventory over the last several months, Hendrix bought a range of gift items like wall calendars, Zarah Co. jewelry and the Peeramid Bookrest, which is especially popular with Fiction Addiction customers. Educational toys from Melissa & Doug are a hit too, particularly the wooden sound puzzles.

Hendrix also joined the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and participated in the organization's holiday catalogue program. The publication is being used as a bag stuffer, and 1,500 copies were distributed in neighborhoods near the store. "We're gratified by the interest" in the featured titles, Hendrix said. "Since this is our first year as a SIBA member we weren't sure how well they'd do." Top sellers are Jan Karon's novel Home to Holly Springs, the thriller Down River by John Hart, Kate DiCamillo's picture book Great Joy and Hendrix's favorite tome of the season, Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy by Matthew Reinhart.

This month Fiction Addiction held its first official signing since the store opened: Jason R. Davidson, co-author of The Boathouse: Tales and Recipes from a Southern Kitchen, appeared on December 14. An article in the Greenville News mentioning the signing two days prior to the event helped enhance turnout---and introduce new customers to the store. "The majority of people who came had never been here before," said Hendrix.

Another first for Fiction Addiction this season was taking part in the Salvation Army's Christmas Angel program. Customers were offered 20% off any in-store purchase they donated to the cause. Hendrix plans to participate again next year.

Among other changes, Hendrix is launching a business book club in January. "I was thinking about New Year's resolutions and decided that I get so caught up in the day to day that I need to make it a point to step back from time to time and think about the business in general the way that I was able to at the SIBA trade show," she remarked. "I thought a business book club might help me do this." She'll be joined initially by at least two other entrepreneurs she met through a networking group, and the inaugural read is Daniel H. Pink's A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.

Hendrix cites one decision in particular that has aided in achieving the goal of making Fiction Addiction a destination for holiday shoppers. "Joining SIBA and attending the trade show was the best investment I made this year," she said. "The information, ideas, and excitement I received from the show have helped make this our best year ever."--This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From Shelf-Awareness, Oct. 10, 2007:

Congratulations to Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, named by readers of Southern Voice as the best bookstore in Atlanta in the Best of Gay Atlanta issue. The Voice wrote: "With appearances from serious literary talent like Armistead Maupin and Sarah Waters, as well as celebrity authors including Jim McGreevey, John Amaechi and Lance Bass, gay Atlantans count on Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse to give us not only something to read, but something to talk about. Second place went to feminist/lesbian haven Charis Books & More; Brushstrokes was voted third." Outwrite has also been voted "Best Gay-Themed Store" in Atlanta by Creative Loafing.
Bookselling This Week profiles ABDebs Books & Gifts, Knightdale, N.C., which Alyce Boyd-Stewart, a retired civil rights lawyer, opened in March.

The store had an amusing beginning, according to BTW: "In 2005, both Boyd-Stewart and her husband, Edward Stewart, were at home trying to enjoy their retirement. 'We were sitting around doing nothing,' said Boyd-Stewart. 'And I said, "I'm opening up a bookstore." My husband said, "You're nuts," as usual. And I ignored him . . . as usual.'"

The 900-sq.-ft. store stocks 12,000 books, and there is additional space for a community center. The store's major areas include a "young folks" section, history, classics, poetry, humor, biography, health, history, African-American literature and fiction.
Quail Ridge Books & Music, one of the South's pre-eminent independent bookstores, was among the honorees inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2007. The mission of the Raleigh Hall of Fame is to honor individuals and non-profit organizations that have made lasting contributions to Raleigh's proud history.
Congratulations to Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., managed by Kelly Justice, which has won Unbridled Books's display contest for two books by Lamar Herrin: House of the Deaf, a novel, and Romancing Spain, a memoir. Fountain wins a dinner for two at a Spanish or tapas restaurant.

House of the Deaf is about an American father searching for answers after his daughter is accidentally killed by Basque separatists while studying abroad. Romancing Spain describes how the author met his Spanish wife more than 30 years ago and struggled against custom, church objections and bureaucracy to marry her. It's also the story of his love affair with Spain itself and his recent journey back with his wife to search for the perfect pueblo in which to retire.