News you can use from the Land of SIBA, March 19, 2020
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From the Land of SIBA A message from SIBA to its membership

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First Things First...

Mar 25: B3! Webinar: Programming to Support Your Online Store
Mar 26- Apr 30: Bookseller Chill: A Six-Week Series on Coping with Anxiety During COVID-19
Apr 1: B3! Webinar: Tips for Managing an Unexpected Crisis
Apr 30: Deadline to nominate for Conroy Legacy Award
Apr 30: Deadline to nominate SIBA Board members
2020 SIBA Discovery Show Registration is Open!

COVID-19 Resources for Booksellers: BINC | ABA | SIBA

SIBA Office Hours on Zoom:

Wednesdays from 2:00 - 5:00 PM EST
(by appointment in November and December)
803-994-9530 |

In the Land of SIBA Blog

B3! Webinar on April 1 at 2PM EST:
Tips For Managing an Unexpected Crisis

Cavalier House Books co-owner and SIBA Board member John Cavalier will present "Tips for Managing an Unexpected Crisis," focusing on business strategies during COVID-19. During a time of crisis, it's vital to put a plan in place, as a thoughtful response can mean the difference between persevering and closing up shop. John will talk generally and specifically about how you can work with your staff and community to craft a plan that will help you achieve your goals. He'll also provide a list of concrete steps you can take to build resiliency for your store's future and daily operations.

read more | rsvp

Bookseller Chill: A Six-Week Series on Coping with Anxiety during COVID-19

Bookseller Chill with Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a six-week series beginning March 26 at 2 PM EST and continuing each Thursday, same time, same zoom link, till April 30. Each session will last approximately 30 minutes and include concepts from Bryan's book: #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life (HarperCollins, 2019), followed by what Bryan calls simple, short "MicroChiller" meditations that will help us relax and restore during this time of great uncertainty. You can read Bryan's recent post at The Psychology of Uncertainty: How to Cope with COVID-19 Anxiety.

Bryan Robinson

Today's events are creating anxiety that challenges our resilience and ability to act, make good decisions, even sleep. This series provides tools to cope, and a window of time to share with your colleagues as you experience guided meditations and counsel. Come to as few or as many sessions as you like, and please bring your staff. RSVP to attend. These sessions will be recorded for later viewing.

Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist who has built his career on the themes of resilience, work/life balance, and well-being. He's a contributor to Forbes MagazinePsychology Today, and writes a weekly column for Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington's new company. He's very excited about this series and hopes as many of you can participate as possible.

read more

Business Strategies During COVID-19:
Tips For Managing an Unexpected Crisis

by John Cavalier, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA

Every time I hear the term "flatten the curve," I sing it to myself in the voice of Waylon Jennings to the tune of the Dukes of Hazzard theme. And then I add ... Some day the mountain might get us but the virus never will.  That's one of my dumb little coping mechanisms in this time of heightened anxiety.

Cavalier House Books

It's bizarre. One of our staffers here at our store likened this pandemic to the slowest moving hurricane possible. I agree. The uncertainty is intense and the news of so many of my friends shuttering their doors for a yet to be determined period of time makes me feel nauseous.

For us, it's school book fairs. Louisiana has closed all schools for a month and with their closure around $60,000 in anticipated revenue has dried up literally overnight. Will we have time to reschedule? Can we pursue alternate sales strategies? How will we move all of this inventory? How much can we return? When will we have to close our store as well? When will we reopen? Will we have the cash to get through the pandemic? The slower summer? 

The anxiety can be crippling.

My wife and I were discussing all of these things and we asked ourselves, "What are we going to do?"  For us, the answer is the same thing we did in 2016. That year was our worst year in business owing to a string of natural disasters in our area that culminated in the Great Louisiana Flood of 2016. During that crisis we saw widespread school closures in our area as well as a complete halt to our local economy for non-essential goods and services. Those consequences were dumped on us then much like the consequence of the coronavirus is being heaped on all of us now.

It's tough to distill an experience like that into actionable steps to take in response and it's tough to try to cherry pick lessons that can be shared with others, but there are a few fundamentals that I know to be true and I'd like to remind everyone of them at this time.

Focus on solutions and not problems. There are of course economic realities and uncertainties yet to be revealed, but don't lose sight of your goals, hopes, and dreams. Figure out how you want to emerge from this pandemic and then take the necessary steps to get there. For us, we're looking at being cash poor and time rich for several months so I aim to come out of the other side of this leaner, more efficient, and more organized than ever before. I'm also looking at business and personal debt restructuring as well as strategies to be more responsive to opportunities so that as they present themselves I can be ready to pounce.

People are people. Everyone is experiencing this and everyone is going to have a rough go for a bit. Honesty and communication are essential. Express your concerns to your landlord, your credit reps, your sales reps, your banks as soon as possible. Don't wait to be late on a payment. You have infinitely more credibility and wiggle room if you are upfront and present a plan of action rather than sweeping problems under the rug. Go to your bank or your landlord or whomever right now and make sure they know your story and that they are on your team. Lead them to a solution, rather than presenting your problems.

The future is what we make it. Certainly the randomness and unexpectedness of this pandemic would make it seem otherwise, but we have to remember that most of our anxieties and frustrations come not from the virus itself but from our collective response to it. This is the hard way wisdom is earned. We are a community. We are parts of other communities. We are our own leadership as well as our own source of authority. We have to take comfort in knowing that the experience of today can lead us to a stronger tomorrow.

Community is everything. Whenever you feel like everything is at its worst, someone will surprise you. Whenever you feel like you are all alone, someone will surprise you.  

