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2020 Southern Book Prize Finalists

Posted By Nicki Leone, Friday, November 1, 2019

Announcing the 2020 Southern Book Prize Finalists

Southern Book PrizeSouthern independent booksellers have selected the finalists for the 2020 Southern Book Prize, representing bookseller favorites from 2019 that are Southern in nature—either about the South, or by a Southern writer. Nominations were submitted by bookstore members of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) and culled from books that have received strong reviews from Southern booksellers. The sixteen finalists which received the highest number of nominations are a collection of the most beloved “hand sells” in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature of the year.

The finalists are now placed on the 2020 Southern Book Prize ballot. Winners in each category will be chosen by popular vote from readers who support Southern independent bookstores. Participating bookstores will distribute ballots to their customers, which can be returned to be entered into a raffle to win a complete set of the finalist titles. An online ballot will also be available at

Voting opens the week of the Love Your Bookstore Challenge, November 8-17, building on the momentum of the grassroots campaign to encourage book buying at local bookstores and giving store customers chances to win more prizes. Voting will run from November 8 through February 1, 2020.

2020 is the second year the Southern Book Prize has been opened up to a popular vote. SIBA launched the public ballot for the 2019 prize, shifting the voting period to build momentum and excitement during the holiday season.

“The response from our member stores and the general public was overwhelming,” said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. “Everyone got involved – booksellers, readers, authors – in the end nearly 3500 ballots were submitted from all over the South. It was a wonderful affirmation of how important and beloved our member bookstores are to their communities.”

Southern Book Prize winners will be announced on February 14, Valentine’s Day.

2020 Southern Book Prize Finalists

The Dutch House The Magnetic GirlNever Have I EverThe Nickel BoysNothing to See HereThis Tender Land


Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson (William Morrow)
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Ecco)
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper)
The Magnetic Girl by Jessica Handler (Hub City Press)
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books)

The Furious HoursI Miss You When You BlinkLate MigrationsSouthern Lady CodeTell Me a Story


Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy by Cassandra King (William Morrow)
Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis (Doubleday)
Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions)
I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott (Atria Books)
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep (Knopf)

The Gilded WolvesHum and SwishI Will BE FierceThe King of KindergartenRayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee


Hum and Swish by Matt Myers (Neal Porter Books)
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (Crown Books for Young Readers)
I Will Be Fierce by Bea Birdsong (Roaring Brook Press)
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (Wednesday Books)
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes (Nancy Paulsen Books)


For more information contact:
Wanda Jewell, Executive Director
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance


Tags:  southern book prize 

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Edelweiss+Some of the reviews submitted this week on Edelweiss+ from your fellow SIBA booksellers. SIBA members earn B3! points for every review if they join the SIBA community on Edelweiss. Email to be added.

The Deep In the Dream House Why We Can't Sleep In a Jar 

9781534439863 The Deep 11/5/2019
"This book's concept is absolutely mind-boggling to me, having never heard of Drexciya or Clipping before now. It's incredible, and I hope this game of "artistic Telephone" does continue - imagine this as a film! The world of the wajinru is fascinating and I would love to learn more about the society they've created for themselves, especially how it functions after the ending of the book.This book is a must for anyone interested in history and trauma and how they affect communities lifetimes later." -- Kaley Lowman, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

9781644450031 In the Dream House 11/5/2019
"I have never read a book quite like IN THE DREAM HOUSE: fragmented, yet shatteringly cohesive, experimental, yet utterly confident in its own project. I was mesmerized by the subtly devastating force of Machado’s craft and could barely put the memoir down. (In fact, I will probably re-read it as soon I finish writing this review.) IN THE DREAM HOUSE is both heartbreakingly honest—grounded in Machado’s lived trauma—and breathtaking in its examination of queerness, abuse, and societal memory.Part poetry and part socio-cultural analysis, yet wholly personal, IN THE DREAM HOUSE is one of the bravest literary projects I have encountered, and should be required reading for every one of us."-- Zach Claypole White, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

