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An Interview with Nicole Yasinsky of novel. in Memphis, TN

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Name: Nicole Yasinsky

Position at Store: Marketing Manager

Store and location: novel.  Memphis, TN

Social Media Stats: FB: 5,467; Instagram: 3,075; Twitter: 734

Events and buyer contact info:

  • Events Coordinator: Emily Draffen --
  • Adult Book Buyer: Jason Bouck  --
  • Children's Book Buyer: Wilson Robbins --

Number of years as a bookseller: I will celebrate 21 years as a bookseller in August! Wow. Has it really been that long?

Best part about being a bookseller? Putting books in people's hands, of course! There is nothing quite like finding the perfect book at the perfect time for a person -- there are so many variables, and it seems so unlikely, but this is what indie booksellers do all day, every day. I keep an old Candlewick mug on my desk at all times that has a quote from Kate DiCamillo at the 2010 Indies Choice Awards: "We forget that the simple gesture of putting a book in someone's hands can change a life. I want to remind you that it can. I want to thank you because it did."

What book(s) are you reading? I am currently reading Slay by Brittney Morris -- and I just picked up The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom and The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates!! SO much good stuff coming out this fall!!

Favorite handsell of 2019: I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott - this is funny and witty and happy and sad and inspiring and silly -- and exactly what so many of us need to hear and read in our lives these days!

Best thing you did this year at your store: It's a little over a year since we did it -- but it's still one of my favorite things --  and something I'm hoping to do more of in the future! We were fortunate enough to host Leslie Odom, Jr. at the Orpheum Theater. This, in and of itself, was a dream come true. BUT. The coolest part was that we were able to work with organizations and sponsors to bring 150 kids to this event - for free, transportation included! -- with a ticket that included a copy of the book AND a private backstage meet-and-greet book signing. We made a lot of public school theater kids incredibly happy -- and it's going to take a lot to top this event -- but we're working on it!!

What are some ways you work with your community? Something fun we did recently was to invite members of our community -- non-profit organizations, the mayor, long-time regular customers -- to submit shelftalkers for a special table display -- Friends of Novel. This allows us to highlight not just what we are reading, but what the rest of our city loves! This table just came down, but we worked the shelftalkers into the section (branded as Friends of Novel, so as not to confuse them with our other staff shelftalkers), and we hope to continue gathering and displaying these from different folks indefinitely. Everyone seemed incredibly excited and honored to be a part of this, and we want to continue to forge strong and multi-faceted relationships with people in our community. We also work with schools and organizations to help raise funds through shopping nights in-store, selling books/sharing proceeds at offsite events, featuring organizations at in-store events and giving back a percentage of proceeds, in-school book fairs. We invite non-profit organizations to gift wrap during busy holiday times for donations. It has turned out that many of these are dog rescue groups (awwww!) and not only do they need donations, but they get TONS of doggos adopted by bringing them out to the store! We are always trying to come up with ways to bring authors to different schools and audiences, and we are pretty much willing to try anything once, so we are constantly having conversations with our partners to see what else we can do to help each other out.

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly? Literacy Mid-South, Memphis Jewish Community Center, OUTMemphis, WKNO-FM, Memphis Public Library, Arts Memphis, Memphis Reads, Indie Memphis Film Festival, Books from Birth, St, Jude Children's Research Hospital, Lyceum Circuit

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? Well, since I haven't quite found a way to work my love of musicals into my bookselling life yet (but just WAIT until I write my musical about Indies v. Amazon!), I think that my passion  for my city has played a huge role in my decision to work in indie bookstores here. It was definitely key in my dedication to helping create a new bookstore, truly and finally locally-owned here in Memphis. While our owner was liquidating our previous store (The Booksellers at Laurelwood), the community was heartbroken, and asking how they could help, and what could be done -- and after quite a bit of blood, sweat and tears, we were able to put numbers together and find a group of investors (they were all our customers, y'all -- they are the ones who really came through for us!), who placed their faith in our seasoned staff and trusted us to open a brand new bookstore for Memphis - and here we are!

Top priority for 2019: This isn't a very flashy or exciting answer, but honestly, since we will only be celebrating 2 years in business, we are really just trying to focus on the numbers and make sure that we are doing everything in a way that we can ensure we will be around for many years to come. (Told you it was boring!) BUT...we do have a SUPER fun side project for 2019: We've got an old bookmobile we are in the process of fixing up, and we are hoping to get that up and running and take it to hospitals, schools, retirement homes, festivals, and anywhere else we can think of where there is a need for books!!

