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Position Announcement: Executive Director

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Position Announcement

Executive Director
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance

Position: Full-Time

Job Description: Executive Director, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance

SIBAThe Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), a regional not-for-profit trade association, seeks an experienced and entrepreneurial-minded leader to serve as its next Executive Director.  The right candidate will be passionate about books and bookstores, have a solid familiarity with the region and the book industry, and have the strategic and administrative acumen needed to help the organization thrive in the future.

SIBA is a not-for-profit trade association of independent booksellers and others who are an integral part of the booksellers’ success – authors, publishers, vendors and publicists. SIBA’s membership includes 158 core members who are independent, “brick and mortar” bookstores in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The organization is governed by a five-member Board of Directors with each Director serving a three-year term.  SIBA is deeply committed to upholding the principles of the Carver Policy Governance Model which makes a clear distinction between the policy-making role of the Board and the implementation role of the Executive Director. The staff, which is currently composed of two full-time positions and one contractual employee, operates virtually with each staff member working remotely. The annual operating budget is approximately $500,000. Wanda Jewell, the incumbent, is retiring after a thirty-year tenure as Executive Director.

Current programs are designed to provide skills, informational resources, and tools to enhance booksellers’ success and visibility. They include the annual Discovery Show and SIBA in the Springtime – high energy networking and educational events which draw hundreds of booksellers, authors, publishers, and vendors. Special awards, social media, and marketing tools are designed to increase sales and public awareness of indie bookstores. Also, SIBA’s Peer Review Trust acts as an archive of best practices for bookstores and offers peer review assessments for stores who feel they would benefit from some outside assistance. Priorities for SIBA’s next Executive Director are to continue strong governance practices, enhance strategic capabilities, promote organizational sustainability, build advocacy and partnerships, strengthen communication, improve programmatic and operational focus, seek opportunities to improve diversity and inclusion, and pursue ways technology can enhance SIBA’s overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Additional details about the position and qualifications sought are available on the Position Profile. Organizational information can be found on SIBA’s website – www.sibaweb.com Inquiries about the position and the search process should be addressed to: EDjob@sibaweb.com

SIBA is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates.

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Storymatic Studios: Say Yes to Your Imagination

Posted By Nicki Leone, Tuesday, November 5, 2019

What made you decide to come to the SIBA Discovery Show?

Storymatic StudiosWe wanted to continue meeting people from stores in the South. SIBA was at the top of our list when we were figuring out our fall schedule. We’re glad we could make it too Spartanburg, because SIBA offers so many good opportunities to get to know people.

Did it meet your expectations?

Yes! We’re based in Vermont, and when we first did SIBA (New Orleans, 2017) we barely had a presence in the South. We are now carried in quite a few shops throughout the South, and it’s much easier for customers to find our products. I’m glad we could return this year.

What did you learn from attending the show?

I learn a lot at every show, but I think what I especially like about SIBA and other regional book shows is that you get to meet so many people who are passionate about the importance of bookstores. I like to learn about the history of each store, and about how people came to own or work in the store. Bookstores usually come with a lot of history, and they are run by people who care deeply about their communities. The Haunted Book Shop, for example. I really liked talking with Angela about how she ended up running the store, which has such a rich history in Mobile.

I also continued to learn about how stores incorporate sidelines into their product mix. I can’t remember the exact percentage, but someone told me that around 25% of their sales come from non-book items. Storymatic is a fun, literate sideline, and it was interesting to talk with people who are just beginning to diversify their offerings to include more than books. 

Why do you think the independent bookstore market is important?

Independent bookstores have importance that goes way beyond the economic impact they have within their communities. Books change people’s lives. I have a ton of respect for independent bookstores. Indies pay rent, employ people, and make important contributions to society. It’s important to me that customers can find Storymatic in actual bookstores around the country, that they can hold it in their actual hands, and that they can buy it from an actual person. When you work or shop in an independent bookstore, you have experiences and interactions you cannot have online. You gain knowledge that cannot be transmitted through fiber optic cable. You make memories and friends you cannot make online. Bookstores are very, very important.

