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March Madness at Bookmarks on March 13!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, 21 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 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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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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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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Refueling Ideas and Enthusiasm at This Year's SIBA in the Springtime!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, April 15, 2019

Refueling Ideas and Enthusiasm at This Year's SIBA in the Springtime! by Michelle Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA

I almost don’t want to tell you about how great SIBA in the Springtime and EUREKAsiba is because, here’s the thing, one of the best parts about this event is how intimate it is. But I also really, really want you to come next year so we can get to know each other, so here goes!

We started off on Monday with a bus tour of Atlanta area stores. I did the bus tour in Tampa as well, and this is genuinely the best way to spend a day! You are on a bus with a bunch of book nerds visiting your colleagues, learning best practices, and gossiping about which authors are most fun to host. And y’all, we even had the best ever story time at Little Shop of Stories (I tried to hire our reader, Ms. Hannah, away from the shop, but she was steadfast in her loyalties). I did, fortunately/unfortunately, spend all my money at the five bookshops we visited, but luckily on Tuesday I was refueled with ideas and enthusiasm to go back to my bookselling life with enough EUREKA moments to recoup my investment (plus, I have all those cool books)! Quick note of thanks to Southern Fried Karma for hosting our bus tour!

Back to the hotel for a dinner celebrating the Southern Book Prize. We got to hear from Will Walton (oh, you remember, you fell in love with him when he hosted a dinner in Tampa and of course, you read his books) and Jo Watson Hackl, our kids prize winner! Jo spoke about how her own upbringing in a ghost town inspired her debut novel, Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe, and also outlined the many resources she has available for helping kids delve deeper into her work and the world at large. Seriously, from treasure hunts to a classroom empathy exercise – this is an author after my own heart.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Tuesday morning, we entered the ABA’s session on pre-order campaigns. My biggest take away here is that you’ve got to be creative! Through the ABA’s hard work, the pubs are getting behind us and supporting pre-order campaigns with swag, signed copies, and exclusives but we must engage our customers with pre-orders in the same way we would with in stock handselling. Did you know that up to 30% of a book’s total sales can come from preorders? Yeah, we gotta get in on that. Second take away, complete the ABACUS form, you guys! Oren and Joy went through the data with us and it is so helpful! The percentage breakdown allows you to assess what is happening in other stores, and ideas that may boost your business (like the growing percentage of nonbook, which does make my heart die a little, but facts are facts). We also had lunch with the ABA for the spring forum. The access we have to the heads of this national organization is unparalleled and during this event we have the opportunity to advocate for new ideas, to get questions answered, and to find new ways to be involved. Whether you want to be on the Indies Introduce team, are looking to host a Well-Read Black Girl book club, have questions about how indie commerce sites work, it is all open to discussion here.

But what you really came here for were the Eureka talks, right? We heard from twelve speakers (and two musicians!) full of enthusiasm and innovation. Our TBRs exploded, our ideas grew and were challenged, we laughed, we cried, we were validated by the very idea of moral injury (f*ck burnout, am I right?). I couldn’t possibly summarize it here for you. Many of the talks were recorded and will be shared, but there is definitely something about the experience of being there in the room with an engaged group of your peers that defies summary. So, here’s the part where I urge you to join us next year! I’ll be there, along with another group of inspiring speakers in our industry. I promise you will experience one of those EUREKAsiba moments; it happens to all of us (I mean, John bought a button maker immediately after seeing how much fun and profit the owners of Underground Books had with theirs!). I think I’m reaching my word count max here, but I’ll tell you this one last thing: books! The event is capped by author signings and a dinner that includes talks and readings (and this time, a game of Never Have I Ever) that is a great way to wrap up. You will leave so ready to recommend all the books and implement all the ideas – your customers and staff won’t know what hit ‘em!


Tags:  Cavalier House Books  eurekasiba  Jo Watson Hackl  SITS  Southern Fried Karma  Will Walton 

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It’s last call to join us for SIBA in the Springtime/EUREKAsiba!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Last Call for SIBA in the Springtime/EUREKAsiba!

It’s last call to join us for our annual SIBA in the Springtime/EUREKAsiba gathering in Atlanta next week, Mon (3/18)-Wed (3/20). Registration ends tomorrow (Friday) at noon.

Don't miss this great opportunity to visit indie bookstores in the Atlanta area, enjoy dinner with writers and booksellers, learn about pre-orders and ABACUS from the ABA, and take in a full day of EUREKAsiba talks on a wide variety of topics.

