The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance celebrated its 40th birthday in style this past weekend with a bustling and buzzy trade show in Raleigh, N.C., at the Hilton Midtown.
The celebration began on Thursday with an all-day bus tour that took some 30 booksellers and a few publishing folk to visit many of the Triangle area's bookstores: Quail Ridge Books, the Regulator Bookstore, Letters Book Shop, Flyleaf Books. The final stop was Mclntyre's Books, where SIBA attendees joined those on the bus tour for BBQ at the Barn at Fearrington Village.
On Friday, everyone got down to business with a very full day of panels and presentations.
One of the first sessions focused on "The Economics of Publishing and How They Impact Booksellers." Using a P&L statement for a title his house is publishing in June 2016, George Gibson, publishing director of Bloomsbury USA, walked booksellers through the process of how a book goes from acquisition to auction to publication and beyond, candidly describing the financial details and decision-making involved. To make a book happen, he said, "we depend on independent booksellers." Booksellers commented that they found his presentation "enlightening" and "fascinating." The session will be repeated at many of the other regional shows and at Winter Institute, Gibson said.
|Schoech, Geddis, Barrett and Goddin talking #IBD.
(photo: David Leone)
Samantha Schoech kicked off the promotion for Independent Bookstore Day 2016--Saturday, April 30, 2016--by asking attendees how many of them had participated in IBD 2015; almost everyone happily raised their hand. Schoech, IBD director, noted that 80% of participating stores across the country reported that sales had been up for the day, some substantially. Independent Bookstore Day 2016 will be even better, she assured the group: there will be fewer exclusive items, and at lower price points and with lower minimums. Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., Linda-Marie Barrett, Malaprop's, Asheville, N.C., and Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., described their stores' events and shared tips they'd learned from the experience. Information on the IBD merchandise will be released soon, and catalogues will be available in January; the deadline for ordering is February 1, 2016. Much more information is available at independentbookstoreday.com.
Flossie McNabb of Union Ave. Books in Knoxville, Tenn., found the session on "Human Resources for Small Business" especially valuable.
A speed dating‑style Rep Picks, an author meet-and-greet and the SIBA Supper filled out the rest of the day. And the booksellers still kept going: a late-night Literary Hootenanny had toes tapping.
|photo: David Leone
The trade show floor opened on Saturday morning. ABA CEO Oren Teicher, surveying the activity, characterized SIBA as "Southern hospitality at its best." A luncheon that day celebrated the launch of Lee Boudreaux's eponymous new imprint at Little, Brown, and featured authors John Gregory Brown (A Thousand Miles from Nowhere, April 2016) and Sunil Yapa (Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, Jan. 2016), plus a bonus appearance by Catapult author Padgett Powell (Cries for Help, Various), who had been scheduled to appear at supper the night before, but had been "Delta-ed."
Judith Lafitte of Octavia Books in New Orleans commented that SIBA "reminds me of Cheers--a place where everybody knows your name. It's a place where you can really connect."
Are You There, God, It's Me, Margaritas re-fueled the booksellers for Parapalooza!, hilariously hosted by Tim Federle (Gone with the Gin, Running Press, Oct.), at which a dozen authors performed a paragraph from each of their books.
Sunday gave the booksellers another chance to peruse the trade show floor, before the Moveable Feast closed out SIBA 2015.
Throughout the show, booksellers, authors and publishers praised Wanda Jewell--who is marking her 25th year as the SIBA organizer--and her staff for putting on an exceptional show, and all are looking forward to next year's event in Savannah, Ga. --Robin Lenz