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: It's hard to nail down just ONE -- I really love the overall sense of community & idea-sharing that SIBA membership provides that is unique to our region. This includes the Discovery Show -- where I can exchange ideas with my peers and meet great authors and learn about great new books -- but also, the support and education that is provided throughout the year, as well through webinars and such. PS -- I also love the holiday catalog and all of the wonderful Okra marketing materials; these programs are such a great benefit, and are a great way for us to complement the marketing pieces we are using in our stores.



Tags:  bookseller interview  novel 

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Edelweiss+Submitted this week on Edelweiss+ using the "send to SIBA" option. Thanks to Avid Bookshop, Book No Futher, Bookmarks, Bookmiser, Copperfish Books, Fiction Addiction, Flyleaf Books, Fountain Bookstore, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, McIntyre's Fine Books, Octavia Books, Oxford Exchange, Page & Palette, Parnassus Books, Quail Ridge Books, Story on the Square, The Bookshop, The Country Bookshop, and The Little Bookshop.

9780316523097 Big Sky 6/25/2019
"A new novel from Kate Atkinson is a cause for celebration, and Atkinson has outdone herself with Big Sky." -- Clara Boza, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

9780374268121 Stay and Fight 7/9/2019
"Who decides what makes a family? STAY AND FIGHT is a weird and wonderful story of living off the grid, communal living and the enormity of being a parent." -- Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

9780399563058 The Lager Queen of Minnesota 7/23/2019
" I’m a teetotaler from the South, and now I want to move to Minnesota and drink beer." -- Annie Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

9781250229830 Desdemona and the Deep 7/23/2019
"A perfect read for those who wish that just beyond your bedroom wall may exist an entire world filled with clay giants, magic, goblin kings, and wonder." -- Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

9780525516095 Sing a Song 8/6/2019
"This beautiful book is the perfect way to introduce young readers to a powerful song and to the idea that even the youngest among us can make their voice heard. " -- Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, 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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The Baker & Taylor Transition

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Resources and Links for Booksellers

The book industry has responded strongly to the news that Baker & Taylor is leaving the retail book market, with publishers, wholesalers, and industry organizations each implementing special offers and programs for booksellers forced to transition away from their major supplier.  

ABA Resource List | SIBA B&T Resource Page

Reach out to SIBA with any and all questions. If we can't find the answer, we'll be able to put you in touch with someone who can:

Wanda Jewell:
Linda-Marie Barrett:
Nicki Leone:

Talk to someone face to face: SIBA's Video Office Hours are every Wednesday, 2-5 pm EST at this link:

Talk to your colleagues. The collective wisdom of the SIBA community may have all the answers you need:

The SIBA Google Group

The SIBA Facebook Group

More information is available on the SIBA B&T Resource Page

Tags:  Baker & Taylor 

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Successful Podcasts: B3! Webinar Available to View

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Featuring a panel of three presenters of book-centered podcasts. Annie Jones, owner of The Bookshelf and host of From the Front PorchMitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and host of The Literary Life, and author Anne Bogel (AKA Modern Mrs. Darcy), host of What Should I Read Next? have developed very popular podcasts with a national audience. Booksellers looking to grow their store brands, reach more customers in their communities and beyond, and maybe even sell more books, will learn much listening to these experts share their best tips.


The discussion ranged from the very basic ("how I got started") to the more technical -- how long should a podcast be? (30 minutes to an hour for a long podcast, 7-10 minutes for short form). How much time does an episode take to produce? (Ann Bogel says it takes 2 hours to produce a seven minute show, 10-15 hours to produce a 1 hour show) Should you have a separate website for your podcast? (Yes! says Annie Jones), Do you hire production staff? ("Yes," says Mitchell Kaplan. "Absolutely," says Anne Bogel. "Well, eventually," says Annie Jones, "but I still learned how to do it on my own so I wouldn't be stuck if he moved on.") -- to the completely geeky: software and microphones, podcast hosting and broadcasting issues.

Click here to watch
(you must be a SIBA member bookseller to view)

Tags:  B3! Webinars 

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Visiting Spartanburg, Host City for #SIBA19's Discovery Show

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, May 14, 2019

SIBA’s Discovery Show in Spartanburg, SC is going to be extra special, with a full schedule of author events, educational programming, and gatherings where seeing old friends and making new ones is top of the list. SIBA's Wanda Jewell and Linda-Marie Barrett visited recently for a site visit, and met with Patricia Byrd of the Spartanburg CVB, Anne Waters, Meg Reid and Betsy Teter of Hub City Bookshop & Press, and the good folks at the Spartanburg Marriott AKA Discovery Show Central. 

