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2018 Conroy Legacy Award Winner: Kwame Alexander

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Friday, September 15, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2017

2018 Conroy Legacy Award Winner: Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander(Columbia, SC) Kwame Alexander, the Virginia-based poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author, has been selected as the first recipient of the Conroy Legacy Award.

Created in honor of the example set by the beloved Southern author Pat Conroy, the Conroy Legacy Award was established in 2017 to recognize writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community, demonstrating support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general, writing that focuses significantly on their home place, and support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.

"I met Pat once," said Alexander on being informed of his selection, "He was witty, connected, caring, and a brilliant storyteller–as much in person as he was on the page. He was all the things a writer should want to be. All the things I've wanted to be. I am filled with wonderment and humbled deeply to be honored in his remembrance."

Kwame Alexander was chosen to be the first Conroy Legacy Award winner by a jury of Southern independent booksellers. Alexander is the author of 24 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages and believes poetry can change the world.

"Kwame Alexander is at the forefront when it comes to mentoring the next generation of writers, not just in the US but worldwide," says Hillary Barrineau, of Hooray 4 Books in Alexandria, Virginia. "He won a Newbery Award [2015], which means not only The Crossover but also many of his other 23 books [essays, collections, poetry, and novels] are in every school and library in the US. Notably, they are set in Virginia, where he was born and raised, but clearly resonate with readers everywhere."

"When he visits schools across the country," she continued, "he makes a point of coordinating when possible with the local indie bookstores to provide the books at his events. The year he won the Newbery, he attended our bookstore's "Grand Expansion Party," driving here directly from his daughter's wedding earlier that day." 

Alexander also spearheads the Page to Stage Writing Workshop, which has created more than 3,000 student authors in nearly 70 schools in the US, Canada, and Caribbean, and he recently led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they built and stocked a library and trained 300 teachers to promote literacy in that country.
"We are thrilled to have Kwame Alexander as our first Conroy Legacy Award recipient," said SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell. "He is exactly the kind of writer the award seeks to honor. Our booksellers love his books, his support of independent bookstores is well known, his commitment to his own community and to fostering a love of writing and literature–especially among young people–is legendary. I think Pat Conroy would be very pleased."

Both a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and a donation to a literary entity close to the heart of the writer will be made in the name of the Legacy Award recipient.

Some Books by Kwame Alexander
Solo (2017)
Booked (2016)
Surf's Up (2016)
The Crossover: A Novel (2014)
Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Honor, NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, Passaic Poetry Prize
He Said, She Said: A Novel (2013)
Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band (2011)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
Indigo Blume and the Garden City (2010)
NAACP Image Award Nominee
And Then You Know: New and Selected Poems (2008)
An American Poem (2008)
Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, ed. (2007)
Crush: Love Poems (2007)
The Way I Walk: short stories and poems for Young Adults, ed. (2006)
Dancing Naked on the Floor: poems and essays (2005)


Tags:  conroy legacy award  kwame alexander 

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Making plans for NOLA and the #SIBA17 Discovery Show: Foretelling the Future of the Book

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hello, dearest and most beloved booksellers,

More wildly, vastly important and timely news from the land of SIBA!


  1. #SIBA17 education tracks
  2. Fall Okra Pick nominations are due
  3. Scholarships are still available for the Discovery Show

The #SIBA17 Discovery Show#SIBA17 NEWS

  1. September 1 is the deadline to register for the Discovery Show.
    After Sep. 1, there is a $75 late registration fee.  We have a full schedule packed with exhibitors, writers, education and more fun that is allowed at most shows across the country!

    Register here|Your username to login is @@username@@

  2. FYI, Sep. 1 is also the deadline to nominate Fall Okra Picks.
    It seems that nearly 100% of booksellers are in love with the new bookmarks.  You can thank new assistant director Linda-Marie Barrett for that.  It never pays to get to married to an idea.  We will soon be creating a new set of bookmarks for books published in OCT – DEC, 2017.  Submit your nominations.

  3. There are 2, TWO, count them, 2, more Discovery Show Scholarships.
    Thanks to The Reba and Dave Williams Foundation, we have been able to send 50+ booksellers to the SIBA Discovery Show over the last five years, and this year is no exception.  We still have two unclaimed scholarships from Reba & Dave.  Find the details here.

  4. Last Call to participate in the Southern Book Prize Winners Table Display:
    We only have one store signed up.  Don't make it so easy for them to take home the $1000.  The idea is simple enough but if we can't drum up more participation than we have since its inception, this will be the last year we will offer this opportunity.  We provide the table.  You bring the display.  The display must be of one, some, or all of the winners. Email Wanda if you want to participate.

  5. Exciting News – Inaugural 2018 Conroy Legacy Award Winner
    Booksellers have chosen the first Conroy Legacy Award Winner, and if that is not exciting enough, the winner is going to be at the #SIBA17 Discovery Show, and is coming for the whole weekend.  We are so excited to have our first Conroy Legacy Award Winner celebrating with us in the city of celebrations.  You don't want to miss this!

