News you can use from the Land of SIBA, March 26, 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 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
Store closed? Update your shipping address

SIBA Office Hours on Zoom:

Monday - Friday from 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST through May 1st
803-994-9530 |

In the Land of SIBA Blog

Recap: ABA Town Hall Meeting

Rent relief, e-commerce options, and virtual events were among the many topics covered at the ABA's March 19th Town Hall Meeting on Zoom

Allison Hill

“Our number one priority is how to support bookstores so that they are all still here when the crisis is over.” – Allison Hill

The ABA’s primary focus has been on advocating for measures that will relieve bookstores of the immediate cash flow issues they face from forced closures. One of the first steps was to donate $100,000 to Binc, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.  Binc’s priority is to provide emergency aid to booksellers who face unexpected expenses.  At the same time, since stores find themselves having to switch to online sales to maintain any kind of cash flow, the ABA has expedited payments on IndieCommerce and Indielite sales and implemented a donation module that stores can activate on their IC sites.

read more

Bookstores should also note these essential tools:

Keeping Employees Safe: Best Practices

(Adapted by Robert Martin, Executive Director of the Independent Booksellers Consortium, with permission from Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, CA)

Part of the anxiety booksellers must face during this outbreak is whether having employees come into the store to process web orders and do curbside pick up is risking exposure for them. To that end, we created a set of rules for the employees. Maybe this will help others.

  • Managers will never schedule more than 10 people in the store at the same time.
  • Please wash your hands with soap and water when you first arrive before doing anything else.
  • The store should try to keep a 6 ft. distance between employees and set up work stations to be at least 6 feet apart.
  • Do not use public transportation to get to work--let your manager know if that is your only method so they can try to find an alternative for you.
  • Employees coming into work need to be self isolating at home otherwise so as to not spread germs here. If you are not self isolating during your non-work hours, please let your manager know so they can find appropriate tasks for you to safely complete.
  • The household situation of employees is also important to communicate--if you live with anyone who takes public transit, interacts with others for work, or is otherwise at risk.
  • The bathrooms should cleaned and de-sanitized every morning by a professional crew, and staff are only using your bathrooms (not the building's bathrooms).
  • Every work station and phone should be sanitized before you start working in the morning and then sanitized again every two hours.
  • Once a manager assigns you to a particular station, only use that station, except when you need to use a shared register (which should be the minimum amount possible).
  • Sanitize a pen and then carry that one pen with you for the rest of the day instead of sharing pens.
  • Any shared documents (phone log, etc.) should no longer be required.
  • Most importantly: do not come into work sick, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water consistently, do not touch your face, and cough/sneeze into your sleeve.

More COVID-19 Info from SIBA

Online Event Security: Zoom Best Practices

No sooner had Zoom become the go-to alternative for events, than “zoombombing” became a thing: Internet trolls, taking advantage of open and public meeting links to log on and hijack meetings by sharing highly inappropriate material from a series of sock-puppet accounts. Meeting hosts found they had lost control of their own meetings and were unable to control the behavior of trolling attendees. Some meetings even had to be canceled.

Luckily, Zoom has some built-in safeguards that are easy to enable and will prevent troublemakers from gate-crashing your online event.

For public (open) meetings:

  • Never use your Personal Meeting ID to host public events. Once that information it out there, anyone can use it to log into your personal meeting space.  Always generate a new meeting ID for every planned event.
  • Enable your waiting room, so you can control when people come in to your meeting.
  • Mute all attendees on entry. Even if your attendees are well behaved, random background noise from open microphones will disrupt your event.
  • Disable video for attendees. A troll can’t do much if no one can see them.
  • Only allow the host to share their screen. It’s your event, don’t let attendees hijack the stage.

read more


Don't Brush Your Teeth On Camera: Lady Smith's First Zoom Event

Lady SmithJust two weeks ago, the idea of a “virtual author event” was still a novel concept, an out-of-the-box idea. How quickly things have changed. I was in a Zoom meeting with SIBA on March 10 when Wanda Jewell suggested that bookstores might consider using the platform to host an online event. My store, The Snail on the Wall, had just gotten word that our next event on the calendar was canceled: a ticketed Conversation with Christina Lauren, aka authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, who were scheduled to be on book tour for their newest romantic comedy, The Honey-Don’t List. On a whim, after hearing Wanda’s idea, I shot an e-mail to the publicist to ask if the authors would consider trying a virtual event. A day later, she replied with a resounding “yes!” And I panicked. My only experience with Zoom was attending a few ABA marketing meet-ups and SIBA meetings. In one recent meeting, I accidentally brushed my teeth in front of everyone after attempting to turn off my camera, but evidently hitting the wrong button. I was a Zoom novice about to become a host.

read more

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: Call for Nominations: SIBA Board, Conroy Legacy Award

April 30th is the deadline to nominate to the SIBA Board. Now, more than ever, SIBA needs strong board leadership. Serving on the SIBA Board is both rewarding and enlightening. Consider someone today for a board position. Self nominations are encouraged, and anyone can nominate. Click here.

April 30th is also the deadline to nominate writers for the Conroy Legacy Award, which honors the example of beloved author Pat Conroy and recognizes writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community. Recipients will have shown the following attributes:

  • Support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general.
  • Writing that focuses significantly on their own home place.
  • Demonstrates support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

Click here

In Brief: 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

Okra Picks

This month on Lady Banks Bookshelf:

lady banks bookshelf

The Southern Independent Bestseller List

southern bestseller list

Online/Printable versions for your store displays & websites:
 Hardcover | Paperback | Children's

For the week ending 3/21/2020.


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. Such a Fun Age Kiley Reid, Putnam, $26, 9780525541905
5. The Night Watchman Louise Erdrich, Harper, $28.99, 9780062671189


1. The Splendid and the Vile Erik Larson, Crown, $32, 9780385348713
2. Untamed Glennon Doyle, The Dial Press, $28, 9781984801258
3. Educated Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
4. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone Lori Gottlieb, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328662057
5. The Body Bill Bryson, Doubleday, $30, 9780385539302

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:
Monday - Friday 1:00-2:00 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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