9780802147851 Why We Can't Sleep 1/7/2020
"I cannot say enough about this book! I want everyone to read it! Gen-X women are having a unique menopausal experience in the history of humanity. As the generation raised to “have it all”, Gen-X women born from about 1965-1980 are dealing with a set of circumstances unlike Boomers and Millennials about whom much more has been studied. The last generation to not “get a trophy” for everything is feeling like a failure at midlife. A lot of women my age and those around them are being profoundly affected by the issues studied by Calhoun: credit card debt, divorce, underemployment, exhaustion, profound anxiety. And we are being told to “lean in”, take “me time”, “tidy up” and a host of other suggestions usually just another way to sell us stuff based on our fears. This easy to read book offers practical suggestions, but more than that: it offers the voices of other women in the same place, dealing with the same issues, providing a much needed source of empowerment for Gen-X women like myself and those who love us. " -- Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

9780525514596 In a Jar 1/21/2020
"My little sister was a collector, like Llewellyn. The corners of our shared bedroom were dotted with pinecones, rocks, and our books were filled with pressed leaves and flowers. I love the sweet premise and absolutely gorgeous illustrations of IN A JAR and I know our littlest readers will too. This is the kind of picture book I will want everyone I know to spend a moment with." -- Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

More bookseller reviews

Tags:  Edelweiss 

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What's on Lady Banks' Bookshelf in November?

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, October 29, 2019

SIBA promotes six new books every month to consumers in our Lady Banks Bookshelf promotion. These titles appear at the top of our weekly Lady Banks Commonplace Book newsletter, which has a circulation of over 60k.  We also feature them above the fold on the homepage of Authors ‘Round the South and on the cover image of the ARTS Facebook page with buy links promoted to our 15,000 Facebook friends. A different member store is featured with the titles every week.


By promoting through Lady Banks, publishers are making an investment in SIBA member bookstores’ attention and market. SIBA works with them to select titles customers are looking for, and then we drive those customers to SIBA member stores.  Booksellers can boost sales by bringing in Lady Banks Bookshelf titles before the month begins, and putting up a winning display. Send in a photo of your display and earn 20 B3! points, too!

 November Titles:

The Monster Hypothesis by Romily Bernard 

The Rib Joint: A Memoir in Essays by Julia Koets

When Silence Sings by Sarah Loudin Thomas

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

Charlie Hernandez & The Castle of Bones by Ryan Calejo 

The Feminist Handbook: Practical Tools to Resist Sexism and Dismantle the Patriarchy by Joanne L. Bagshaw 

Link to the Edelweiss Collection



Tags:  lady banks bookshelf 

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Would you like to host a gathering during our March Madness Bookseller Series?

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, October 29, 2019

In 2020, we're transforming our SIBA in the Springtime (SITS) into the March Madness Bookseller Series (MMBS). Might we add another acronym, CYOA, as booksellers may decide to attend multiple events, depending on programming and proximity to host stores.


SIBA’s goal is to have gatherings within 2-3 hours driving distance of all member stores. These one-day gatherings will take place between March 9-20, and run from 10am-3pm with an author luncheon. Morning and afternoon programming will focus on education. 

Would you like your store to be considered as a host store? If so, what kind of educational programming would you want to present to visiting booksellers? What is your store doing really well that you'd like to show off to inspire others? We’d love to hear from you!

Please email  if you’re interested and we'll see what we can work out!

Tags:  bookseller education  MMBS  SITS 

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Joe's Place, a bookstore in Greenville, SC, is for sale

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Joe's Place, a truly beautiful bookstore in Greenville, SC featuring new and used books, coffee, a wine bar, and local art is up for sale.

From the owners:

It has been over five years since we first opened Joe’s Place. This opportunity allowed us to meet incredible people and have some wonderful experiences with them.

While it has been an incredible journey, after much consideration we have decided to close Joe’s Place at the end of this year. This decision is mainly driven from a personal perspective since we both turned 60 this year and are now focusing on moving towards our retirement. 

We are in the process of listing the property for sale but would also be very interested in selling the business and /or the assets. The building is being listed by Deanna Hudgens, owner of Signature Commercial Properties LLC. She can be reached through email at or phone 864-517-4600.

Thank you,

Mary & Alix Bernard

Joe's Place Bookstore
2 Williams Street
Greenville, SC 29601

Tags:  bookstore for sale 

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SIBA19: "Making real connections that last"

Posted By Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books, Monday, October 28, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2019

I wanted to enclose some thoughts about my experience at the conference, before too much time passed. To me it was superlatively organized and well-run. I've been on the planning end of conferences and events and I know first-hand how tricky it can be to address all logistics, and from my perspective, as a participant, everything felt very smooth and efficient.

