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A Hurricane of Biblical Proportions Couldn’t Keep Them Away: Steve Moss attends his first SIBA Discovery Show

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Hurricane of Biblical Proportions Couldn’t Keep Them Away: Steve Moss attends his first SIBA Discovery Show

Booksellers, authors, publishers, and industry exhibitors from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama (Roll Tide), Louisiana, Virginia, and of course Florida, descended on the spectacular Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor Florida, just north of Tampa, for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance 2018 and its “Make Your Mark” conference.

As a first-time attendee and a Reba and Dave Williams Scholarship Fund beneficiary, I was joyfully overwhelmed with not only abundant southern charm and hospitality, but by a completely packed and extremely well-organized schedule of events including readings, movies, dinners, lunches, exhibitions, lectures, author panels, and bookstore tours, as well as workshops and industry-themed meetings designed to maximize the efforts of what our industry is all about.   

I found myself with writer’s cramp, checking off in my show directory all the events I wanted to be a part of.

Innovation engineer and whiskey maker Doug Hall started things off for me with his “Driving Eureka! Problem Solving with Data Driven Methods and the Innovation Engineering System” workshop. Forcing participants to think outside the box in approaching industry as well as personal challenges, I found this to be an instructive and valuable hands-on workshop, training people to get to a new idea quickly by mapping out their strategy in an easy to grasp methodology.

A tour of the area’s Independent bookstores followed, with stops at the historic, impressive Oxford Exchange, an all-purpose, on purpose, bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant, meeting and event venue, all housed in a 100+ year old building. One of the many wonderful meals of the week to come was served in the restaurant there, with the gracious folks from Baker & Taylor picking up the tab.

On to Inkwood Books, a quintessential bookshop in downtown Tampa, with a knowledgeable and friendly staff, they welcomed us with open arms. I picked up a couple of merchandising ideas there, so if any of the staff happens to stop by my shop, they’ll be recognizable.

Next stop, Mojo Books and Music. This is a time machine of a place, harkening back to the bookstores of my youth, shelves filled floor to ceiling with books, the bookcases sheer weight being supported by wooden shims, actual LP record albums, music CD’s, and a nostalgic display of posters in one of those old time racks you can leisurely flip through. I wish I had budgeted for the signed first edition of “You’re Only Old Once,” by Dr. Seuss they had displayed under glass, but I settled for a store t-shirt and a Blade Runner movie poster. The bus ride “home” was narrated tour guide style by Arcadia Press author Mark Muncy who, as the author of Freaky Florida, filled us all in on some of the more odd histories and mysteries of Florida. I’ve lived in Florida all my life and even learned a few things!

SIBA started off with a bang, or should I say, a Bragg, Thursday morning, with 2019 Pat Conroy Legacy Award Recipient, Rick Bragg. I’ve known Rick for years from his appearances at my store, and he is always on point, a deliberately measured storyteller, and downright hysterically funny fellow. What a treat to see him honored, and to hear his perspective and recollections of Pat.

Various classes, lectures, workshops, escape rooms, and author readings filled the next few days, along with marvelous breakfasts, lunches and dinners, always with an author or authors and most of us attendees seeking out our areas of interest;  in my case, seeking out new roads and discovering new interests, as well as meeting and forming alliances with other booksellers, vendors, and publishers. I got a few good pointers from a class involving AV, which is one of my specialties, but I’m always open to learning new ideas. I didn’t get involved with the “Escape Rooms,” as I would probably still be there, but I understand they were great fun.

It’s also worth mentioning, that all the accommodations and events were housed on the same site so everything SIBA had to offer was within easy reach of anyone walking. Taking advantage of the free shuttle buses provided was also most appreciated for those not used to the 90+ degree temperatures. Wherever we were, we were made as comfortable as possible.

