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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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An Interview with Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop with two locations in Athens, GA

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, July 17, 2018

An Interview with Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop with two locations in Athens, GA

Name:  Janet Geddis

Store and location: Avid Bookshop with two locations in Athens, Georgia

Number of years as a bookseller: 7

Best part about being a bookseller?: You know this is an impossible question, right? Today I will say this: I have been blown away by the breadth and depth of friendships I've formed as a result of my bookseller role. From publisher reps to authors to coworkers to customers, I have a community of people who really understand me; after all, we speak a common language--the language of books. 

What book(s) are you reading?: I just started Jessica Handler's 2019 novel, The Magnetic Girl. I'm a huge Jessica Handler fan and am loving it already. Yesterday I finished Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey and Jason Reynolds's For Every One

Favorite handsell of 2018: Issue one of Good Company magazine (from Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney)

Best thing you did this year at your store: We've always made it known that we're in support of human rights, free speech, and anti-discrimination, but this year we've become even more outspoken.Through various in-store and offsite events and initiatives, we remind readers far and wide that we see them and want to hear all stories. 

Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc): 9,336 Twitter followers, 8,343 Facebook followers, & 12.8k Instagram followers.

What are some ways you work with your community? In addition to frequent events and book clubs, we have two initiatives that allow us to participate meaningfully as Athens citizens: #avidgivesback and #avidinschools. These programs are ways for us to donate volunteer time, money, and in-kind donations to nonprofits, schools, and organizations that are making our city--and our world--better places. One example is the #avidgivesback project dreamt up by bookseller/Will Walton. For every copy of his May 2018 novel (I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain) that was preordered at Avid, the bookselling staff committed to 25 minutes of volunteer time at the Athens Community Council on Aging's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program. 

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly? Yes, we have so many community partners it's hard to name drop just a few! From various departments and clubs at UGA to famous rock clubs downtown to our nonprofit arthouse cinema to the Clarke County School District to our local library to the leisure services department, we work with groups that touch the lives of nearly every part of the Athens population. 

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life? I definitely have passions that carry over into my bookselling life! I'm a professional patient advocate, writer, and speaker at migraine.com, and I've used skills honed in that role to be more of an advocate for my staff and for myself as a small business owner. Oh, and my two cats, who make frequent appearances under the #petsofavid Instagram hashtag. 

Top priority for 2018: We're more than halfway done with the year, and I'm not sure I've made as much progress as I'd wanted to by now on one of my goals: to streamline the business, cut down on costs, and improve our profit margin. I know this is everyone's goal, but I'm making it a priority this year. Slow and steady wins the race, I hope!

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: While not listed as a specific benefit when you sign up for membership, the access we have to Linda-Marie and Wanda has been invaluable. To have two industry experts always eager and willing to pick up the phone or exchange some emails about unexpected issues or fun new ideas is amazing. 


Tags:  Avid Bookshop  bookseller interview  Janet Geddis 

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Meet the Bookseller: Sarah Pishko, Prince Books, Norfolk, VA

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sarah PishkoName: Sarah Pishko

Store and location: Prince Books, 109 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510      

website || facebook

Number of years as a bookseller: 35!

Best part about being a bookseller?: First of all, the product always changes! I stole a line from Books & Books: "NEW YEAR. NEW BOOKS. NEW AUTHORS." Bookstore customers are always "interested and interesting." And, books are always in the news!

What book(s) are you reading?:Varina and Manhattan Beach

VarinaFavorite handsell of 2017: News of the World by Paulette Jiles. We all just thought it was a fresh, new story with a unique setting.

Prince BooksBest thing you did this year at your store: Doubled my inventory of greeting cards! Last April, after 3 years of heavy construction right across the street from me, the Hilton Norfolk The Main opened. It's a beautiful hotel with state of the art convention facilities and it's fronted in glass. The registration desk is on the second floor, and as one takes the escalator to the second floor, they have a great view of Prince Books. Most of my greeting cards were in front of the window. A month later, my card inventory was practically wiped out, so I summoned my greeting card rep, Richard Walters,  purchased two new barrel-style card displays and greatly increased my card inventory. My greeting card sales have more than doubled since June 2017

 Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc)  FB likes 1000

 Top priority going into 2018: I have dropped the ball the last few years regarding reporting to ABACUS. I need to get back to it, and then study my financials. 

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: Seeing my sales reps, and educational sessions.

What are some ways you work with your community? 

Hmm I’m on the board of the DOWNTOWN NORFOLK COUNCIL, and part of it’s VIBRANT SPACES COMMITTEE which was tasked a year ago to develop a marketplace for micro- or incubator retail businesses in a downtown space.I’m on the board of RETAIL ALLIANCE, and am on it’s LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE which monitors legislation that may affect the organization. With regard to legislation, The RETAIL ALLIANCE teamed up the RETAIL MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION, headquartered in Richmond, and formed the VIRGINIA RETAIL FEDERATION that lobbies for both retail organizations.I spent twenty years being a book reviewer for the annual book review contest put on by the FRIENDS OF THE NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY. I have recently stepped in to take the place of an ill reviewer.Every winter I volunteer with my church’s participation in NEST, Norfolk Emergency Shelter Team, a consortium of churches in the city who provide overnight shelter, dinner and breakfast to the homeless who arrive at the church doors.

Tags:  bookseller interview  Prince Books  Sarah Pishko 

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Meet the Bookseller: Serena Wyckoff and Cathy Graham, Copperfish Books

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, March 22, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

MEET THE BOOKSELLER

Serena and CathySerena Wyckoff and Cathy Graham, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Copperfish Books
103 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda FL 33950

website || facebook || twitter

Number of years as a bookseller:

12 (5.5 years in our brick-n-mortar store with new/used books, 6.5 years prior as used/antiquarian booksellers – mainly online and in antique malls)

Best part about being a bookseller?:

Constantly being around books and people who love books – stimulating, engaging, and fun! And there's nothing better than when folks come back to say they absolutely loved the books we put into their hands!

The Great BelieversWhat book(s) are you reading?:

Serena is reading The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai after having just finished White Houses by Amy Bloom. Cathy just finished Children of Blood and Bone, and is re-reading Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise (for book club).

Favorite handsell of 2017: A Gentleman in Moscow

Serena and CathyBest thing you did this year at your store: Hire our terrific new staff! We were a team of three the first few years… Now We Are Six . ☺

Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc)
Facebook: 1641 likes
Twitter: 499 followers

Top priority going into 2018: To increase book sales and events during the slower months. We are located in what has traditionally been a seasonal retirement-focused community, with "snowbirds" swelling the local population from October to March. The area is now on the verge of explosive growth, to include more year-round residents and younger working people in the next few years. This offers us the opportunity to strengthen sales April to September, making the overall year more robust.

Serena and CathyFavorite SIBA programming benefit: The fall Discovery Show – and we're so excited that it's in Florida this year. We hope to bring our staff for the first time. The show give us a chance to re-connect with our colleagues (booksellers, publishers, authors) and learn about exciting upcoming releases, programs, and industry tips and practices. We always leave re-energized for the busy holiday/winter season!

Tags:  bookseller interview  copperfish books 

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8/21/2018 » 8/27/2018
Circle of Sites - Chincoteague Calm

8/28/2018 » 9/3/2018
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9/11/2018 » 9/17/2018
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2018 SIBA Discovery Show