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Making the most of your Edelweiss reviews

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, July 4, 2019

The reviews booksellers submit to Edelweiss have become one of the most important tools SIBA has to promote and advocate for its members in the book industry and to the reading public at large. It's so important that SIBA gives stores SIBA credit for every review they post. A couple reviews a week can really add up!

Things to keep in mind when you submit reviews:

  1. Check your store information is accurate on your account. SIBA only looks at reviews from stores within SIBA territory. If you have no State information, or if your Organization doesn't correspond with SIBA records, your reviews won't show up in our list

  2. Make sure your review "role type" equals "Bookseller." We filter out all non-bookseller reviews, and if you don't select a role type at all, your review will not be reported to SIBA.

    Note: If you have never actually requested a review copy on Edelweiss, you may not have ever been prompted to choose a role type. The best way to fix that is to go to the Review Copies section in Edelweiss and click on one of the request buttons. (see below)

    Edelweiss Screenshot

  3. Get your staff to participate. More reviewers = more SIBA credit and more chances for your store to be seen by publishers, customers, and potential customers. (Hear from Jill Hendrix at Fiction Addication on how she gets her staff involved on Edelweiss

How does SIBA use your reviews?

Store reviews (and consequently store reviewers) are shared on SIBA's websites, blogs, newsletters and social media:

  • Reviews of forthcoming books are shared on both SIBA's bookstore and industry blogs, and sent out via the "SIBALAND" newsletter to every bookseller, publisher, sales rep, and publicist in our database.
  • Positive reviews of eligible titles are marked as potential Okra Picks for the forthcoming season and considered de facto nominations for The Southern Book Prize
  • Once the books are published, positive reviews are posted to SIBA's consumer website, under its Read This! banner. All books are linked back to the recommending store for purchase. There are nearly 1000 book reviews from Southern booksellers on the ARTS website, making it one of the most extensive collections of bookseller recommendations online.
  • The current week's reviews are published in the Lady Banks newsletter, and featured in all editions of the Lady Banks Calendar newsletter of member store events.
  • Blurbs from store reviews are also used wherever appropriate in the promotional materials SIBA creates for its member bookstores.

Thanks to the Edelweiss Reviewer tool, your short reviews can have a big impact for your store.

Tags:  Edelweiss  store reviews 

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Independent Bookstores Celebrate Bookstore Romance Day Saturday, August 17, 2019

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Indie bookstores nationwide will celebrate the romance book genre with store events, author readings, and themed merchandise on Saturday, August 17, 2019.  Avoiding the oversaturation of Valentine’s Day in February, Bookstore Romance Day is scheduled to take place during Romance Awareness Month, occurring each August (because August is the hottest month of the year). Begun in 1987 by Eileen Buchheim, Romance Awareness Month was intended to celebrate romance in all its forms. Tired of the antiquated notion that independent bookstores are too snobby to sell romance titles, the independent booksellers behind Bookstore Romance Day intend to show romance authors, romance publishers, and romance readers that romance books are more than supported – they’re celebrated. “There are those of us who have been quietly reading and supporting the genre for years, and we’re being joined and supported by a new generation of booksellers who believe all reading is good reading,” said Billie Bloebaum of Third Street Books in McMinnville, OR, the bookseller who first proposed the event. “There’s still a lot of work to do, still hearts and minds to change, but progress is being made, and an event like this should, we hope, raise the visibility of romance-friendly bookstores.” The 2019 date is intended to be a soft launch for what will become a yearly event with booksellers and bookstores around the country, corporate and independent publishers, authors from all romance genres and sub-genres, and romance readers coming together for author readers, in-store and virtual events, exclusive merchandise, and above all, a celebration of love and romance.

For more or contact Billie Bloebaum

Tags:  Bookstsore Romance Day 

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ABACUS Deadline extended to July 12

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, July 1, 2019

Deadline to participate in ABACUS extended to July 12

The ABA has pushed back the deadline to submit your store's info to the annual ABACUS survey. By becoming part of the ABACUS community of participating bookstores, booksellers will receive:

  • a full ABACUS benchmarking report (including comparative financial ratios, operations data, and company profile information),
  • a customized bookstore performance report, and
  • a range of online reporting tools that provide a wide variety of specific analyses, allowing stores to evaluate performance versus similar companies and track their company’s performance over time against the industry results, among other criteria.

