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Meet the Bookseller: Dave Schallenberger, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Georgia

Posted By Nicki Leone, Thursday, June 14, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dave SchallenbergerName: Dave Shallenberger

Store and location: Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Georgia

website || facebook || twitter || instagram

Number of years as a bookseller: We opened 13 years ago and that's when I first became a bookseller

Best part about being a bookseller?: Interacting with superb co-workers and wonderful customers, all of whom never cease to amaze me with their friendliness, intelligence, wit, and love of the written word.

Little Shop of Stories inside Author Illustrations
Good Night Moon Room The Penny Floor

The ShadesWhat book(s) are you reading?:
I've just about finished The Shades by Evgenia Citkowitz (6/19/18), which is superb, The Family Tabor (7/17/18) by Cherise Wolas which was also quite good, Felicity by Mary Oliver, and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman which is just as entertaining as everyone told me.

I run our Poetry & Wine group. Next month we'll be discussing The Way Under the Way by Mark Nepo.
Just starting: The Brother by Rein Raud.

It's been a marathon, but my "Friday afternoon sitting at the bar and having a beer" book is Ron Chernow's Grant. (It's one of my favorite times of the week for two reasons.)

On deck: OK, Mr. Field by Katherine Kilalea (7/17/18)

Orphan IslandFavorite handsell of 2017: Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. The book, a middle-grade novel which was longlisted for a National Book Award, was creative and challenging, raising moral and philosophical questions. (What a great thing for a kids' book to do!) Laurel is local and we love her. We're thrilled that her Charlie and Mouse won the Geisel Award this year.

Picture Book
Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner. It's all about creativity and finding your own unique way. I always love Judy's illustrations.

Middle Grade
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. Laurel's newest novel was longlisted for a National Book Award and was creative and challenging, raising moral and philosophical questions. (What a great thing for a kids' book to do!) Laurel is local and we love her. We're thrilled that her Charlie and Mouse won the Geisel Award this year.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone. Nic is also a local author and this is her rather stunningly excellent debut novel. I very much look forward to her future work.

Best thing you did this year at your store:
In the past year I served on the Indies Introduce and the Indies Choice / E.B. White Read-Aloud Book Awards panels. It's been a great opportunity to read numerous excellent books and converse with fellow booksellers from all over the country.

Social Media Stats (FB likes, Twitter followers, etc)
Web site: averages about 8,500 page views per month
Email newsletter subscribers: 7,742
Facebook: 8,357 likes
Instagram followers: 3,250
Twitter followers: 2,688

What are some ways you work with your community?
We're extremely engaged with our local community and always try to find more ways to do so. Little Shop hosts four storytimes each week and nine book groups each month. We send authors and hold many, many bookfairs at schools in the Atlanta area. We have our own Summer Reading Program with rewards from local businesses. About 600 kids sign up every year. We run nine weeks of (mostly) book-themed camps every summer. Little Shop has been intimately involved in the Decatur Book Festival since its inception. On The Same Page is our community-read program in which we encourage families to read the same book. We work with a number of local organizations to distribute several hundred free books to kids who might not be able to afford them. The finale features an author visit. Little Shop also installs the community Christmas Tree on our roof each Christmas season. The annual tree lighting, complete with a visit from Santa and a performance of a school choir, draws hundreds of folks.

Top priority going into 2018:
Mine is to improve the appearance of the shop. Little Shop expanded into an adjoining space about 18 months ago and we've been working on integrating the look with our established space. We've been covering our floor with pennies (4+ years and counting). One of our employees, Jason, has finished our Goodnight Moon room, complete with replicas of the paintings, a fireplace mantle, green and yellow curtains ... the whole bit! Now we'll expand the focus to the exterior, installing planters with flowers and maybe doing some painting to make our shop look more inviting.

Tags:  booksellers  little shop of stories 

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Looking to Engage Young Readers During the Summer Break? Promote the Solo Summer Reading Program with Conroy Legacy Award-Winner Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Looking to Engage Young Readers During the Summer Break? Promote the Solo Summer Reading Program with Conroy Legacy Award-Winner Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess!

Here’s a perfect in-store opportunity for a summer reading program based on Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. Kwame Alexander, SIBA’s 2018 Conroy Legacy Award-winner, is a Virginia-based poet, educator, Newbery winner, and bestselling author. He’s a charismatic speaker with a passion for poetry and inspiring kids to read. He and Hess are leading a four-week program that readers engage with through email and facebook, and in-store programming supported by educator guides. Use this link  (which directs readers to buy at their local independent bookstore or via  to sign yourself up, and for use in social media and store websites to encourage readers to read Solo.


Solo, co-written with Mary Rand Hess, tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloid covers and a constant reminder that his famous father is struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a rock-n-roll comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and the ruin his father’s washed-up legacy has brought the family, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected secret—one that has him questioning his own identity—he’s thrown into a tailspin. Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything he thought to be true. Booklist praises, “Alexander has a history of appealing to teens of all sorts and a Newbery to his name; don’t expect this collaboration to stay on shelves long.”

Tags:  book club  booksellers  conroy legacy award  kwame alexander 

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Don't Miss Out on These Scholarships to the SIBA Discovery Show!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, June 11, 2018


Don't Miss Out on These Scholarships to the SIBA Discovery Show!

