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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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Letter from Dan Simon, Founder & Publisher, Seven Stories Press

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Friday, January 4, 2019

Letter from Dan Simon, Founder & Publisher, Seven Stories Press


In May 2018, Seven Stories Press launched an online Pride Month special collection. Eileen Dengler, executive director of NAIBA, emailed with a request: Couldn’t we find a way for booksellers to participate, and not compete, in what we were doing online? I loved the question, and wrote to our sales and distribution partners at Penguin Random House. They, too, loved the idea and were willing to make the titles we selected for themed collections available to booksellers through a special promotion. Together with NAIBA, we launched periodic themed collections:  “Women in Translation” and “For Human Rights, Against War.” Seven Stories included a prize for the best in-store display, juried by NAIBA, based on photographs the booksellers sent in, with half the prize money going to the store and the other half going to the individual staff person who designed the display.


We’ve learned that the right answers come if you continue asking the right questions. We don’t think we have all the answers; we’re experimenting. But we are also listening. And we enjoyed the conversations over the course of those months. There was a lot that the president of NAIBA, Todd Dickinson, and Eileen were saying that made all kinds of sense to us. The initiative succeeded well enough for us all to want to continue it. 


After a few months, we decided to expand, inviting a small group of independent publishers to participate in 2019.  Eileen has reached out to all the regional bookseller associations to participate. We’ve chosen three months for the collections: March, June and October. The upshot will be that not only will a bond be strengthened between independent publishers and independent booksellers, but also that within stores there will be a special place for readers to find an “Indie Playlist.” 

 

Out of that ongoing conversation, we’ve now altered our online profile. In solidarity with our friends at independent bookstores across the nation, we are excluding from any discount all new books and all frontlist titles, meaning anything published in the past year, and our top twenty all-time best-selling titles. Consumers will find these at their local indie bookseller, along with the other discoveries that physical independent stores are all about. We still have our annual sale for the holidays, and other online initiatives. But we no longer automatically discount all the books on our site. Consumers can still come to our website for deep discovery. Physical stores may find the right book for you, but they can’t carry in their limited space the thousand or so political and literary titles on our backlist. We’ll continue to send the ebook version (gratis) of any book with an email copy of a receipt showing the purchase from an indie bookstore. 

 

Tags:  booksellers  publishers 

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A Great Start to the Holiday Season for Many SIBA Stores

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Great Start to the Holiday Season for Many SIBA Stores

It was a big weekend for booksellers across the country. In SIBA territory, the reports coming in are exuberant! I volunteered on Saturday at Avid Bookshop’s Five Points location in Athens, GA, where customers were greeted personally and guided to books they wanted and some they didn’t know they wanted! Avid’s sideline selection is stunning--by turns hilarious and honoring of all things literary and unique. I purchased a lovely hand-felted angel ornament for a friend, and a birthday card from Red Caps Press. I intend to pick up a set of “Journals for the Middle Child” on a future visit. A gift to myself :)


I worked with John and Christy, both on Avid’s events team, and with Janet, the store’s owner. This is the first year of The Avid Bookshop Bash (TABB), five days of celebration centered around the weekend after Thanksgiving. After each purchase, Avid booksellers offered customers prizes ranging from gift cards to commemorative bookmarks. As I wrapped gifts, I overheard so many customers praising the store and staff and making plans to come back before TABB ended on Giving Tuesday.


More reports from SIBA stores about their weekend sales:


Kimberly Daniels Taws, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC:

“Small Business Saturday was a big day for us. We gave everyone 10% off (something new for us) and we were up 42% over last year! This is really interesting and I think driven by our "spend $50 and get a gift" because we only had 8 more transactions than last year but sold 121 more units. The incentive of a gift at that price point, just higher than a hard cover and a paperback caused people to really increase their units per purchase. We saw a GREAT many out-of-towners, and locals who are discovering the bookshop for the first time, or making an annual pilgrimage.