Workshops with titles “Maximizing Pre-Order Campaigns,” “Is Profit a Dirty Word?,” and “Inventory Management,” proved to be invaluable tools for those not normally attached to this part of the business. Events like “The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness,”  “Okra Picks and Their Authors Unite,” and “From the Frontlist to the Bestseller List” proved insatiable to those who love this part of the business. There really were too many great and helpful events to list effectively here.

Sadly, a couple of events were cancelled or abbreviated due to the nasty Ms. Florence, but again, she didn’t stop us from making the most out of all that was presented with quality and quantity. With workshops and lectures ranging in duration from 20 minutes to 4 hours, there was always something going on for everyone.  

Some authors who couldn’t make the trip due to various prior commitments or travel restrictions due to the storm were gracious enough to join us via video presentation; notably, Jarrett Krosoczka, who left the room speechless with his presentation of Hey, Kiddo. His heart-wrenching story of being raised by his grandparents, while his mother wrote him letters from prison, is on display for all to see in graphic novel form. Another highlight for me was the “Writing, Riding, Righting Historical Fiction” session with Amy Stewart, Jonathan Putnam, Signe Pike and Kristina McMorris. Another delectable dinner with a recipe from the book Southern Snacks by Perre Coleman Magness was served, along with readings by B.A. Shapiro, and Mary Laura Philpott was almost too much stimulation for the day. Almost.

Who would have thought Books would go with Bourbon? I’m sure the majority of our literary giants would not argue. The Southern Fried Karma and Blair Publishers event with “Books & Bourbon & Banter” took place in the cavernous Inverness Hall foyer with the theme of “Cultivating Artistic Voices of the New Millennium with a Southern Accent,” was well received.   

Everywhere was a cornucopia of ARC’s, catalogs, pens, pencils, book bags, matchbooks, business cards, snacks, The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), reps, and of course, Books & Books & Books. Trying to fill my numerous book bags with as much as I could carry for friends and colleagues back home, I must confess, a few choice signed first editions were now destined for my private library at home.

Did I mention southern hospitality and southern charm goes hand in hand with plenty of food? Doughnuts, coffee, cake, tea and snacks were in abundance and within easy reach for all. Every event, workshop and lecture was sponsored by, or presented by, or in cooperation with, SIBA, and Industry heavyweights Baker & Taylor, Arcadia Publishing, BQB/WriteLife, Blair Carolina Wren, Publishers Weekly, Bookazine, BINC, Harpercollins, Flatiron Books, Ingram Content Group, National Geographic Books, Andrea Thome, 83 Press, Penguin Random House, Southern Fried Karma, University of North Carolina Press, and The Reba and Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts.  

The Friday night “Readers Supper” with the aforementioned Conroy Legacy Winner Rick Bragg was again a highlight, with Rick’s signature, off the cuff entertaining approach to storytelling. Unbelievably, I was seated at the same table with too-many-to-list-multiple-award-winner-and-prolific-author-legend, Walter Mosley, who gave one of his trademark remarkable readings. His latest, John Woman, is receiving the praise it deserves. Martha Hall Kelley, with her story of Holocaust survivors, The Lost Roses, was also a standout. Emcee Doug Robinson from Eagle Eye Books in Decatur, GA, did a great job as host.

The bittersweet after dinner movie, “The Bookshop” was the perfect denouement to the day.

Table after table of books filled with selections from the aforementioned publishing houses dominated Saturday, at least until “The Moveable Feast.” This was an actual feast of yet more food, as over 20 authors relocated from table to table to tell us their stories and allow questions and interact on a personal level with booksellers. We sat attentively listening and eating. I felt a bit conflicted for the authors as they had to rise and switch tables every few minutes to repeat what they had just imparted, but they seemed to love it.

SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell and Assistant Director Linda-Marie Barrett are to be commended for their organizational perfection and well-executed schedule of events at this landmark conference, as well as organizing the spacious and comfortable accommodations for all us attendees. I overheard nothing but positive responses from all those I interacted with.