On a personal note, when I was 16, I started working at Railroad Street Books in Great Barrington, MA. The store is long gone, but it made a huge difference in my life. I worked there off-and-on through college, and I’m grateful for that experience. Being around books and readers helped me begin to think of myself as a reader and writer. Working in the bookstore gave me a glimpse of what it’s like to run a community-based business. Often, when I package up an order for a bookstore, I imagine a younger version of myself at the other end of the shipment, opening it and showing it to a customer. 

Storymatic StudiosDescribe Storymatic Studios and how it got started

I made the first Storymatic several years ago while leading a fiction workshop at Marlboro College in Vermont. I then took that first Storymatic to my high school classes at The Putney School Summer Programs. I added to that first Storymatic year by year, class by class. All the while, students told me I should make more than one Storymatic, because they wanted to buy it and use it outside of class with their friends and families. Finally, I took their advice. Really, if it weren't for the excitement and support of my students, there would be no Storymatic.

After the first Storymatic came out, parents started asking me to make one for younger kids. So I took their advice and made Storymatic Kids. Even though it’s called Kids, it’s great for all ages.

And then my poetry and memoir students started going, “Hey, what about us? Where’s the poetry one? Where’s the memoir one?” So I modified some of the memory prompts we use in those classes to make Rememory, which helps you recall and share moments from your own life.

I thought I was pretty much done at that point, but then students started asking me why I hadn’t done anything with one prompt that involves writing sentences that mix up your senses, and another prompt where people ask questions about your story and you have to give an answer, even if it’s about something you’ve never considered before. That’s how Synapsis came out. It gives you a different way to make up stories.

So now we have four different products that help people explore their imaginations and memories. I think it’s important to do that. Stories keep our minds nimble. Inventing characters can help build a sense of empathy. I’d like to see a little more imagination and empathy in the world.

We’re based in Brattleboro, Vermont. We have a lovely little space in an old mill, alongside a variety of small, independent businesses.

The “we” that I keep mentioning is me and my wife, the photographer Vaune Trachtman. Sometimes people think Storymatic has a bunch of people. But it’s really just me and Vaune.

Synapsis

What are your newest products for the holiday season?

Synapsis! 

It’s a conversational, somewhat improvisational way to open doors to your imagination. In Synapsis, you’re prompted to turn two or three words into a sentence, which you pretend comes from a certain kind of story. Then you answer questions about that story and begin to flesh things out. I love how in just a few minutes you can go from a couple of random words to knowing all about the characters, settings, motivations, and arc of a story. 

You can use Synapsis by yourself as a writing prompt, or you can make an evening of it with your friends. It’s super adaptable, so you can make your own ways to play. I like how Synapsis offers a different way of thinking about how stories are created, so it can be a little challenging at first. But challenges are good things.  We like to think of Synapsis as being a little box of Yes.

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

You can contact me directly at brian@thestorymatic.com or leave a message at 802-451-0050. Thanks!

Tags:  #siba19 

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B3! Webinar: An Introduction to Bookshop, a new online bookseller

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, November 5, 2019

On Wednesday, December 4 at 2PM EST, Andy Hunter, CEO and Founder of Bookshop and Sarah High, Bookseller Liaison, will discuss Bookshop, its mission, and how it will partner with independent bookstores. The session will also provide time for your questions about the program and how you can benefit. Set to launch in January 2020, Bookshop is an online bookstore with an explicit mission to help promote and financially support the brick-and-mortar bookselling community. Built in collaboration with the ABA, independent booksellers, Ingram, and some of their favorite book and magazine publishers, Bookshop will be a way for websites, authors, indie stores, magazines, and bookstagramers to easily promote and purchase the books they love online without driving sales to Amazon.

 

Please RSVP lindamarie@sibaweb.com if you'd like to attend the webinar. 

