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Why you should participate in the Abacus Survey

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, June 15, 2015

The following email was sent by SIBA Board member Doug Robinson of Eagle Eye Books in Atlanta, GA. But I thought it was so good I got his permission to post it to all SIBA Bookstores.  Go here for more information about the Abacus Survey:


Dear Advisory Board Members,

I just finished it……that is, the ABA’s Abacus Survey of my store’s 2014 financial performance and, if your store is an ABA member then you can do this too.  Using my Quickbooks reports, I finished the survey in about 1 and ½ hours.

I am strongly urging all of you to participate in the Survey.  

ABACUS is a yearly, members-only survey which gathers valuable information that can help improve a bookstore’s operations…and bottom line. Input from hundreds of ABA members results in valuable data that help ABA establish the benchmarks recommended for stores to improve business operations and profitability. ABACUS also provides valuable insight for ABA Education.

What do you get out of this?  

By participating in the ABACUS you will earn SIBA B3! Building Better Booksellers Points. You can earn points for filling in the survey yourself and for each additional store you convince to participate.   Through B3, SIBA members can earn enough points to pay their SIBA dues, receive free meal tickets to the SIBA Discovery Show, and even free travel and hotel accommodations. 

You’ll get the ABACUS executive summary and a customized report for your store that analyzes the financial results.

The ABA will once again be offering the Avin M. Domnitz Scholarship to attend the upcoming Winter Institute (Wi11) in Denver to the owner or an employee of a bookstore that submits its 2014 financial data to the ABACUS-14 survey before the July 1st deadline.

If we can get at least 30 SIBA member stores to participate regularly each year, our aggregate data will be a useful barometer for how our region is doing from year to year.

……and, you will be helping all Indie bookstores to better understand their financial results.

See you in Raleigh!!!ABA 

Doug Robinson
Eagle Eye Book Shop

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Make the most of your events

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2015

Earn your way to #SIBA15. And make the most of your events.  You and your staff spend a lot of energy on author events from long before the author arrives, during the time the author is there, and long after the author leaves and it is our belief that there are many ways to make that event/author visit pay off even more with just a few things that will increase both your footprint and your points.

SIBA’s Premiere All Things Southern Literary site – Authors ‘Round The South (ARTS) – was built for the single purpose of reaching southern readers and converting them into southern readers that buy from indie bookstores.  To this goal, we offer a ton of content and invite you to participate in this content when you have an author visit with some time to kill.  But even before the author gets there be sure to have your Events person enter all of your events on the STARS calendar.  This is the only way your events are featured in Lady Banks Commonplace Books newsletter emailed weekly to 10k+ southern readers.

The Lady Banks newsletter and the ARTS website both feature books reviews but only books reviewed by indie booksellers so we need to hear from you.  Sending in your Staff Picks is a great way to get credit for book reviews.  Require each staff member to email their picks to when they prep them for the staff picks area.  They can simply take a photo and email that to her and get 3 points per review. 

If you have a little time with the author, or can email the author in advance, create your own interview format.  Ten Things You Don’t Know About This Author OR Twitterview, where the author has to answer every question in 140 characters or less OR Three Things – Besides you, Your Favorite Author, Your Favorite Book, Your Favorite Book as a Child?  The sky’s the limit.  Write it up and send it to for 2 points.  And finally record the author or staff or customers reading a single paragraph from a favorite book with meaning and feeling, just the single paragraph – no intro and no wrap-up and submit that also to - These are all ways to make your author feel like you are taking good care of them, reaching a greater audience and all the while you are earning points.

·         Enter an event in the STARS calendar – 2 points

·         Send a book review to Lady Banks – 3 points 

·         Send an Author Interview to Lady Banks – 2 points

·         Submit a parapalooza video – 2 points

Say you have 4 author events a month, by participating in all of the above with all of the authors, you can earn 33 points a month and if you increase your Parapalooza participation to include customers and staff, again, they sky’s the limit at 2 points each.  Make you authors happier and earn your way to #SIBA15.

The Reba & Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts gifted SIBA with money to assist core members in attending the show and rather than just hand the money out, SIBA has created B3! Building Better Booksellers where you can earn points that will get your travel, hotel and all-passes for the upcoming show.  It takes 5000 points to get it all covered. And if you got diligent on June 1, that gives you about 100 days and at 50 points a day, you’d have it all covered.