We sold a lot of the staff picks, big books (Obama, Sparks, Jeff Kinney), and saw a real drive for autographed books. We also sold A LOT of The Broken Ornament. The Invisible Ink little books by Lee Publications are at very low price point and have sold very well for us.”


Jamie Rogers Southern, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC:

“We had a great weekend! Because of our nonprofit status, we cannot flat out do "shop small" promotions so ours is more of a quiet attack. We had board members in to provide free gift wrapping throughout the weekend and our board president offered to match all purchases as a donation to our Book Build initiative during her shift. She ended up donating $1,400!


We were up 33% on the weekend and top selling items were: Becoming, We Should All Be Feminists, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, Wimpy Kid Meltdown, and Shade. Some of these titles were because we have our staff picks of 2018 reading up and people heavily shop off of them at the holidays. We did not do much programming this year, just our regular storytime and book art by a local artist on Saturday afternoon.


I loved seeing so many of our regular customers and volunteers bring in family and friends who were visiting from out of town and overhearing them talk about the bookstore as theirs!”


Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, Alabama: “Page & Palette had a busy day on Saturday, which included author visits by Karyn Tunks, author of Mardi Gras in Mobile and Michael and Sarah Hewes, authors of The Tempestuous Trial of Maybelline Meriweather.”

 

Pictured below from left to right are the authors visiting Page & Palette, a scene from Bookmarks, and the front and back sides of Avid's commemorative TABB bookmarks.

    

 

 




Tags:  booksellers  small business saturday 

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Holiday Prep for Your Store: Have you made your list and checked it twice?

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

Holiday Prep for Your Store: Have you made your list and checked it twice?


New research, and likely your instincts, suggests that consumer interest during the holiday season actually peaks almost one month earlier than Black Friday. That means right now! Don’t be overwhelmed if you haven’t launched your holiday campaign yet. You can join forces with Love Your Bookstore week (November 10-16) and encourage your customers to celebrate local bookstores. Here’s a list of bookseller resources, including downloadable images, to get you started.


Consider this great checklist of “9 Great Practices to Get Shoppers to Buy During the Holidays.” Simple things like providing your customers with baskets, gift-wrapping items ahead of time for easy shopping (with unwrapped similar items nearby, or stickering wrapped items with sku/isbn), making sure your store hours are correct on Google, and catching customer attention with a display that moves (perhaps a toy train or rotating display of bookmarks festooned with lights) can promote bigger sales.


For your store’s internal checklist, here’s a tip from a veteran--keep bottles of hand sanitizer and boxes of tissue by the registers, and wipe down shared keyboards and phones with Clorox wipes daily. ‘Tis the season!


Join our Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Group on Facebook to share your tips for Holiday success in keeping sales and morale high in your stores!

   

 

Tags:  booksellers  holidays 

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Make a Bookseller's Holiday and nominate them for a James Patterson Holiday Bonus!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Thursday, August 30, 2018

 

Make a Bookseller's Holiday and Nominate Them for a James Patterson Holiday Bonus! 

Author James Patterson’s Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program has pledged a contribution of $250,000 to provide independent bookstore employees with some extra cash around the winter holidays.

Patterson is partnering with the American Booksellers Association for the fifth time to distribute the bonuses, to be granted in amounts of $750 to $1,500 to individual booksellers. The process to submit nominations is open through September 30, and anyone can nominate. All past recipients of Patterson grants are eligible for this year's bonus, and booksellers can self-nominate. The grant application asks one question: “Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?” After reviewing the answers, Patterson will select the winners from bookstores across the country. Here's a link to the grant application. Good luck to all nominated booksellers!

In 2017, Patterson donated a record $350,000 to bookstore employees; in 2016, $250,000 to 149 independent bookstore employees across the country; and in 2015, $250,000 to 87 recipients. In 2014, he awarded $1 million in grants to 178 independent bookstores. Over the past decade, Patterson has also given away more than a million books to students all over the United States and visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy.

