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B3! Webinar: Programming to Support Your Online Store

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Friday, January 17, 2020

mark pearsonJoin us on Wednesday, March 25 at 2PM EST for our B3! Webinar: Programming to Support Your Online StoreStephanie Ballien and Mark Pearson of will provide helpful information about driving audiobook sales and growing your online presence with the aid of authors, influencers, Bookstore Link, and more. Q & A will follow their presentation. Please RSVP to attend.

i link to local bookstoresClick here for more info on Bookstore Link.

About our Presenters:

Mark Pearson is the CEO and co-founder of, the digital audiobook platform for more than 900 independent bookstores. He lives in Seattle where he enjoys running in the rain, playing tennis when the sun makes an appearance, over and undercooking food, and reading The New York Times on paper.

Stephanie Ballien is the Director of Marketing at 

Tags:  Bookstore Link  Covid-19  Mark Pearson 

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Professional Bookselling Certification powered by NAIBA

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

bookselling certification logoThe New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) has taken on the task of creating a formal certification program for the bookselling industry. "For years, booksellers across the country have been asking for a "career path" in bookselling. I believe that NAIBA's Professional Bookselling Certification will provide an important first step along this path," says Bill Reilly, co-owner, the river's end bookstore, and NAIBA Board President.

This is a nation-wide program, with NAIBA spearheading the creation, execution and oversight. NAIBA will work with the American Booksellers Association and the other regional booksellers' associations on every aspect of the program. The Professional Bookselling Certification program will consist of five modules. The modules include: Basic Bookselling, Staff & Human Resources, Store & Operations Management, Event Management, and Inventory Management. Upon completion of each module, a bookseller will receive certification in that topic. When a bookseller completes all five modules, they will receive the designation of Certified Professional Bookseller.

There is also a stand-alone module, Career Bookseller Fast Track, for seasoned booksellers, which will encompass the information in the individual modules. Upon completion of the Fast Track, a bookseller will receive the designation of Certified Professional Bookseller.

Each course will have a Dean, multiple instructors, assessment tools, exercises and homework, and required online and in-person courses. In-person instruction will take place at existing regional and national conferences. NAIBA plans to roll out the Event Management module in 2020, followed by the Career Bookseller Fast Track module. There will be course fees with each module, along with available scholarships.

"I've been in the industry for almost 40 years, and professionalism and training have always been a

driving force behind national and regional programs," said Eileen Dengler, executive director of NAIBA. "People have been asking for some recognition for bookselling skills, and now NAIBA will make it happen."

Any bookseller interested in becoming an instructor in any of the modules is welcome to email Eileen Dengler at

Tags:  Bookseller education  naiba 

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New "Shop South” Opportunity for SIBA Members!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, January 13, 2020

matchbook marketingGwyn Ridenhour of Matchbook Marketing is designing a new collaborative project between Matchbook and SIBA to promote SIBA book prize winners. The Shop South program will incorporate these book prize promotions into bookstore websites, and where possible, link them to online sales pages. Matchbook is a marketing firm dedicated solely to independent bookstores, and currently works with 65 stores around the country to provide print materials and newsletters, logo and branding creation, website design, and email management. For more information, go to

Gwyn will present a preview of the Shop South program at the following March Madness Bookseller Events:

If you'd like to attend one of these events, please register here.

shop south

Tags:  matchbook marketing  shop south  SIBA 

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March Madness at Square Books on March 11!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, January 13, 2020
Updated: Friday, December 27, 2019

Join us for our March Madness event at Square Books in Oxford, MS on March 11, 10-3PM! From 10 AM-noon, Lyn Roberts will present Branding and Marketing Your Store. Session description: Promote your store with tribal marketing by capitalizing on your unique geography and identity through branded merchandise. Lyn Roberts is the General Manager of Square Books, four bookstores on five floors in three buildings on the historic square in Oxford, Mississippi, where she has worked since 1988.

Noon-1 PM: Author Luncheon. Lunch is free to attendees.

The afternoon will include a tour of the Square Books stores, and further discussion and networking on bookseller issues.

Link to register for this event and other March Madness Bookseller Series events. These events are free to booksellers who are current members of their regional associations.

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Go Greener in 2020: SIBA stores stepping up with green initiatives

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, January 8, 2020

bobby bradley recyclingAccording to Trendwatching, a company that analyzes trends, "Green Pressure" is one of the top trends of 2020. "When eco-alternatives are as available, affordable and effective . . . there's no reason not to choose them. Eco-consumption becomes less about the status of opting in, and more about the shame of opting out. Throw in Extinction Rebellion, the global Strike for Climate movement, and Greta, and you have a tipping point in awareness also fueling this crucial shift."

Greener business practices aren't just about responding to customer pressure to be more environmentally aware, it's also better for the planet and can be money-saving for businesses. Here are some green practices already happening at member stores.

