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Meet the bookseller! Annie Butterworth Jones, The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Annie Butterworth Jones, owner and managing partner of The Bookshelf

A Tallahassee native, Annie began living her Kathleen Kelly-dream in 2013, when she took over operations of The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia. Annie and her husband Jordan now happily call downtown Thomasville home, and Annie spends her days among fellow readers and the books she loves. She adores leading story time for local little ones and acting as the shop's very own Nancy Drew, determined to find just the right book for just the right person. Annie currently co-hosts From the Front Porch, The Bookshelf's weekly podcast about books, small business, and life in the South. (In 2016, Annie was featured as one of Southern Living magazine's 50 innovators changing the South, and The Bookshelf was recently named Small Business of the Year by the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce.) 

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Name: Annie B. Jones

The BookshelfStore and location: 
The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia

Number of years as a bookseller: Six years

Best part about being a bookseller?:
The moments when I connect with a customer on a book we both read and loved. Those conversations are like mini-book club meetings, and they're my favorite thing. 

What book(s) are you reading?:
I'm always drowning in ARCs, so right now I'm reading The Queen of Hearts, a debut novel releasing mid-February. (Jury's still out, but I like what I've read thus far.) I try to read one fiction and one non-fiction at a time, so I'm also reading David Leibovitz's L'Appart, which is perfect to pick up and put down during this hectic season. 

Favorite handsell of 2017:
Do I have to pick just one? Probably Young Jane Young, but I also loved selling Rabbit Cake and Little Fires Everywhere this year. 

The Bookshelf InteriorBest thing you did this year at your store: 
We're in an off-the-beaten-path location, and it can be tough to get authors to come to our small town, so for Small Business Saturday, we invited other entrepreneurs to come do pop-up shops in our store. We wanted to celebrate small businesses we loved, and it wound up being such a great day. We hosted our local kids' craft studio, which meant 5-year-old entrepreneurs got to sell their handmade goods in our bookstore, and an 11-year-old author signed copies of her self-published book. (We were basically all in tears watching the joy on their faces.) To top it all off, we did a live recording of our store podcast in partnership with The Popcast, a pop culture podcast we're big fans of. It was a jam-packed day, but everything went swimmingly, and we got to partner with so many people we loved. It was perfect.

Top priority going into 2018: 
I'd love to see us maintain and sustain our growth. So much of 2017 was experimenting and seeing what worked, which was great, but also exhausting. I want to keep doing the things we do well, and if possible, eliminate the excess for my own well-being and the well-being of my staff.

Favorite SIBA programming benefit:
SIBA has introduced me to fellow booksellers I wouldn't have met otherwise, and those connections have allowed me to create a network of people I trust with my business. As someone still relatively new to the whole bookselling enterprise, some of SIBA's educational courses and seminars have also been really helpful. 

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Eagle Eye Book Shop says...
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Stopped by her store while on a fishing trip. Beautiful store, very well merchandised. I'm working on emulating some of her ideas in Decatur.
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Sheri Levy says...
Posted Monday, December 25, 2017
Sounds like you have a love for helping others find the right book. I live in Bluffton and look forward to driving to GA to share my Trina Ryan novel series on being a puppy raiser for service dogs. I love doing author visits at schools and have friends there to visit.;
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