- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 22:35
- Category: SIBA News
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk took him through A Land More Kind Than Home, down to The Cove where the Sea Changes, and A Million Suns Shine Shine Shine on its Fathomless waves, holding him in Thrall. His Descent led Down Bohicket Road towards his Permanent Camp overlooking The Accidental City, its buildings climbing the far slope to Stand Up That Mountain in the distance. It’s just a piece of Stray Decorum, he thought walking through the streets, dodging Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons as it swatted at the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, who no longer lived in the old apartment building on the corner but had left the critters to flutter about, nonetheless. He wandered past My Bookstore and walked into the Back in the Day Bakery, where a class on Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking was underway (you could tell by the smell of fried chicken). He thought, “I’m hungry,” as he and my sister and Pete all gathered Around the Southern Table, laden with heaping platters of ole Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides. Billy Lynn turned to my sister and said “I just want to Chomp on 34 Pieces of You.” And she smiled. “Wouldn’t that make me Three Times Lucky,” she said. I knew then I was Losing My Sister to him.
(Columbia, SC) April 17, 2013 -- Southern Indie Booksellers have spoken! Members of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance have selected this year’s finalists for the 2013 SIBA Book Awards. There are twenty-five books on the list, representing booksellers' favorite hand sells of the year in fiction, nonfiction, children's, young adult, poetry and cooking.
2013 SIBA Book Award Finalists:
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash (William Morrow & Company)
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (Ecco Press)
The Cove by Ron Rash (Ecco Press)
Sea Change by Karen White (New American LIbrary)
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer (St. Martins Press)
Stray Decorum by George Singleton (Dzanc Books)
Descent by Kathryn Stripling Byer (Louisiana State University Press)
Permanent Camp by George Ellison (History Press)
Thrall by Natasha Trethewey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans by Lawrence N. Powell (Harvard University Press)
Down Bohicket Road: An Artist S Journey. Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyte. with Excerpts from Alfreda S World by Mary Whyte (University of South Carolina Press)
Losing My Sister by Judy Goldman (John F. Blair Publisher)
My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop by Ron Rice (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)
Stand Up That Mountain by Jay Erskine Leutze (Scribner Book Company)
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day (Artisan)
Fred Thompson's Southern Sides: 250 Dishes That Really Make the Plate by Fred Thompson (University of North Carolina Press)
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart (Gibbs Smith Publishers)
Around the Southern Table: Coming Home to Comforting Meals and Treasured Memories by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House)
Chomp by Carl Hiaasen (Alfred Knopf Books for Young Readers)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean (HarperCollins)
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues (Simon Pulse)
A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Razorbill)
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Finalists will be judged by a juried panel of SIBA booksellers, and winners will be announced on July 4, "Independents Day." More information about the SIBA Book Awards can be found at sibaweb.com/siba-book-award.
- Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 21:35
- Category: SIBA News
“Raise your hand if you’ve ever been frustrated by a customer who didn’t know the difference between fiction and nonfiction,” said Shane Gottwals into the microphone. Every hand in the room shot up, fast. Gottwals, owner of Gottwals Books, nodded solemnly while people in the audience smiled.
It was one of many lighthearted moments at the “Day of Education” sponsored by the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. About fifty booksellers attended the day-long series of seminars and presentations on the day before the GABBS show floor opened, hoping to garner new ideas and inspiration for their businesses.
The theme for the day was “Diversification,” a word that means one thing in the public sphere, but in the retail business world is all about product mix. “Demystifying Used Book Sales” was the topic of Gottwals’ session. Gift Buying, School Sales, and Antiquarian buying were among the other topics that were “demystified” during the course of the day in a series of workshops that seemed to cover everything from how the newly adopted Common Core standards work in the classroom to how to safely remove mold from books with wallpaper cleaner.
The mood throughout the day was upbeat, both presenters and attendees focused on new opportunities instead of defensive strategies. “The timing is right for bookstores to get into the school market,” insisted Richard Buthod of Turtleback Books in his “Demystifying School Sales” session, explaining how state adoptions of Common Core standards and new commitments to early education have created new offices in new departments, and most significantly, with new budgets that have flexible guidelines. “The bookseller’s role is to be an expert on titles,” said Buthod, pointing out that booksellers are uniquely positioned to make schools and educators aware of the vast array of books that will work under the new Common Core standard, whose underlying philosophy Buthod summed up as “the only way children will learn to read better is to read more.” (A statement that caused several people in the audience to reach for their phones to tweet it.)
Sitting in the audience, Chris Curry from A Novel Experience in Zebulon, Georgia, was impressed. “It is a perennial surprise,” she said, “--the subject that promises the least, delivers big-time…thank you, Richard Buthod, for explaining this convoluted mash-up in a clear, understandable way and showing me how I can utilize to sell more titles to our local kids and school system.”
“The big advantage of carrying used books,” advised Shane Gottwals, “is that it opens up your store to titles you wouldn’t have otherwise.” He pointed out that carrying new kinds of product does not and should not change a store’s identity. “Only take in books in great condition,” he said, “and display the stock like you display new books.” It’s a strategy that has worked so well for Gottwals he has grown it into what might be the only used bookstore franchise in the country.
“It’s about telling a story and creating a kind of treasure hunt in your store,” said Kim Salzstein, the Gift Buyer for Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. “It’s about exploration.” Her recommendation? “Mix it up.” Don’t put the gifts in one section and the books in another--display the honey butter soap with The Secret Life of Bees right in the fiction section. “I try to create displays that draw customers further and further into the store,” she said. Both Salzstein and Gayle Shanks, the owner of Changing Hands, reiterated how clever cross merchandising can easily turn a $40 sale into a $140 sale simply by placing a nice salad bowl alongside a staff-pick cookbook.
“I have five key things I think about when I imagine a customer coming into Changing Hands,” said Shanks. “That they can find great books everyone can afford. That they have an extraordinary shopping experience that pleases all the senses. That they see a mix of products that convinces them to stay longer, and come back often. That they receive great customer service. And that they can participate in events that deepen the connection between themselves and our literary community.”
Shanks also punctuated her philosophy with some more practical advice for the bargain book buyer-- “Don’t buy skids,” she said. “Do carry water and hand lotion everywhere.”
The day included a booksellers forum over lunch sponsored by the American Booksellers Association. ABA CEO Oren Teicher led the discussion, answering questions on the ABA’s partnership with Kobo to bring e-readers and e-books into the indie bookselling market, educational programs for prospective booksellers looking to fill gaps made by the recent closing of Borders stores, current initiatives in the fight for sales tax fairness, and the variety of ways bookstores are becoming involved in “buy local” campaigns within their own communities.
Teicher also addressed the issue of “showrooming” -- the sometimes resented practice of customers using brick-and-mortar stores to look at books they then purchase online. Teicher pointed out that publishers are beginning to recognize showrooming as an example of how the indie bookseller’s relevance in the market is greater than its market share might suggest, and insisted that this was an opportunity bookstores could use to negotiate with suppliers.
“It’s been a good year for bookselling,” Teicher said. Feedback from the attendees suggests that booksellers agree. “I loved this event!...I know that Malaprop's can integrate a lot of the things we learned,” said Caroline Christopoulos of Malaprops Bookstore & Café in Asheville, North Carolina. “I came away with lots of good ideas and positive feelings about the somewhat frustrating future of bookselling,” commented Linda Ray of Curiosity Shop Books & Gifts in Murphy, North Carolina.
Janet Bollum, of Muse Book Shop in Deland, Florida, was a little more emphatic. "The day of education gave me so many wonderful ideas that I returned to the store with an new vision and have been in a revamp frenzy ever since."