"We made the decision just this morning to transition to LED, and away from fluorescent lighting."–George Williams of MoonPie General Store, Pigeon Forge, TN

"We re-use a lot of boxes and packaging material; right now my closet is filled with bags of bubble wrap waiting to be used during returns."–Sarah Pishko, Prince Books, Norfolk, VA

"One thing we've been doing that is really useful is taking hard to recycle materials like packing material to the recycling center instead of just throwing it away. Bobby Bradley (pictured) has really been the impetus behind that, and seeing how much bubble wrap we recycle in a week feels significant. The cafe has continued adding more compostable "plastic" and paper products for all of our single-use and to-go items. Even our mesh tea bags are made of corn and fully compostable!"–Justin Souther and Hannah Campbell, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

"We use paper bags and ask customers if they want a bag, so we don't give them automatically. We've never used plastic bags. We reuse all the cardboard boxes and packing that we can for outgoing shipping to customers, and to publishers for returns. Anything that is not reused is recycled. We recycle newspapers, plastic bottles, cans, mixed paper and anything that we have recycling facilities here for. (Unfortunately no glass facilities here). In our cafe we use real glasses and coffee mugs and only give to-go cups when requested. We do not sell drinks in plastic bottles. If someone wants water, we offer tap water for free or they can buy a boxed water (which we think is expensive---that's the point---but people still buy it). Whenever we change a lightbulb, we switch to LED. We hope to transition to LED overall soon. We keep the thermostat at 68 in winter and 78 in the summer and use ceiling fans. This is a bit warm in the summer for some folks, but hard for me to justify keeping bank temps." –Lyn Roberts, Square Books, Oxford, MS

"We reuse pretty much everything. Boxes, packing material, mailers; honestly I even keep paper clips to reuse. Same with old or damaged books. If I can reuse or repurpose it I will - mostly, we do this by passing books along to teachers who use them for crafting or blackout poetry. We have slowly but surely been replacing our fluorescent lights. As the fluorescents around the shop go out we replace with LED. We've made it through about two thirds of the lights and are seeing savings in our electric bill as well. We also replaced two A/C units with more efficient ones. Our electricity bill was down by 25% last year over the previous year so we are seeing a financial impact.

We don't offer any incentives to customers who bring in their own bag but we do try to nudge individuals away from the single use bags, mostly by asking if they "need" a bag rather than assuming that they do. Using the word "need" is quite key here. When you ask if someone 'needs' a bag they often realize that they do not; if you ask if they would 'like' a bag, they nearly always would. We also offer paper rather than plastic bags. We do have plastic bags, but use them infrequently. And boxes are always available for those purchasing many books.

We don't incentivize employees walking to work as they all live in the next town (we are rural-suburban). However, being able to walk to work was a big factor in the purchase of our own home. We also keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge - some people will not drink it because the water comes from the tap, but it has been pretty effective in keeping employees from bringing in single use water bottles. Our community is not very environmentally minded so these kinds of changes are not championed. Our thinking is that we can model good behaviors and hope for the best." –Michelle Cavalier, Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, LA

"Instead of bottled water, we offer authors and other guests a glass and a pitcher of cold water. We keep a donation jar for local non-profits at each register, and add a nickel whenever a customer chooses not to use one of our QRB bags. We've been doing that for about 2 1/2 years, and customers tend to donate a lot of their change, too. We place recycling cans near all workspaces, including the register and break rooms." –Lisa Poole and Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

"Before retiring, I ran chemical plants, and I am an engineer so I try to stay up on these areas. LED lighting is great, just remember to check the color as a lot of it is very white. I like 4000 to 5000k, but I believe 3500k is recommended for book stores. LED has a good return on investment. Solar on its own is just not worth the investment. Check your local governments and utility for incentives. Some places have incentives that can make solar almost worth doing. We have been offering bags and about 10% don't want one."–Dean Swift, Swift Books, Orangeburg, SC

Tags:  eco  green  recycle  trend 

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March Madness at Oxford Exchange on March 9!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, January 6, 2020
Updated: Friday, December 20, 2019

Join us for our March Madness event at Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL on March 9 from 10-3PM. From 10 AM-noon, Bookstore & Programming Director Laura Taylor will present “Independent Bookstore Day- and a Bookstore Passport Program.” Session description: The collaboration between Independent Bookstores is our greatest weapon against big box stores. Join other booksellers to brainstorm and put into place an innovative regional bookstore passport program which would engage and inspire our local customers to seek out Independent Bookstores wherever they are. All discussions about Independent Bookstore Day and ways to feed and support your local bookstores will be encouraged!  

From noon to 1PM, booksellers will enjoy lunch with a visiting author, and the afternoon will include a store tour and further discussion and networking on bookseller issues.

Laura Taylor is going on her 7th year at Oxford Exchange and her 6th year running the buying and programming of the Bookstore.  She has a varied background as a retail small business owner in Asia, as well as several years as a Chef. Oxford Exchange is a unique owner operated Restaurant, Shop, Bookstore, Private Event Space and Design Studio.    