Is your membership current?
Your name: @@first_name@@ @@last_name@@
Your store: @@employer@@
Your member type (store/staff): @@member_type@@
Your membership expiration: @@membership_exp_date@@ *

**if your member type says "staff" then your expiration date is whenever your bookstore's membership expires.

Renew here | Booksellers Benefits Package

Tags:  #siba17  okra picks 

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Deadlines you don't want to miss: News you can use from the Land of SIBA

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hello, dearest and most beloved booksellers,

Here in the land of SIBA we have our eyes fixed on September in New Orleans. The Discovery Show schedule is constantly being updated so do check it often to see who will be coming to the Show.


  1. Welcome your new Board members
  2. Top 10 things to do at #SIBA17
  3. Two very, very, VERY important deadlines!


Elected and Re-elected

Erica Merrell of Wild Iris Books in Gainesville, Florida was re-elected to another 3 year term for the SIBA Board.  We are glad to have Erica continue as a valuable member of our Board.

Erica Merrell

We also welcome to the SIBA Board, Kelly Justice, owner and operator of The Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia.  Kelly will serve a 3 year term beginning January 1, 2019.  Most of you know Kelly as she has worked in independent bookstores since 1989, as manager of The Fountain Bookstore since 2000 and became its owner in 2008.  Kelly JusticeKelly has served on the SIBA Board and as SIBA President.  Kelly has also served the ABA on its Nominating Committee and Bookseller Advisory Council. 

As many of you already know, Linda-Marie Barrett resigned from Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe on June 1, 2017.  She also resigned from the SIBA Board as board members must be affiliated with a store that is a SIBA Core Member to be on the Board.  Your SIBA Board felt compelled to fill the open board position for the rest of the calendar year, so, upon Kelly's election to the Board we asked if she would let us appoint her to the open board seat for the rest of 2017; she has accepted and will begin immediately helping us decide on how we can serve our membership most effectively. 

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in NOLA at the Ease Into SIBA Breakfast. 

And stop by for a drink in the bar with the board at our "Meet the Board" session before or after you've visited the SignArounds between 4 & 5 pm on Friday.

Doug Robinson
President, SIBA
Eagle Eye Book Shop-Decatur, Georgia

The #SIBA17 Discovery Show#SIBA17 TOP TEN

  1. If you haven't registered for the #SIBA17 Discovery Show, now's the time.  New Orleans will not be the same without you. Register here.
      Your username to login is @@username@@

  2. Get your hotel room.  Rooms deadline is Aug. 15th. Gold Star First-Time Booksellers should plan to attend the First-Timers Gold Star Orientation on Saturday morning from 9-9:30 in the Rampart Room.

  3. And if you are coming in early for ABA's Diversity Session, register here, RSVP for the Bookstores Tour, and get back in time for the TrioLive @ Nine.

  4. The print show directory will be on-site but in advance of the show and to prep orders for the Buyers Raffle, check early and often the online Exhibitor Listings for show specials.

  5. And the stellar line-up of writers will blow you away.

  6. Thanks to the University of South Carolina Press' sponsorship, Heads or Tails is back! With more ways to win the $500.  Supporting booksellers supports us all.

  7. Wanna' win $1000?  Create your best table display showcasing one, some or all of the Southern Book Prize Winners.  Or create more than one in the store and see which are the most successful.  Pack up and bring it the show.  But first, email your intent to enter by Sep. 10.

  8. SocialLink Surprises – We'd like to see every bookseller engaged on SocialLink. To that end, we will be offering a multitude of prizes only on SocialLink and the first bookseller to comment "Claimed" will win the prize which can be picked up from the sponsor's booth.  Take a moment to download our new app: "SocialLink Mobile App" from the app store on your phone.  Log in with your SIBA username: @@username@@.
    Email if you need help.

  9. SIBA's NOLA On-site Concierge Service: Michael Murphy, former VP with Random House, then Publisher of William Morrow, has been a resident of and enthusiast for New Orleans the last 10 years. He is a licensed tour guide and has written five books about his beloved home. Michael is available to suggest restaurants, music venues, out-of-the-way, non-touristy spots to visit, as well as emergency needs like dry-cleaning, masseuse, child care, etc. You may additionally contact Michael before coming to New Orleans to secure hard-to-get reservations or book tours ahead of time.  He may be reached by email ( or text (504-377-7745).

  10. Remembering Kristin Keith, Carla Gray, John Luckett, Don Morrison and other Friends – From 9-10 pm on Saturday night in the Oak Alley room, join together to bid farewell to the industry friends we lost in this last year. 



The deadline to order your imprinted Holiday Catalog is August 14. Don't miss out on one of the most useful and profitable tools your store can have for the holiday season. Place your store order here.

