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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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Independent Bookstore Day, a Tale of Two NC Cities

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Two indie stores, Sassafras on Sutton in Black Mountain and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh had great Independent Bookstore Days, for different reasons.

 

I visited with Susanne Blumer, co-owner of Sassafras, as the day began. The weather was beautiful and the store was hopping by 11am. Sassafras had to close after a heavy snow in December caused the roof of their building to collapse. They just reopened in March. Assistance through their Libris business insurance kept the staff employed and morale up during the months of closure. Since reopening, business has been up 80% over last spring. The community is very supportive of the store, and Black Mountain is also a booming tourist destination and well-known writer, artist, and music community.  Right now, Susanne is working hard to keep up with orders for her Southern Lit Candles (she somehow finds time to make her own candle line AND run a business) and the increase in business in the store.

 

On dealing with an unexpected closure that stretched on for months, Susanne said, "I would say that the entire industry was extremely supportive when we had our collapse. We heard from other bookstores, publishers, vendors, industry professionals… so many. Since we’ve reopened, we’ve received hand-written notes and phone calls congratulating us on reopening. The community couldn’t have been more supportive when we closed. I received multiple offers of places to move the store temporarily, offers to help move merchandise, to clean, promises that they would be back when we open. And since we’ve reopened, the community has come out in full force. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come in and tell us how much they missed us and how glad they are that we are back open. We all really missed it when we were closed!"

 

 

Over in the Piedmont, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh also had a terrific Independent Bookstore Day! General Manager Sarah Goddin said, “Our sales were up 70% over a typical Saturday this time of year, but more importantly we had a store full of people most of the day, all of whom were having a great time supporting independent bookstores. We had lots of kids' events throughout the morning, the Poetry Fox in the afternoon, really good cookies all day along with give-aways every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds, brought in a basket full of treats for the Quail Ridge Books staff, becoming even more beloved by booksellers. One customer, Criss Crissman, brought in her 2019 calendar "North Carolina's Literary Luminaries and the Bookshops That Love Them" with stamps from all 12 Piedmont, NC indie bookstores stores featured. Now that is indie love!

 


Tags:  independent bookstore day  Quail Ridge Books  Sassafras on Sutton 

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The Stars Aligned for a Stellar SIBA Revival in Southern Pines!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, July 23, 2018

 

A Stellar SIBA Revival in Southern Pines! 

On Friday, July 20, booksellers from McIntyre’s Books, Quail Ridge Books, and The Country Bookshop gathered for a SIBA Bookseller Revival.  SIBA Board member Kimberly Daniels Taws presented with Josh Floyd of IngramSpark, giving an overview of how bookstores are utilizing Ingram Sparks’ services in various ways. Kimberly and her team shared their experiences working with local authors, and their approach to publishing with IngramSpark. They help local authors publish their own work, or publish for them. Their services include project management, local expertise, and quality book production. The Country Bookshop has published two authors under their imprint, with plans for more. They also offer authors resources to DIY.

Ingram Sparks’ Josh Floyd explained how his program works in bookstores across the country in ways similar to Kimberly’s, from being a part of a program offered to authors, to becoming the printer for a bookstore’s imprint. He praised Eagle Eye Book Shop of Decatur, GA for their success with offering marketing services to authors.

Josh also offered samples of store and business-branded journals, produced by IngramSpark, and an example of a calendar that stores could replicate if they wanted to do a store or community calendar.

Booksellers spent the afternoon brainstorming for next year’s Independent Bookstore Day, NC-Piedmont Style. Look for some great things to happen for the twelve indie stores participating!