Link to register for this event and other March Madness Bookseller Series events. These events are free to booksellers who are current members of their regional associations.

Tags:  Bookseller education  SITS 

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2020 Winter Okra Picks

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Updated: Monday, December 30, 2019
okra winter 2020

For immediate release: January 1, 2020

Announcing the 2020 Winter Okra Picks

(Asheville, NC) Southern independent booksellers have selected thirteen titles for their 2020 Winter Okra Picks, their seasonal list of great forthcoming Southern books. The Winter Okra Picks publish in January, February, and March and feature southern voices, southern stories, and southern writers. Each and every one of them also has a cadre of southern bookseller champions, eager to place these books into the hands of adventurous readers.

Southern independent bookstores – we grow good books!
For more information visit:

Hill Women by Cassie Chambers
Ballantine Books, January, 2020

“An honest narrative about the challenges of life in one of the poorest regions of the country while giving voices to the women who lifted up her life.” –Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome, James E. Ransome (Illus.)
Holiday House, January, 2020

“How James Ransome hasn't been awarded a Caldecott yet is beyond me.” –Elese Stutts, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Wilmington's Lie by David Zucchino
Atlantic Monthly Press, January, 2020

“This is truly a book to shake your world view.” –Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain
St. Martin's Press, January, 2020

“A wonderfully nuanced novel with two engrossing, engaging heroines.” – Tracie Harris, The Book House, Mableton, GA

Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Illus.)
Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, January, 2020

“Just Like a Mama is the perfect way to honor everyone who fills the gap when Mama cannot always be there.” –Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Remembrance by Rita Woods
Forge Books, January, 2020

“Rita Woods has blended together a story that is both historically and currently relevant, told across three timelines with four different protagonists, all women of color. This is an exciting and important book!” –Carl Kranz, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
Hachette Books, January, 2020

“Strong as a traditional true-crime recounting of murder, the investigation and subsequent trial…an allegory for the on-going challenges faced in the rough [Appalachian] landscape.” – Doloris Vest, Book No Further, Roanoke, VA

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland
Tin House Books, February, 2020

“A mix of memoir and biography. Anyone can paint a broad outline of a writer's life, but Shapland reveals Carson McCullers in a fresh way.” –Sissy Gardner, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Race Against Time by Jerry Mitchell
Simon & Schuster, February, 2020

“It reads like a novel and is essential reading for southerners.” –Lia Lent, Wordsworth Books, Little Rock, AR

The Boatman's Daughter by Andy Davidson
MCD x FSG Originals, February, 2020

“Like a johnboat ride through the depths and darkness of the subconscious, under the canopy of the bayou.” –Stuart McCommon, novel., Memphis, TN

Bells for Eli by Susan Beckham Zurenda
Mercer University Press, March, 2020

“Like visiting with a long-lost friend over a cup of tea.” – Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

The Last Taxi Driver by Lee Durkee
Tin House Books, March, 2020

“A fairly thorough search for fairness and cab fare in the world that barely leaves the car or Mississippi. I laughed and (sadly) related.” – Ian McCord, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
St. Martin's Press, March, 2020

“A blend of Romeo and Juliet with Hatfield and McCoy, set in a 'nice' contemporary American neighborhood where 'these things shouldn't happen.' A heart-breaking, eye-opening must-read!” – Cathy Graham, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Authors 'Round the South |

Sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

Useful Links
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Tags:  #okrapicks 

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Let's Meet at Winter Institute!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, December 30, 2019

Dear Booksellers and Industry Friends,


Wanda and I will be attending the ABA’s Winter Institute and would love to hear how you’re doing, listen to concerns you may have that we can address, and gather your ideas for 2020 programming. We’re all ears! 


Let’s schedule a meeting time, grab some comfy seats at NAIBA's on-site Hospitality Suite, and catch up.  Please email me to set up an appointment.


Linda-Marie Barrett

Assistant Executive Director of SIBA

Tags:  winter institute 

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What’s on Lady Banks’ Bookshelf in January?

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, December 30, 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!


January’s Titles:

Good Girls Lie by J. T. Ellison

The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Cliff Garstang

A Dredging in Swann by Tim Garvin

2020 Campaign Coloring Book by Kate Salley Palmer

Remembrance by Rita Woods

Wilmington's Lie by David Zucchino

Edelweiss Collection

Tags:  lady banks bookshelf  ladybanks 

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Resource Roundtable on ABACUS with moderator Jill Hendrix

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Thursday, December 19, 2019

Join us on Wednesday, Feb 26 from 2-3PM EST for a peer-to-peer discussion on Zoom. The discussion will be moderated by Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, bookstore coach, and ABACUS enthusiast, having presented on ABACUS at SIBA and ABA educational programming. ABACUS is a free annual report, sponsored by the ABA, that provides detailed information about where your store falls across a range of areas, including profitability, productivity, and financial management. Having access to the ABACUS report is like adding a financial officer to your staff; it can inform you of areas that need improvement, areas in which your store is succeeding, and everything in between. Bring your most recent ABACUS report and your questions and concerns, for a lively hour of discussion. Please rsvp Linda-Marie to attend.

