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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 -- edraffen@novelmemphis.com
  • Adult Book Buyer: Jason Bouck  -- jbouck@novelmemphis.com
  • Children's Book Buyer: Wilson Robbins -- wrobbins@novelmemphis.com

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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An Interview with Stephanie Gordon, MD, owner of Story on the Square in McDonough, GA

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, April 2, 2019

An Interview with Stephanie Gordon, MD, owner of Story on the Square in McDonough, GA.


Store and location: Story on the Square, 19 Griffin Street, McDonough, Ga 30253, and The Rough Draft, our beer and wine cafe inside the store.

Social Media Stats: Facebook likes 4000, Instagram 1600

Our website: www.storyonthesquare.com

Event planner: Sharon Spann, Sharon_spann@yahoo.com

Buyer: Deanna Bailey, deanna@storyonthesquare.com

Number of years as a bookseller: Just over one year.

Best part about being a bookseller: Talking to book lovers all day long! I love being in the store and sharing ideas with our customers.

What book(s) are you reading? Just finished Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, and finished the ARC for The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern last night-so good!

Favorite handsell on your radar for 2019: The Starless Sea

Best thing you did this year at your store: Hired a mess of wonderful booksellers and bartenders- they are a motley crew of outstanding individuals who are passionate about their work.

What are some ways you work with your community? We host 8 book clubs, host book fairs, have story time each week, host non-profit events in our event space, and are building relationships with our schools to help them buy books through us.

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly? We are developing these partnerships as we have been in our permanent location only seven weeks. We will help relaunch Young Professional of Henry County this week at a book event, and are working with local writers groups to promote their writing. We sponsor Ferst Readers (who purchase books and provide them for free monthly to children born in our country from birth to age 5, 60 books in total).

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? I’m a physician in real life; this is my side hustle, so healthcare, public health issues, and particularly women’s heath are dear issues to me. I love STEM books and want to educate my community on how important it is to read to understand increasingly complex STEM subjects.

Top priority for 2019: Letting people know we are here and serving our community. Telling our story to the world, and then inviting them in to join us.

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: I love OKRA picks, and I love attending SIBA annual meetings (especially when it’s in New Orleans!)

 

 

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An Interview with The Family Book Shop

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, January 21, 2019

An Interview with The Family Book Shop

Name: Kerry & Kaaren Johnson, co-owners

Store: The Family Book Shop

Location: 1301 N. Woodland Blvd, Deland Florida 32720. Deland is a community between Orlando and Daytona Beach, Florida. We are a general interest new and used bookstore. We have over 7000 Sq. ft. of space and approximately 350,000 books available.

Phone & Fax: (386) 736-6501

Email: familybookseller@yahoo.com

Website:  http://www.familybookshopdeland.com.

FaceBook: @thefamilybookshop: 1.5k followers

Instagram: familybookshop, 300+ followers

Monthly newsletter: 800 subscribers

Events Coordinator and Buyer contact info: familybookseller@yahoo.com, Attn: Kerry or Kaaren

Number of years as a bookseller: We have owned the store for four years but it has been here for about 35 years.

Best part about being a bookseller?: The best part about being a bookseller is helping a reader find a title they want and/or introducing them to a new book or author.

What book(s) are you reading?: Kaaren just finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Kerry is re-reading The Haunting of Hill House.

Favorite handsell of 2018: Our favorite handsells were Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King, The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan, Hush by John Hart, and Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo.

Best thing you did in 2018 at your store: We re-designed our "room 2" to create an event area with tables, chairs and new carpeting. Not an easy task, moving about 5000 books to new shelving and changing the customer flow.

What are some ways you work with your community? We are very active in our education community with sponsorships, book giveaways and our huge teacher appreciation sale each year.

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? We have always had a shared passion for reading and Kerry's first job was at a bookstore in high school and he worked at bookstores in college. We have had a lifelong love of collecting books and spent many days hunting out books in bookstores all over the world.