Friday's lunch panel--spontaneous, lively, heartfelt, intelligent--featuring Kimberly, Gilly, Julie, Charlaine, and Akilah--was a definite standout. I loved the panelists' rapport with one another, their diverse backgrounds/writing interests, and their interactions with the audience. 

The discussion between Sharon Robinson and Peggy Wallace Kennedy was momentous and very moving. It was a privilege to witness an event that felt both historical and urgent to our cultural(ly divided) moment.

All of the author lunches and dinners were wonderful. I'm an author, too (Motherest, Twelve/Hachette 2017), and a reader first and foremost, and I loved getting to wear both of those hats, plus my newest, that of a bookstore owner, while listening to debut and seasoned authors discuss their books, their journeys, and their experiences with bookstores. It was affirming to be reminded, time and again, the pivotal role independent bookstores play both in shaping authors' careers and in cultivating culture, discussion, and community. Saturday night's dinner was especially emotional--Jaquira Diaz brought me to tears, and Isaac Fitzgerald kept everyone laughing. 

The trade floor was a dizzying dream. We were thrilled to meet in person our reps, who we'd been emailing with for weeks. We came away with dozens of ARCs and galleys that we've been gobbling up since returning home. It was great to put faces to names, and to take in such great swaths of the publishing landscape.

Lastly, I'll say that the conversations that I had with other booksellers, veterans and newbies, were SO helpful and heartening. Real connections were made that I believe will last. I feel buoyed by the time I spent in Spartanburg, determined to make our store the best it can be, and eager to join such a thriving community. The timing couldn't have been better--we're looking at an early-to-mid November grand opening, so it was a perfect way to reflect, prepare, and brave (joyfully!) for what's ahead.

Thanks again for the chance to attend--it's something we'll look forward to year after year. Best of luck to you as you head into the next chapter.
~Kristen Iskandrian, Thank You Books, AL

Tags:  #siba18 

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Have you ordered extra gift cards for the holidays?

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Friday, October 25, 2019

Have you ordered extra gift cards for the holidays? They are one of the easiest, and often most pleasing to the recipient, gifts your customers can give to friends and family. 

The trend this year shows an increase in gift card purchasing. The ABA’s IndieCommerce staff reports, “In the first three quarters of 2019, IndieCommerce stores saw a 20% increase in gift card sales compared to the same period in 2018. The average purchase price of a gift card also increased, from $48 to $50. With the majority of gift card purchases taking place between November 1 and December 31, now is the time for your store to promote gift card sales to your customers by email, prominent banners on your website, and social media promotions. This is the perfect way for your customers to support independent booksellers.”


Whether your store uses gift cards that run through your POS, or paper cards filled out by hand, now's a great time to take an inventory of your supply and put in any necessary reorders.

Tags:  gift cards  holidays 

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, October 24, 2019


Edelweiss+Some of the reviews submitted this week on Edelweiss+ from your fellow SIBA booksellers. SIBA members earn B3! points for every review if they join the SIBA community on Edelweiss. Email to be added.

The Bromance Book Club Little Weirds Tomorrow I'll Be Kind Such a Fun Age 

9781984806093 The Bromance Book Club 11/5/2019
"Thea and Gavin are separated. Turns out that Thea had been faking it for pretty much their entire marriage and when Gavin finally realizes it, he leaves. But now he's come to his senses and wants her back, but she's having none of that. Enter: the Bromance Book Club. The club is a group of professionals from Nashville, mostly professional sports players, who read romance novels to better understand their girlfriends or wives. And now they're here to help Gavin. This sweet, funny look at a second chance romance had me flying through the pages. I appreciated that things weren't as one-sided as they first appear and we get growth and character development from more than just one character. I eagerly await the sequel! " -- Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

9780316485340 Little Weirds 11/5/2019
"Little lovely weirds from the big, lovely, weirdness of Jenny Slate's brain. I am recommending that you get both a physical copy to beautify your shelves and the audiobook so that Slate can croon her little weirds into your ears and that way your hands are free for snacking or petting the dog or arranging acorns on your mantle. You will laugh and sigh and wish her words could bring these things to life because she is, after all, a magical person so it should be a thing she can do. And who knows? Maybe she will. "-- Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

