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March Madness at Bookmarks on March 13!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, 20 hours ago
Updated: Friday, December 20, 2019

Join us for our March Madness event at Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC on March 13 from 10-3PM. Bookmarks is offering the education program: Four Part Harmony: Best tips for Authors in Schools, Tracking Your Data, Subscription Clubs, and Planning Tools.

From 10-Noon: Attendees have a choice of two sessions:

Authors In Schools: A Chocolate and Peanut Butter Combination with Ashley Bryan

Author visits can be a daunting experience. But they can also be one of the most meaningful moments of significance for our young readers. Let's discuss what makes them scary, unique, and, most importantly, a successful combination.

No Math Required: Demystifying Data Tracking with Beth Seufer Buss

If you don't know what you're doing well, how do you know what needs improved? Learn how to help your bottom line by tracking store data and take home sample spreadsheets and formulas that you can use to start analyzing your store data.

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

From 1-3PM: Attendees have a choice of two sessions:

Sign Me Up: Cultivating Loyalty Through Subscriptions with Jamie Rogers Southern

In this session, we will discuss how you can increase sales, gain repeat customers, and grow publisher relations through subscription clubs. Focusing on details of Bookmarks' two clubs -- Signed First Editions Club and Young Readers Subscription Club -- Jamie will share tips and challenges on how to get a subscription club started and how to turn members into your brand ambassadors.

Help! My To-Do List is Out of Control with Beth Seufer Buss

Learn how to organize all the moving pieces of your bookstore. In this session we'll talk about how and why to develop planning templates, how checklists can keep you and your store organized, and the best tools for taming your to-do list.

More about our presenters:

Jamie Rogers Southern is the Operations Director at Bookmarks, a literary nonprofit organization based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Before Bookmarks Jamie worked at Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, AL, and for the American Booksellers Association.

Beth Seufer Buss is the General Bookstore Manager at Bookmarks. In between reading romance novels and crunching data, she manages a bookstore team of nine.

Originally a Bookmarks volunteer turned bookseller, Ashley Bryan became Bookmarks' Youth & Schools Coordinator full-time in August. Transitioning into this role full-time has provided more opportunities to expand our youth outreach from Author in Schools to book fairs, Book Build, school book clubs, storytimes, and development of our Teen Advisory Council.

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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March Madness at Gottwals on March 12!

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

shane gottwalsJoin us for our March Madness event at Gottwals Books in Byron, GA on March 12, 10-3PM! From 10 AM-noon, owner Shane Gottwals will present: Managing Growth: Think Bigger About Your Business. Session description: How do you grow a business in 2020? What's more, how can you grow a book business in 2020? Join Shane to discuss some principles for maximizing payroll labor, position yourself for long-term rental/real estate benefit, determine the feasibility of warehousing/storage, know when it's time for expansion (or contraction), and a variety of other topics.

Noon-1:00 PM: Author Luncheon. Lunch is free to attendees.

The afternoon will include a store tour and further discussion and networking on bookseller issues.

Shane Gottwals was born and raised in Macon, GA. He earned 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. They have four children and live in Warner Robins. In 2007, the couple opened Gottwals Books which has become one of the largest used & new bookstore chains in the United States. He is frequently asked to speak at book industry conferences, and he is a notable go-to for bookstore consulting. 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.

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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March Madness at Page & Palette on March 10!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Friday, January 17, 2020
page & palette

Join us for our March Madness event at Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama on March 10 from 10-3PM. The day begins with the educational session: 10 Best Secrets to Handselling, Upselling and More. Inspired by the question, "How far are you willing to go to develop a loyal customer base?" booksellers Stephanie Crowe, Leigh Buckley, and Stacy Sheehan-Wilson will share practical tips on how they've done it so successfully at Page & Palette.

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.

More on our presenters:

Stephanie Crowe: Page and Palette has been my second career. I have worked for 11 years. I began in our Childrens Department and over time became Event Manager and Buyer. I served on the SIBA board from 2016 to 2018.

Leigh Buckley: Being a bookseller at Page & Palette is living out my dream. Beyond being surrounded by books, the best part about my job is meeting the most diverse and wonderful people who come through our doors. They may be locals that visit daily, or those just wandering in, but meeting, hand-selling, and also learning from them is what I enjoy the most.

Stacy Sheehan-Wilson: When not at Page & Palette or reading, I tell people's stories through upcycling their clothing and photos into pillows or quilts and help people work through their grief by doing the same. The vision is to grow my cottage industry into a national movement that improves the lives of seniors and their loved ones.