Click here for more information


(via The Independent Bookseller)

Tags:  Abacus 

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2019 Summer Okra Picks

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

Okra Picks(Asheville, NC) –Southern indie booksellers have announced their 2019 Summer Okra Picks, a baker’s dozen of the titles they are most looking forward to telling their customers to try. Taken together, the Okra Picks are not your average summer reading list – each book was chosen because it is Southern in nature and has devoted fans in the Southern indie bookselling community. The Summer Okra Picks release in July, August, and September, and every book on the list has a Southern bookseller ready to put it in the hands of readers with that most exciting phrase in the English language, “You’ve got to read this!
Southern independent bookstores – we grow good books!

Late MigrationsThe Last List of Miss Judith KrattThe Substitution Order
The Nickel BoysNever Have I EverBook Charmer

Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl
Milkweed Editions, July 2019

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis
Sourcebooks Landmark, July 2019

The Substitution Order by Martin Clark
Knopf, July 2019

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, July 2019

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow, July 2019

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
Gallery Books, July 2019

Sing a SongStayThe Yellow House

Sing a Song by Kelly Starling Lyons, Keith Mallett (Illus.)
Nancy Paulsen Books, August 2019

Stay by Bobbie Pyron
Katherine Tegen Books, August 2019

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Grove Press, August 2019

My Jasper JuneThe Edge of AmericaRed at the BoneNo Judgments
My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder
Walden Pond Press, September 2019

The Edge of America by Jon Sealy
Haywire Books, September 2019

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Riverhead Books, September 2019

No Judgments by Meg Cabot
William Morrow, September 2019

Find more information about the Okra Picks at

Tags:  #okrapicks 

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The Indie Bookseller Maker Marketplace: An Indie 2 Indie Opportunity!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Thursday, June 27, 2019

NCIBA, with the help of SIBA’s Executive Director Wanda Jewell, is launching The Indie Bookseller Maker Marketplace, a way for booksellers and bookstores creating unique items to wholesale market to other bookstores. Do you make journals, cards, notebooks, magnets, buttons, bookmarks, or other items that you believe could reach a larger market? The Indie Bookseller Maker Marketplace will promote your items through regional newsletters and other industry sources. 

The link with the info on how to participate is here.

Tags:  booksellers  marketing  nciba 

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Edelweiss+Submitted this week on Edelweiss+ using the "send to SIBA" option. Thanks to Avid Bookshop, Bookmiser, Books & Books, Copperfish Books, Ernest & Hadley Booksellers, Flyleaf Books, Fountain Bookstore, Givens Books, Bottwals Books, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Page & Palette, Page 158 Books, Story on the Square, Sundog Books, Sunrise Books, The Country Bookshop, and Wonderland Bookshop

Under the Cold Bright Lights Swipe Right for Murder The Passengers American Royals Grace Goes to Washington 

9781641290579 Under the Cold Bright Lights 7/2/2019
"This book is like riding a roller coaster: there's a leisurely build up to the top, but once the heads start rolling it's a wild ride." -- Lizy Coale, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

9781549173189 Swipe Right for Murder 8/6/2019
"Quirky, murdery, and fast paced!. . . Chock full of death rays, drone attacks, and Daft Punk looking assassins, Swipe Right for Murder is the definitive dark comedy of the summer!"-- Kate Townsend, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

9781984806970 The Passengers 8/27/2019
"I would say this is absolutely one of the best books I've read in a long time. I read it so quickly that my husband wanted to read it right after." --Courtney Dziadul, Gottwals Books, Macon, GA

9781984830173 American Royals 9/3/2019
"A ridiculous, effervescent joyride of a novel. " -- Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Florida

9781368024334 Grace Goes to Washington 9/3/2019
"Gorgeous illustrations full of life back up an interesting story about leadership, citizenship and compassion. I'd love to see this in school libraries!!" -- Dwan Dawson-Tape, Sundog Books, Santa Rosa, FL

More bookseller reviews

If your store does not have an Edelweiss+ account and need help setting one up, contact Linda-Marie

Tags:  Edelweiss 

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Meet the New W.W. Norton rep, Abby Fennewald

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Updated: Friday, June 21, 2019

Abby FennewaldName: Abby Fennewald

Employer: W.W. Norton

Contact info:, cell: (202) 597-0406

States in your territory:Maryland, DC, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana (So, 12 total – yes, I count DC as a state.)

Number of years as a rep: Zero! I’m 2 months in!

Best part about being a rep: Getting to come visit so many great stores! It’s been so fun to have a reason to come see so many great stores that I had always wanted to visit, and discover new stores I didn’t know about.