Top priority for 2019: Our top priority for 2019 is to hold more events and open our store to more authors and book clubs.

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: Our favorite part of SIBA is the Fall Discovery Show with the combined networking and learning opportunities that are available. We also love the holiday catalog and its success.

 

Tags:  bookseller interview  booksellers 

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An Interview with Angel Schroeder, owner of Sunrise Books in High Point, NC

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, November 27, 2018
An Interview with Angel Schroeder, owner of Sunrise Books in High Point, NC
 
Name
Angel Schroeder
 
Store and location: 
Sunrise Books, High Point NC 
 
Social Media Stats:
Instagram about 450 followers; FB likes about 700; Twitter is 230. Our email list/Frequent Buyer Club is about 500.
 
Link to your store’s press kit:
Sadly, we do not have one. I have some graphic arts background, so it’s all in my head and on my laptop. I realize this is a poor excuse!
 
Events and buyer contact info:
 
Number of years as a bookseller
3
 
Best part about being a bookseller?:
Reading new books and talking about books with other book lovers.

 

What book(s) are you reading?:
I just finished The Dream Peddler by Martine Fournier Watson (4/2019 release) and am re-reading Treeborne for our upcoming book club and author visit with Caleb Johnson. 

 

Favorite handsell of 2018:
Southernmost by Silas House. I mean, who wouldn’t love that book? I plan to blanket the landscape with it when it comes out in paperback.
 
Best thing you did this year at your store:
Move to a larger location with better visibility and parking. We now have a back room for events, so we don’t have to rearrange the whole store for every author visit.
 
What are some ways you work with your community?
We regularly donate books to a local literacy organization, High Point LEAP, which helps kids stay in school. I also discount books that are being donated to other organizations. We have donated countless books, gift cards, and gifts for various fundraising events, and we are always open to hosting nonprofit groups. We say yes anytime we can to our local public library. We also volunteer and donate to Greensboro Bound, Guilford County’s literary festival, which was founded in 2018.
 
Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?
High Point LEAP, Southwest Renewal Foundation, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, High Point Public Library, Cover the City, Backpack Beginnings
 
Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life?
Of course! We have far more birding titles and field guides than is strictly necessary. I am also a bit of a church nerd, so I carry a lot of religion, theology, and philosophy for a store our size. As the wife of an urban planner, I’ve always been intensely interested in the direction of our city, even before I became a business owner. The store recently bought season tickets for our new baseball team’s inaugural season.
 
Top priority for 2018:
Expand our customer base to include more of High Point, not just our immediate neighbors.
 
Favorite SIBA programming benefit:
Fall conference. I hated to miss it this year, but it was in the middle of our move. I always discover great books and meet authors that I want to have in the store.

 

  

 

 


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An Interview with Julia McCrea Kudravetz, owner of New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, VA

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, November 5, 2018

An Interview with Julia McCrea Kudravetz, owner of New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, VA

Name:  Julia McCrea Kudravetz

 

Store and location:  The New Dominion Bookshop, Charlottesville, VA.


Number of years as a bookseller:  I purchased the shop after being manager. I was hired as manager after the sudden passing of Carol Troxell, the owner for the previous 30 years. Previously, I ran a local Reading Series and taught English through the local community college. I got involved with the store by doing their social media and selling books off-site at the reading series I hosted.


Best part about being a bookseller?: The conversations I have with people from all walks of life. We have students, international tourists, authors, young kids, everyone coming into this shop.


What book(s) are you reading?: Right now I am reading to prepare for our annual Christmas List, a mailing we do of our top recommendations from the past year. All those books are featured in a "Holiday Market" on our second floor; this is a fantastic store tradition that helps guide holiday gift purchases.  Currently I'm reading a book called Ninth Street Women and learning a lot about the New York Art scene in the first half of the 20th century.