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  March Madness  Page & Palette 

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March Madness on March 10 at Horton’s Books & Gifts!

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

horton's booksJoin us for our March Madness event at Horton's Books & Gifts in Carrollton, GA from 10-3PM on March 10. The day begins with the educational session: Pop-ups at Performance Venues. Horton's Dorothy Pittman and Tim Chapman, Director of the Center for the Arts, will discuss how they've been partnering successfully on events.

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.

Georgia's oldest bookstore, Horton's Books & Gifts has been in business since 1891. Founded by a former school teacher, N. A. Horton's offered school song and miscellaneous books as well as Bibles, sheet music, stationery, wrapping paper, and paper bags. He advertised, "I sell for cash, but will take eggs or chicken for school books when parties can't pay the money." Antique shelves and displays showcase new books and gift items while store cats Mayah, Poe, and Dante are always on hand to help customers choose the right book or gift.

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  Horton's Books  March Madness 

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tags:  bookseller education  MMBS  SITS 

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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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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 and let’s talk!

Tags:  Bookseller education 

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Friday's Education Sessions at #SIBA19

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Friday, September 6, 2019

One of the highlights for many booksellers at our Discovery Show is the Education Track. Booksellers and industry experts share their best practices, with room for Q & A to address individual store concerns. This year offers a rich variety of sessions of interest to buyers, owners and managers, and frontline booksellers. Because you can’t be everywhere at the same time, we’re recording many of them for later viewing. Handouts will be available through our Peer Brain Trust after the show.

Here are Education Sessions on Friday to attend or check out later:

9AM: Ingram Insights

Join Ingram as they take a deep dive into their exclusive indie programs, like Booklove and Indie Vault, and explore their latest ipage features. Learn more about the hottest titles from their distribution partners, and also learn how to self-publish like a pro from the Ingram Spark team. 

9AM: Are you working "on" your business or just working "in" it? 

(For owners and managers/Advanced session). 

Whether you have employees or not, the only way to reliably grow your business is to develop systems that let you slowly free up your time from working "in" your business to working "on" it. Systems range from simple documentation so you can delegate work to productivity tools to automation technologies. Led by Shane Gottwals, owner of Gottwals Books, and Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction

10AM:  Independent Bookstore Day: Celebrate with Success

(IBD) has grown from a handful of bookstores in California to a national celebration involving over 575 stores and, in some cases, city wide celebrations. Participating bookstores see an increase in sales, increased foot traffic and increased brand awareness. This session will offer attendees an overview of the program and tips from booksellers who have figured out how to make the most of IBD. Panelists will offer information on how to order and make the most of the IBD exclusive merchandise; how to organize and publicize your store's party to bring people into your store; and how to use social media strategically to increase sales and community participation. Join ABA staff and IBD superstars for this not to be missed conversation.

11AM:  Rewarding Returns

Keep your inventory fresh, your shipping costs down, and your credits flowing with best practices in your returns department. Learn from two veteran booksellers on their successful approaches, and from a publisher rep who will discuss returns from the publisher perspective. Panelists are Doug Robinson, co-owner of Eagle Eye Book Shop, Donna Paz Kaufman, partner of The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, and co-owner of Story and Song Bookstore, and Leslie Jobson, Manager of Field Sales at the Ingram Content Group

4PM: The Art of the Pitch – Handselling Books to Customers

Listening to customers, discerning their needs, and suggesting the best match is an art form that, when mastered, results in bigger and better sales. As we head into the biggest retail season of the year, what better time to listen to these veterans share their tips and tricks to profitably connect with your customers? This session is for new booksellers learning the ropes, and veterans who seek a fresh look at handselling. Panelists are Doni Kay, sales representative at Penguin Young Readers, Angie Tally, children’s buyer at The Country Bookshop, and Pete Mock, book buyer at McIntyre’s Books.

4PM: Romancing the Indie Bookstore

Panelists will discuss how independent bookstores can bring in new readers and engage current readers in a new way through new or expanded romance sections. The growing diversity of romance novels and the way they are packaged in trade paperback format and marketed to appeal to both a younger and broader audience creates an opportunity for independent bookstores. Panelists are Cindy Hwang, Vice President and Editorial Director (PRH), Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore, and Erin Galloway, Deputy Publicity Director (PRH).

Tags:  #si  Bookseller education 

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