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How are your points adding up?

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2015

Earn your way to #SIBA15.  How are your points adding up?  You can always sign into your master account at YM and see. or you can get there through the Member Hub button at  And you get a point for signing in to your account.  And if you stay signed in and do a few things while you are in there, you can earn more points. 

To see your points, click on Manage Profile to the right.  Under Information & Settings, click on Edit Bio, and you will see your points in the box next to B3! Total. While you are in Edit Bio, let’s earn a few more points.  Scroll to the bottom and add in social networks that are not there for 1 point each.  Remember to save your changes.

Again, under Manage Profile, this time under Content & Features, click on Photo Gallery.  This is where you can upload photos for 1 point each.  I think you can see my four-point upload here.

To create a connection, once signed in, click on Member Search and right above the Basic and Advanced Search buttons, you should see a tiny Who’s Online Now?  Click on that and hover over any members you see and in the pop-up, click on Make a connection.

Finally, visit the Peer Brain Trust by hovering over Member Resources and then hover over Peer Brain Trust to see all of the categories.  Visit a few categories and see what is missing and email with something new from you that can be added to that section.


·         Log in to the SIBA Member Hub – 1 point

·         Register for the SIBA Discovery Show or SIBA in the Springtime– 5 points

·         Upload a picture to the SIBA Gallery – 1 point

·         Add a social network to your SIBA account – 1 point

·         Create a new connection with another SIBA member profile – 1 point

·         Provide a resource to the Peer Brain Trust – 3 points


So a few of these, once you do them, you cannot do them again, like register for the show, or add your social networks, but creating connections, uploading photos, and submitting for the Peer Brain Trust could be weekly activities earning an additional 15 points a week by adding six photos, making six connections, and providing a weekly resource to the Peer Brain Trust.  So get to work and earn your way to #SIBA15.

 The Reba & Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts gifted SIBA with money to assist core members in attending the show and rather than just hand the money out, SIBA has created B3! Building Better Booksellers where you can earn points that will get your travel, hotel and all-passes for the upcoming show.  It takes 5000 points to get it all covered. And if you got diligent on June 1, that gives you about 100 days and at 50 points a day, you’d have it all covered.

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Last chance to nominate Summer Okra Picks!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, May 28, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hello dearest booksellers!

We know you are all madly busy at the moment, even if you are not about to dive into the madness that is BEA. But there are a couple things we want to make sure you know about:


1. Last chance to nominate Okra Picks. Deadline is June 1!

Please, if you haven't done so and there's a southern book on your radar you know you will be an evangelist for, nominate it for the okra picks now:

Remember that your store earns points for every nomination!


2. Summer Revival & Owner's Retreat

The SIBA Summer Revival will be held on Wednesday, July 29 from 10-3 pm at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC. It's free to attend, but you need to RSVP, so if you can make it, reserve your spot now. It's an invaluable chance to network with your peers and trade good ideas.

Topics to be covered include:
Hosting Authors in Schools
Best Practices for Great Events
Open SIBA discussion

More info here:
RSVP directly to Sarah at QRB:

If you are a bookstore owner, then you should consider attending the Owner's Retreat, also being held at the Hilton North Raleigh July 28-29.

Sponsored by Baker & Taylor, the retreat costs $50 and is limited to twenty people, and is specifically geared towards bookstore owners and the issues they face. Topics include Finances, Employee Relations, and Growing Your Business.

Also included in the program is attendance at the Summer Revival at Quail Ridge Books.

Go here to register:

3. Discovery Show: 100 points for 1st 40 registrants

If you haven't yet registered for the SIBA Discovery Show, consider doing so sooner rather than later. In honor of SIBA's 40th Anniversary, the first 40 registrants will receive 100 points to their account. Earn enough points and you can have your entire SIBA trip paid for.

Register here:
More ways to earn points here:

4. ARTS event map

There is now a "map view" of the ARTS calendar of bookstore events!


Very pretty, isn't it?

