An Interview with Judith Lafitte, co-owner of Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana
Store and location:
Number of years as a bookseller:
We have been in operation for 18 years.
Best part about being a bookseller?
Seeing children's faces light up when they have a special book in hand or when they have just met his/her favorite author.
What book(s) are you reading?
I am the children's book buyer, so I'm usually reading ahead of every season in the form of ARC's or F&G's. I'm currently reading The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson (an amazingly strange but fun story); I've just finished the Shadow Weaver series - Comet Rising by MarcyKate Connolly; Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl; Squirm by Carl Hiaasen; And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness. When I have time, I like to read Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series - so I've just read her recent story - To Die But Once.
Favorite handsells of 2018:
Sterling: The Best (Fork) Dog Ever; The Hazel Wood; Twig; Shadow Weaver; Lighthouse; any Maisie Dobbs books
Best thing you did this year at your store:
We hosted more events than ever, ranging from Rick Riordan to Rick Bragg
Social Media Stats
FB = 6900; Twitter = 6750; Instagram = 5614
What are some ways you work with your community?
This year we worked with Writers in Community; we underwrite WWNO's Reading Life; NOGSBA Literacy Programs; community partner with Prytania Theatre (books and movies), Stay Local (continuing education for buying local and keeping money in our community); One Book/One New Orleans; WNBA; and events with other independent businesses in our neighborhood.
Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?
All of the above.
Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life?
Coleen Salley was my children's literature professor at UNO who inspired me every day with her amazing enthusiasm and joy for children's books. In a way, she opened me up to the possibilities of getting books into the hands of children even before I knew I would be a bookstore owner.
Top priority for 2018:
We've been needing an update on our section signs and I'm hoping that gets accomplished before the year ends.
Favorite SIBA programming benefit:
The biggest benefit is getting together with other regional bookstore owners and booksellers and exchanging ideas. The education sessions are beneficial as well. SIBA has a way of making a trade show a very fun experience with a feel good sensation when you leave.