Praise from attendees:

"This revival session was jam-packed with good information. My coworker felt we picked up more in that short period that was useful to our store going forward than any other education we participated in this year. It was intimate enough that we felt we had meaningful participation and had opportunities to ask questions/ hear from our fellow booksellers. In short, we look forward to attending our next one!”--Keebe Fitch, McIntyre's Books, Pittsboro, NC

"I thought the revival was terrific.  Josh gave a really valuable presentation on using Ingram Spark for setting up a bookstore publishing program. Having Kimberly's first-hand experience with it made it even more useful. I couldn't scribble notes and ideas down fast enough. Equally valuable was the opportunity to network with a few other stores in our area. With inspiration from Josh's presentation and the ability to brainstorm on the spot we were able to flesh out a whole campaign for promoting our stores, NC authors, and Independent Bookstore day through next year! Something that would have taken months of emails otherwise and wouldn't have been half as good (or fun). Thanks to SIBA for giving us this opportunity - and to Ingram for a great program, continued support - and lunch!”--Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

"Thank you to everyone who came to the revival. We missed those of you who couldn’t join us! Josh did a fantastic job representing IngramSpark, a company that is truly changing the game of what is possible for our stores.” --Kimberly Daniels Taws, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC


Tags:  Eagle Eye Book Shop  IngramSpark  McIntyre's  Quail Ridge Books  Revival  Siba  The Country Bookshop 

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Fostering Dialog and Better Understanding at Quail Ridge Books' Bridging the Divide Book Club!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, June 4, 2018
Updated: Monday, May 28, 2018

A First Year Retrospective of Bridging the Divide Book Club by Sarah Goddin, General Manager of Quail Ridge Books

 

In response to the current deep political divisions in our country and community, where people with one view find it hard to comprehend how others could hold a different view, Quail Ridge Books launched a monthly book club with the goal of fostering dialog and better understanding. The book club, called Bridging the Divide, has moderators and book selections representing issues and viewpoints across the political spectrum: left, right, and central. The aim of each discussion is to promote understanding ... “Ah, now I understand how they can think that!” ... rather than to convince anyone of a particular point of view.

We started in May 2017 and had large turnouts for our first 3 meetings: 50, 47, and 87 people respectively. Then things started to slow down and for the next 4 meetings we had 23, 6, 25, and 2 (a low point, for sure!). Since then we have rebounded and have had 25 to 34 at the last several meetings, which is a really good number for discussion.


My original idea was to have 2 moderators, one liberal and one conservative, and let them take it from there, choosing the books and running the meetings. That didn’t work out and I think it would actually be pretty hard, maybe not possible, to do it well without a lot of hands-on involvement from someone on the store staff.


To find moderators, Rene Martin, our events coordinator, and I put our heads together and came up with a short list of local folks who were both political and open-minded. Our mission statement says we have moderators across the political spectrum and we don’t identify anyone as liberal or conservative, though it's pretty obvious who is what. We have just one person moderate each discussion although the other moderator often attends, too. We’ve had several guest moderators as well, including a psychology professor from NC State University who led the discussion on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me.


One issue with having moderators from outside the store was that that some of them didn’t really know how book clubs work and, though I met with them in advance, described the discussion process, and provided tip sheets, they started out doing more of a lecture than leading a group discussion. It was good to be on hand and intervene to get the discussion started. After the first time repeat moderators got much better at opening it up to more give and take.  They have started bringing a short list of potential discussion questions that we hand out at the beginning of each meeting which is very helpful in keeping the discussion on track. We limit each meeting to an hour, starting at 7 and ending at 8.


While the discussions have all been very civil, we have frequently had an attendee who hasn’t quite grasped the concept and makes somewhat partisan and derogatory comments. The moderators have handled it well and done a good job of not letting anyone dominate the discussion. One good tip, especially with larger groups, is to say “Is there anyone we haven’t heard from yet who would like to comment?” I’ve also had complaints from attendees about moderators, saying they weren’t representing "their side” strongly enough, i.e. conservatives complained the conservative moderator wasn’t conservative enough and the liberals complained the liberal moderator wasn’t liberal enough. I considered that a sign we were doing something right! I do explain that isn’t the purpose of the discussion. I do a welcome and introduction at each event and explain our mission (we always have people who haven’t been to one before) and also give my contact info and invite people to talk to me afterwards or email or call me to give me feedback or suggest topics or books.