In case you are wondering how your store's events are showing up even when you haven't entered them, you should know we have a couple SIBA elves that will periodically add events from bookstore website calendars. But there is no guarantee that they'll get to your store, or that your store's events will always be included. The only way you can be sure is if you take a few moments to enter them yourself.

Ask Nicki for your username and password if you need to:

You earn points if you do, and your events are promoted in Lady Banks, on Twitter and Facebook.


5. In Search of Bookseller Essays

Unbridled Books is looking for personal essays from independent booksellers. More info here:

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Earn your way to #siba15!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2015

Earn your way to #SIBA15.  The 40th Anniversary Discovery Show in Raleigh, NC is going to be a really big show and we want you there.  It’s my dream to get at least one bookseller from every core member.  And I know there are scheduling conflicts and unexpected events and financial concerns and its the financial concerns I want to help you address.

The Reba & Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts gifted SIBA with money to assist core members in attending the show and rather than just hand the money out, SIBA has created B3! Building Better Booksellers where you can earn points that will get your travel, hotel and all-passes for the upcoming show.  It takes 5000 points to get it all covered. And if you got diligent on June 1, that gives you about 100 days and at 50 points a day, you’d have it all covered.

First off, make sure your social networker works off this list regularly:

· Promote a SIBA Bookstore on facebook/twitter/Instagram (not including your own store) – 5 points, use hashtag #southernindie or tag Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Facebook Page

· Post photos of Okra Picks displays on facebook/twitter/instagram – 2 points, use hashtag #okrapick, tag ReaderMeetWriter Facebook Page

· Post photos of Lady Banks Pick of the Week Display on facebook/twitter/Instagram – 2 points, use tag @ladybanks, tag Reader Meet Writer Facebook Page

· Post photos of SIBA Book Award books on facebook/twitter/Instagram – 2 points, use hashtag #sibabookaward, tag Reader Meet Writer Facebook Page

· Share, like, retweet  #okrapick hashtag on facebook/twitter/Instagram  - 1 point

· Share, like, retweet tag @ladybanks on facebook/twitter/Instagram  - 1 point

· Share, like, retweet   #sibabookaward hashtag on facebook/twitter/Instagram  - 1 point

· Share, like, retweet taf  @readermtwriter on facebook /twitter /Instagram  - 1 point
· Share a ReaderMeetWriter facebook page post  – 1 point

· Share a ReaderMtWriter tweet – 1 point


Doing each of these once a day is 17 points, each three times a day is 51 points – so get to work and earn your way to #SIBA15!

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Mark your calendars!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, May 25, 2015

There are a couple new events on the SIBA calendar that booksellers should definitely add to their own:

Wednesday, July 29: Bookseller Revival at Quail Ridge Books

Free of charge. Free food. Freely offered and freely taken excellent advice and ideas from your bookseller peers. 

Also, if you are an owner of your bookstore, then you'll want to go to 

The Owners Retreat

July 28-29, also at Quail Ridge Books. Includes Revival attendance. Limited to 20 people.

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ABA Spring Forum Presentation added to Peer Brain Trust

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, May 25, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ABA Spring Forum Presentation available to download

If you were unable to attend the ABA Spring Forum in Atlanta this March, you can now download the presentation, "Exploring New Markets." Among the topics covered were

Increasing sales to exisiting customers
Reaching markets by generation
Reaching young readers
Reaching a diverse customer base
Reaching online shoppers

The Exploring New Markets power point presentation is available here:

...along with other materials presented at the GABBS/SIBA in the Springtime Day of Education in Atlanta.

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Call for Summer Okra Picks!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Friday, May 22, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The deadline for nominating to the Summer Okra Picks is June 1st. We're looking for nominations for books that will pub between July 1 - September 30. Take a look at some of those review copies in your back room and make sure to put in a good word for your favorites.

Nominate here:

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Owner's Retreat!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, May 21, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Owners' Retreat
July 28-29 in Raleigh, NC

Registration is now open for the SIBA Owners' Retreat - a chance for bookstore owners to get together to network and exchange infomation, and discuss issues that have become vital to the bookselling industry, and to small business owners in general.

John SherlockThe featured speaker is Dr. John Sherlock, Department of Human Services, Human Resources Program, Western Carolina University. Registrants will also all attend the Bookseller Revival at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.