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SIBA Holiday Hours

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, December 19, 2019

SIBA Holiday Hours

SIBA's office will be closed on December 25 and January 1. We won't send a newsletter Christmas week, so the next edition of In the Land of SIBA will be January 2nd.

We wish all our members a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, December 19, 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 Heap The Missing American American Dirt Buried to the Brim 

9780062957733 The Heap 1/7/2020
"The Heap is fiction that is reminiscent of Pynchon and Philip K. Dick in the best way possible. Los Verticales was the largest tower-based urban community in the world and after an unexplained collapse, the rubble has come to be known as the Heap. Orville, a Dig Hand charged with sifting through the rubble, searches for his brother Bernard, who is alive underneath the wreckage and broadcasting on the radio. Orville calls his brother daily, their conversations are live for everyone to hear... until one day he turns on the radio and hears someone else impersonating him on the airwaves. What follows is a story that questions capitalism, corporate control, and conspiracy at the highest levels. In a community that once aspired to be all-inclusive, exclusivity and estrangement become more apparent as the Dig Hands dig deeper into the Heap and what it once was." -- Stuart McCommon, Novel, Memphis, TN

9781525836268 The Followers 1/14/2020
"That's it. I'm throwing my phone in a river and going offline for good. Terrifying, hilarious, brilliant, and breathtakingly paced, Followers shows us what the future might look like if we let our tech-addicted, social-media-driven habits get the best of us. Angelo's vision of the near future -- and how it unfolds for this ensemble cast of friends, frenemies, followers, and family -- scares and entertains in equal measure. Every "influencer" on Instagram needs to read it ASAP.."-- Mary Laura Philpott, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

9781250209764 American Dirt 1/21/2020
"Cummins has written a real tour de force with American Dirt. The story follows Lydia and her son as they run north to the US to escape the drug cartel leader who killed the rest of their family in Mexico. But it becomes something much more universal as it explores the journey that so many migrants have undertaken, whether in search of jobs or a better life or to escape certain death, and all the ways that this journey can impact lives" -- Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

9781984804723 Buried to the Brim 1/28/2020
"Scarlett is happily contemplating married life to her fiance, Harry, when he brings his favorite aunt Betty to meet her. And Betty brings her adorable corgi, Freddy. But when Betty is kept out of the dog show she just knows Freddy is finally going to win, Scarlett finds herself in the middle of a dog show as well as another murder investigation. And Aunt Betty is the prime suspect!I love all of McKinlay's mystery series' and Buried to the Brim is no exception. I love how the characters are all silly without being over the top and the mystery is always going to keep you guessing up to the last minute." -- Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

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Tags:  Edelweiss 

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Carol Moyer, Todd Ketcham receive Nancy Olson Award

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Nancy OlsonTwo southern booksellers have been selected as the winners of the inaugural Nancy Olson Bookseller Award. Carol Moyer, bookseller and former Children’s Manager at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, and Todd Ketcham, manager of The Book Cellar in Lake Worth, FL will each receive a check for $2000. 

The awards, which will become an annual prize, were launched in 2019 with an anonymous donation from an author who is also an admirer of the late Nancy Olson, founder of Quail Ridge Books. The award honors booksellers who embody the spirit of Olson’s bookselling legacy of supporting writers–especially new writers– other booksellers, and community outreach. 

Of winner Carol Moyer, a nominator commented, “While Carol’s greatest satisfaction at QRB may be experiencing the joy of putting the right book in a child’s hands, there’s no doubt that her love of children and children’s books has profoundly touched the community. Her work fits perfectly with Nancy Olson’s own deep commitment to enriching lives.” In their submission for Todd Ketcham, the owners of The Book Cellar praised, “He is more than an employee, he is a conduit between business and community, between people and experiences. We could not run this business without him, and his devotion to books and the people around him set a shining example for all the wonderful things possible when someone can work with their passion each and every day.” 

Nancy Olson’s husband, Jim Olson, served as one of the judges for the Award, along with Sarah Goddin, buyer and former General Manager of Quail Ridge Books, and Linda-Marie Barrett, Assistant Executive Director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Jim spoke of his gratitude that the sponsor of this award chose to honor Nancy Olson’s legacy in this way, “Nancy would have loved this. She was a champion of other bookstores and would have loved to have seen booksellers so generously rewarded and acknowledged for the work they do for their communities.” 

Carol MoyerUpon hearing she had won the award, Carol Moyer replied, “I am honored and humbled to have received this award, an award which will keep the memory of Nancy Olson in front of booksellers each year. She was a shining star in the bookselling world, and she was my inspiration and will always have my endless admiration. That my colleagues selected me for the award this year is very deep praise and I am very grateful. Independent bookstores are a vital piece of the cultural landscape in their communities, as they provide the richness of literature in a setting where folks may gather to explore and share ideas. In that setting, it has been my joy to implement the mission of children’s bookselling to nurture the literacy of the rising generation. There is no greater reward for me than putting the right book in the hands of the right child at the right time. Over the years I have had the immense pleasure of seeing these children grow up to be readers, choosing their own books. As long as we continue to share the best books we can find with children, we will have started them on a life of reaping the rewards of reading. They will grow up treasuring books and bookstores.” 

