Booksellers Helping Booksellers
The Peer Review concept is the creation of the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA), which has graciously allowed SIBA to recreate the process for it's own member stores. SIBA Peer Reviews are made possible by generous support from the Reba and Dave Williams Foundation for for Literature and the Arts.
What is a Peer Review?
Simply put, a peer review is booksellers helping booksellers. If you feel like there is room for improvement in your store (and who doesn’t feel this way?), friendly fellow booksellers will visit your store, look at areas that are causing you concern, and offer constructive and confidential feedback.
Why have a Peer Review?
Who hasn’t had the experience of returning from a week away from the store and noticing it with fresh eyes? Imagine several experienced and expert booksellers helping with realistic, concrete ideas that will help your store look and run its best.
What can peer reviewers do for your store? They can look at your budgets (or help you build one), assist in remerchandising the store and pass along their philosophy of what goes where and why. They can point out issues that your current staff might be too close to notice. They can look at your system for returns, marketing, co-op, buying, or staffing and suggest improvements.
Share as much or as little information as you’d like – all peer reviewers sign a Confidentiality Agreement.
Why volunteer to be a Peer Reviewer?
We believe that the more bookstores that thrive, the more new, healthy independent bookstores will bloom.
Aside from helping others, we’ve found that reviewers have learned so much from each store they visit. Reviewers gain new perspectives on their own business, find new ideas by experiencing another store’s environment, and make friends that will help develop and enhance the bookselling community. And it’s fun!
How does a Peer Review work?
When you decide to become a Peer Review Host, SIBA will send you a questionnaire that asks you to describe your store and talk about any concerns you may have with your store’s visuals and layout, systems and procedures, marketing and events, and financials (as much or as little as you’re comfortable sharing). This form is shared with the visiting reviewers several days ahead of the visit.
SIBA reimburses the reviewers’ traveling expenses, and the host store provides lunch. Reviewers spend a few hours touring the store and recording their impressions and recommendations on the questionnaire, which SIBA forwards to the host store.
Host stores are also required to display for a month at least two copies each of books by the program sponsors, Reba White Williams and Dave Williams:
Bloody Royal Prints by Reba White Williams, Tyrus Books, 9781440585456
Restrike by Reba White Williams, Createspace,
Angels by Reba White Williams, Createspace,
Fatal Impressions by Reba White Williams, Createspace, 9781505384352
Small Victories: One Couple's Surprising Adventures Collecting American Prints by Dave Williams, David R. Godine, 9781567925296
Request a Peer Review | Apply to be a Peer Reviewer
Download the Host Store and Peer Reviewer Questionnaire