Sponsored by Inkreadible Sponsor Baker & Taylor
The Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown
3415 Wake Forest Rd
Raleigh, North Carolina  27609

Registration Fee: $50, non-refundable after June 28th
Limited to first 20 owners

Go here to register:

Room & tax the night of July 28th will be covered by Baker & Taylor.  Tuesday Lunch & Dinner, and Wednesday Breakfast & Lunch will be covered.
Additional nights available at the owner’s expense.


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A Letter from SIBA President Jill Hendrix

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jill HendrixDear SIBA bookseller,

I hope everyone had a fabulous Indie Bookstore Day! I saw several of our region’s events mentioned in Shelf Awareness (Avid Bookshop and Malaprop’s Bookstore) and my own store was up 100% even though the exclusive products didn’t sell all that well. Email me or Wanda and let us know how your own celebration went.

I’ll be attending BEA in New York and hope to see many of you there. Remember to pack and then wear your Y’all button so we can more easily recognize you in the zoo of Javits Center. If you’ve never received a Y’all button, ask any SIBA Board member you see for one.

The ABA will be sending out its ABACUS survey in the next few weeks and I would like to plead with everyone to participate. If we get enough members participating, we will be able to get the data sliced for just our Regional Association, which will be a very helpful metric for Wanda and the Board. SIBA is giving 15B3points to everyone who responds to the survey and checks that aggregate data can be shared with SIBA (we’ll just see the combined results for our region, not individual data from any one store). I’d love to be able to brag that our region had more members participate than any other, so help me out!

If you’ve never filled out ABACUS before and you run into any questions, feel free to call/email me. Martha Love, whose contact info will be on the survey, is also very approachable and helpful.
Earn your way to #SIBA15!

Your SIBA President,

Jill Hendrix
Fiction Addiction

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Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation Announces Program Expansion

Posted By Nicki Leone, Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Updated: Monday, April 6, 2015

The Binc Foundation announced an increased its program offering, based on information gathered from booksellers in an industry survey, to expand the loss of household income qualifying event. This new category will allow the Binc Foundation to provide another opportunity of assistance to booksellers in need.

These grants are intended to help when unexpected childcare/eldercare causes a bookseller to miss scheduled work. An application for assistance may be submitted by a bookseller who has lost more than 50% of their scheduled weekly income due to a verified emergency need for child or elder care. The applicant must be the parent or legal guardian of the child or the primary caregiver of the elder. Grants for loss of household income due to emergency child or eldercare will help cover basic living expenses.

For more information and details on how to apply for a grant, booksellers should visit the Foundation’s website or call the Foundation directly at (866) 733-9064.

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Sales of romance novels at indie bookstores

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, April 6, 2015

From a researcher at Duke: 

This is a bit of an odd request but I am reaching out to see if you would agree to respond to a few questions related to the sale of romance novels in independent bookstores. This is an unscientific poll for an Industry report for Duke University’s class on the History of the Romance Novel taught by Laura Florand and Katherine Murphy Dubois. I hope you will take a few minutes to reply. All responses will become part of my research paper which may be posted on our class blog:

I am happy to enter your comments and store name as “anonymous independent bookseller” if you would prefer (I will need to keep your email response for Professors Dubois and Florand just so they know I’m not making it up).

 I am a strong supporter of Independent bookstores but I tend to purchase romance novels online or borrow them from my local library. Based on my own experience and broader perceptions within the Romance industry, my basic thesis is that Independent bookstores do not tend to sell mass market romance novels due to the genre’s negative stigma for both the store and the reader. “

 Eve Marion
Administrative & Graduate Coordinator
Superfund Research Center
Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program (ITEHP)
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University
Box 90328 Durham, NC 27708
(919) 613-8078

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News from SIBALAND, March 2nd

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, March 2, 2015
siba header

Dearest SIBA Booksellers,

A big thanks to all of you who posted your Spring Okra Nominations over the last couple weeks. We'll be announcing the new Okra Picks at the end of the month. In the meantime, here are a few things we want to make sure are on your radar:

1. A Letter from Board President Jill Hendrix

SIBA Board President Jill Hendrix's letter to the SIBA membership is up at the member hub for you to read:

Please take a moment to read it and see what the board is doing on your behalf. The SIBA Board has created a Virtual Town Hall for its members and wants to hear about any industry issues that concern you and need to be brought to the board's attention:

The virtual town hall is here:


SIBA Book Award Long List

2. The SIBA Book Award Long List has been announced!

The full list is available here:

And we've created a list on Edelweiss with available titles to help you with orders for your displays (of course you are doing displays!) here:

The next step will be to choose the finalists from the list. In the past, SIBA has sent out ballots to each of its member stores, one ballot per store. This year SIBA has posted the ballot online, and invites ALL core bookseller members to vote:

Go here:

You need to be a SIBA core bookstore member or staff in order to vote. Your login username is here:@@username@@

Vote for three titles in each category: Children's, Cooking, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Adult. Your store will earn 2B3! Engagementpointsfor each ballot submitted, so encourage your store staff to participate.

The voting closes on March 31, and Finalists will be announced in April.




GABBS Atlanta3. GABBS Atlanta is just days away, but there is still time to register.

Go here:
And be sure to sign up forSIBA in the Springtime: a day of educational seminars for booksellers centered around the topic of "Exploring Potential" -- as in potential new markets, new products, new customers, new ideas.

You'll need a code to register for SIBA in the Springtime for free: emailwanda@sibaweb.comfor the code.

Also, theShoe Burnin' Showis back! They'll be performing Friday evening at 5:30 pm; and just in case you think you've already seen it at the Discovery Show last fall, you should know that it is a whole new show. And featuring a couple of VERY FAMILIAR names, including , Mary Kay Andrews, Raymond Atkins, Jackie K. Cooper, Joshilyn Jackson, Colleen Oakley, and Shari Smith.

The show is only open to people at GABBS, so if you've been on the fence about coming, you now have a reason to get your butt up off it!



Authors 'Round the South4. Please take a moment to get your events onto the ARTS Calendar!

At the end of February SIBA automatically applied anyB3! pointsyour store had earned for listing your events on the ARTS calendar. So when you log in you may find your store has jumped a level or two!

Be sure to keep posting your events to the ARTS calendar -- your store earns 2 pts for every event you add, including bookclub meetings, writer's groups, story times. SIBA promotes your events in the Lady Banks Newsletter, on Twitter, and on Facebook. So take a moment to make sure your listings are up to date.

The login for the ARTS calendar is here:

Your username for the calendar is the same as your official store login for SIBA (probably your store email address). If you need help finding your username or password, you can asknicki@sibaweb.comto reset it for you.

Once you are logged in, click on "Account" and then on the "Event" tab.

Thanks, and happy bookselling!

Thank you for your interest in SIBA,
Wanda Jewell, Executive Director
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
3806 Yale Avenue, Columbia, SC 29205
Fax: 309.410.0211
#siba15: Fall Discovery Show
Sept 18-20 FRI-SUN |Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown |Raleigh, NC

Many thanks to our 2015 Inkreadible Sponsors below:

GABBS Atlanta 2015BookazineBaker & Taylor

The Reba and Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts

SIBA | 3806 Yale Dr. | Columbia, SC 29205 
You are receiving this email at @@email@@. If you wish to stop receiving email from us, you can simply remove yourself by replying with "unsubscribe" in the subject or by visiting: @@unsubscribe_url@@

Tags:  ARTS  bookaward  GABBS 

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Halloween Quick Picks

Posted By Caitlin E. Thigpen, Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tis the season to start thinking about holiday sales, and what better time to start suggesting holiday titles to customers than Halloween? The aroma of pumpkin spice is in the air, and everyone is dusting off their trusty plastic skeleton decorations. So how can we use Halloween to interest our customers? If these books are on your shelves this week, they’re a surefire way to get customers into the spooky spirit.


Firebug by Lish McBride

McBride brings the reader a wild ride in Firebug, a young adult novel about a teenage girl with a supernatural knack for fire- and the supernatural mafia who forces her to use it to kill. This is a good sell for adolescent readers and fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Infernal Devices. Ava Sheppard’s character jumps off the page and grabs readers by their throats in what has to be some of the best characterization of a tough teenage girl I've ever seen. The story has a riveting, rapid-fire plot that doesn't pull punches, and for the fantasy fans out there, there are more magical creatures than Rowling would shake a wand at.