The nomination deadline for the Fall Okra Picks is September 1. Take a moment to submit the books you are most looking forward to this Fall. Books must be Southern in nature, and publish between October and December. Nominate here

Sign up for the Okra Picks Newsletter!
See a sample | Sign up for the newsletter here


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Join Wednesdays With Wanda for SIBA Office Hours Starts Today @ 1PM

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hello Dearest Bookseller,

Starting August 2nd, you’re invited to join me for Wednesdays With Wanda Office Hours from 1-4 pm weekly. I’ll be on Zoom during these hours available to answer any questions, concerns, or suggestions that members may have. Please feel free to consult with me during off-hours as well about any concerns you may have.

To participate in the weekly Office Hours:

Visit set up your free account and follow the directions below to join weekly.

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +14086380968,,328846384# or +16465588656,,328846384#

Or Telephone:

Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)

Meeting ID: 328 846 384

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.


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News You Can Use from the Land of SIBA

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Monday, July 17, 2017
Updated: Sunday, July 16, 2017

It may be July, but here in the land of SIBA we have our eyes fixed on September in New Orleans. The Discovery Show schedule is constantly being updated so do check it often to see who will be coming to the Show.


  1. Holiday Catalog Update: Deadline to order is August 14!
  2. Scholarships for #SIBA17 Registration is open!
  3. The Summer 2017 Okra Picks Newsletter is available
  4. The Circle of Sites/Banner-for-Dues Program has been upgraded
  5. The return of Shelf Reliance


The deadline to order your imprinted catalogs is August 14!

It's been brought to our attention that there is an error in the "Mark Your Calendar" sheets and on the Booksellers Benefits Package cover calendar that says the deadline to order your SIBA Holiday Catalogs is July 15. That's obviously wrong! The deadline for ordering imprinted catalogs is August 14th.

The link to order catalogs for your store is now live though, so there is no reason to wait to place your orders.

The #SIBA17 Discovery Show#SIBA17 SCHOLARSHIPS

The best kept secret about the Discovery Show that we wish wasn't a secret!

SIBA is committed to helping every bookseller who wishes to attend The Discovery Show find a way to come. Every year financial assistance is made available via the generous support of publishers and organizations who recognize what a vital resource the show is for stores and want to help them access it. After all, stronger bookstores mean better sales for their books.

Click here to see all the available scholarships for booksellers

And a word to the wise -- New Orleans, like Savannah, is a popular destination. We had sellout crowds in 2013 and expect the same this year. Meal tickets, especially, went very quickly.

Make your travel plans early:


"Opened my Okra box today. Love the new bookmark size and list of Okra Picks on the back. Shelf Talkers are also really wonderful. You just made my Okra display look so professional and so easy to do. Much thanks!" --Annell Gerson, The Bookmiser

By now every store should have received their summer Okra Picks mailing, complete with the newly redesigned bookmarks, and back by request, shelf talkers for each Okra Pick title. One of the reasons we were able to provide shelf talkers this season is that we received some stellar quotes from SIBA member bookstores about each of the books they nominated. Keep that in mind when you send in your nominations. Your enthusiasm is what makes people want to pick up these books!

The Okra Picks Newsletter is now open for SIBA stores to sign up!

Modeled after the Indie Next newsletter for readers, the Okra Picks newsletter is store branded with "Buy Now" buttons linked to your store's website. It is sent out four times a year in the middle of each Okra Season, thus featuring books that are brand new or about to be released.

Stores that participate in the Okra Picks Newsletter retain ownership of their email list and materials. Each participating store will receive 200 B3! points for the first mailing, and 50 point for each subsequent mailing.

To see a sample of the Okra Picks Newsletter for the Spring season,

Sign up for the newsletter here:


Deactivation of old banner code is now in progress

If your store is participating in the Banner-for-dues program you have already heard the system is being upgraded to a more effective, stable, and secure platform. Upgrades are now complete and all participating stores have been notified. If you have not upgraded your banner code, or not received any notification about upgrading, then contact immediately. As of August 1, any store not running the upgraded banner code will be taken off the list.

Have you signed up for IndieLite? Then your store is eligible to be in the CoS program!

If you have ecommerce on your store site and are not doing the Banner-For-Dues program, you can contact Nicki to see if you are eligible. Basically any site where you can search for a book by ISBN qualifies. Once your banner is up, you don't have to do anything else, so it is an easy, hassle-free way to keep your SIBA membership current.

Currently appearing on Circle of Sites, (aka Lady Banks' Pick of the Week):


If you have been checking in to the member hub or following SIBA on facebook and twitter, you've seen the posts and pictures from Linda-Marie Barrett as she travels around SIBA territory, visiting member stores as a "Rep on the Road," and listening to bookseller ideas and concerns. What you might not have realized is that she is also serving as SIBA's Author Liaison, helping authors learn the bookselling business from an indie bookseller perspective, and working to create profitable relationships between authors and bookstores.

Among other things, Linda-Marie has re-launched the Shelf Reliance Blog for authors, specifically targeted towards authors who want to work with independent bookstores. Every bookseller knows authors who find themselves doing their own promotion and marketing, and could use some guidance. We encourage you to tell them about Shelf Reliance, or use anything Linda-Marie says in your own talks with the authors interested in working with you.

Linda-Marie can be reached at

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