Favorite handsell of 2018: I think Werner's Nomenclature of Colors, a pocket-size facsimile re-issue from Smithsonian Books, is a lovely book for artists and scientists. Each color is described in such a poetic, specific manner; this was the book that Charles Darwin took on his famous voyage.  I love to handsell this book as a unique gift.


Best thing you did this year at your store: Hard to say, but we did rent out the local historic theater, the Paramount, and hosted 1,041 people there for a conversation with Jon Meacham and John Grisham. It raised the profile of our shop, and lead us to believe we can do these 1,000-person off-site events for major international authors in the future.


What are some ways you work with your community?: We partner with alot of local non-profits in various ways. Sometimes, it's  donating 10 books to a silent auction, other times it's cosponsoring an author or an event. We offer our rose garden as a calm space where people can read on their lunch hour.  The shop hosts a book group, an open-mic for young writers and songwriters, and the MFA Reading Series from the University of Virginia. All of these partnerships bring new people into the shop and provide a space for literary community.


Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?: We partner strongly with the Virginia Festival of the Book, which hosts over 20 events at our shop during the book festival in March.  www.vabook.org


Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life?: Certainly reading and writing are a passion that carry over; plus I get to see all the new books coming out every week.

 

Top priority for 2018: We have a lot of priorities, but one of my top ones is paying all booksellers a decent wage in an expensive college town.  Other goals are having more locals who have never visited the shop become regular customers.


Favorite SIBA programming benefit: I think being a part of the SIBA community and hearing how other bookstores are thriving in this area is a wonderful benefit; it's great to know the other bookstores and have them know us. --also Okra picks!


Social Media Stats:

Facebook likes: 1,137 likes

Instagram: 1,124 followers

Twitter: 190 followers

 

Press Kit:  http://ndbookshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/NDB-Sell-Sheet.pdf 


Events and buyer contact info:

 

Events: Sarah Crossland

Marketing and Communications Director

marketing@ndbookshop.com

434-295-2552


Buying: Sarah Valencia

Assistant Manager

staff@ndbookshop.com

434-295-2552

  


Tags:  bookseller interview  New Dominion  Virginia 

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Meet Megan Bell & Josh Niesse, co-owners of Underground Books and Hills & Hamlets Bookshop

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, October 8, 2018

Meet Megan Bell & Josh Niesse, co-owners of Underground Books and Hills & Hamlets Bookshop

Name:

Megan Bell & Josh Niesse 

Store and location:

Co-owners of Underground Books in Carrollton, GA and Hills & Hamlets Bookshop in Chattahoochee Hills, GA 

Number of years as a bookseller:

Megan full time 5 years; Josh full time 8 years

Best part about being a bookseller?:

Someone shared a Guardian piece in one of the bookseller groups this week titled “Bookselling is the most over-romanticized job in the world.” There were some good points in it, but overall we think we should be emphasizing the romance of bookselling. It IS romantic in many ways. It’s how we met (Megan came in the bookstore 2 weeks after Josh opened it and never left), eventually getting married and now co-owning the business. We have a deep love of books and reading and are grateful we’ve created careers for ourselves where we get to spend our days with books. Being more naturally introverted, retail customer service can be challenging at times, but having ongoing years-long conversations with regulars, seeing a child walk down our steps into the bookstore and say “WOW,” and any of the numerous beautiful bookstore moments that happen every day make it all worth it. 

What book(s) are you reading?: 

Megan: I’m a monogamous reader, and I alternate fiction and nonfiction. I just finished Rebecca Solnit’s new collection Call Them by Their True Names.  I’m currently reading the new ARC from Charlie Jane Anders, The City in the Middle of the Night, which I picked up at the SIBA Discovery Show. I’m a huge fan of Anders’ Nebula Award-winning debut, All the Birds in the Sky. It was a dream meeting her at SIBA!