What were you doing before you became a rep?I was a bookseller. I was an events manager at Politics & Prose in DC and then Marketing and Events Director at BookPeople in Austin, TX.

W. W. Norton

Do you see Edelweiss reviews from booksellers? Most of them! If I go looking they’re of course in there, and I get some notifications when you submit them to the publisher. But add me as a friend on there and I’ll see them for sure!

Do you follow any stores especially closely on social media? What are they doing right? I’ve started following many of the SIBA stores, and the best ones are the ones that allow the store’s personality to shine through, whether it’s by featuring books that other stores aren’t or having a particularly funny tone in their captions.

What can a bookseller do to make a sales call more effective? I’m very much still learning this – but for this season, what’s been most helpful is the stores who really help me get to know them – if a book doesn’t work for you, tell me why! That way I can make better suggestions the next time. I’m also really interested in getting to know booksellers in the store beyond owners and buyers, so introduce me to whoever is working the floor!

Most memorable thing that’s happened during a sales call?A buyer answered a phone call and ended up talking to another business in town about how a regular customer has been sending gifts via the bookstore to an employee at this other business. They’re all okay with the gifts, but the customer is confused about which of the employees he actually likes. Next time he calls, the bookstore is going to help him clear that up! (Now that’s customer service.)

What’s one thing you wish bookstores would do, or do more often?  I’m a big fan of the pre-order campaigns stores have started. Beyond that, I think one of the most interesting things stores can do is highlight backlist titles – it’s refreshing to recall a book from years ago that has fallen off the radar. It can give a great flavor to the store.

Favorite book you’re currently promoting: Well, from the summer list my favorite is Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn. From the fall, probably James Verini’s They Will Have to Die Now. It’s just incredible war reporting and a true must-read.

What three things should a bookstore have when they come to meet with you at your booth at the #SIBA19 Discovery Show?Three seems like a lot – I’m most interested in seeing press packets and talking about what kinds of books have been working well for you in the past few months, or sections you’d like to grow and work on. And, if I haven’t been to your store, show me some photos!

Tags:  #SIBA19  Sales representative 

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Galleys and Giveaways: Lulu's Cafe by T. I. Lowe

Posted By Nicki Leone, Friday, June 21, 2019

Galleys & Giveaways

SIBA and participating publishers are giving away the galleys and other materials below to southern indie booksellers on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you are interested simply email the publisher to request a copy. Supplies are limited, so act quickly!

Liked what you read? Let everyone know!

N.B. These are review copies only, and not for resale.

Eat. Sleep. Read. Southern.

Lulu's Cafe

Lulu’s Café by T. I. Lowe

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: June 4, 2019
Mass market, $7.99

T. I. Lowe has crafted a terrific novel with characters to root for.” —Francine Rivers

When a damaged young woman is given a chance to reclaim her life in a small South Carolina town, she must reckon with the dark secrets she left behind in order to accept the love she deserves.

On the run from a violent past, Leah Allen arrived in tiny Rivertown, South Carolina, battered and broken, but ready to reinvent herself. By a stroke of fate, Leah is drawn to the Southern hospitality of a small café, looking for a warm meal but finding so much more. Lulu, the owner, offers her a job, a place to stay, and a new lease on life. Through Lulu’s tenacious warmth and generosity, Leah quickly finds herself embraced by the quaint community as she tries to put herself back together. Given she’s accustomed to cruelty, the kindness is overwhelming.

Soon Leah meets Crowley Mason, the most eligible bachelor in town. A lawyer and friend of Lulu’s, Crowley is wary of Leah’s sudden, mysterious arrival. Despite his reserve, something sparks between them that can’t be denied. But after all she’s been through, can Leah allow herself to truly love and be loved, especially when her first urge is to run?

Exploring the resiliency of both the heart and the spirit, Lulu’s Café gorgeously illustrates how old scars can finally heal no matter how deep they seem. 

To request a review copy, write to Andrea Garcia at

Tags:  galleys and giveaways 

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, June 20, 2019

Edelweiss+Submitted this week on Edelweiss+ using the "send to SIBA" option. Thanks to Avid Bookshop, Bookmarks, Bookmiser, Books & Books, Fiction Addiction, Flyleaf Books, Fountain Bookstore, M. Judson, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, McIntyre's Books, Oxford Exchange, Page 158 Books, Parnassus Books, Story on the Square, and The Country Bookshop.

