Best part about being a bookseller?: You know this is an impossible question, right? Today I will say this: I have been blown away by the breadth and depth of friendships I've formed as a result of my bookseller role. From publisher reps to authors to coworkers to customers, I have a community of people who really understand me; after all, we speak a common language--the language of books.
What book(s) are you reading?: I just started Jessica Handler's 2019 novel, The Magnetic Girl. I'm a huge Jessica Handler fan and am loving it already. Yesterday I finished Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey and Jason Reynolds's For Every One.
Favorite handsell of 2018: Issue one of Good Company magazine (from Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney)
Best thing you did this year at your store: We've always made it known that we're in support of human rights, free speech, and anti-discrimination, but this year we've become even more outspoken.Through various in-store and offsite events and initiatives, we remind readers far and wide that we see them and want to hear all stories.
Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc): 9,336 Twitter followers, 8,343 Facebook followers, & 12.8k Instagram followers.
What are some ways you work with your community? In addition to frequent events and book clubs, we have two initiatives that allow us to participate meaningfully as Athens citizens: #avidgivesback and #avidinschools. These programs are ways for us to donate volunteer time, money, and in-kind donations to nonprofits, schools, and organizations that are making our city--and our world--better places. One example is the #avidgivesback project dreamt up by bookseller/Will Walton. For every copy of his May 2018 novel (I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain) that was preordered at Avid, the bookselling staff committed to 25 minutes of volunteer time at the Athens Community Council on Aging's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program.
Do you have any community partners you work with regularly? Yes, we have so many community partners it's hard to name drop just a few! From various departments and clubs at UGA to famous rock clubs downtown to our nonprofit arthouse cinema to the Clarke County School District to our local library to the leisure services department, we work with groups that touch the lives of nearly every part of the Athens population.
Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? I definitely have passions that carry over into my bookselling life! I'm a professional patient advocate, writer, and speaker at migraine.com, and I've used skills honed in that role to be more of an advocate for my staff and for myself as a small business owner. Oh, and my two cats, who make frequent appearances under the #petsofavid Instagram hashtag.
Top priority for 2018: We're more than halfway done with the year, and I'm not sure I've made as much progress as I'd wanted to by now on one of my goals: to streamline the business, cut down on costs, and improve our profit margin. I know this is everyone's goal, but I'm making it a priority this year. Slow and steady wins the race, I hope!
Favorite SIBA programming benefit: While not listed as a specific benefit when you sign up for membership, the access we have to Linda-Marie and Wanda has been invaluable. To have two industry experts always eager and willing to pick up the phone or exchange some emails about unexpected issues or fun new ideas is amazing.