Todd KetchamTodd Ketcham responded, “I am beyond honored to have been nominated by my colleagues and patrons. As many booksellers will tell you, we do not do this with the expectation of financial reward. To share the love of reading with our friends and patrons is reward enough. Winning the Nancy Olson Bookseller Award is both a surprise and a much-needed boon. In an era of increasing isolation, it is amazing to me that bookstores retain the oft-overlooked ability to bring people from disparate walks of life together in common purpose. If bookstores are cultural lighthouses erected in our communities, then booksellers are the lighthouse tenders that keep fanning the flames of knowledge. My only hope is that those flames keep burning bright for many a long year.”

The Nancy Olson Bookseller Award will become an annual award, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the anonymous donor. 

Todd is pictured with Charlotte Shotgun, who read Charlotte’s Web at Drag Queen Story Hour.

Tags:  nancy olson  qrb  quail ridge books  the book cellar 

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Small Presses Present Spring and Summer Lists

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, December 18, 2019

On Wednesday, February 12 at 2PM EST, SIBA is hosting “Small Presses Present Spring and Summer Lists” as part of our Publisher Picks: Best Bets for SIBA Booksellers series.  In this bi-monthly series, publishers, editors, marketing directors, and reps present their favorite frontlist titles via Zoom to booksellers. Besides forging important connections with publishers and their reps, attending booksellers discover new titles to add to their store shelves and earn 10 B3! Points. Please rsvp to attend. Here are this month’s presenters:


Michael Reynolds is the Editor in Chief at Europa Editions. He is the recipient of the 2016 Golden Colophon Award for Superlative Achievement & Leadership in Independent Literary Publishing, awarded by the Community of Literary and Magazine Presses. He is a member of the Independent Publisher Caucus Steering Committee, and the founder of Bookselling Without Borders, a scholarship program that diversifies the culture of reading by building bridges between the American bookselling community and the international book industry. 

Brad Simpson just joined Blackstone in 2019, having been in the publishing industry since 2001.  During that time, he has worked with public and academic libraries, schools and retail bookstores.  He’s represented several products over the years in both the content and tech spaces; and has been involved in nearly every format available under the sun including print, physical and digital audio, e-books, and large print. 

Ellen Whitfield is a senior publicist at JKS Communications. With a strong journalism background, Ellen balances her understanding of “the other side of the desk” when it comes to media pitching with a true love of an avid bibliophile. She has been part of the community of journalists in her more than seven years experience in print media with such well-respected outlets as The Dallas Morning News, and The Advocate. Her experience on the editorial side of travel, community and lifestyle sections of newspapers, social media and online media is to the benefit of authors in a variety of genres. 

Ellen Adler is the publisher of the New Press, a nonprofit public-interest book publisher with a social justice mission. Their  goal is to publish books that promote understanding and discussion of the issues that affect us all, and to provide ideas and inspiration for the activists, teachers, policy makers, and everyday citizens who are working to refresh American democracy.

Michele Misiak is a Marketing Director with Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group where her area of focus is on fiction. Michele has spent the last 20 years connecting with readers through books. The first 10 years were with Waldenbooks/Borders in Field Management, selling directly to readers.

Noelle Chew is the Marketing Director of Fiction with Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. She has been in publishing for the past 11 years, first as a publicist and now in advertising. She encourages you to check out the blog for more information on BHP titles.




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Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, December 11, 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.

A Long Petal of the Sea Shine! Almost American Girl Love Unscripted 

9781984820150 A Long Petal of the Sea 1/21/2020
"The story of the Dalmau pulls at the heart yet brings countless smiles with it. Allende's gorgeous imagery takes readers through the Spanish Civil War and the refugee experience in Chile and Venezuela. Each new decade and move creates a new set of hardships, but they always find joy hidden in the saddest parts of the human experience. A story about history, adventure, and love, A Long Petal of the Sea offers hope for the new year and future.." -- Karyn Cumming, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

9780062938558 Highfire 1/28/2020
"Just like My Father's Dragon---except the boy is a juvenile delinquent and the dragon chugs Absolut."-- Lyn Roberts, Square Books, Oxford, MS

9780062685094 Almost American Girl 1/28/2020
"If you are a fan of immigrant stories, Robin Ha's graphic memoir based on her move from Seoul, Korea, to Alabama and then Virginia is a must-read. Anyone who has inhabited the liminal space of not feeling quite American enough to fit in in the United States, but feeling too American when returning to the country of one's birth will identify with this book. " -- Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