Tags:  bonuses  booksellers  holidays  James Patterson 

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Applications for the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists open July 9!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, July 30, 2018
Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2018

Applications open for the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists

Applications are now open for the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists.

Would you like to attend Winter Institute, your regional trade show in 2019,  and receive funding to create a program at your store that impacts your community in a positive way? 

Then you should consider applying for this first-ever year-long scholarship provided by the Binc Foundation and the Friends of Carla Gray.  

Carla Gray believed that books could change people and that people change the world.  This memorial scholarship in her honor connects on both fronts, at the intersection of books and activism.  Supporting emerging booksellers and their efforts to make a difference in one's community were essential to Carla. The community outreach project can be anything from providing books to underserved children or bringing a special speaker to your store, the sky is the limit. We want you to think outside the box and hopefully, your project could be shared with other stores. 


You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Have at least one year but fewer than 5 years of bookselling experience.
  • Work part-time or full-time at a bookstore in good standing with the ABA and your regional association.
  • Are willing and able to commit one year to complete the scholarship and you intend to remain employed as a bookseller through the implementation of your project.
  • Your store owner agrees to partner with you on your community outreach project.
Click here to apply today!

Questions please feel free to contact Kit Steinaway - kit@bincfoundation.org


Tags:  booksellers  education  scholarship 

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Meet the Bookseller: Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

Posted By Nicki Leone, Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Stephanie Crowe with Taylor BrownName: 
Stephanie Crowe

Store and location: 
Page and Palette
32 S. Section Street
Fairhope, Al 36532

website || facebook || twitter || instagram

Number of years as a bookseller: 
Almost 10 (Oct)

Labyrinth of the SpiritsBest part about being a bookseller?:
I get all the books I want to read and more, love the customers, and want them to read the books I love. 

What book(s) are you reading?:

Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King, Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan, The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosna

The OverstoryFavorite handsell of 2018:
The Overstory by Richard Powers

Best thing you did this year at your store:
Harper Collins Live facebook video; I also was able to get Paula McLain to come to store

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Bragg with the Page   & Palette staffAn event at Page and Palette


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

facebook 13,000
twitter 3500
instagram 1000
email subscribers: 6,000

What are some ways you work with your community?
We work with partners when we need a larger space: our library, Fairhope United Methodist Church, retail partners like Running Wild.

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?

Denham Springs Main Street, Denham Strong and the Livingston Parish News are our more frequent collaborators.

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life?
My passion is the book, sales reps, authors, SIBA board and the store and that is my life.

Top priority for 2018:

To get wonderful authors to come to Page and Palette

Favorite SIBA programming benefit:
The fall Discovery Showis absolutely the best event I attend each year. It is like coming home

Tags:  booksellers 

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Social Media Class for Booksellers at a HUGE discount for SIBA Members! Register by July 31!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Thursday, July 12, 2018

Social media and content marketing can be stressful and confusing. Many booksellers need to know how to be more efficient and effective so the time and energy they spend marketing online has greater impact and creates results.

If you’ve seen Sarah Benoit, co-founder and lead instructor at the JB Media Institute, present at the ABA’s Winter or Children’s Institute, you know you’re learning from someone passionate about helping booksellers improve their social media and content marketing strategies. Sarah has developed an online course for booksellers: Social Media and Content Marketing Basics for Booksellers.

Topics covered include:

  • content branding

  • keyword and hashtag research

  • content calendars

  • website usability

  • Instagram and Facebook tracking

  • social media tracking on Google Analytics

  • Facebook and Instagram advertising

  • event marketing


Sarah introduced this course to SIBA booksellers and staff this spring and we are loving and already using what we’ve learned. Sarah’s three-month self-paced online course is now being offered nationally for $299. Contact SIBA for a special code and SIBA member stores enroll for just $149! Registration open till July 31.