 

 



Tags:  B3! Webinars  Bookshop 

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SIBA19: "This is what I want to spend my life doing"

Posted By Cat VanOrder, Bookmarks, Monday, November 4, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2019

First, I’d like to thank the Reba & Dave Scholarship for allowing me to attend SIBA wherein I was able to experience a scene of community and belonging like I’ve never felt before. Second, I’d like to thank the independent booksellers, reps, and authors that are a part of that community, for making me feel entirely welcome, because that’s what my entire experience was. Like stepping into a home of a friend and knowing that no matter what, you belong there. I learned that independent booksellers absolutely do not care about showing vulnerability, that they will always reach down a hand instead of pulling up the ladder. 
I had never been to anything like this before, at least definitely not on this scale, that made me more positive than I had been before that this was what I want to spend my life doing. Helping my community connect and grow through the words and worlds of the authors that rely on, and support us the way we support them. That was something I hadn’t expected, or thought about; just how much independent booksellers mean to authors, but after hearing literally every author that spoke bring it up, it’s very much in the forefront of my mind now. A grave responsibility to be sure.

The roundtables were a bit of a conglomeration of my favorite things from SIBA coming together, in that it was where I truly got a good helping of knowledge from those determined to make sure we all succeed. From learning more about Ipage, which I thought I had known a lot about already (I hadn’t even scratched the surface), to learning how to up our display game, I came home with a ton of ideas that I immediately hopped on trying to figure out how to make it all happen, and I’m very excited for it all.

From the panels where I learned how to help make Independent Bookstore day a success, to the authors I chatted with that want to help make our Teen Advisory Council have some pretty cool meetings and events in the future, I’d say I achieved the goals I had going in. I connected with the people I wanted to, the people I didn’t expect to, and I made so many friends and opened up in a way that was incredibly shocking for myself. I explored the exhibition floor mostly on my own and found a ton of arcs to take home and review, and felt entirely comfortable doing it, like I was making an impact of my own. I came home from SIBA that Sunday knowing full well what I was going to be doing and why I was doing it, helping my fellow booksellers bring Bookmarks into a bright future for our community.
~Cat VanOrder, Bookmarks, NC

Tags:  #siba19 

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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 www.southernbookprize.com.

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

Fiction

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

Nonfiction

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

Childrens

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
803-466-8853
wanda@sibaweb.com

 

Tags:  southern book prize 

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THE BOOKS YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE TALKING ABOUT

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, October 30, 2019

THE BOOKS YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE TALKING ABOUT

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 nicki@sibaweb.com 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

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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 lindamarie@sibaweb.com  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 Deanna@Signature-SCP.com 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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THE BOOKS YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE TALKING ABOUT

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, October 24, 2019

THE BOOKS YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE TALKING ABOUT

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 nicki@sibaweb.com 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

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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 bookishbirds@gmail.com 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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Recap and Resources from the B3! Webinar “Bringing Used Books into the Mix for Higher Sales and Profit."

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Last week SIBA hosted the B3! webinar "Bringing Used Books into the Mix for Higher Sales and Profit." Megan Bell and Josh Niesse from Underground Books in Carrollton, GA and Hills & Hamlets in Serenbe, GA , Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL, Frank Reiss of A Cappella Books in Atlanta, GA, and Shane Gottwal's from Gottwals Books (franchising nationwide as "Walls of Books") of Macon, GA and beyond presented their best tips. Because all the presenters began as used booksellers adding in new books, stores transitioning in a similar way will also find this webinar quite informative.

Josh noted the "incredible variety of approach to including used books" among the panelists. He and Megan prefer to buy book collections from private homes rather than allowing folks to bring boxes of books to the store. These bulk purchases help the unit price go down. Although he and Megan emphasize being selective, when they find aesthetically interesting but damaged books, like children's books, they may take them off the owner's hands for free, and then use what they can from these books to create journals, buttons, and more for sale in their stores. They hold a quarterly sidewalk sale to clear out inventory, and these days are often record sales days.

Although Cathy's store is moving towards 70% new and 30% used, they do quite well with used books in genres like mystery and romance, and have a separate antiquarian book section. They are quite selective about what they bring in, Cathy emphasizing that "more isn't better" and they only buy "gently-used" books. She loves the "cool factor" of beautiful and retro antiquarian books, and mentioned a growing trend in younger customers appreciating and purchasing antiquarian books.