Josh: I’m listening to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Libro.fm has turned me into an audiobook addict!) and I’m just finishing reading Against Elections by David Van Reybrouck and getting ready to start an ARC of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James.

Favorite handsell of 2018:

Megan: First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson. This is a book I didn’t know I needed, and it’s been incredible to really feel I’m making a difference when I put this book in the hands of fellow readers struggling with anxiety. It’s a beautiful book inside and out.

Josh: So far this year I’ve been handselling Yuval Noah Harari’s books nonstop, but I’m currently really excited about a new memoir just out called Southern Discomfort by Tena Clark. Tena has such an incredible life story, and we have 75 tickets pre-sold to our event with her this Friday, October 12th.

Best thing you did this year at your store: 

We pulled off our first really large (for us, anyway) author event, hosting Rick Bragg in our city’s arts center auditorium and selling 200 copies of his newest book. Megan has also been having some major successes experimenting with creative social media videos and promotions that have really resonated with our customers and have helped us reach a huge new audience.

Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc)

Underground Books

  • Facebook: 6,400
  • Instagram: 2,200
  • twitter: 770
  • Pinterest: 2,000 

Hills & Hamlets Bookshop

  • Facebook: 1,000
  • Instagram:  1,160

What are some ways you work with your community?

Community partnerships have been a major part of the success of our bookstores. Before opening our second location (Underground Books opened in 2011, Hills & Hamlets in 2016), we spent nearly a year meeting with neighborhood residents and community organizations and businesses. We partner with arts organizations at both locations, and Josh is on the board of the artist in residence program in the community where Hills & Hamlets resides (writers who have been through the residency program and signed books at our store this last year include Jason Reynolds, Sarah Kay, Eve Ewing, and Brendan Wenzel, among many others). Underground Books is closely allied with our local university and Hills & Hamlets with the local charter and Montessori schools. At Underground Books, we host an international literature book club sponsored and led by the University of West Georgia-they receive funds to buy the books from us, and we hand them out free to people who sign up for the club. We also host several book clubs, do pop-up bookselling booths at numerous community events, host various artist and writer receptions, donate ARCs and damaged books to our local jail, donate gift cards to most charitable organization requests, and so on. 

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?

AIR Serenbe, Serenbe Playhouse, the University of West Georgia (see previous answer).

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life?

We’re not sure there’s a difference between bookselling life and regular life for us! As co-owners of two bookstores we’re definitely on the clock most waking moments.

Megan: The bookstore has been a way to focus and sustain my creativity. Through the needs of our bookstore, I’ve discovered a passion for marketing, especially creating, directing, and editing videos, but also copywriting, social media photography, and managing campaigns. I love that through our social media, you can see on one hand a celebration of reading, learning, nerd culture, and the beauty of books and on the other hand pure silliness and unself-conscious fun that I hope gets across that reading is really for everyone.

Josh: My personal educational background and passions are philosophy and urban/town planning, and for 6 years out of college I worked in and then managed an AmeriCorps literacy tutoring program with youth-at-risk. Bookselling has been an amazing way to combine my intellectual passions with a kind of quiet/gentle community activism.

Top priority for 2018: We did over 100 events in 2017 between our two stores, and this is just the two of us and 4 part time employees. Like most bookstores, events have seemed like a way to try to add value and get people in the doors during a time when they can easily (and usually more cheaply) just get a book online from Amazon. We looked back on 2017 though and said to ourselves, “We’re killing ourselves doing so many events; is this sustainable?” We’ve really been scaling back and trying to focus on doing fewer events but doing them really well and making sure they are profitable. With the time we’re saving from fewer events we’ve been refocusing on our higher margin specialty of rare & antiquarian books. We’ve also been focusing on creating really great social media marketing that celebrates print, book collecting, and bookish culture in general. In terms of bookstore owners, we’re on the younger end of the spectrum, and we’re trying to take a long view. If we want to do this professionally for another 20-30 years, we need to be investing time in cultivating the next generation of serious book collectors and lovers of print media, and we try to let that view inform our marketing efforts.

