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This began as a collection of posts provided to the no longer Bargain Book News for all booksellers from SIBA, with love. But it is switching to a blog for the industry with news that we hope is valuable for the industry at large, from SIBA, with love.


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Okra Picks Schedule Change

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Okra Picks Deadline Change: Deadline for SUMMER Okra Picks nominations is May 15

Okra PicksBeginning in May, SIBA's Okra Picks program calendar has been updated to give booksellers and publishers more time to promote each season's titles and to allow for active pre-order campaigns for the forthcoming books. Accordingly, nomination deadlines for each season have been pushed back by two weeks. The new Okra Picks schedule is as follows:

  • Spring (April-June titles):

    Nomination Deadline: February 15
    Okra Picks Announced: April 1

  • Summer (July-September titles):

    Nomination Deadline: May 15
    Okra Picks Announced: July 1

  • Fall (October-December titles):

    Nomination Deadline: August 15
    Okra Picks Announced: October 1

  • Winter (January-March titles):

    Nomination Deadline: November 15
    Okra Picks Announced: January 1

Okra Picks 

Okra Picks is SIBA's program to highlight forthcoming books of southern interest that its booksellers are especially excited about. Since its inception, the program has spotlighted new books by favorite southern authors such as Joshilyn Jackson, Rick Bragg, Ron Rash, and Tayari Jones, and also break out books by debut and emerging authors such as Wiley Cash, T. Geronimo Johnson, Brian Panowich, Leonard Pitts, Jr. and Holly Goddard Jones.

Nominations are only accepted from SIBA member booksellers, and may be submitted in any of the following ways:

Via the Okra Picks nomination form
By submitting a review to Edelweiss
By emailing the nomination to

More information about Okra Picks can be found at

Current Season Okra Picks | Okra Picks Archive


Tags:  #okrapicks  okra picks 

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A Year of Okra

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Year of Okra

Okra PicksIt’s the time of year when people start to look back, assess how the past year has gone, think about the highs and the lows – the goals missed and the goals surpassed. The book industry is no different. Now is the time when “Best of” lists start to proliferate – the Best Books of the past year, the favorite books of the year, the most memorable, most important, most surprising….you get the idea.

SIBA’s own “best of” can be seen in the past year’s set of “Okra Picks” – a list of a dozen books picked for each season, upcoming southern titles booksellers are extra excited about. (“Let’s call them ‘okra picks’ instead of Oprah picks!” said Executive Director Wanda Jewell when she first came up with the idea).

Much like the books on the “Indie Next” list, the idea behind was to highlight the power of independent bookstores to make a book a success, and at the same time bring attention to Southern books that end up “going national” thanks to their initial support from Southern indie bookstores.  Here are the books that Southern indie bookstores chose this past year:

Okra Picks for 2015: Winter | Spring | Summer | Fall

So how did they do? Did any of the 2015 Okra Picks become a “success”? Are any of them likely to be on anyone’s “best of 2015” list?

Well, we can say that for the entire year, every weekly Southern Independent Bestseller list featured at least one, and often two or three Okra Pick titles. Some, like Go Set a Watchman, were to be expected. But others, such as Harrison Scott Key’s debut memoir The World’s Largest Man, were evidence of indie bookstore enthusiasm. Some of the books were happy recognition of some familiar names: Tom Piazza (A Free State), Greg Iles (Natchez Burning), Diane Chamberlain (Pretending to Dance), Homer Hickam (Carrying Albert Home). Others introduced us to the newest members of the Southern Literary pantheon: Leonard Pitts, Jr. (Grant Park), T. Geronimo Johnson (Welcome to Braggsville), Brian Panowich (Bull Mountain), James E. McTeer, III (Minnow).  There have been more than a few movie rights optioned (Bull Mountain, Serafina and the Black Cloak), and more than a few that have begun to appear on the “Best of” lists for the year from other sources: You’ll find Hester Young’s The Gates of Evangeline on the Best of 2015 according to Publisher’s Weekly.

All of which suggests that if you want to have your finger on the literary pulse of the times (or simply want to stock books that you can count on to sell), then you should be following the Okra Picks – the best of the upcoming southern literature, chosen by the people who would know: Southern Indie Booksellers.

Visit to stay current with the Okra Picks.

Tags:  okra picks 

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