The Elementals by Michael McDowell:

Start off your customers’ Halloween with a blast from the past. There are so much new paranormal fiction coming out, the “To-Read” stack of many horror fans is really piling up. That said, I think there’s always room on a Halloween list for The Elementals, the story of two Alabama families who vacation together on a remote sandbar with one very haunted house. McDowell is considered by critics to be a master of Southern Gothic horror, and this book, written in the early 80s, is arguably McDowell at his most classically Gothic, not to mention Southern. A good sell to fans of Stephen King, but also to customers familiar with the movies Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas- McDowell wrote the screenplays for both.

VWars edited by Jonathan Maberry

Rounding off this list is an anthology of short stories from authors like Nancy Holder, Gregory Frost, and Yvonne Navarro set in a universe based on a single premise: what if humans started to become vampires? What if the government labeled them terrorists? The various narratives are woven together with small pieces written by Maberry. The various narratives set within one universe hearken back to World War Z, a 2006 fictional oral history about zombies written by Max Brooks. For customers who have a vampire’s appetite, this is the anthology to recommend.

What titles do you like to recommend to your customers for that special chill down their spine? Share your own spooky favorites in the comments below!

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Intern Attending the SIBA Trade Show

Posted By Raney Simmon , Thursday, October 16, 2014

As this is my first experience being an intern, I can say for sure one of the things I did not expect to do within my first month with SIBA was go to the SIBA trade show in Norfolk, Va. Caitlin Thigpen, a good friend of mine at Columbia College, is also an intern with SIBA and attended the trade show with me.  

Before going to the trade show, however, Caitlin and I helped Mrs. Wanda Jewell, our supervisor, with getting prepared. We printed out badges, organized tickets, and scheduled author interviews. Then before we knew it, the trade show began.  

To say I was excited is an understatement. I was exuberant at having the opportunity to collect galleys of books not yet released. I was also ecstatic because I was able to interview authors about their upcoming books.


One of the most enjoyable experiences for me attending the trade show was meeting all of the authors I was going to be interviewing. I was happy that I was able to interview authors about their new books. As a book worm, I have always wanted to talk to authors about their books and pick their minds as to what inspired them to write their stories. Being at the trade show, I was given that opportunity and found out a lot about the books I would be reading as well as the authors I interviewed.

Participating in the Civil War photo booth with the two sisters I interviewed about their book, Sisters of Shiloh, Kathy and Becky Hepinstall was also a lot of fun. During the whole photo process, they provided me with a lot of entertainment and really knew how to make me smile.


Seeing that there were so many people at the trade show who also had a passion for books really made me happy.

I enjoyed my time at the trade show. I gained some hands-on experience as both SIBA intern and reporter that I would not get anywhere else. And I received free books as well, which is a big plus for me.   

Tags:  authors  books  booksellers  SIBA  trade show 

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The Internship I Wanted

Posted By Caitlin E. Thigpen, Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When one hears the word “intern,” it can be easy to picture a harried college student scuttling around with a tray of coffee in one hand and an armful of papers trailing from the crook of an elbow like autumn leaves.


I won’t say this image is entirely unfounded. I worked an internship this past summer in New York City that never got more exciting than buying a phone battery and ordering shelves, but these stereotypes do not hold true with SIBA.


From the moment I interviewed with Wanda Jewell, I knew that an internship with SIBA was an internship I wanted. By the end of April, I was told I had gotten one of two slots. The other SIBA intern was my college suitemate, Raney Simmon. Together, we made plans to work with Jewell beginning in the fall.




We started in September, and the first month was a flurry of packing, printing, and preparing. Our work culminated in a trip to Norfolk, Virginia; as SIBA’s interns, we would have the chance to attend our first trade show.


As a first-time attendee, I made it my sworn duty to grab every galley I found, to speak to every author I saw, and to see every panel I possibly could. I absorbed the experience like a particularly enthusiastic sponge; from breakfast at 7:30 A.M. until dinner at 7 P.M., I was on the exhibition floor and in the panel rooms, watching, listening, and talking to those around me.