The Marriott is in downtown Spartanburg, a walkable distance from restaurants, the book shop, and other beloved local attractions. The hotel is lovely, spacious, and well-appointed, featuring three restaurants, a bar, and a cafe. After the day’s activities you can settle in, schmooze, and connect with other booksellers, authors, reps, and more. Here’s a peek at where you’ll be staying.

But you won’t want to stay in the hotel the whole time. Spartanburg-affectionately known as Hub City and Sparkle City- has so much to offer culturally. Come early as we’ll be offering a variety of things to do on Thursday, September 12, including a visit to Hub City Writers Project, and The Johnson Collection Gallery. Art lovers will also want to wander down to the AC Hotel and view the 40+ objects on view at the hotel—paintings, works on paper, sculpture and textiles—created by faculty members and students at the experimental arts enclave of Black Mountain College. The collection is really extraordinary, as is the hotel’s rooftop bar!

Word on the street is that SIBA’s 2019 Discovery Show is drawing a record number of booksellers, as Spartanburg is within driving distance of so many bookstores in NC, SC, VA, TN, and GA. We want you to be there, too. Here’s a link to find out more info and register.

Tags:  Discovery Show 

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Still Time to Create or Update Your Press Kit for BEA

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Are you going to BEA and pitching your store to publishers? There’s still time to create a press kit, or update your existing one. Even if you're not going to BEA, having an up-to-date press kit is invaluable for events programming and media inquiries. The following stores took part in last year’s webinars with Maribeth Pelly, the event planner for Booktowne (NJ) and a professional marketing consultant, who live-critiqued eight press kits from small and large stores with different approaches to their events programming. A number of these stores are updating their press kits for BEA, but their 2018 versions are below. Want inspiration? Take a few moments to check these out:

Square Books Press Kit

Quail Ridge Books Press Kit

Main Street Books Press Kit

Horton’s Books & Gifts Press Kit

Ernest & Hadley Booksellers Press Kit

Bookmarks Press Kit


Here's a link to the recorded webinars (you'll need to log in to view, but so worth your time!):

Press Kits for Bookstores

A Template and Checklist are also available at the above link.

Keep in mind when updating:

  • Add in the events you've hosted since last spring

  • Include links or quotes from any news featuring your store

  • Double check your community resources and spaces to make sure the information is up to date.

  • Make sure your contact information is up to date, especially for specific staff contacts like event coordinators and buyers.

"The press kit webinar was so helpful. We learned so much and hope to implement what we learned very soon. The most helpful part was just being able to wrap our minds around what a press kit actually is, and what that consists of. The examples were phenomenal. Walking through what publishers look for and other things that give you a leg up when talking with publishers was an eye opener in the best way. We're still babies at this, so we really appreciate the time and effort y'all put in to this presentation." --Lauren Brown, Assistant Manager of The Story Shop

Tags:  BEA  press kits 

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What's on Lady Banks' Bookshelf in June?

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, May 14, 2019

SIBA promotes six new books every month to consumers in our Lady Banks Bookshelf promotion.These titles appear at the top of our weekly Lady Banks Commonplace Book newsletter, which has a circulation of over 60k.  We also feature them above the fold on the homepage of Authors ‘Round the South and on the cover image of the ARTS Facebook page with buy links promoted to our 15,000 Facebook friends. A different member store is featured with the titles every week.


Since SIBA redesigned Lady Banks Bookshelf last year, this promotion experienced a 23% increase in audience reach (from 17K to 22.5K), a 16% jump in engagement (from 585 to 700) on social media, a 10% rise in impressions, and a 14% rise in click throughs via email. SIBA attributes the success to a more strongly focused target audience, more active engagement with member bookstores, and a fresh, more visually appealing presence that also appeals to the reader's sense of adventure and individuality.


By promoting through Lady Banks, publishers are making an investment in SIBA member bookstores’ attention and market. SIBA works with them to select titles your customers are looking for, and then we drive those customers to your stores.  It’s very worth your while to bring Lady Banks Bookshelf titles in before the month begins, and put up a display.

What’s on the shelf in June? The June Collection on Edelweiss. Shirtless Men Drink Free available through Ingram (must be logged in to Ingram to access).