SIBA is committed to helping every bookseller who wishes to attend The Discovery Show find a way to come. Every year financial assistance is made available through the generous support of publishers and organizations who recognize what a vital resource the show is for stores. After all, stronger bookstores mean better sales for their books. This year SIBA has the following financial assistance and scholarship opportunities available.

The Macmillan Bookseller Professional Development Scholarship

In partnership with the Binc Foundation, The Macmillan Bookseller Professional Development Scholarship aims to encourage a greater number of individuals from underrepresented groups to choose and/or continue careers in bookselling. This scholarship will allow up to one bookseller to attend their regional trade show. Deadline is July 1. Click here to apply for the scholarship.

Binc Scholarship

Based on financial need, this scholarship is available for a bookseller who has not been to SIBA in recent years because they have been unable to afford it.  Write a letter of need & desire and email to

The Reba & Dave Scholarship Fund

Open to any bookseller, this scholarship allows ten bookstores, each with up to two booksellers, one hotel room for three nights, and two allpass tickets to the meals at the show. Includes up to $300 in  travel expenses.

Write a letter of need & desire and email to

The Pat Conroy Scholarships, sponsored by Penguin Random House

Two scholarships are designated for booksellers who have never attended a SIBA Discovery Show. This scholarship is in keeping with the Penguin Random House’s fifteen-year tradition of supporting educational programming for booksellers at the event.  The 2 scholarships will cover up to $1,000 of the winner’s travel, hotel, and meal expenses for the Discovery Show. To be eligible, a bookseller must be a full-time employee of a SIBA-member bookstore, working at any level or capacity.

To apply, the nominated bookseller should fill out the information below, and email it to

  • YES! I have never been to SIBA and I would love to go.

  • Name

  • Address

  • E-mail address

  • Bookstore: where do you work? How long have you worked there and what is your current role?

  • Make Pat Conroy proud! Please write a short (two paragraphs is ideal) description of why you love being a bookseller and what you hope to get out of SIBA.

Scholarship winners will be announced before September 1.

Tags:  binc  booksellers  education  scholarship  SIBA  siba member hub  trade show 

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Fill Out the ABACUS Survey to Earn an Extra Spot at Winter Institute 2019!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, June 11, 2018
Updated: Friday, June 8, 2018

Fill Out the ABACUS Survey to Earn an Extra Spot at Winter Institute 2019!


The deadline to participate in the annual ABACUS financial independent bookstore survey is Friday, June 15. Bookstores that have never submitted to ABACUS that participate in ABACUS-17 will this year have the option of registering an additional staff person for the upcoming Winter Institute, set for January 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This year, each region with at least 35 reporting stores will receive a data aggregate specific for their own region’s respondents. This data will be provided in Excel and will include all the metrics shown in the ABACUS report. And all participating bookstores from eligible regions will also receive the regional data in their individual company performance reports. Let's make this happen for the SIBA region, folks!


What we learned the last time we received a regional report (from 2014 data):

  • SIBA stores had a lower COGS and higher gross margin than ABA average
  • SIBA stores had lower payroll costs than ABA average
  • SIBA mid-range stores had higher occupancy and operational costs than ABA average
  • With the exception of mid-range stores, all SIBA stores did better than ABA average


SIBA Board President Doug Robinson, owner of Eagle Eye Book Shop, writes this about ABACUS, "Using my Quickbooks reports, I finished the survey in about 1.5 hours. I am strongly urging all of you to participate in the survey. ABACUS is a yearly, members-only survey which gathers valuable information that can help improve a bookstore's operations...and bottom line. Input from hundreds of ABA members results in valuable data that help ABA establish the benchmarks recommended for stores to improve business operations and profitability....What do you get out of this?...You'll get the ABACUS executive summary and a customized report for your store that analyzes the financial results...and you'll be helping all indie bookstores to better understand their financial results."


ABA member bookstores can begin the submission process by going to If stores participated last year, the store account information has been carried forward. New participants will need to create an account to access the site.


Stores with questions about ABACUS can email Michael Becher of Industry Insights, the company that assists ABA in compiling and creating the annual report.

Tags:  ABA  Abacus  booksellers 

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Practice Your Pitch at Book Expo with Maribeth Pelly!

Posted By Linda-Marie Barrett, Monday, May 28, 2018
Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2018




Developing and maintaining an active, growing author event program is the key to success for most bookstores. One of the biggest challenges is getting your store on author tours, especially when you’re off the beaten trail, or in competition with a number of stores nearby. SIBA booksellers who attended our webinars with Maribeth Pelly-- How to Prepare a Press Kit for Your Store and How to Pitch Your Store to Publishers--are putting the final touches on their press kits and marketing efforts in advance of Book Expo, where they’ll attend publicist speed dating events, and meet publicists and reps at their booths and meeting rooms.

Want to practice your pitch before the meetings, or show your press kit to an expert? Maribeth Pelly will be at the ABA lounge on Wednesday (5/30) from 10-1145am, and 2-3pm to go over your pitches. We hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to check in, finesse your approach, and walk confidently into those meetings! You can email Maribeth in advance to schedule an appointment, or just show up during those times.

Maribeth Pelly is a marketing consultant who helps transform new and underperforming businesses. She’s also the event planner at her local independent bookstore, Booktowne.

Tags:  authors  b3! webinars  BEA  booksellers  bookselling  education 

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6/12/2018 » 6/18/2018
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