I was back on the road home in the late afternoon, after having as many books as I could get signed by the authors, my car trunk packed with ARCs and ephemera, and my head swimming with everything that had transpired over the last 4 days. Rarely does one get afforded the exquisite pleasure of a literary experience such as this. Stories and ideas for stories, fondness for new friends and old, remembrances of authors known and newly discovered, coupled with thoughts of how I could improve my own bookshop’s ambiance, relationships with customers, and of course, sales, swirled around in my head. Crossing through the Everglades on my way back to Miami, with the soundtrack of the journey over the radio provided by Kenny Chesney, Phil Vasser, and Josh Wilson, I had plenty of positivity taking root, including the notion of someday writing about this experience and wondering perhaps about spending my retirement years playing golf at the immense Copperhead Course at the all-inclusive, self-contained, relaxing, Home of the Valspar Open, Innisbrook Golf Resort!

SIBA left its MARK on me!

See y’all next time!

Steve Moss

Events and Store Manager

Books and Books

Coral Gables, Florida


Tags:  #siba18 

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Hashtag SchoolSales

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Thursday, September 20, 2018


A conversation with Rachel Watkins at Avid Bookstores has led to this post.  Rachel is eager to talk #SchoolSales with booksellers far and wide and Publishers Weekly is adding this hashtag to its private Facebook group @Bxsellers.  Rachel and SIBA both would love to invite you to join this page and participate in this discussion as well as the many others that are happening on this active Facebook group.  Join us.


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B3! Webinar: Partner with IngramSpark to Enhance Your Publishing and Marketing Services to Authors

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Thursday, September 20, 2018

B3! Webinar: Partner with IngramSpark to Enhance Your Publishing and Marketing Services to Authors

On Wednesday, October 17 at 2pm SIBA hosts the B3! Webinar: Partner with IngramSpark to Enhance Your Publishing and Marketing Services to Authors. Josh Floyd and Kimberly Daniels Taws, with the addition of Jamille Christman, are reprising their presentation from the SIBA revival on July 20. Josh is with IngramSpark, and will give an overview of how bookstores are utilizing their services in various ways, including producing store-branded journals. Kimberly will share her work with local authors and the store's approach to publishing with IngramSpark. Jamille of Eagle Eye Books will discuss the success of consignment programs that are marketing specific, using IngramSpark materials.


Keebe Fitch of McIntyre's Books in Pittsboro, NC attended the revival and praised, "This revival session was jam-packed with good information. My coworker felt we picked up more in that short period that was useful to our store going forward than any other education we participated in this year." 


Sarah Goddin of Quail Ridge Books also attended and added, "Josh gave a really valuable presentation on using Ingram Spark for setting up a bookstore publishing program. Having Kimberly's first-hand experience with it made it even more useful. I couldn't scribble notes and ideas down fast enough."


Please rsvp to reserve your spot in the webinar.


About our presenters:


Josh Floyd promotes the growth, sales, and brand of the IngramSpark platform by providing education, information, and best practices for Ingram’s Publish-on-Demand services. Josh has been with Ingram for 7+ years first working as a Lightning Source Publisher Representative, then as an Ingram/IPS Independent Bookstore Representative, and is currently with IngramSpark as the Senior Key Account Sales Manager.













Kimberly Daniels Taws is excited to celebrate The Country Bookshop's 65th anniversary this year. She was born in Raleigh and after living in several other states returned to North Carolina in 2010 to take the helm of the beloved Southern Pines institution. She lives in Pinehurst with her husband and two sons age 17 and 2. Past president of the Southern Pines Business association and SIBA board member, she was is president elect of the SIBA board.













Jamille Christman is the Marketing and Event Coordinator for Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur Ga.  She created Eagle Eye's Consignment Program, focused on marketing and helping self-published authors learn how to market their book.  



Tags:  B3! Webinars  Eagle Eye Book Shop  IngramSpark  The Country Bookshop 

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#SIBA18, Y'all!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Bookseller Sami Thomason Reflects on an "Absolutely Unforgettable" #SIBA18!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Bookseller Sami Thomason Reflects on an "Absolutely Unforgettable" #SIBA18!