Serafina & the Seven Stars by Robert Beatty

The Travelers by Regina Porter

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

Shirtless Men Drink Free by Dwaine Rieves

The Beautiful Mysterious edited by Ann J. Abadie


Tags:  lady banks bookshelf 

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Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Edelweiss+Submitted this week on Edelweiss+ using the "send to SIBA" option. Thanks to Avid Bookshop, Book No Futher, Bookmarks, Bookmiser, Books & Books, Copperfish Books, E. Shaver, Bookseller, Fiction Addiction, Flyleaf Books, Fountain Bookstore, Givens Books, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Octavia Books, Oxford Exchange, Page 158 Books, Parnassus Books, Square Bookss, Story on the Square, The Bookshop, and Vero Beach Book Center.

9781945448348 Give 6/1/2019
"I closed this astonishing novel only five minutes ago, fully satiated as if after a wonderful meal." -- Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

9780525562023 On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 6/4/2019
"Ocean Vuong has written a beautiful debut that is intensely personal and full of heart." -- Jamie Southern, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

9781984802798 Ayesha At Last 6/4/2019
"a completely lovely Pride & Prejudice re-telling that does not shy away from depth." -- Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

9781982109738 Oh Crap! I Have a Toddler 6/4/2019
"An empathetic and informative book for all parents as they enter the toddler years... I found so many nuggets in this book that encouraged and challenged my own relationship with my child." -- Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

9781594634734 City of Girls 6/4/2019
"I adored seeing the world through Vivian's eyes; her coming-of-age is, perhaps more than anything else, a love story, a tribute to the theatre and to New York City" -- Annie Johnson, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

9780374170660 The History of Living Forever 6/11/2019
"Beautifully written and engaging novel about love, loss, desire, depression, and a globe trotting quest to crack the code of living forever" -- Jessica Osborne, E. Shaver, bookseller, Savannah, GA

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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Serafina and the Pre-Order Campaign

Posted By Nicki Leone, Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Serafina and the Seven Stars Pre-Order Campaign"Pre-Order" was one of the magic words at SIBA in the Springtime in March. According to the American Booksellers Association, pre-orders are an increasingly important part of a book's marketing campaign, especially in the era of social media marketing and buzz. Indie bookstores that ignore the trend are in danger of losing sales. They may find their customers have already purchased the book long before it could be put on the shelves. Conversely, stores that take advantage of pre-order campaigns may not only increase sales, but also find they have fewer returns and a better sell-through rate.

The ABA keeps a running calendar of books with publisher-supported pre-order campaigns here:

Disney-Hyperion will be launching a pre-order campaign for Southern favorite Robert Beatty for his latest Serafina book, Serafina and the Seven Stars, which publishes on July 9, 2019. SIBA stores that participate in the banner-for-dues program, Circle of Sites, will find the book advertised on their sites for the month of June. The book will also be featured in the Lady Banks newsletter and on the Lady Banks Bookshelf -- which means book will be promoted directly to the fans and followers of stores on Facebook.

It's a great opportunity to capture early sales of a book from an author with a huge following in the South. Disney-Hyperion has created some graphics for stores to use to build on the momentum: Serafina Graphics for Store websites

Tags:  pre-orders  serafina 

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PRH's Indies Express Program to assist booksellers during the Baker & Taylor transition

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Penguin Random House is reaching out to indies to help during their transition away from ordering through Baker & Taylor:


Dear Baker & Taylor Independent Bookstore Customer,

We are writing you about our new program designed for independent booksellers who have been ordering all their Penguin Random House inventory through Baker & Taylor. We value your support of our books and authors, and would like to help make the upcoming transition as easy as possible for you and your staff.

If you do not currently have a Penguin Random House account, or if your Penguin Random House account has been inactive for more than a year, you are eligible for our Indies Express program, which includes:

·         A streamlined new-account application (now available online) – no opening order necessary

·         A streamlined credit-approval process (for Baker & Taylor customers in good standing)

·         Special offer on your first order (includes a lower unit-minimum)

·         Dedicated PRH sales director with expertise in helping B&T customers transition to ordering directly from Penguin Random House

·         Dedicated PRH sales reps (community bookstore specialists) to help you navigate seasonal frontlist ordering and backlist replenishment

·         Special offer from Above the Treeline to help with inventory management

Many of us are former independent booksellers, so we know firsthand how busy you are, and how important it is for you to be able to focus on running your business and serving your customers. We hope you will contact us soon, and we look forward to working with you more closely in the future.

Thank you again for everything you do to support our titles,

The Penguin Random House Sales Team

For more information, e-mail

Tags:  Indies Express  PRH 

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