The Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) and Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Springtime show this past weekend in Atlanta, Ga., held at the the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel and AmericasMart®, was a hit for the second year in a row. With attendance up 5% from 2013, Wanda Jewell, executive director of SIBA, said of the show’s partnership, “I am so excited about SIBA's relationship with GABBS. It just gets better and better. GABBS makes it possible for SIBA to offer members a wide range of opportunities and access to each other, SIBA, ABA, gifts, remainder titles, and educational offerings. It's a great partnership.”
SIBA’s educational offerings kicked off the show on Thursday, March 6 with a Day of Education. This year booksellers and authors were paired together for a team-building cooking contest. Jamie Fiocco, owner of Flyleaf Books, noted, “The contest required all of us to perform under pressure - while still being civil to folks you’ve just met. It was a lot of fun and really broke the ice and allowed in-depth discussions later that day about how booksellers and ”indie” authors can work together better.”
Authors and booksellers working together was a theme at this year’s show. “As a bookseller I really learned a lot about how authors work hard at school and community events and would love a bookseller partner in a community, and also many of their fears and misunderstandings about how bookstores work. I think the biggest thing to stand out from the Day of Education was that indie booksellers and authors should talk to each other more often,” said Fiocco. Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, echoed her sentiments, telling PW, "I think the most interesting thought I had during the Thursday session is that we as booksellers need to make sure we are present in the conversation even before authors get published. Both to make sure authors who decide to self-publish don't price themselves out of working with us, but also to promote what indie booksellers can do for authors of any flavor."
As education continued on Friday, booksellers who missed this year’s Winter Institute heard a recap of ABA’s best practices discussed in Seattle, as well as a session on general retailing principles and trends from Atlanta’s AmericasMart® guru, Albert Maslia. "Bookselling can be a lonely sport, at times,” said Shane Gottwals, owner of Gottwals Books. “Someone asked me, 'Do you see any value in attending the GABBS event if I don't intend on buying any books?' I told her that the grander benefit is standing alongside other booksellers. We encourage each other, and that means a lot. You leave events like GABBS knowing that we are all vital cogs in this wonderful bookselling wheel."
A new cog to come from the GABBS & SIBA wheel, this year’s upcoming SIBA14 (the fall show) will showcase a GABBS & Gifts panel.