Frank cautioned that "it's a challenge to do both (new & used books) well." He noted that they are very different from each other. The aesthetics and price margins for used books appeal to him, but he's always considering the allocation of labor costs, as well has how to best merchandise them. He advised booksellers looking to add used books to "respect how much time used books can take...if you're going to do both, then have a lot of focus." He agreed with Cathy's comment about younger customers being drawn to used books, saying, "Young people do seem to be getting into old books in a way that surprises me, and is gratifying."

Shane's buying philosophy is one of bringing in as much product as you can in categories that do well for you. His buyers are serving multiple stores and selling online, with the ability to store overstock in a warehouse, which is different from the other presenters. He suggested keeping used books separate from new books in the store, at least initially. He also believes online sales of college textbooks is a lucrative market for new stores wanting to start selling used.

Questions from attendees including paying for used books with credit and/or cash, charging for shipping, online sales and pricing, and whether adding used books undermines new book sales.

View the webinar.
(you must log in to view)

Additional resources are Cathy Graham's tips and pitfalls when adding used books to your new book inventory, Josh and Megan's Used Book Sorting Chart, and tipsheet on evaluating used book values, and Shane's 2017 Winter Institute presentation on bringing used books into your inventory. All are available in our Peer Brain Trust under Working with Business Resources.

Tags:  b3! webinars  Bookseller education  Used books 

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SIBA19: "We can grow together"

Posted By Christy, Avid Bookshop, Monday, October 21, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2019

I feel so lucky to have had the chance to attend SIBA this year in Spartanburg, a town that is so vibrant and changing. Having the opportunity to attend as a scholarship recipient is something I will always be grateful for. It was amazing to be able to immerse myself completely in every seminar, meal with an author, and publisher meeting that was offered. I also am so grateful for the chance to connect with other booksellers and events staff - to have the chance to see how they thrive and struggle in similar and different ways than our own shop and how we can grow together as a greater community of indie bookstores in the South.
~Christy, Events Assistant and Bookseller, Avid Bookshop, GA

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The SIBA Holiday Catalog: What You Need to Know

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Buy Read Give Books

The SIBA Holiday Catalog: What you need to know

Stores that are participating in SIBA's Holiday Catalog program should be receiving their catalogs within the next couple weeks. Here are the next steps you should take to make the most of the catalog and maximize your holiday sales:

1) Place your orders for holiday catalog titles.

Here is a link to the catalog title list: Edelweiss | Spreadsheet

Ingram is also offering a promotion on catalog title orders: Get +3% OFF any title in the Regional Holiday Catalogs No promo code needed. Plus, get FREE freight for qualifying orders. Order Now! Offer valid from October 2 – December 14.

Holiday Catalog Newsletter2) Upload your email newsletter materials

All stores participating in the catalog also get email catalog newsletters sent to your customer list. The newsletters, which are created and powered by Shelf Awareness, will be sent in four seperate emails, once a week, between November 8 and December 12. Ecommerce cabability is not required.

Click here to upload your store logo and mailing list

 

3) Make sure your holiday catalog is on your website.

SIBA stores using IndieCommerce and IndieLite will be able to link to the catalog on their own sites. They will go live before the end of the month.

2018 example

SIBA stores who do not use IndieCommerce can request the web-version of the catalog for their stores from SIBA. Email nicki@sibaweb.com.

SIBA stores without ecommerce-capable websites can request a "no click" version of the catalog for their website. Email nicki@sibaweb.com

4) Plan your in-store displays

Holiday Catalog Slim CardWhile the catalog itself is an invaluable tool for capturing holiday sales, you can boost your sales with in-store catalog displays and signage. Here is a slit card/shelf talker for use in your displays and to highlight catalog titles wherever they are found on the shelf:

Holiday Catalog Slit Card (pdf)

 

Tags:  holiday catalog 

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New for 2020: Resource Roundtables on Zoom!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, October 16, 2019

SIBA booksellers share that talking shop with other booksellers, discussing what’s going well, or not, at their stores, makes a big, positive, difference. Conversations can spark a new approach to author events, the creation of a press kit, a reexamination of training practices, the decision to switch to another POS system, or maybe a road trip to visit other bookstores and be inspired.