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: Coming from a background in used & antiquarian books, we’ve been tip-toeing into SIBA and the ABA over the past few years. The trade shows and in-person gatherings have been amazing. Its hard to beat getting to spend time with other booksellers, sharing the joys and headaches of our business and learning directly from each other.  We’ve learned so much through SIBA’s eurekaSIBA event and, just recently, our first Discovery Show. We’ve also gone to the last two Winter Institutes and the most recent SIBA show inspired us to take the leap and commit to going to Albuquerque this year and make it 3 years in a row.

  

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An Interview with the Owners of Book No Further in Roanoke, VA

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

 

An Interview with the Owners of Book No Further in Roanoke, VA

 Name: Doloris Vest and Craig Coker, owners

 

Store and Location: Book No Further, 16 Church Ave, SW, Roanoke, VA 24011

Number of years as a bookseller: Almost one as an owner and a couple of holiday seasons in the past.

Best part about being a bookseller: Talking books and trying to get the right book in the right hand.

What book(s) are you reading?: Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Fist by Sunil Yapa (the Roanoke Valley Reads pick) Chesapeake Requiem by Earl Swift.

 

Favorite handsell of 2018: Varina by Charles Frazier about Varina Davis, wife of confederate president Jefferson Davis. I pair it with Winnie Davis by Heath Lee, a wonderful biography of Varina and Jefferson’s youngest daughter covering the same time.

 

Best thing you did this year at your store: Got it open! ;-) Also, I am so glad we have been able to bring attention to the literary community that exists here and bring readers and writers together. Our most successful event was a talk with Liza Mundy, a Roanoke native, on her book Code Girls about women who broke German and Japanese codes in WWII. We’re expecting 100-plus for our event on September 5 with another Roanoker and Beth Macy, author of New York Times Bestseller Dopesick.

 

Social Media Stats: Our likes are essentially even with the used and chain bookstores in the area who have been open more than 20 years. One of our most popular social posts was of a visit by the Easter Bunny. 

What are some ways you work with your community? Major emphasis in the store on local writers. We’re blessed with a large number of nationally published authors living in Western Virginia. Beth Macy, David Baldacci, Sharyn McCrumb, Diane Fanning, Leah Weiss and others. In our first 10 months we hosted 18 author talks for more than 30 authors, a number of special events including our Grand Opening, Small Business Saturday, Independent Bookstore Day as well as community events like MuggleFest, Spring Festival, Riot Rooster Makers Festival, Dickens of Christmas and others. We work with a lot of non-profits to offer books at their events where they otherwise wouldn’t have the resources, and generally donate some of the proceeds back to the organization, such as the Harrison Museum of African American History. My favorite activity is working with Blue Ridge Literacy. We give each new reader or ESL program completer a book of their choice.

 

 Do you have any community partners you work with regularly? Book City Roanoke, which supports all thing literary in Western Virginia; We work closely with Downtown Roanoke Inc. to promote downtown retail of all kinds.

 

 Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? The most unusual thing is helping customers learn to knit or crochet. If a customer mentions trying to learn and having difficulty, I invite them to the store when it’s quiet and help them through the difficult parts.

 

Top priority for 2018: Getting established in the store itself, learning customer preferences, and building community awareness that there is an indie store in town.

 

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: Talking to all the booksellers and exchanging ideas. I’ve made great connections and have people I can call on for nearly any subject. Secondly, would be the webinars on a variety of topics. As the store’s only staff person I don’t always get to listen in, so I love that they are recorded and archived.

 

Tags:  Book No Further  bookseller interview 

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An Interview with Judith Lafitte, co-owner of Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Friday, August 17, 2018
 
An Interview with Judith Lafitte, co-owner of Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

 

Store and location:

 

Number of years as a bookseller:
We have been in operation for 18 years.

