This began as a collection of posts provided to the no longer Bargain Book News for all booksellers from SIBA, with love. But it is switching to a blog for the industry with news that we hope is valuable for the industry at large, from SIBA, with love.
If you’re planning to exhibit at the upcoming SIBA Discovery Show, there are many ways you can make the most of opportunities the show provides to connect with booksellers. Set things in motion by making your social network connections early. Here’s a list of SIBA member Bookstores. Go on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, get to know them and like them. Say nice things about them and let them know you’ll be at the SIBA Discovery Show. This is such a great way to introduce yourself and maybe even set up an account in advance of the Show. Let them know you look forward to meeting or seeing them again.
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!
Posted By Nicki Leone,
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Okra Picks Deadline Change: Deadline for SUMMER Okra Picks nominations is May 15
Beginning in May, SIBA's Okra Picks program calendar has been updated to give booksellers and publishers more time to promote each season's titles and to allow for active pre-order campaigns for the forthcoming books. Accordingly, nomination deadlines for each season have been pushed back by two weeks. The new Okra Picks schedule is as follows:
Spring (April-June titles):
Nomination Deadline: February 15
Okra Picks Announced: April 1
Summer (July-September titles):
Nomination Deadline: May 15
Okra Picks Announced: July 1
Fall (October-December titles):
Nomination Deadline: August 15
Okra Picks Announced: October 1
Winter (January-March titles):
Nomination Deadline: November 15
Okra Picks Announced: January 1
Okra Picks is SIBA's program to highlight forthcoming books of southern interest that its booksellers are especially excited about. Since its inception, the program has spotlighted new books by favorite southern authors such as Joshilyn Jackson, Rick Bragg, Ron Rash, and Tayari Jones, and also break out books by debut and emerging authors such as Wiley Cash, T. Geronimo Johnson, Brian Panowich, Leonard Pitts, Jr. and Holly Goddard Jones.
Nominations are only accepted from SIBA member booksellers, and may be submitted in any of the following ways:
Your table reservation includes a 50-word listing for the print and online show directory. Attendees use the directory to prioritize their time on the show floor, so it's very worth taking your time to craft a stand-out listing. You don't need to include info they can find on Google, you need to provide information that will get booksellers to come by your booth. Highlight your author booth signings, show specials, prize giveaways, or perhaps a chance to learn a magic trick or receive a tarot reading. Be creative and get your message out there.
Need more than 50 words or want to place an ad highlighting award-winning titles, an event you're sponsoring at the show, or a very special happening at your booth? Check out our exhibitor tradeshow package or contact email@example.com for options.
Booksellers, authors, and other publishing industry colleagues sharing their best practices, creative insights, and life hacks is what makes SIBA's educational programming so valuable to members. If you'd like to be part of our educational programming at the #SIBA19 Discovery Show September 13-15 in Spartanburg, SC, we welcome your proposals. Although we can't guarantee your proposal will be selected for this event, it may be considered for future programming. Please fill out this form and we'll be in touch. Thank you so much for your time and interest!
Booksellers love to document their Discovery Show experience on social media. Many of their followers are bookstore customers and other booksellers. You can build your brand as they build theirs by being a booth that’s fun to visit time and again for social media sharing. Consider creating a cool photobooth at your booth. Blow up a book jacket that features a space where booksellers can insert their face into the image (and story!). Or offer props (sparkly eyeglasses, carnival masks, top hat, etc.) to put on while holding up a fan or a broadside or some other prop that promotes you and is fun for them. Create an archway to stand under that’s festooned with your messaging in vivid and share-worthy ways. In other words, be creative and become a destination booth. Offer to take photos with their camera, but do take photos with yours, too, to share the good times with your followers.
SIBA promotes six new books every month to consumers in our Lady Banks Bookshelf promotion.These titles appear at the top of our weekly Lady Banks Commonplace Book newsletter, which has a circulation of over 60k. We also feature them above the fold on the homepage of Authors ‘Round the South and on the cover image of the ARTS Facebook page with buy links promoted to our 15,000 Facebook friends. A different member store is featured with the titles every week, with click-through to purchase. We inform our booksellers of the Shelf titles in our weekly newsletter, create an Edelweiss collection for ease of ordering, and reward them for displays. This promotion is consumer-facing and bookseller-engaged!
Since SIBA redesigned Lady Banks Bookshelf last year, this promotion experienced a 23% increase in audience reach (from 17K to 22.5K), a 16% jump in engagement (from 585 to 700) on social media, a 10% rise in impressions, and a 14% rise in click throughs via email. SIBA attributes the success to a more strongly focused target audience, more active engagement with member bookstores, and a fresh, more visually appealing presence that also appeals to the reader's sense of adventure and individuality.
What we know: Lady Banks Bookshelf titles become SIBA bestsellers. Would you like to feature an upcoming title? We have one opening in June and excellent availability in July and going forward into the year. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space or for more information.
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is a trade association which represents hundreds of bookstores and thousands of booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky,
Virginia, and Mississippi. SIBA exists to empower, promote, and celebrate our core member bookstores in a spirit of partnership. "Core members" are independent, privately held, brick and mortar, commercially zoned bookstores with a
retail storefront, in our region.