 

Beginning in 2020, we’re extending the resource roundtable experience we offer at our Discovery Show into a monthly event on zoom. These zoom events will offer a face-to-face opportunity to discuss areas in your business, peer-to-peer, that you’d like some feedback on, or wish to share success stories about, with your colleagues. 


What subjects would you like to see as topics for roundtable discussion? Would you like to be one of the hosts for a particular discussion? Please email lindamarie@sibaweb.com and let’s talk!

Tags:  Bookseller education 

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SIBA19: "An incredible experience"

Posted By Nora Ketron, Star Line Books, Monday, October 14, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2019


The 2019 SIBA Discovery Show was an incredible experience, one filled with learning, networking, amazing new reads, and a jam-packed weekend that made me even prouder to be a part of the Southern bookselling world than when I started. I came to SIBA 19 hoping to hone my understanding of the industry, especially as it relates to the many things that make bookstores so special in the South. I was able to accomplish this and much, much more. I spent time learning about management best practices, handselling techniques, how to improve and refine our e-commerce platform. Meeting other first-time attendees and booksellers who are faced with some of the exact same challenges and rewards I am was inspiring and encouraging. The trade show floor was a veritable cornucopia of delights and opportunities, offering the chance to source sidelines, new reads, meet and network with reps from the big five publishers and small presses alike. I spent time getting to know authors, thinking about new ways to feature and highlight southern writers in my shop, and gained a much better understanding of the industry landscape and just how and why one small shop fits into that landscape. SIBA 19 was truly a chance at discovery, and I am so thankful and grateful for the chance to have attended and the scholarship funds that made it possible.  
~Nora Ketron, Bookseller & Coordinator of Many Things, Star Line Books, TN

Tags:  #siba19 

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Interview with Bookseller Andi Richardson of Fountain Bookstore

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Friday, October 11, 2019

Name: Andrea (Andi) Richardson

 

Store and location: Fountain Bookstore, Richmond VA


Position at the store: Bookseller/Assistant Buyer


Store's Social Media Stats: We have 12.3k Twitter followers, thanks to Kelly's viral tweet about a certain unnamed online retailer! last December. We have a strong presence on Facebook and Instagram as well, with different employees heading up different branches of social media.


Events and buyer contact info: Kelly Justice,  info@fountainbookstore.com

 

Number of years as a bookseller: Almost two years.


Best part about being a bookseller? Books! And people, and helping people find their new favorite author or book :)  

 

What book(s) are you reading? I am almost done with Her Sister's Tattoo, a story about two sisters who were pulled apart during the anti-Vietnam protests in the late 1960s. It's really powerful and follows their story and the consequences their actions have for years after.

 

Favorite handsell of 2019: This is a tough one! I loved Where the Crawdads Sing but that doesn't need much help selling. A mystery that I try to get everyone to read is An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena.


Best thing you did this year at your store: I love all of our events, but my favorite one was getting to interview Mesha Maren about the incredible novel Sugar Run back in February 


What are some ways you work with your community? We partner with other businesses in our neighborhood and will be putting on a festival later this month to celebrate Halloween in the community. We also have events at some great offsite venues like the Poe Museum, American Civil War Museum, Sam Miller's restaurant, and several others! 


Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? I play in a local branch of an international all-female pinball league and I've recruited several coworkers to join me. It's such a fun, supportive environment with an amazing group of women! I love that my bookseller sisters get to be a part of it with me.


Top priority for 2019: We have a new plan in our store called #SellOneMoreBook, and the intention is to get just one extra book into a customer's hands. The impact it can make in sales is really powerful. We are also dedicated to continuing to bring fun, interesting events to our community as often as possible.


Favorite SIBA programming benefit: I love meeting and connecting with other booksellers, and getting to talk to the publishers and authors. The authors are all like rock stars to me, and being in the bookselling world is a dream come true.


Tags:  bookseller interview 

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