9781984826879 Love Unscripted 2/11/2020
"A lovingly crafted grown-up coming of age tale, Love, Unscripted muses on what it means to grow into your future, and out of your youthful early years of being an adult, all while trying to figure out just what went wrong with the person you thought was your one true love. Alternating between moments which are funny, bittersweet, lovely, heartbreaking, awkward, and ultimately hopeful, all with a main character who is incredibly relatable, Love, Unscripted is a slow-burning masterpiece on how we learn to love ourselves, and someone else, and features an ending which sublimely captures the best possible tone on which to end the story which it was closing. In fact, the ending of Love, Unscripted was so utterly and phenomenally right, that I hugged the book to my chest for a solid minute after I finished it, because a novel has not made me feel so content with the story I have just embarked on, and so hopeful about life in general in a good long while, and I just wanted to hold on to that feeling for a little bit longer. Love, Unscripted is hands down one of the best books I’ve read in 2019, and one of the books I’m most looking forward to sharing with people in 2020." -- Lucy Perkins-Wagel, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

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Tags:  Edelweiss 

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March Madness at Fountain Bookstore on March 12!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, December 9, 2019

kelly justiceJoin us for our March Madness event at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA on March 12 from 10-3 PM. The day begins with the educational session Cultivating an Infinite Mindset for Resiliency in a Changing World. Session description: It's tempting to go for the short game in bookselling and in life. Quick rewards make us feel important and, in the case of our businesses, provide immediate financial gains. Spending time developing an "infinite mindset" and doing the challenging work of defining who we are as leaders, as companies, and as individuals takes time and is not as easily defined as simple "wins" and "losses." Working on broad areas of your company like defining your values and purpose, using design to manifest those definitions, creating a workplace culture where we feel safe, are inspired to work more, and feel satisfied and secure when we are not at work can lead to ultimate sustainability, security, and financial and emotional health.

Fountain Bookstore owner Kelly Justice, an independent bookseller for 30 years who is continuously working on her own "infinite mindset" journey, will lead this interactive workshop. Attendees should expect a candid presentation followed by a series of exercises designed to assist attendees in defining the next steps in their own journeys.

Link to register for this event and other March Madness Bookseller Series events.

Tags:  education  SITS 

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B3! Webinar: Organizing and Marketing Multi-Store Events

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, December 9, 2019

January 15, 2020 at 2:00 PM | RSVP

Presenters Sarah Goddin, buyer and former General Manager of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, and Kimberly Daniels Taws, buyer and manager of The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC will discuss their organization, The Independent Bookstores of Piedmont, NC. This organization , which represents 12 stores, offers a unique Independent Bookstore Day promotion involving a calendar featuring a store a month, with incentives to visit all 12 stores to receive a discount card and be entered into drawings. 

Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana, will discuss their local spin on the national IBD event. Because the national date conflicts with NOLA's Jazz Fest, they've worked together with other New Orleans indies on a "New Orleans Independent Bookstore Day," which takes place at a later date and encourages participation and multi-store visits with a scavenger hunt and a passport. 

About our presenters:

Sarah Goddin is a buyer and former general manager of Quail Ridge Books, a 9000 square foot store in Raleigh, NC. She has been a bookseller for 40 years, starting with Waldenbooks in 1978, then opening and running her own store, Wellington's Books, in Cary, for 10 years, finally landing at Quail Ridge Books in 1996. Sarah has served on various ABA committees such as  the Booksellers Advisory Council, Education and Abacus task forces, and as chair of the Spring 2017 Indies Introduce adult book selection committee.

Kimberly Daniels Taws is the manager and buyer for The Country Bookshop, a thriving bookstore located in the heart of Southern Pines, North Carolina. She's responsible for day to day buying, management, public relations, author events, and general retail business. She's Past President of the Southern Pines Business Association and the SIBA board.

Tom Lowenburg is co-owner, with Judith Lafitte, of Octavia Books in New Orleans, LA. He has served on the boards of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association. He is currently on the board of AMIBA, the American Independent Business Alliance.


Tags:  B3! Webinars 

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, December 5, 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.

A Long Time Coming We Wish You Luck Homie The Authenticity Project 

9781496441539 A Long Time Coming 1/7/2020
"Great character development and a compelling narrative. I think this will make a good book club pick for its family dynamics and themes of family secrets, infidelity, and end-of-life issues. Despite all of its heavy themes, it's a joy to read. Granny B, with all her flaws, is a treasure." -- Angela Schroeder, Sunrise Books, High Point, NC

9780525534938 We Wish You Luck 1/14/2020
"A quiet novel with big payoff. I was immediately intrigued by the narrative voice; the story of what happened at a low residency MFA program (the students meet every June and January and go home to their regular lives the rest of the year) is told through the cumulative voice of the residents, minus the three most talented writers at the center of the story. These writers (Hannah, Leslie, and Jimmy) are wildly different from each other, but they form a tight bond during the first residency; this bond is irrevocably changed during the second residency, and two of them take their elaborate revenge in the third. Surprisingly heartfelt, this book is a must-read for fans of the campus novel. "-- Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