Best part about being a bookseller?
Seeing children's faces light up when they have a special book in hand or when they have just met his/her favorite author.

 

What book(s) are you reading?
I am the children's book buyer, so I'm usually reading ahead of every season in the form of ARC's or F&G's. I'm currently reading The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson (an amazingly strange but fun story); I've just finished the Shadow Weaver series - Comet Rising by MarcyKate Connolly; Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl; Squirm by Carl Hiaasen; And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness. When I have time, I like to read Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series - so I've just read her recent story - To Die But Once.

Favorite handsells of 2018:
Sterling: The Best (Fork) Dog Ever; The Hazel Wood; Twig; Shadow Weaver; Lighthouse; any Maisie Dobbs books

Best thing you did this year at your store:
We hosted more events than ever, ranging from Rick Riordan to Rick Bragg

Social Media Stats
FB = 6900; Twitter = 6750; Instagram = 5614

What are some ways you work with your community?
This year we worked with Writers in Community; we underwrite WWNO's Reading Life; NOGSBA Literacy Programs; community partner with Prytania Theatre (books and movies), Stay Local (continuing education for buying local and keeping money in our community); One Book/One New Orleans; WNBA; and events with other independent businesses in our neighborhood.

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?
All of the above.

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life?
Coleen Salley was my children's literature professor at UNO who inspired me every day with her amazing enthusiasm and joy for children's books. In a way, she opened me up to the possibilities of getting books into the hands of children even before I knew I would be a bookstore owner.

Top priority for 2018:
We've been needing an update on our section signs and I'm hoping that gets accomplished before the year ends.

Favorite SIBA programming benefit:
The biggest benefit is getting together with other regional bookstore owners and booksellers and exchanging ideas. The education sessions are beneficial as well. SIBA has a way of making a trade show a very fun experience with a feel good sensation when you leave.

Tags:  bookseller interview  Octavia Books 

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An Interview with Sally Bradshaw, Owner of Midtown Reader in Tallahassee, Florida

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Thursday, August 2, 2018

 

 

An Interview with Sally Bradshaw, Owner of Midtown Reader in Tallahassee, Florida

 

Store and location: Midtown Reader, Tallahassee, Florida 

 

Number of years as a bookseller: Just under two years!

 

Best part about being a bookseller?: The remarkably interesting people that come into our store. 

 

What book(s) are you reading?:  I’m reading There There by Tommy Orange.  It’s sad and beautiful. I’ve also binge-read Ruth Ware’s four mysteries this summer.  And now I’m also reading an ARC of November Road by Lou Berney, and really enjoying it.

 

Favorite handsell of 2018:  Oh gosh, I’m still selling Trevor Noah’s book.  I can’t stop talking about it.  But for 2018 I guess I’ve sold a lot of Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. It’s just a stunning story that so few people know.  And it reads like fiction.

 

Best thing you did this year at your store:  We hosted James Patterson in February, and we expanded to an upstairs space and have partnered with a local cupcakery to provide cupcakes and coffee! Yum!

 

Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc)2964 FB likes/3015 follows; 841 followers on twitter/540 likes; 1295 followers on Instagram

 

What are some ways you work with your community?  We recently partnered with the Holocaust Education Research Council to host their quarterly book club and to highlight books in our store that help teach the Holocaust; we donate books to the Children’s Home Society “Giving Library” over the holidays – we put up a book tree, match every book purchased then deliver to CHS; we’re involved in multiple education/literacy charities, volunteering for United Way’s Read United in schools; and our Authors in Schools program has brought several terrific middle grade and lower school authors to Tallahassee over the past year including Cassie Beasley and Katherine Applegate.  We also partner with Word of South literary and music festival in Tallahassee each spring.  And we’ve worked with the Tallahassee Senior Center and Westminster Oaks retirement community to bring authors to their members as well.  And, finally, we host an author series with the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper.