Would you like a preview? Attend a FREE introductory webinar on Monday, July 16 from 12-1pm EST.

  • Join the meeting on your computer or laptop go to: https://join.me/jbmediagroup  It will prompt you to download the Join.me desktop app for easier participation or you can click the link to join with your browser.  Conference ID: 804-325-388 #

  • To join using your mobile device like a smartphone or tablet download the mobile apps: https://www.join.me/apps

  • To dial in by phone: (404) 400 - 8750


"The JB Media social media class is very well designed - its structure and flow can help any one at any level of social media expertise! This class is very adaptable to any schedule. The online lessons allow you to work completely at your own pace and Sarah is always available for questions and discussion. This class can answer just about any question regarding social media or content marketing that you have ever had and if the class itself can't, then Sarah can! Highly recommend!”-- John Cavalier, Cavalier House Books


"It's one thing to post a couple photos or links, or like a couple videos, and quite another to create a dynamic, engaging, and attractive presence online that enhances and compliments your real-world, brick-and-mortar business. JB Media's holistic approach to social media is the best I've seen for doing that. It goes far beyond just providing a series of tips or tricks to manage a Facebook page. Your course gives people the tools they need to navigate social media effectively and use it productively. You know the proverb "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life"? JB Media teaches people how to fish.”--Nicki Leone, SIBA




Tags:  booksellers  education  Sarah Benoit  social media 

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Winner of the Book Expo's 2018 "Introduce an Indie" Scholarship Shares Her Experience

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, July 2, 2018
Star Lowe, owner of Star Line Books in Chattanooga, TN, was one of eighteen booksellers who received the "Introduce an Indie" scholarship to attend this year's Book Expo in NYC. The program, designed in collaboration with the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and nine regional bookseller associations, offered a unique opportunity to be fully immersed in the book industry. Star shares her first-ever experience of Book Expo:
 
"I was shocked to be awarded a scholarship! Even up to the last minute, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to swing it. The shop is having some growing pains, and I was super busy meeting with my accountant and lender negotiating a potential new location for Star Line Books. I was also dealing with a heavy events calendar, and helping my oldest move into his first house! I was so grateful to have attended the SIBA-sponsored How to Prepare a Press Kit for Your Store and How to Pitch Your Store to Publicists webinars with Maribeth Pelly. Katie worked on it, and with the help of Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore, we got it revised and pitch ready. The How to Pitch Your Store webinar included role-playing, which let me know what I was walking into with the speed dating session I attended at Book Expo. I wasn’t signed up for any, due to my aforementioned timing issue, but Kelly allowed me to use the last two minutes of her 11-minute sessions. I couldn’t have asked for a more gracious mentor. She and her colleague, Carl Kranz, have taken Katie and me under their wings, and no question is seen as too insignificant. I had a catbird’s seat watching Kelly pitch before my turns. Having done no publisher prep ahead of time to familiarize myself with their upcoming tour grids, I learned on the fly, and used what I gleaned from Kelly’s pitch to fit my store’s pitch. I was confident enough following the speed dating sessions to cold call some of the publishers with authors I knew I wanted to host in Chattanooga.
 
I now know exactly how I need to prep to hit the ground running next year. I’ll have my publisher wish lists, and be familiar with the tour grids, and sign up early for the publisher meetings. Despite my lack of preparation, I managed to make some valuable contacts. Also, I was surprised at how few books I collected to send home. I just didn’t waste time in signing lines, and although my booksellers were a bit disappointed at the lack of ARCs I snagged, I feel like I finally did the job I have been trying to learn to do for over three years. I operated like the owner and manager of an indie bookstore who hustled my shop. It was uncomfortable at first, but I sucked it up, stepped up to the plate, and got a base hit! I consider this my biggest success. Side note, HOLY COW! Nothing prepared me for what it was like to step into the Javits Center in full Book Expo glory! Going back to the baseball metaphors, it was like taking the field for the first game of the World Series."

