Bookseller Sami Thomason Reflects on an "Absolutely Unforgettable" #SIBA18!
My first SIBA show was absolutely unforgettable! From William Joyce's tear-jerking speech about the end of the Guardians series to Rick Bragg's side-splitting acceptance of the Pat Conroy Legacy award, I was constantly amazed by the brilliance of the many authors who spoke. I loved catching up with old friends like Jo Watson Hackl and Jimmy Cajoleas, who have both held events with Square Books, Jr., and making new connections with authors I have admired for years, such as Roshani Chokshi and Max Brallier. Only at SIBA can you grab a glass of wine and run into your literary heroes!
I thought the sales floor would be an overwhelming experience, but thanks to guidance from the SIBA staff, I navigated my way through all the amazing exhibitions. It was great seeing my sales reps and meeting their cohorts and getting the very best recommendations. In fact, my greatest triumph at SIBA happened on the exhibition floor when I won a cake at the cakewalk, and quickly made friends with everyone on the floor; there was too much cake to take back on the plane! I now have sweet memories of delicious cake and armfuls of books and catalogs to dig into.
What sets SIBA apart from other conferences is definitely the element of Southern hospitality. Every bookseller I met immediately put me at ease and made me feel like we were old friends. I've got a list as long as my arm of stores I want to visit; I'm coming for you, Octavia Books! As a fairly new bookseller, I'm so grateful at SIBA who made me feel so welcome. Hopefully I'll see everyone next year-can we meet at the pool?
Some facts about Sami:
Store and location:
Square Books, Jr., Oxford Mississippi
Number of years as a bookseller:
What you do at the store:
Teen and event buyer, book box curator, social media coordinator, book club liason
What book(s) are you reading?:
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi and Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Favorite handsell right now:
Sadie by Courtney Summers-a genuinely chilling mystery with an amazing podcast element.