 

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?  See above.

 

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? I have bookselling passions that carry over into my private life😊.  I think my husband, children, and friends are a little tired of how often I recommend good reads to them!  I do feel really strongly about connecting people and advocating for civil discourse. We’ve tried hard to create a space where people who are very different and may have different interests and beliefs can find common ground based on a love of reading and learning.

 

Top priority for 2018: Continuing to expand our customer base and visibility as a new bookstore.

 

Favorite SIBA programming benefit:  SIBA fall Discovery show– it’s AMAZING. The programs and information are so informative– especially for new booksellers. The staff is terrific, and the interaction with other booksellers so helpful.

 

 

Tags:  bookseller interview  Florida  Midtown Reader  Sally Bradshaw 

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An Interview with Jamie Rogers Southern of Bookmarks, located in Winston-Salem, NC

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, July 23, 2018

 

An Interview with Jamie Rogers Southern of Bookmarks, located in Winston-Salem, NC

Name: Jamie Rogers Southern


Store and location: Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC


Number of years as a bookseller: 16


Best part about being a bookseller: Introducing someone to a book or author they didn't know about and then having that customer come back and say "that was amazing!" I will say, I equally love it if someone has an opposite reaction to a book than I did as it often sparks an interesting conversation.


What book(s) are you reading? The Witch Elm by Tana French (Viking, 10/18), Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Mariner, 10/18), The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (Touchstone, 5/18), Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth (Flatiron, 7/18)


Favorite handsell of 2018: Educated by Tara Westover


Best thing you did this year at your store: Other than successfully opening (!), I am really proud of diversifying our programming and reaching a wider audience than we ever have before. Getting new people in and reaching out into new pockets of our community is really a huge part of our mission and I'm extremely proud of how far we've come this year.


Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc): 5,362 likes on FB, 1,095 Twitter, 1,825 Instagram, 5,000 e-newsletter subscribers.


What are some ways you work with your community? Oh goodness, where to start. Since we're a nonprofit, we are involved in our community at every level. We work heavily with our schools, we collaborate with approximately 75 nonprofit organizations and companies each year on events, and we try to create opportunities for people to engage with each other. We host a monthly Social Justice Storytime that has highlighted several groups, including recent refugees to our community through World Relief, Autism awareness, domestic violence, and more. We're working with several groups to cultivate community book clubs, like Pride Winston-Salem on an LGBTQ book club, and a local nutrition therapist on a body liberation book club.


Do you have any community partners you work with regularly? Several! Some of them include: RiverRun International Film Festival on their films that are based on books or books about film, a/perture-our local indie theatre on basically the same, Family Services, Junior League, Head Start, Chamber of Commerce, Forsyth County Public Libraries, Winston-Salem Writers, Salemtowne Retirement Community, Piedmont Opera, Winston-Salem Symphony, Kaleideum Children's Museum, Imprints Cares, Hispanic League, Hospice & Palliative Care Center, Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, and Old Salem Museums & Gardens.


Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? Well, since my number one passion in life is reading, I'd say yes! I also enjoy wine, so it's also great that we share a space with a local brewery/coffee shop.


Top priority for 2018: This year, we are beginning a new initiative called Book Build: Fostering Connections by Building Collections. It has come out of our work with area schools and the realization that so many books in their collections are incredibly out of date and therefore irrelevant. Most children living in poverty will only come into contact with books through their school libraries. That means the books in our school libraries not only need to be current, children also need to be able to see themselves in the books they read. We have this amazing opportunity to change a child's life. Our goal is to raise enough money to provide our schools with 25,000 new books by 2020. It's very exciting and we can't wait to get these books to the schools.


Favorite SIBA programming benefit: I always get so many new ideas from talking to fellow booksellers and hearing what works/doesn't work in their stores. I always come away from any kind of networking event with one or two ideas to put into action in our store and community.


Tags:  Bookmarks  bookseller interview 

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