9780525647072 Pet 9/10/2019
"Here is a novel that elegantly tangles with relevant issues. Here is a novel that will stay with readers long after they close the book, contemplating the monsters we have yet to confront." -- Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

9781101870600 The Memory Police 8/13/2019
"Surreal, eerie, and quietly unsettling, Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police is a thoughtful and compelling portrayal of the horrors of state surveillance and totalitarianism."-- Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

9781982135669 The Book Charmer 7/30/2019
"This is a charming & whimsical story and is a great read if you are looking for something on the light side" --Pam Craw,Bookmiser, Rosewell, GA

9781547602377 Ruby Finds a Worry 9/3/2019
"An excellent teaching book about managing worry, which everyone has and which you may come back sometimes, but can get better if you share it with someone who can help you through it." -- Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

9780451491879 The Bookish Life of Nina Hill 7/9/2019
"A sweet and lovely story about books, love, and family. The perfect summer read!" -- Faith Park-Dodge, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

More bookseller reviews

If your store does not have an Edelweiss+ account and need help setting one up, contact Linda-Marie

Tags:  Edelweiss 

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Regina Porter: Booksellers are "Everyday Heroes"

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, June 20, 2019

The TravelersThe world is upside down without a book in my hands. Whenever I am feeling out of sorts, it usually means I’ve gone too many days without reading. My mother was a stay-at-home mom for several years, but when she returned to work, she would treat me to a new book on her pay day. Books have always figured prominently in my life—high fiction and low fiction. Books are like forts surrounded by moats within whose walls I can retreat, daydream, and become someone else for a while. Many of the places I would travel to as an adult were inspired by novels I’d read when I was a young and voracious reader. (Giovanni’s Room, for example, sent me in search of Baldwin’s Paris. By the time I got there, both Baldwin and his Paris were long gone.)

I have this habit of roaming the aisles of bookstores and lingering at display tables, of running my hands along the covers of books and the seams

There are a handful of independent bookstores in Savannah, Georgia now, but when I was growing up, E. Shaver Booksellers was the main bookstore in town.  The little bookstore, tucked behind the imposing Desoto Hilton, is where my mom treated me to my first copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and, later, Song of Solomon. I have this habit of roaming the aisles of bookstores and lingering at display tables, of running my hands along the covers of books and the seams, of turning the books over to read the jacket before opening the book and reading the first few passages.

This ritual of browsing began as a child and it is one I’ve passed down to my daughters with whom I would later read Ferdinand and The Giving Tree and Amelia Bedelia in the children’s nook at Shavers. The Travelers bristles with the stuff of history and the stuff of fairytales: chance encounters, sudden changes of fortunes, tall tales. Savannah is a port city, a lot of people have come through, free and in chains. Much of its loveliness and complexity owes to the very issues of race and class that are part of its existence. It’s not a coincidence that two fine writers—Flannery O’Connor and James Alan McPherson—both hailed from Savannah and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. (Their works are in conversation with one another.)

“And what have you read lately?” was the question

The TravelersThe South has a rich literary tradition, despite the low literacy rate. And as a child, I grew up with an awareness of the importance of books.  The late W.W. Law—a mailman and the President of the local branch of the NAACP—documented Savannah’s African-American history and was active in the Civil Rights Movement. He lived around the corner from our house and my family held him in high esteem. He also loved to gossip with my mother and sometimes asked after her oyster stew. Dr. Law kept a living room run amok with books that students could come and pick through to help them with their studies. “And what have you read lately?” was the question.  One of my favorite books, which in some ways informed the chapter in The Travelers, “The Moving Man Stands Still”, is a picture book I found at E. Shaver Booksellers about the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah. I bought that book and read it often to my girls, delighting in the fact that I once knew this extraordinary, everyday man.


Regina PorterRegina Porter is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of a 2017-2018 Rae Armour West Postgraduate Scholarship. She is also a 2017 Tin House Summer Workshop Scholar. Her fiction has been published in The Harvard Review. An award-winning writer with a background in playwriting, Porter has worked with Playwrights Horizons, the Joseph Papp Theater, New York Stage and Film, the Women’s Project, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Horizon Theatre Company. She has been anthologized in Plays from Woolly Mammoth by Broadway Play Services and Heinemann’s Scenes for Women by Women. She has also been profiled in Southern Women Playwrights: New Essays in History and Criticism from the University of Alabama Press. Porter was born in Savannah, Georgia, and lives in Brooklyn.

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