9781644450109 Homie 1/21/2020
"Navigating the conflicting but closely connected emotions of joy and grief, celebration and mourning, and love and pain, Danez Smith’s Homie is a lyrical force of reckoning. Through the evocative power of memory, Smith’s collection delves deeply into stories and hurt that we might try to run from in order to transform them into odes—odes of childhood, of loss, of the person from high school that you always wanted to tell you admired for their strength and confidence. Through an intimate understanding of the people that have populated their life, Homie creates a complex but undeniably honest portrait of human connection." -- Morgan McComb, Square Books, Oxford, MS

9781984878618 The Authenticity Project 2/4/2020
"Interwining the stories of five strangers who reach out and help each other after reading and sharing their stories in a common journal, the author deals with issues of truth, falsehood, loneliness, friendship and generosity of spirit. Book clubs, in particular, will find this book rich with opportunities for discussion." -- Lia Lent, WordsWorth Books, Little Rock, AR

More bookseller reviews

Tags:  Edelweiss 

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B3! Webinar Recap:, part 1

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, December 5, 2019

On Wednesday, December 4 at 2PM EST, Andy Hunter, CEO and Founder of Bookshop and Sarah High, Bookseller Liaison, discussed Bookshop, its mission, and how it will partner with independent bookstores. 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.

Read Andy Hunter's letter detailing how will work.

Questions about Bookshop can be sent to Sarah High, the Partnerships Manager and Bookstore Liaison, at

Next week:, part 2: Questions and Answers from the Webniar


Tags:  ecommerce 

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A letter from Andy Hunter, CEO,

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Dear Booksellers,

Many of you have heard about Bookshop (, our new bookselling platform with a mission to financially support independent bookstores like yours. We’re about three months from when we hope to launch (after Winter Institute, 2020) and I wanted to let you know more about who we are, our plans, and our goals.

I am a book publisher, of Catapult, Counterpoint, and Soft Skull press. I am also a web publisher, of Literary Hub, CrimeReads, and Book Marks, and before that, I founded Electric Literature. I am thoroughly invested in the culture around books, and I understand how important bookstores are to to that culture.

It has been wonderful to see how resilient bookstores have been over the past decade. But I worry about the future when I see Amazon growing from 37.7% of Bookscan’s reported sales in 2015 to over 50% in 2019, and e-commerce’s share of the US retail market growing 14% year-over-year. I believe indies need a piece of online sales to safeguard their future. Some have adapted: approximately 150 stores have websites that reach five figures in annual revenue; about 25 stores reach six figures--but the majority of stores do not.

Like all of us who have made books the center of our lives, I have a deep and abiding love for bookstores, which I have known since childhood as places to find meaning. Books allowed me to discover myself and the world, and they still do. Bookstores are the physical roots of book culture, necessary for literature, ideas, our social conscience, and our understanding of ourselves and the world, and if we don’t nurture and protect them, people won’t simply find other places to get books, they’ll read fewer books. Without your stores, books will become a smaller part of our culture, and that would be bad for individuals, society, and the future, which is already so fraught.

I hope that Bookshop can help strengthen the fragile ecosystem and margins around bookselling by providing an alternative to Amazon for socially-conscious online book-buyers.

Bookshop will be a B-Corp, which is a corporation that puts our mission and the public good above financial interests. It is written in Bookshop’s bylaws that we will never sell the company to Amazon or any major US retailer. Our investors are individuals who appreciate the necessary function that bookstores serve in our society and culture. There’s no venture capital in Bookshop; we are in it for the long haul. Bookshop will have three independent booksellers on our seven-member board, and we are going to create an advisory board to ensure full transparency and community participation in our decision-making. (If you’d like to be on the advisory board, email us at

It’s important to us that everyone in the bookselling community understand that we’re building this for your benefit. We are always going to be listening to booksellers and growing the platform in the way that benefits you the most. Digital projects need to experiment and evolve to succeed, so you can expect us to change and improve a lot in our first year, and you can help by offering feedback and guidance.

Our goal is to build a sustainable platform that helps solve three problems:

  1. First, authors, publishers, media, and fans need a universal site they can link to that supports you. Sales conversions for have been too low. When we ask authors and publishers to do the right thing and support indies, they shouldn’t have to forego sales.

  2. Second, affiliate programs are changing the Internet. Amazon has a huge funnel, across most popular sites on the web, that pays 4.5% commissions on books that are sold through their affiliate links. Advertising dollars have dried up and magazines, newspapers and websites who cover books need the revenue (affiliate fees are 20% of an average digital publisher’s revenue) but their only viable option is Amazon. Even if Bookshop did nothing else, building a successful affiliate program that benefits indies is critical if we don’t want to cede the whole affiliate market to Amazon. Our affiliate program will give 10% of the list price to the affiliate and 10% to indie bookstores, and provide meaningful analytics. We expect to launch with major affiliate partners, including all the big 5 publishers, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Conde Nast publications, Literary Hub, Electric Literature and many more. By fall, 2020 we expect to have thousands of affiliates.

