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A Letter from the SIBA President: Your Board needs your help

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, May 23, 2016
Updated: Friday, May 20, 2016

Dear SIBA members,

Jill HendrixI hope you all had a fantastic 2nd Indie Bookstore Day! Our area challenged customers to visit 7 Upstate SC stores spread 2 hours apart and we had 9 people complete the challenge to earn a 20% discount for the next year at all 7 stores.

I was at BEA briefly and was pleased to meet Jessica Osborne, the new owner of E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, GA. Jessica tells me that her store is a historical building just across the street from the SIBA trade show hotel, The Hilton Savannah DeSoto, and she invites us all to drop in and visit while we’re in town September 16th-18th. SIBA Registration is currently open and Wanda is excited about all the great authors she’s booking. Last year several of the author meals sold out so be sure to register early.

At BEA I also learned that the ABA has helped negotiate some great backlist promotions that you should be hearing about soon. Karen Torres’ walked me through the Hachette promotion and it looks great. So reach out to your reps and ask them whether their houses have any new backlist promotions you should know about. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of working our way through new catalogs and trying to keep our turns up, we find that we’ve let our backlist selections get too slim. This is a perfect opportunity to make sure those books you’ve read and loved are still on your shelves.

Anecdotally, we have always thought SIBA a strong region, but now we actually have some documentation to back that up. The file linked below shows how the SIBA stores who shared their 2014 financial data last year via the ABACUS survey stack up to the ABA average. Across the board we have lower cost of goods sold and thus a higher gross margin. I credit the GABBS show for helping our region find great product at a great cost and driving those margins up.

Additionally our smallest and largest stores are outperforming their national counterparts with higher net income before taxes. We are slightly concerned about our middle-category stores (those selling $300,00 to $1 million annually) and would invite them to reach out to Wanda with their specific education requests for the trade show or other help they might be looking for to improve operations.

Whether you completed the ABACUS survey or not, each of you might find it helpful to run your own 2014 numbers and compare them to your fellow stores to identify your store’s strengths and weaknesses. This will also show you how easy it is to produce the numbers that the ABA will be soliciting soon for the fiscal year 2015 ABACUS survey.

Click here to download ABACUS South compared to the ABA

Given the passing of Harper Lee and Pat Conroy this year, it made me realize we might want to add an Oscar-style tribute to our trade show. Don’t get your visual expectations up too high but in the meantime, please email me the names of anyone you can think of who should be on our remembrance list.

Lastly, I’d like to ask everyone to please make sure their store has entered the data for 3 new questions we’ve added to the SIBA store profile: your store’s square footage, whether your store is in a small town or a city, and whether your store is located downtown/Main Street or elsewhere. To check, visit (you’ll be asked to login) and then look for those three questions right after you’re asked for all your social media URLs. Please take a moment to log in and fill in the blanks for us.  This information is needed before we can send out an important survey, so if you forget to fill it in I’ll be calling and asking you for it next week.

Here’s to a successful beach-reads season and a fun summer!

Jill Hendrix
SIBA President

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