SIBA, New Orleans, 2013







 This year's SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) convention was held at the Sheraton hotel on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans, Louisiana. The SIBA website describes the trade show like this:

Over 300 tables manned by sales representatives who work in your part of the country and who are familiar with both the rewards and the difficulties of selling books in the Southeast. You will be associating with nearly six hundred booksellers who enjoy the intimacy of a regional association where it is easy to discuss what works for them in bookselling and eager to learn what works for you.
The trade show is packed with workshops and panels. You will meet many authors signing their books, speaking, or giving readings from their newly published books.The trade show is southern in its friendliness, social gatherings, and intimacy encouraging many informal exchanges of ideas.

I couldn't agree more.


 


You have to try really hard not to have a good time in New Orleans. The city was made for celebrating life, diversity and good food! Even though the scheduled events, especially for the booksellers, was intense (starting with 7:30 breakfasts!), everyone had time to kick back and enjoy themselves.

Here are a few photos I took while driving around. 
This is where the Mardi Gras floats are made.


Jackson Square, in the alley just to the left of the cathedral, you'll find Faulkner House Books.
 

 Magazine Street is definitely one of my favorite places to explore.

You can't visit New Orleans without a stroll down Bourbon Street. I'm sure booksellers were very careful about not imbibing too many Hurricanes! Actually, I think these are all booksellers!



This is a view from my own hotel window, taken on a rainy Saturday morning. I stayed at a smaller hotel away from all my wild and crazy brethren. 



So here is what greets all the publishers when they enter the hall to set up for the next day's show.

Your servant, in the middle of trying to figure out how to display all of his publishers' best offerings for the Fall and Winter seasons.


A before,


and after view.


And the final view from the booksellers' perspective.
Wanda Jewel, the executive director of SIBA, was kind enough to show highlights of my blog in a PowerPoint presentation during the two days of the convention.

One event that I participated in was the "Rep Picks" where each representative has 3 minutes to tell the gathering of booksellers all about one or more books, within the time limit. This year I talked about Lemony Snicket's new children's book entitled 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy from McSweeney's and In Praise of Nothing, a very cool collection from Eric LeMay and Emergency Press

   
I'm the nervous-looking one behind the microphone.


This year, my helper was our PGW Sales Coordinator, Leslie Jobson, who traveled all the way from the Berkeley offices to make sure I didn't get into any (or not much) trouble.




We had many authors attend and speak. they also dropped by our booth to sign copies of their books. Here, from Running Press, is Tequila Mockingbird author, Tim Federle.

He was a huge hit with the booksellers, congratulations Tim!

One of Grove/Atlantic's writers, Margaret Wrinkle, who wrote WASH, also stopped by to sign stock (and to hug her rep).





One of my favorite books of the season was William Conescu's  Kara Was Here from Soft Skull Press.
 


He and Leslie got quite chummy.




Speaking of being chummy, here are Kristin Keith and David Mallmann from W.W. Norton and perennial show favorite, Cowboy Mike!


Frazer Dobson, sales rep extraordinaire, from Como Sales.

And representing the best from the bookselling world we have Janet Geddis and Frankie Brown (soon to be published Y/A author), from Avid Bookshop in Athens GA.


Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL, sent Becky Quiroga, here with Norton's rep, Gail Whitten.



Jamie Fiocco from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC, brought her welcome enthusiasm.




Linda Marie Barrett from Malaprop's in Asheville, NC, checks out photos from SIBA's past. Find any good ones Linda?


One of the great minds behind the yearly SIBA convention is Nicki Leone (aka Lady Banks).

Grove/Atlantic has a dinner every year to highlight and honor their attending authors. I have had the pleasure of setting these feasts up at chosen local restaurants for some time now. This year I chose the award-winning Domenica.
Each bookseller was personally led through the kitchen to a hidden, exclusive dining room, set up just for our event. 
 Here Judy Hottensen, Associate Publisher, introduces our esteemed authors, Patricia Engel who wrote It's Not Love, It's Just Paris

   

 Margaret Wrinkle, author of WASH,
 

and Bob Shacochis, who wrote The Woman Who Lost Her Soul
   


Famed bookseller Jake Reiss, of Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham, AL talks with Amy Loewy from The Garden District Bookshop in New Orleans and Bob Shacochis.




Richard Howorth, the owner of Square Books in Oxford MS, has an intense conversation with Margaret Wrinkle.

Everyone who attended this year's convention agreed that it was an especially good one. Thank you SIBA, and particularly Wanda Jewell for all your hard work in putting it all together.







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