My first SIBA show was absolutely unforgettable! From William Joyce's tear-jerking speech about the end of the Guardians series to Rick Bragg's side-splitting acceptance of the Pat Conroy Legacy award, I was constantly amazed by the brilliance of the many authors who spoke. I loved catching up with old friends like Jo Watson Hackl and Jimmy Cajoleas, who have both held events with Square Books, Jr., and making new connections with authors I have admired for years, such as Roshani Chokshi and Max Brallier. Only at SIBA can you grab a glass of wine and run into your literary heroes!


I thought the sales floor would be an overwhelming experience, but thanks to guidance from the SIBA staff, I navigated my way through all the amazing exhibitions. It was great seeing my sales reps and meeting their cohorts and getting the very best recommendations. In fact, my greatest triumph at SIBA happened on the exhibition floor when I won a cake at the cakewalk, and quickly made friends with everyone on the floor; there was too much cake to take back on the plane! I now have sweet memories of delicious cake and armfuls of books and catalogs to dig into. 


What sets SIBA apart from other conferences is definitely the element of Southern hospitality. Every bookseller I met immediately put me at ease and made me feel like we were old friends. I've got a list as long as my arm of stores I want to visit; I'm coming for you, Octavia Books! As a fairly new bookseller, I'm so grateful at SIBA who made me feel so welcome. Hopefully I'll see everyone next year-can we meet at the pool? 


Some facts about Sami:

Store and location: 

Square Books, Jr., Oxford Mississippi

Number of years as a bookseller: 


What you do at the store:

Teen and event buyer, book box curator, social media coordinator, book club liason

What book(s) are you reading?:

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi and Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Favorite handsell right now:

Sadie by Courtney Summers-a genuinely chilling mystery with an amazing podcast element.



Tags:  #SIBA18  Square Books 

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#SIBA18: The Rep Picks

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2018

#SIBA18: The Rep Picks

The Rep Pix 

It was a fast and furious "Rep Picks" session at #SIBA18, where about 20 reps ran lightning-fast through their favorite books of the upcoming season. Since each Rep got 2 minutes to talk and not a second more (ask them), the all did some pretty fast talking. Booksellers heard about 90+ books in 60 minutes. No one stopped to breathe.

Here's the collection on Edelweiss from Slime to Super Potato to the Southern Lady Code and back again:

Tags:  #siba18  rep picks 

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Baker & Taylor offering 46% Discount thru 10/15 on all Rick Bragg titles.

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Baker & Taylor offering 46% Discount thru 10/15 on all Rick Bragg titles. 

Baker & Taylor is making it easy for booksellers to create a display in honor of 2019 Conroy Legacy Award Recipient Rick Bragg.  Bookstores can take advantage of the offer in a number of ways:

  • Order via their POS
  • Order via Baker & Taylor's TS 360
  • Contact their sales rep for help.

The special discount ends October 15, 2018. All orders placed between now and then will receive the discount.

No promo code is required, no minimum quantity is required, and there's no limit on the number of orders during the sale.


Here is a link to the PDF listing Rick Bragg's works.



Tags:  Baker & Taylor  conroy legacy award  Rick Bragg 

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Binc: The Southern Bookselling Community Steps Up!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Binc: The Southern Bookselling Community Steps Up!


SIBA raised over $3000 for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation at the SIBA Discovery Show last week. Binc is a charitable foundation that provides assistance to bookstore employees who have a demonstrated financial need arising from severe hardship and/or emergency circumstances. The generosity of show attendees was especially in evidence as Hurricane Florence made landfall on the North Carolina coast, threatening friends and colleagues.

"SIBA and her team raised a total of $3,039," said Kathy Bartson of Binc, "thus helping at least one bookseller and family but most likely two booksellers!"