EUREKAsiba’s second year includes talks guaranteed to open your eyes to new ways of approaching your business and personal life. Brian Lampkin, co-owner of Scuppernong Books, will discuss how kindness informs their business practices. Megan Bell and Josh Niesse, co-owners of Underground Books and Hills & Hamlets Bookshop will share how they’ve turned staff downtime and damaged books into handmade and high margin sidelines. Doug Robinson, owner of Eagle Eye Books will offer step-by-step how his bookstore uses the SIBA holiday catalog to great success. Michael Reynolds will explore a theme many booksellers know so well: The Small Business Habit of Wearing Twenty Hats. Need more inspiration on organizing your time? Author Elizabeth Emens presents “Life Admin, How I Learned to Do Less, Do Better, and Live.” Mark Pearson of will talk to us about using tech without losing our humanity. And, to offer encouragement, Author Dana Chamblee will inspire us with her talk about doing it all wrong so we can get it right. We’ll also hear from bookseller and publisher Steve McCondichie on bookselling in the 21st century, and from Shari Smith, founder of Working Title Farm and Trio, on how partnering words and music can sell more books. Looking to expand your genre selection? Author Jolina Petersheim will discuss how indie booksellers can expand their customer base and sales by reaching out to the Christian market. For the many bookseller and customer fans of memoir, Author Erica Witsell will present her take on “Fiction, Memoir, and Authenticity.”

We hope you’ll join the fun and register for SIBA in the Springtime. We’d love to see you!

Tags:  eurekasiba  SITS 

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Based on a True Story: Fiction, Memoir, and Authenticity​, a EUREKAsiba talk by Erica ​Witsell

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Based on a True Story: Fiction, Memoir, and Authenticity, a EUREKAsiba talk by Erica Witsell

Where is the border between autofiction and memoir? Who has the right to tell which stories? Erica Witsell will discuss the limitations and freedoms of both genres, the works that inspired her, and her own novel’s transformation from memoir to fiction. She will also explore the question of authenticity in the age of identity politics and sectionality.

Witsell’s talk is part of SIBA in the Springtime (SITS) & EUREKAsiba, a program of bookseller education in an intimate format, designed to emphasize creative and innovative solutions to running a business. SITS takes place Monday, March 18 –Wednesday, March 20, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Airport. Here’s a link to REGISTER!

Erica Witsell is the author of the novel Give, the story of one family’s troubled quest to redeem the mistakes of the past, and a testament to the bonds of sisterhood. Ron Rash praises, “Give is a striking, often unflinching, depiction of a doomed marriage and its enduring consequences. Erica Witsell is a very talented writer and her debut should garner a wide and appreciative audience."

Tags:  Bookseller education  eurekasiba  SITS 

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News from SIBALand, March 18, 2016

Posted By Nicki Leone, Friday, March 18, 2016

Jill Hendrix, Fiction AddictionDear SIBA member,

It was great seeing so many of you at the SITS & GABBS event in Atlanta a week or so ago. For those of you who couldn’t attend here’s a recap of the education that SIBA and the ABA provided:

  • I presented the results from the first ABACUS South financial survey (Power Point, handout). Many thanks to the ABA for making this possible! I’d love to get even more SIBA members participating this year so watch for the survey for FY 2015 coming from the ABA in a few months. For those who’ve never participated, take a look at the questions from last year’s survey and you’ll see that it’s basic information taken from your taxes. So hand a copy to your bookkeeper (i.e., the store owner for many of us J) or accountant and ask them how hard it would be for you to participate this year.
  • We heard about the New Localism from Oren Teicher, the CEO of ABA, and then had an open discussion forum about the challenges and opportunities we are seeing in our channel.

The SIBA board also held our first board meeting of the year. We drafted a survey that I’ll be asking you to fill out in my next bimonthly email. Since this is my last year on the board, we have a slot coming open and I encourage you to consider serving; self-nominations are welcome. Feel free to email and ask me any questions you might have about serving. Here is the Call for Nominations. Deadline for nominations is end of day,  April 15.

I hope many of you are planning to attend BEA in Chicago in May. Remember to pack your Y’all Buttons so it will be easier for us to recognize each other among the hordes. BEA has heard bookseller complaints about the show being in NYC for the last several years and is testing moving it around the country. So when deciding whether to attend or not keep in mind that if we don’t bring a good turnout of booksellers to Chicago then the show may move back to NYC permanently. ABA member booksellers who have not attended BEA in the last two years have the opportunity to win one of 60 BEA Scholarships that consist of cash stipends of $435 each to help defray their hotel and travel costs to BEA 2016. The ABA will hold their publicity speed-dating event again this year. I participated last year and highly recommend it.

I’m so happy the weather has finally warmed up and I hope you’re having lots of customers looking for Easter gifts and gardening books!


Jill Hendrix
SIBA President
Fiction Addiction owner

Tags:  Abacus  baton-twirling  BEA  GABBS  Kate DiCamillo  One Book One South  SITS 

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