Deep breaths and baby steps. Remember your goals and your assets. Share your talents. Think about others. Be honest and open. Create and share solutions. Take comfort and find strength in the various communities you are a part of. Lean on other people - metaphorically of course (#socialdistancing). Don't just react, plan. 

Hoping for the best and planning for the future,

John Cavalier

Co-owner of Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA, and SIBA Board Member

read online


Binc on COVID-19


The Binc Foundation can potentially offer booksellers support during a public health emergency. Assistance may be available for the medical expenses of booksellers. Binc may also be able to help booksellers in specific cases where store closure and/or loss of scheduled pay creates a financial hardship for the individual/family.

Binc may be able to help with medical expenses or personal household expenses under the following circumstances:

  • If a bookstore employee contracts an illness and cannot go to work. 
  • If a member of a bookseller’s household contracts an illness and the employee is forced to quarantine themselves to prevent further spread of the virus.

For the events listed below, an official state, county or city Public Health Emergency restricting public interaction must be declared and documented.

  • If a bookseller loses more than 50% of their scheduled work hours because residents are told not to go to work.
  • If a bookseller loses more than 50% of their scheduled work hours due to a mandatory quarantine.
  • If a bookstore loses a significant amount of business due to forced store closure or restrictions on residents’ movement and the store is unable to pay store rent and/or utility expenses, Binc may be able to help.

Contact Binc by email or phone 866-733-9064.

This week on Lady Banks Pick of the Week:

Read more about SIBA's Circle of Sites Program (aka the "banner for dues" program) and find out whether your store is eligible to participate and receive free membership dues.

In Brief: Independent Bookstore Day Postponed

In light of the fact that many bookstores have been closed under mandatory lockdown directives in the current crisis, Bookstore Day has been postponed and will not be held on April 25. The advisory committee is meeting with the ABA to select a new date. IBD info

In Brief: B3! Webinar: Programming to Support Your Online Store

In wake of mandated store closures and shelterin-place directives, bookstores are focusing on ramping up their e-commerce options. Stephanie Ballien and Mark Pearson of will provide helpful information about driving audiobook sales and growing your online presence with the aid of authors, influencers, Bookstore Link, and more. Q & A will follow their presentation. Please RSVP to attend.

Read more.


In Brief: ABA’s COVID-19 Toolkit for Independent Booksellers

As the COVID-19 outbreak begins to have a significant impact on small businesses, the American Booksellers Association is committed to providing as many resources as possible to independent bookseller members.

Read more.

Okra Picks

This month on Lady Banks Bookshelf:

lady banks bookshelf

Read This! Highest Rated Reviews from SIBA Booksellers

Reviewed by Booksellers

Some of the reviews submitted this week on Edelweiss+ from your fellow SIBA booksellers. SIBA members earn B3! points for every review if they join the SIBA community on Edelweiss. Email to be added.

Docile by K.M. Szpara, 3/3/2020
Nashville, TN
On Edelweiss

The premise of this grabbed me immediately: in a society riddled with inheritable debt, Elisha Wilder decides to free his family of it by entering servitude. But this novel is so much more. It unflinchingly explores wealth and class, consent and power. The characters and their choices stayed with me long after I closed the back cover.

Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor by Ally Carter, 3/3/2020
Reviewed by Julie Jarema, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
On Edelweiss

Ally Carter brings her signature fast-paced tales of spies and heists to the middle grade crowd in The Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor. This ragtag team of resourceful orphans, mysterious wealthy family, and lingering phantom will keep readers on their toes. This high-stakes and heartwarming adventure is all about finding your people and choosing your family, all done while getting in some serious sleuthing.

Writers & Lovers by Lily KIng, 3/17/2020
Reviewed by Lillian Kay, novel, Memphis, TN
On Edelweiss

Lily King encapsulates a young woman at the cusp of change in this slice of life novel. Casey is finally wrapping up the novel she has been working on writing for the last 6 years. As she juggles the aftermath of her beloved mother's death, a love triangle, and her career, we see a realistic depiction of what it's like to be in that awkward in between phase where you still commute to work on your rusty old banana bike, feel like a child, but are slowly "becoming " as your life slowly falls together.

More bookseller reviews

The Southern Independent Bestseller List

southern bestseller list

Printable versions for your store displays: Hardcover | Paperback | Children's.

For the week ending 3/14/2020.


1. The Mirror & the Light Hilary Mantel, Holt, $30, 9780805096606
2. The Dutch House Ann Patchett, Harper, $27.99, 9780062963673
3. American Dirt Jeanine Cummins, Flatiron Books, $27.99, 9781250209764
4. A Long Petal of the Sea Isabel Allende, Ballantine, $28, 9781984820150
5. Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090


1. The Splendid and the Vile Erik Larson, Crown, $32, 9780385348713
2. Untamed Glennon Doyle, The Dial Press, $28, 9781984801258
3. Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir Rebecca Solnit, Viking, $26, 9780593083338
4. Educated Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
5. Talking to Strangers Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown, $30, 9780316478526

See what's special to the Southern List!

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Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
Supporting independent bookstores in the South
SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

Useful Links
SIBA Office Hours on Zoom:
Wednesdays from 2:00 - 5:00 PM EST
Available during regular business hours at 803-994-9530, or anytime at

In the Land of SIBA Blog
Southern Indie Bestsellers (HC | PB | Kids)
The Booksellers' WaterCooler | Ongoing publisher promotions
In the last issue: ABACUS Resource Roundtable

Thank you for your interest in SIBA,
Nicki Leone



SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805
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