Sunday, June 29, 2008

SIBA Aims to Sell 100,001 Books

by Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 6/27/2008 10:46:00 AM

Wanda Jewell wants to sell 100,001 copies of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance’s annual book prize winners between the time the prizes are announced at the Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day weekend and the end of the year. “We’re going to have a publicity blitz for the nominees and winners prior to the awards, advertise afterwards, and put them in a center spread in the holiday catalog,” said Jewell.

The prize plan is the latest of SIBA’s efforts to reach out directly to consumers. The first of these was the launch last year of “Lady Bank’s Commonplace Book.” Edited by Nicki Leone, former manager of the now defunct Bristol Books in Wilmington, N.C., “Lady Banks” is a monthly e-mail newsletter that highlights new books through interviews and reviews, most of them derived from material that has already appeared on SIBA member Web sites and blogs.

It is sent to 3,000 consumers whose replied to a survey bound into the back of last SIBA holiday catalogs. In addition, 1,300 stores receive the newsletter, as do a further 2,000 people in the industry.

Now a year old, Jewell is looking to generate revenue from the newsletter through “Lady Banks’ Bookshelf” – a marketing program that advertises five individual books each month. For $300, authors and publishers can have a cover image of their book appear across all of SIBA’s marketing vehicles and link to a permanent page about the book on the site.

Jewell has also launched a separate advertising push under the rubric “Put Your Money Where Your South.” Starting in April, Jewell has been offering $1,000 package of banner advertising across SIBA’s various Web sites, e-mail blasts and newsletters for half price. “So far,” SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell reports, “we’ve had a dozen authors and a handful of small presses with one or two books take advantage.”

Lastly SIBA is expanding its “Authors Round the South” Web site, which lists author appearances at SIBA stores, to include listings of author availability and terms. Dubbed “STARS” – as in the Southern Touring Author Registry Service – the program will “be like a mini speaker’s bureau,” said Jewell. The plan is that anyone interested in booking an author for an event, such as a civic or school group, will need to arrange it through a SIBA member store. Initially, STARS will be free to authors, but “after a year should they wish to continue participating, they will be asked to become SIBA members,” said Jewell.

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