 

 

 Star is pictured above with author Susanna Kearsley, and to the left with mentor Carl Kranz from Fountain Bookstore of Richmond, Va.

Tags:  BEA  booksellers  education  Kelly Justice  Star Lowe 

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Meet the Bookseller: Sara Luce Look, Charis Books and More, Atlanta, Geogia

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, June 28, 2018

MEET THE BOOKSELLER: SARA LUCE LOOK

Sara Luce LookName: Sara Luce Look

Store and location: Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

website || facebook || twitter || instagram

Number of years as a bookseller: 26 years and Charis has been in business since 1974

Best part about being a bookseller? Getting to work at a job I love and feel passionate about...




Charis Books Charis Interior
Charis Event Charis Display

A Certain LonlinessWhat book(s) are you reading?:
A Certain Loneliness: A Memoir by Sandra Gail Lambert (out in Sept.)
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
About to start the galley of Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver



Confessions of the FoxFavorite handsell of 2018:
I am looking forward to selling Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg when it comes out at the end of June.
I have been selling the paperback of The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, which was my favorite fiction book last year

 

 

 

Best thing you did this year at your store:

Not in our store, but getting to go to Washington DC and be honored as The We Need Diverse Books Bookseller of the Year was pretty huge!
Also selling books at Tayari Jones' book release party for An American Marriage to a sold out crowd at the Alliance Theatre.

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

Twitter (@chariscircle): 2300
FB (@charisbooks): 6426
IG (@charisbooksandmore): 2081
3500 subscribers on email list.

What are some ways you work with your community?

Because we are a mission-driven feminist bookstore with a non-profit programming arm, we work more directly with our community than many stores. Charis Books co-sponsors public events and sell books at libraries, churches, pre-schools, therapy conferences, conferences, festivals, academic gatherings and more. Our non-profit, Charis Circle, sponsors over 270 events a year at our store and in partner venues, centered around the mission of fostering sustainable feminist communities, working for social justice and encouraging the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. Charis Circle accomplishes its mission by working with artists, authors, and activists from across the South and around the world to bring innovative, thoughtful, and life-changing programming and events to Atlanta's feminist communities. Charis is Atlanta's only publicly accessible dedicated feminist space open 7 days a week, 360 days a year. Charis events range from writing groups, to poetry open mics, to children's story hours, to yoga, to activists strategy sessions and so much more. Charis Circle's work extends beyond the walls of Charis Books and into the schools, streets, and homes of our beloved community members. We exist as a popular education resource for our customers, their families, and the city at large.

Do you have any community partners you work with regularly?
Some of our partnerships include:

  • Atlanta Pride
  • Atlanta Radical Book Fair
  • Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
  • The Center of Civil and Human Rights LGBT Institute
  • The Crunk Feminist Collective
  • The Decatur Book Festival
  • Different Games Collective
  • Emory University
  • Feminist Women’s Health Center
  • First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta
  • Georgia Center for the Book
  • Georgia Safe Schools Coalition
  • The Icarus Project
  • Men Stopping Violence
  • Phillip Rush Center
  • Project South
  • Raksha
  • Spelman College
  • Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
  • A Striving Parent
  • Trans and Friends
  • Women Healing Women, Inc.
  • ZAMI NOBLA (National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging)

Do you have passions that carry over into your bookselling life?
I collect cookbooks (mostly regional New England, Portuguese cooking, and vintage baking)

Top priority going into 2018:
Getting ready to move! We will be moving to the campus of Agnes Scott College in 2019. We will be partnering with ASC, bringing our independent feminist bookstore and non-profit to campus. We will not be selling textbooks, but will be adding "school store" items (spirit-wear/t-shirts, toiletries, snacks, school supplies, etc) to our shelves.

Favorite SIBA programming benefit: SIBA trade show

Tags:  booksellers 

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