9781524787042 Tomorrow I'll Be Kind 1/14/2020
"I love any picture book that helps children learn how to understand their feelings and be more intentional in their lives. Having a three year old niece and nephew, I struggle to find ways to help them understand their emotions - "be nice" only goes so far. TOMORROW I'LL BE KIND is a beautiful story with plenty to look at and talk about with the kiddos in our lives!" -- Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

9780525541905 Such a Fun Age 12/31/2019
"I can't wait to read this one with my book club! I often say that books are either windows or mirrors. Windows allow the reader to see into the lives of others and gain understanding. Mirrors allow the reader to look inside themselves, reflect, and grow. Kiley Reid has created a cast of characters and a plot that provides both the window and the mirror. Reading and discussing this book with a diverse group is sure to spark great conversation and have a positive impact on everyone in the group." -- Angela Redden, Reading Rock Books, Dickson, TN

More bookseller reviews

Tags:  Edelweiss 

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Bookish Birds offers book-themed gifts for the holiday

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bookish BirdsWhat made you decide to come to the SIBA Discovery Show?

Our good friends at Bookmarks here in Winston-Salem first told us about SIBA and had connected us to several SIBA stores who are now selling our items (shout out to Page 158, Quail Ridge, Sunrise, Wonderland, Read With Me, Books to Be Red, Downtown Books and Ducks Cottage). When Bookmarks found out that SIBA was going to be so close in 2019, they really encouraged us to attend and we took them up on it. 

Did it meet your expectations?

Absolutely. Our goal for the next few years is to grow our business with independent bookstores partners, and having the chance to meet so many of them in person was truly fantastic. We added at least 10 new bookstores thanks to the show, with more contacting us each week now, it seems. Add to that the fact that bookstore people are just generally delightful folks to get to know, and it was a lovely two days. 

Bookish BirdsWhat did you learn from attending the show?

Having the chance to talk to so many different stores gave us great insight into their buying patterns, how they choose their sidelines, and how they time their purchases to account for holidays and events. That knowledge will be invaluable as we continue to grow our partnerships with independent bookstores. Plus, we made some new friends, so that’s always a plus.

Why do you think the independent bookstore market is important?

For our business, book people are the target market - and no one is better at attracting book people than independent bookstores. But more than that, we love the idea that our little creations can help independent bookstores make money to keep their enterprises going. The value an indie bookstore adds to a community is immeasurable, and it makes us so happy to know our items might be helping their bottom lines! 

Bookish BirdsDescribe Bookish Birds and how it got started:

It’s a strange story. We are best friends and former college roommates both with full time non-Bookish Birds jobs. In 2014 we were finally living in the same town again (on the same street, actually) after 20+ years apart. Diana had a great idea to make some holiday ornaments for her husband’s office at Wake Forest University and people loved the ornaments so much we thought there might be a market in them to sell. So, we started with those and then met with a small business adviser who said we really needed to find something that would sell better year round. As we were pondering what that might be, we took a girls trip to London together and saw some page art for sale in Covent Garden Market. Those were mostly images printed on old book pages, but it dawned on us that book quotes on book pages could be popular - and the other half of Bookish Birds was born. That was in 2015, and we have steadily grown since then. 

ornamentsTo Kill a Mockingbird

What are your newest products for the holiday season?

Bookish BirdsWe’ve been working to add more quotes from African American authors and now have several new Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison prints. We also have the personalized pages we made for each SIBA store, so any store that did not pick theirs up at the Discovery Show can just contact us and we will happily send it along to them. We would love to partner with bookstores to provide staff gifts, author gifts, or donor gifts that can be personalized for the specific need. 

Who should booksellers contact if they want to place an order?

They can just email and we can send the order forms to them!

Tags:  #siba19 

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Carla Gray Scholarship Deadline Extended to Oct. 28

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Deadline Extended - Apply by October 28!


The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists is unlike any other scholarship the Binc Foundation has offered. This year-long professional development scholarship is intended to help a bookseller with fewer than five years of experience connect with other booksellers, publishers, and authors and to establish the long-term relationships that keep the book industry thriving.

The scholarship includes funds to attend Winter Institute 2020 and a 2020 fall regional trade show. The bookseller will also be granted funding to support a community outreach project of their own design.

Applications are open now.

Tags:  binc 

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