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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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B3! Webinar Recap: Launching a Book Festival in Your Community

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Would you like to begin a festival in your town? It’s a lot of work, but can add another dimension and revenue stream to your bookstore, deepen your relationships with community partners, publishers, and authors, and foster a greater appreciation for reading and author interactions in your region and beyond. Listen to four veterans discuss the book festivals they initiated or partner in, and learn some great tips on how to do it right and have fun doing it.

Launching a Book Festival 

*Must be logged in to view


Tags:  B3! Webinars 

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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 if you'd like to attend the webinar. 



Tags:  B3! Webinars  Bookshop 

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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. 

Link to 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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Don't Miss this B3! Webinar: Launching a Book Festival in Your Community

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, August 27, 2019

 B3! Webinar 11/6 at 2PM EST: Launching a Book Festival in Your Community

Would you like to begin a festival in your town? It’s a lot of work, but can add another dimension and revenue stream to your bookstore, deepen your relationships with community partners, publishers, and authors, and foster a greater appreciation for reading and author interactions in your region and beyond. Listen to four veterans discuss the book festivals they initiated or partner in, and learn some great tips on how to do it right and have fun doing it. Please rsvp to attend.


Jamie Rogers Southern is the Operations Director of Bookmarks, a literary arts nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem, NC. Bookmarks' annual Festival of Books & Authors is a four-day celebration of reading and writing in Winston-Salem. Jamie oversees almost all areas of the festival, including programming, authors, working with hotels, and many other logistical elements, as well as putting together the festival’s printed program and press release.


John Evans opened Lemuria Books in 1975, a store nationally known for specializing in signed first editions, with a First Editions Club that’s been going strong for over 25 years. John is one of the founders of The Mississippi Book Festival, a nonprofit launched in August 2015 on the State Capitol grounds, which draws thousands to its annual “literary lawn party” and book lovers’ celebration.


Mitchell Kaplan founded Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida in 1982 and has since opened numerous locations including stores in Key West and the Cayman Islands. Mitchell is a co-founder of the Miami Book Fair, which now extends to eight days of events. The first Miami Book Fair took place in 1984. Since then, it has become recognized as the nation’s finest literary festival.


Catherine Bock is the adult buyer and inventory manager at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. She’s now the main point-person for Parnassus’ role as the official book supplier for the Southern Festival of Books. She is also in charge of book sales at the Music City Food and Wine Festival, and assists with the SCWBI’s annual conference. 



Tags:  b3! webinars 

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B3! Webinar: Bringing Used Books into the Mix for Higher Sales and Profit

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Mark your calendars for Wed, October 16 at 2pm EST, to hear from four booksellers whose bookstores offer a profitable blend of new and used books. With higher profit margins and unique inventory possibilities, adding used and antiquarian books into your mix could be a way to bring in new customers, further meet the needs of existing ones, and improve your cash flow. And it can be fun! Highlighting used and collectible books on social media offers creative opportunities to share unusual jacket designs, hilariously dated subject matter, and ephemera left from a book’s previous owner. Unsaleable used inventory can be turned into journals, buttons, and literary confetti, as Underground Books has done so successfully. Join us to listen to four approaches to selling used books, and blending them into your new book inventory. Please rsvp to attend.

More about our Presenters:

Cathy Graham is co-owner (with Serena Wyckoff) of Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, FL. They started their bookselling business 15 years ago in the garage, selling used books online. Now they have a full-service shop – almost 7 years open – and most of the books they sell are new.  Cathy’s background includes teaching high school, the US Air Force, a couple of corporate sales jobs, and a Benedictine monastery. She grew up in Orlando, spent many years in Maryland, and a few in Costa Rica. Besides reading, she enjoys cooking, music, wine, cats and goats (although she doesn't have any goats at the moment).

