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News You Can Use from the Land of SIBA

Posted By Nicki Leone, 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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The 2017 Southern Book Prize Winners

Posted By Nicki Leone, Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 3, 2017

Celebrate Independents!  Announcing the 2017 Southern Book Prize Winners

Southern Book PrizeThe best in southern literature, from the people who would know . . . Southern Independent (and independently-minded!) Booksellers
Southern indie booksellers once again demonstrate their independence of mind by choosing an excitingly eclectic collection of books for the 2017 Southern Book Prize

Formerly the "SIBA Book Award," the newly Southern Book Prize features an expanded list of categories, inspired by the tastes and inclinations of Southern readers. Nominated by booksellers and their customers, vetted by bookstores and selected by a jury of Southern booksellers, these are the Southern books that Southern bookstores were most passionate about, and inspired the most "you've got to read this" moments and "hand sell" moments in stores across the South. They represent the best of Southern literature, from the people who would know—Southern indie booksellers.

2017 Southern Book Prize Winners


Commonwealth A Lowcountry Christmas Chasing the North Star

Coming of Age

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, 9780062491794)

Family Life
A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 9781501125539)

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books, 9781565126275)

Over the Plain Houses The Kept Woman The Whole Town's Talking Redemption Road

Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks (Hub City Press, 9781938235214)
Mystery & Detective
The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow & Company, 9780062430212)

Southern Stories & Stories by Southerners
The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (Random House, 9781400065950)

Redemption Road by John Hart (Thomas Dunne Books, 9780312380366)

Lily and Dunkin

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Delacorte Press, 9780553536744) 


The Home Place Deep Run Roots Hillbilly Elegy

Biography, Autobiography, & Memoir
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J Drew Lanham (Milkweed, 9781571313157) 

Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South by Vivian Howard (Little Brown and Company, 9780316381109)

Creative Nonfiction
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J D Vance (Harper, 9780062300546)

For more information about the Southern Book Prize, visit

Tags:  southern book prize 

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2017 Summer Okra Picks!

Posted By Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, Saturday, July 1, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The 2017 Summer Okra Picks have been selected: A sampling of savory Southern fare for the book-lover's brain! Hand-picked by Southern indie booksellers–people with impeccable taste in books.

All Summer Okra Picks have a strong Southern focus and publish between July and September, and all have fans among Southern indie booksellers: the people who are always looking out for the next great writer to fill your reading plate. So the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore and someone says, "You've got to read this!" and hands you one of these books, dig in! Better yet, ask for a second helping. Great books are always good for you!

The 2017 Summer Okra Picks

The Devil's Muse The Bookshop at Water's End The Almost Sisters Refugee

The Devil's Muse by Bill Loehfelm
Sarah Crichton Books, Hardcover, 9780374279776
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry
Berkley Books, Trade Paperback, 9780399583117
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover 9780062105714
Publication Date: July 11, 2017

Refugee by Alan Gratz
Scholastic Press, Hardcover, 9780545880831 
Publication Date: July 25, 2017

Shadow of the LIons
 Blight A Kind of Freedom Young Jane Young

Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616205003. 
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Blight by Alexandra Duncan
Greenwillow Books, Hardcover, 9780062396990
Publication Date: August 1, 2017

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Counterpoint, LLC, Hardcover, 9781619029224
Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books, Hardcover, 9781616205041
Publication Date: August 22, 2017

Rabbit If the Creek Don't Rise The Hidden Light of Northern Fires Sing, Unburied, Sing The Salt Line

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat by Patricia Williams
Dey Street Books, Hardcover, 9780062407306
Publication Date: August 22, 2017

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
Sourcebooks Landmark, Trade Paperback, 9781492647454
Publication Date: August 22, 2017

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9781250122353
Publication Date: August 29, 2017

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781501126062
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
G.P. Putnam's Sons, Hardcover, 9780735214316
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

For more information about the Okra Picks, visit

Tags:  okra picks 

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Bookstore Boot-Camp: Learning the Essential Business Skills

Posted By Nicki Leone, Friday, June 16, 2017
Bookstore Boot-Camp: Learning the Essential Business Skills


As much as a passion for books is essential to owning a bookstore, so is learning the business and best practices of bookselling. If you are new to retail management, new to owning your own small business, or new to bookselling, gaining the necessary skills is critical to the success of your new venture.


New owners have the opportunity to learn how to develop a profitable and sustainable business at the workshop retreat, “Owning a Bookstore: The Business Essentials” (also known as “Bookstore Boot-Camp”), August 27-30 in Nashville, Tennessee. 


Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, this workshop is facilitated by Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman of The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, with guest booksellers and trainers to share frontline expertise. Parnassus Books, bestselling author Ann Patchett’s bookstore, will be our bookstore host and the workshop will also feature a field trip to Ingram’s home offices and primary warehouse.

Trainees are required to first complete a self-study online training program to gain an understanding of the start-up investment requirements, learn how to assess the strength of a community to sustain a bookstore, be able to judge location options, and understand bookstore financial dynamics. With video presentations, hand-outs, spreadsheets, and exercises, the online training is designed to provide the fundamentals of the bookstore business.

Then when you join your colleagues at “Bookstore Boot Camp,” you will learn what you need during the start-up phase:  the key elements of store design and how much space you need, how to buy books and non-book merchandise, the disciplines of managing inventory, how to effectively use your bookstore computer system to manage the store, effective and low cost marketing strategies, developing an exceptional staff and more. Booksellers will learn best practices and finely-tuned strategies of the most successful independent bookstores, meet vendors, and become part of the supportive book industry network.

ABA members are eligible for discounted tuition. Workshop registration is limited, so it is recommended that you register early. For details, visit or call 904/277-2664.

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McLemore/Hollern & Associates Merges into Southeastern Book Travelers

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From Shelf Awareness this morning:


Sal McLemore and Larry Hollern of McLemore/Hollern & Associates have merged into Southeastern Book Travelers, expanding Southeastern's coverage to Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Southeastern continues to cover Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

"Sal and Larry are seasoned professionals, and it is my honor to serve as their new principal," said Chip Mercer, owner of Southeastern Book Travelers. "I view Sal and Larry as the gift with purchase of our merger, and we are excited to include the South West to our territory. Bringing the two groups together under one umbrella will strengthen our position to provide coverage for our publishers and establish long term continuity as well." A majority of publishers have been represented by both groups in the two territories, he added.

All payables, accounting and operations will be consolidated to the office of Southeastern Book Travelers in Birmingham, Ala.

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