It was one of the most amiable atmospheres I have ever been in, a crowd of friendly people all devoted to learning more about supporting their businesses and spreading a love of books throughout their communities. Independent booksellers are creative in their business and fiercely protective of each other, sharing a comradery I haven’t seen outside of this industry- our industry.




The trade show came with its responsibilities for interns, but my work was just as enjoyable as my exploration. Interviewing authors about their upcoming books was an opportunity I still can’t quite believe I got to experience, despite the wall of signed galleys lining my desk as a mountainous pile of proof.


The trade show was a weekend of excitement that our mentor allowed us to experience at our own pace. However, even as the one in charge of making sure all the cogs of the trade show worked together seamlessly, Jewell still found time to ask us, always with a smile, “How’s everything going?”


Though we were tired and our feet hurt and the bags of books on our arms were perpetually approaching critical mass, Raney and I always responded truthfully:


This internship is amazing.


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"Where the solitude of creation and the exhibitionism of sales dovetailed"

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Written by: Jamie Kornegay 
I’m no stranger to book trade shows. I've been to the nationals and regionals, L.A. to New York, Chicago to New Orleans. I've made the rookie mistake of taking too many galleys. I've waited in long lines for signed books, and I've wandered the booths in a blank stupor. During all of those visits -- eight years selling for the famous Square Books in Oxford, and the latest eight for my own store, Turnrow Books in Greenwood, Mississippi -- I was determined to one day attend as an author.
It finally happened this year at SIBA in Norfolk, where I was invited to preview my first novel, Soil, coming in March 2015 from Simon & Schuster. Maybe it's a testament to the familial nature of bookselling that it was an easy shift from bookseller to author.
I write in the quiet dark before dawn, before the kids go to school and before the bookstore opens. I need and crave that lonesome time. I'm never a more functional, cooperative human than when I'm on task and the words are flowing.
Bookselling, on the other hand, is a public endeavor. It's where I reconnect with people, test out ideas, and even collect (steal) bits for my stories. Similarly, the trade shows are a great way to come out of your cave and rejoin the wider bookselling world. It's a time to mine new ideas and tactics, to strengthen connections and forge new ones.
My publisher reps were among my most generous advocates at Norfolk. They're all excited for my book. Most have read it, or are reading it, and now they're crossing company lines to tell booksellers about it.
For me, it affirms their love of books and their abiding friendship. Their sales calls to Greenwood are like visits from old friends. Many are former booksellers themselves, so they understand the challenges I face. They visit so many other stores that they have a solid understanding of the business from a retail and corporate vantage. I think of them as the warm glove on the cold hand of business.
I also ran into several writer friends who'd been to Turnrow over the summer -- Patti Callahan Henry, Michael Pitre, Karen White -- and they were all enthusiastic at my turn as published writer. So it felt appropriate to stand behind the author's table and sign galleys at SIBA's First 180 Days party. It was my first official event in conjunction with the novel, and I was relieved that I knew the drill. Here is where the solitude of creation and the exhibitionism of sales dovetailed.
As I was signing, a bookseller cleverly asked, "Sell this to me as if I were in your store."


Here it was, the sale to be made, just like any other book I love. "Think the Coen Brothers meet Crime and Punishment – in Mississippi," I said, reciting the publisher marketing spiel. And then I began to riff. "It concerns an organic farmer and his estranged wife and son. There's a flood and a dead body. A hasty cover-up and a horny deputy. It reads quick with a care for language. It bounces and twists along on a string of misperceptions. It masquerades as a thriller – not a whodunit so much as, Okay, how the hell are we getting out of this one?"
The bookseller was intrigued enough to pick up a copy, something to take home and consider selling in her own store. Cha-ching! How fun is this gonna be, I thought, when I have a stack to put at the register back at Turnrow?
So I guess what I learned pulling double duty at SIBA is that being an author selling his book isn’t so different from being a bookseller selling someone else’s book. Just like reading is akin to writing. We take these wonderful ideas and experiences into our own private darkness, explore and consume and refashion, and then bring them back into the light to share with everyone. It's a great day job that I just can't quit.


Tags:  bookselling  Jamie Kornegay  trade shows 

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