  3. Third, a number of bookstores do not generate meaningful revenue online. All brick-and-mortar stores need to retain their customers when they shop online, yet so many of your customers shop in your stores in person, but go to Amazon when they need convenience. We want to help resource-strapped stores with a simple solution that requires no technical knowledge, no financial investment, and no internal resources (inventory, picking, packing, shipping, customer service) and allows them to easily sell books using social media, email, and the web.

Beginning in early 2020,’s direct sales function will be replaced with Bookshop. IndieBound is not going away; it will remain a place to locate independent bookstores, discover the Indie Next list, and host other ABA resources. But all “buy” links to individual books on will be redirected to

Ingram’s direct-to-consumer business will handle our orders, inventory, picking, packing, shipping, and returns. Ingram is excited to support our effort and eager to help.

How will Bookshop support your store?

  1. Just take our money. 10% of the list price of everything we sell goes to a pool for indie booksellers with brick and mortar stores who are ABA members. Sign up and we’ll send you a transparent accounting and a check every six months. We don’t require anything more than your sign up: email for more information.

  2. If you want to be a Bookshop affiliate and sell books using our platform, you can. Brick-and-mortar ABA members earn 25% of the list price of any sale, much more than the normal 10% affiliate fee. If you don’t have a website that sells books, or just want to experiment, you can use Bookshop links to sell books. Authors or organizations who love your store can use your Bookshop to help support you; customers can buy from your bookshop page to ensure their purchases to benefit your store; and you can contribute staff picks and book lists and get the affiliate fee if our visitors buy based on your recommendations.

After paying the publisher, distributor, discounts, and processing fees, Bookshop’s net revenue will be about 30% of a book’s list price. For a media-partner like Literary Hub, the affiliate sale will be split as follows: a third goes to the affiliate, a third to the bookstore pool, and a third to Bookshop.

Bookstores get a better deal than media affiliates. We believe any bookstore-driven sale should benefit that store in particular, rather than going into a general pool. So bookstores get the 10% affiliate fee, plus the 10% that would normally go towards the pool, plus an additional 5% (because supporting stores is our mission). When we give 25% of the sale to a store, Bookshop makes less than 5%, just enough to keep the platform going.

Customers on Bookshop will be able to search for their favorite store and buy from them. Stores who provide recommendation lists (the staff picks, reading lists, shelf talkers, etc, which can appear on Bookshop’s homepage, category pages or product pages) will also get 25% of those sales (if there are multiple recommendations for the same books, they will be given equal exposure). So when a Bookshop customer adds a book to their cart based on your recommendation, you’ll get the affiliate commission. Email to create lists for us.

When we promote Bookshop, we are going to be careful to target customers who are not already shopping at indies online. We’ll do this by convincing influencers and publications to link to Bookshop rather than Amazon. We want to convert socially-conscious Amazon customers, not yours. We hope we can also lead some customers into their local indie’s sales channel:

  1. We are not doing signed pre-order campaigns; we are telling publishers to select indie partners for those.
  2. We will put information about a customer’s local bookstores on every email receipt, encouraging all our customers to visit. After launch, we’ll add local bookstore events, too.
  3. We ask all our customers if it is okay to share their email addresses with their local bookstore, and if they agree, we will provide their email to local store(s), based on their proximity.
  4. If your store uses a Bookshop link to sell a book (on the web, social media, or email), you are entitled to their contact information - they are your customer.

Bookshop is not a replacement for your IndieCommerce or IndieLite site. We recommend that stores contact the ABA’s Indiecommerce team to build full-featured websites that can sell merchandise, handle event orders, do in-store pickup and more.

Our affiliate profiles pages are simple, with a photo, short bio, recommended book lists, and search. We expect thousands of curated pages from bookstores, authors, chefs recommending favorite cookbooks, travelers, celebrity bookclubs, mainstream media, blogs, instagrammers, and many more. We want to create a buzzing hive of book-lovers, and a rich collection of recommendations from all the people who make up the community around books. That will be a true alternative to Amazon - a site that puts humans and human recommendations first.

We hope to launch in the last week of January, 2020, right after Winter Institute. We will launch with something simple, and improve on it every week thereafter. When Bookshop launches, it will have bugs and rough edges; all new platforms do. But we will keep working to make it a little better every week, with actual customers giving us feedback. We will work to deliver a good experience, be a good partner to bookstores, and try to make the right decisions. We will eventually add features like bookseller and/or customer book reviews, used books (with indie partners through Biblio), and much more. That phase, the continuous small improvements phase, will never really end. To be a robust alternative to Amazon, with something special to offer our book lovers, we will have to continuously evolve.

If you want to be a bookshop affiliate, have questions, or would like to receive more information about Bookshop, please email Sarah at

Thank you for reading. We look forward to working with you.

Andy Hunter



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