I’ve listed below the books we’ve discussed so far. It has been a challenge finding the right books and we haven’t posted selections more than a couple months in advance because I keep wanting to learn what works as we go along. One observation is that the more abstract and wonkier the book, the fewer people show up, even though we may sell a bunch of books. For instance, the book on environmental conservatism by Roger Scruton was pretty dense and philosophical and while we sold 21 copies, only 6 people showed up for the meeting. The previous book, How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate, was short and readable and we had 23 people and a great discussion. That was from a series called The Stanford Briefs and I wish they had more good issue-oriented books like that but their other topics are not as useful. I think one of the reasons we had decent crowds for Hillbilly Elegy and Between the World and Me was because so many people had already read those books and were eager to discuss them.


Another challenge has been to get a more diverse attendee group, including people of color and conservatives. When I asked our conservative moderator why we had so few conservatives, he suggested they assumed bookstores were liberal havens and didn’t trust them to be fair to conservatives. We’re still working on that and on getting more diversity in race and other representation. Both have improved considerably in the last few meetings with a good representation across gender, age, race, and political orientation.


My wish starting out was that we would have a core group of attendees from across the political spectrum who would get to know one another and be eager to explore and, ultimately, respect each other’s views. Initially, people seemed to attend based on whether or not the particular book, issue, or moderator was one they knew or were interested in. A year in we're getting a core group of regulars plus a few new faces at each, which is good for more trust and more honest discussions.


Our main expenses are staff time in organizing, communicating, promoting, and setting up and breaking down the event space. I give both moderators the discussion book free so they can prepare (unless they already own it) and I occasionally give them a $25 store gift card as a thank you. We’re still learning a lot from each selection and discussion and I’m very eager to hear and learn from any of you if you try your own versions.


Books chosen so far:

May: Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam

June: Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010 by Charles Murray

July: no meeting because of holiday

August: Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

September: How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew Hoffman

October: How to Think Seriously About the Planet: A Case for Environmental Conservatism by Roger Scruton

November: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates

December: Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman

January: no meeting because of holiday and inventory

February: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer

March: The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech by Kimberley Strassel

April: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

 May:  Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations  by Amy Chua

June: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

September: The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know  by Phillip Cook and Kristin Goss


Some books we’ve considered or possible future choices:

The Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies, newly updated edition by Susan Jacoby

Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer

Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News by Bernard Goldberg

The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies by John Lott

Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment by Craig Whitney

Shame: How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country by Shelby Steele

The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic by Ganesh Sitaraman

 



Tags:  authors  education  Quail Ridge Books 

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The 2016 Bibb Pick: Bibb's Independent Bookstore Best of 2016

Posted By Nicki Leone, Friday, October 9, 2015

The BIBB Pick – "Bibb's Independent Bookstore Best of 2016" is
Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC!

Voted warm, welcoming, inclusive, knowledgeable, and always with a smile
by nearly 100 writers in attendance at #SIBA15.

Quail Ridge Books & Music

Besides voting, all the authors signed "the Bibb podium," -- handcrafted by Doug Robinson of Eagle Eye Books in Decatur, Georgia -- which was gifted to the store for their stellar author event programs. And nearly 70 authors committed to some form of support to the store over the next year. Over 20 authors will be linking their website directly to the Quail Ridge Books website. Fifteen authors have agreed to place the bookstore name – Quail Ridge Books – in a book. Nearly 30 authors will be writing original content for QRB’s newsletter/website.  Twenty writers have agreed to join QRB’s Staff Picks sharing what they are reading with the store regularly. Thirteen authors have agreed to invest in QRB store swag and promote virtually or in real time their love of Quail Ridge Books. Fourteen want to support QRB’s Indies First effort. Quail Ridge Books and her army of authors are going to make this Bibb Pick a Big One.

So what are those criteria again? Warm, welcoming, inclusive, knowledgeable, and always with a smile. SIBA hopes that bookstores will beinspired to bring these qualities to the forefront when BIBB’s Independent Bookstore Best of 2017 is chosen at the 2016 SIBA Discovery Show in Savannah, GA in September.

About the Bibb Pick – Anonymously endowed, the BIBB Pick was created in 2014 in memory of Matthew Bibb, a long-time SIBA employee who handled Registration and a million other details at many SIBA Trade Shows. Matt died unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day 2013.

Tags:  #siba15  Bibb Pick  Quail Ridge Books 

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