Shane Gottwals was born and raised in Macon, GA, attending Central Fellowship Christian Academy from kindergarten until graduation. He has a B.A. in English from Mercer University, spending a portion of his college years at Oxford University in England. He met his wife, Abbey, at Mercer University. They have four children and live in Warner Robins, GA. The couple opened Gottwals Books in 2007. Shane has extensive retail experience which has helped Gottwals Books (franchising nationwide as "Walls of Books") become one of the largest used/new bookstore chains in the United States. He currently serves on the boards of Covenant Care Adoption Services, Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, Central Fellowship Christian Academy, and Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

Frank Reiss has been buying, selling and trading used, out-of-print and collectible books for over 35 years, first at Acorn Books in San Francisco and, since 1989, as the founder and owner of A Cappella Books in Atlanta, which has earned Hall-of-Fame status from "Atlanta Magazine" and is annually selected in "Creative Loafing's" "Best of Atlanta" issue. In the 1990s Frank served as president of the Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association. Since then A Cappella has focused more on new books and contemporary touring author signings, but carefully selected older books continue to shape the store's unique inventory.

Josh Niesse is the co-owner of two independent brick & mortar bookstores in west Georgia. Underground Books, opened in 2011, is an 1800 square foot bookstore that is literally underground, a few steps below street level off of the historic town square in Carrollton, Georgia, home of the University of West Georgia. Underground Books is primarily used & antiquarian, with about 20% new books. Hills & Hamlets Bookshop is a 600 square foot bookstore, dealing in about 80% new books, opened in 2016 in the progressive planned eco-community of Serenbe.  Niesse co-owns both stores with his wife and fellow bookseller Megan Bell. Niesse has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and worked as a literacy tutor and bartender before becoming a bookseller. 


Tags:  B3! Webinars  Used books 

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"Keeping Your Expenses on a Tight Leash" Webinar Recap

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, June 10, 2019

Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC, and founder of Stress Less, a blog where she shares “tools and musings to reduce stress and increase joy,” presented her approach to “Keeping Your Expenses on a Tight Leash” in a recent SIBA webinar. The webinar was interactive throughout, with Jill asking booksellers to share about various financial topics, including financial stress, and goals.


Jill described her own journey from feeling great financial stress to getting her store’s finances on track and achieving a healthier work/life balance. She explained her path to a mindset shift and how this supported initiating positive changes in her business. Some topics covered:

  • Changing your attitude toward money, expenses, and profit

  • Sorting expenses into four “houses”: rainmaking, protection, productivity, consumption

  • Evaluating expenses to determine if they are achieving their goals

  • Involving community--employees, a working group of other business owners, your bookkeeper--in the process


Jill also offered quick wins, such as opening a new bank account and transferring 2% of every cash/check deposit into that account, and making a pruning date, by creating a repeating calendar entry “Prune My Expenses,” and allowing 3-4 hours for the process.


You can view the webinar here*
(you must be logged in to view)


To get Jill’s free Throttle Down to Go Big Workbook, sign up for her email list at:


To apply to beta-test her business coaching service, fill in the application at:


Books she mentioned in her presentation:

  • Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
  • The One Thing by Gary Keller
  • Essentialism by Greg McKeown


Here's a complete list of Jill’s recommended business books:

Tags:  B3! Webinars  Finance  Jill Hendrix 

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B3! Webinar: Life Admin for Booksellers: Do Less, Do Better, and Live More

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Updated: Monday, May 20, 2019

Life Admin for Booksellers on Wednesday, August 7 at 2PM EST


Elizabeth Emens, author of Life Admin: How I Learned to Do Less, Do Better, and Live More, spoke about her book at EUREKAsiba, and her message was spot on for many in the audience. She discussed being overwhelmed by invisible labor outside of work and writing Life Admin because this invisible labor was consuming her. Desperate to survive and help others along the way, she conducted interviews and focus groups to gather favorite tips and tricks, admin confessions, and the secrets of admin-happy households.


With a bookseller audience in mind, Emens will share how we can avoid, reduce, and redistribute life admin whenever possible. Please RSVP to attend. 