Alesia BollumThe "Heads or Tails" Binc fundraiser has become an established event at the show. A game in which participants buy flashing pins for a chance to win a $500 cash prize, the fundraiser culminates in a fun event on the show floor where everyone who has bought a pin stands, pins blinking, and when the coin is flipped, each person publicly indicates their guess by placing their hands on their “head” (head) or “tail” (backside). Each flip eliminates those who guessed wrong, and they turn off their pin; More pins mean more chances to play and the last person standing wins.

SIBA and Binc sold the pins for $20 each, or 2 for $35. Publishers stepped in to play on behalf of their authors and show presenters who couldn't stay for the event but wanted to support Binc and the many booksellers threatened by the storm.

The winner of the #SIBA18 Heads or Tails contest was Alesia Bollum from The Muse Bookshop in Deland Florida.

Donations to Binc can be made here

If you are a bookseller in need, you can request assistance here:

Booksellers can also email to or call 866-733-9064.

In the words of Binc Executive Director Pam French "We are ready to assist."

*A personal note from Nicki: I sometimes think people don't take the phrase "we are ready to assist" seriously or literally, but I am here to tell you that when Binc says it, they absolutely mean it. It was no secret at this year's SIBA show that I was feeling worried and a little frantic. Hurricane Florence made landfall...well, right in my front yard, frankly. I live just north of Wilmington, NC, on the coast. Needless to say, I was distracted the entire week, unable to get any news about friends or loved ones, not to mention my friend who housesits for me and takes care of my dogs and cats. (Everyone is fine, by the way, as is my house). The day the hurricane hit, the Binc people emailed me, asking if I needed help and letting SIBA know they were ready to help any bookseller in harm's way. Pam and Kathy were both at the show and checked in with me periodically. And as I made my way home (as of this writing I am still en route, all the roads to Wilmington are closed), Binc called me on the phone just to check in and make sure I knew help was available. In fact, one of the most rewarding things I have done post-show was to help Binc compile a list of our member stores that may have been affected and have staff in need. They are that committed to their mission.

Binc is good people, folks. Give if you can. And please, please, ask for help if you need it.

Tags:  binc 

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Booksellers weather Hurricane Florence

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, September 17, 2018


Shelf Awareness has a good recap of SIBA member stores that have been affected by Hurricane Florence.

We also want to remind booksellers that if they find themselves in need of assistance, Binc can help:

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SIBA announces Rick Bragg as the 2019 Conroy Legacy Award Recipient!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, September 13, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

For Immediate Release   

SIBA announces Rick Bragg as the 2019 Conroy Legacy Award Recipient!

Rick BraggRick Bragg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, journalist, and author of two bestselling memoirs and numerous other books, has been selected as the 2019 Conroy Legacy Award Recipient. Created in honor of the example set by the beloved Southern author Pat Conroy, the Conroy Legacy Award recognizes writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community, demonstrated support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general, written work that focuses significantly on their home place, and supported other writers, especially new and emerging writers. Serendipitously, Rick Bragg is a contributor to Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy edited by by Nicole Seitz and Jonathan Haupt, published by University of Georgia Press and releasing this September. 

When informed of the award, Rick Bragg shared, “I heard Pat Conroy read his work aloud and it will almost make you abandon this craft for good and take up something like brick laying. The elegance and beauty of it always, across decades, made me think ‘Oh, so this is what it is supposed to sound like, be, linger in the mind.’ The fact he once said good things about my own work made me walk on air. I mean it, my step was lighter somehow. To be presented his award by people who have been with me since the beginning of my writing life, in his name, is as fine a thing as I can ever expect.”

Suzanne Lucey of Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC praised this year’s award winner, “Rick Bragg is the whole package. Intelligent, to the point, hilarious and beyond generous with his time and storytelling. A true man's man and momma's boy who makes us cry with laughter. He embraces his Southern Roots and contributes to the overall reason we all love the South.”

SIBA will make a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and to the Margaret Bragg Scholarship for first generation college students at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama in the name of Rick Bragg.

Tags:  #conroylegacyaward  #southernbookprize 

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SIBA's B3! Book Club discusses The Signals are Talking by Amy Webb