As preparation for the webinar, SIBA's B3! Book Club is currently reading Life Admin and will discuss it on Wednesday, July 10 at 2PM EST. Booksellers are welcome to join in on SIBA's office hours zoom link. Need a copy of the book? Please email

Elizabeth Emens is Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She was educated at Yale and Cambridge, where she earned her PhD. She lives in New York City.

Tags:  B3! Webinars  Elizabeth Emens 

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Successful Podcasts: B3! Webinar Available to View

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Featuring a panel of three presenters of book-centered podcasts. Annie Jones, owner of The Bookshelf and host of From the Front PorchMitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and host of The Literary Life, and author Anne Bogel (AKA Modern Mrs. Darcy), host of What Should I Read Next? have developed very popular podcasts with a national audience. Booksellers looking to grow their store brands, reach more customers in their communities and beyond, and maybe even sell more books, will learn much listening to these experts share their best tips.


The discussion ranged from the very basic ("how I got started") to the more technical -- how long should a podcast be? (30 minutes to an hour for a long podcast, 7-10 minutes for short form). How much time does an episode take to produce? (Ann Bogel says it takes 2 hours to produce a seven minute show, 10-15 hours to produce a 1 hour show) Should you have a separate website for your podcast? (Yes! says Annie Jones), Do you hire production staff? ("Yes," says Mitchell Kaplan. "Absolutely," says Anne Bogel. "Well, eventually," says Annie Jones, "but I still learned how to do it on my own so I wouldn't be stuck if he moved on.") -- to the completely geeky: software and microphones, podcast hosting and broadcasting issues.

Click here to watch
(you must be a SIBA member bookseller to view)

Tags:  B3! Webinars 

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Publisher Picks: Fall Fiction

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, April 29, 2019


On Wednesday, June 26 at 2PM EST, SIBA is hosting “Fall Fiction” 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 will discover new titles to add to their store shelves and earn 10 B3! points. The following industry folks will present: Eric Svenson, sales representative for HarperCollins, Bob Werber, sales representative for IPS, Gavin Grant, publisher of Small Beer Press, and Doni Kay, sales representative for Penguin Young Readers. Please rsvp to attend. 


More info on our presenters:

Eric Svenson is the Southeast regional field sales representative for HarperCollins Publishers. He is the son of independent bookseller parents, a second generation publishers rep, and has traveled the South promoting books & reading for 30 years. He became a legend at the Discovery Show's "Rep Picks" events, breaking the fourth wall and walking out into the audience to support the books and authors he loves.
Bob Werber recently took over the IPS territory in the South (including PGW, IPS, and Two Rivers/Ingram Academic). He has been in the territory for the last 13 years with Dover and then Barrons; prior to that he worked in the Midwest and West, primarily with Random House.  Bob was also on the founding staff of Third Place Books in Seattle. Bob’s reading interests are quite varied but he is partial to literary fiction, regional, and nature writing—as well as non-fiction, especially history, politics, and sports.

Gavin J. Grant is the publisher of Small Beer Press, an independent press based in Massachusetts, whose books have been awarded the Philip K. Dick, Shirley Jackson, Hugo, and Locus Awards, as well as selected as the best of the year by NPR, Time Magazine, Salon, Booklist, Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Grant has worked in bookshops in Los Angeles and Boston and for the ABA's Since 1996 he has (with Kelly Link) edited and published Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, a twice-yearly small press zine. Grant and Link have also co-edited eight anthologies together.

He lives with his family in Northampton, MA.

Doni Kay started her career in bookselling with Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida in 1990. She was the children’s book buyer and ran the kid’s room, and also the bookfair division for 12 years. In 2002, thanks to Penguin Adult rep, Dave Kliegman, who told Doni that Penguin was looking for a kid’s rep in the Carolinas, she applied and was hired by Penguin Young Readers to cover the southeastern states! She has been in heaven ever since, doing what she loves most……putting books in kids’ hands and hearts.



Tags:  B3! Webinars  Bookseller education  buy  Publisher Picks 

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