SEBA is a trade association which represents booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and Mississippi. The Southeast Booksellers Association exists to empower, promote, and celebrate core member bookstores in a spirit of partnership. Independent, privately held, brick and mortar bookstores in our region constitutes the core members. Included in our membership are owners, managers and employees of independent bookstores, publishers’ representatives, publishers, wholesalers and producers of “sideline” bookstore goods. Librarians, book reviewers, writers and other “friends of the trade” are also represented in our membership. SEBA was formed to unite in one organization individuals and businesses actively engaged in the writing, selling, publishing, distribution and/or promoting of books in the Southeast United States. SEBA provides a forum to discuss common problems and share ideas; offers educational programs and workshops for the benefit of its members; and strives to promote a high standard of ethics and business practices among the membership.
Does the SEBA Holiday Catalog sell books? YES!
This past year was our first time using the holiday catalog program and we found it to be a very effective marketing tool. People would bring in a marked up copy and start piling up the books on the counter — very exciting! We will definitely use this program again.
Chris, City Lights Bookstore, NC
I ordered 9000 –yes, my store grosses under $200,000 annually and is 850 sq. ft.– holiday catalogs for the 2003 season and WOW! We had the best year and best holiday season the store (in business since 1952) has ever had. We have a small daily paper and two small weeklies in our area. I used the catalogs as inserts in each of these. The cost was more reasonable than a regular ad and I had a huge return for my cost. (And I didn’t have to come up with an ad.) The rest we used as bag stuffers/hand-outs. I did learn one thing from using the 2002 catalog: order at least one copy of each book in the catalog before you put it out! Even though it was six weeks before Christmas, I had customers in the in store the day the catalog was in the paper asking for the books! It was great! With the store name imprinted all over it, it becomes your store’s publication. I even set up a table featuring catalog books — a big timesaver for the customers and me! The holiday catalog is such a great deal, I cannot say enough about it! We will take 1000 more this year, using the extra for a mailout instead of a newsletter in November.
Betsy Goree, The Book Shelf, NC
Our staff is overwhelmed that SEBA delivers 20,000 holiday catalogues, free of charge, imprinted with our name. We use our web site posting to promote titles, and this season are planning several newsletters around the catalogues. We distribute them at area libraries, restaurants and other businesses. Many customers come in with titles circles.
Jake Reiss, Alabama Booksmith, AL
The Holiday catalog was a big hit for us. I had them inserted in the local newspaper on the day before Thanksgiving. The response was great and the cost was small. The piece looks very professional and gives us a positive image going into an important selling season. Thanks for making them available.
Doug Wolfe, Dee Gees Gifts & Books, NC
I take about 5,000 of them and insert them in the local paper. We have 3 “local papers” so I alternate years. The rest I hand out it my store, and place some at area restaurants and coffee shops.
Janet Bollum, The Muse Book Shop, FL
The catalogs are great. Slick professional presentation. We have used them every year since we opened. We use them as bag stuffers as soon as the arrive and closer to the holidays we insert them in local newspapers. Every year these wonderful little catalogues help new customers find our shop. We even give them to our Chamber of Commerce for the newcomer bags. I just wish we still had the Spring issue. I get people all year long wanting to pick one up. Thanks SEBA for all the work in getting this wonderful sales tool together, keep up the good work.
Elizabeth Rybicki, Phillips & Lloyd Book Shop and Crumpets Dessertery, NC
I followed the tradition of the previous owners and mailed out close to 6,000 catalogs my first year of owning the store. The cost was high and I chose not to repeat the mailings. The catalogs were an okay thing at that point but last year I decided to insert them in the newspapers. My catalog went to 10,000 households for a fee of less than $600. I received a great response and will do it again next year. I hope to insert in 2 newspapers this year!!
Suzi Armstrong, The Bookstack, VA
We used ours again in a large mailing and people brought them in. We are able to display all the titles together in the store and that really helps sell books .The covers were great last year.
Duff Bruce, The Open Book, SC
We did a campus mailing with our catalogues last year and it was wonderful to have people call and come in asking for titles they saw in the catalogue. This type of response and doing a catalogue display made an obvious impact on my buying decisions.
Margaret Hendricks, Auburn Univ. Bookstore, AL
I plan to take the same or perhaps a larger amount of holiday catalogues. I feel they put me on a more even status with the large chains and always increase my bottom line.
Judy Mathys, Family Book Shop, FL
The SEBA Christmas catalog was a great surprise to me. I saw people with it in the store, asking for those titles. Now, you must know that we take great pride in our own newsletter and it is quite wonderfully successful for us, but on top of that, some of our customers also used the SEBA Christmas catalogs. It is a good addition to Independents to have a professional catalog available in the store, and the SEBA catalog will and does do that for any bookstore.
Emoke B’Racz, Malaprop’s, NC
We were happy with the response. We selected the local newspaper (a weekly distribution) and used it as an insert. I think it was the single most effective advertising we did last year. It was easier to access as the customers came in the door carrying the catalog with their selections marked as well as new customers telling us they were not aware of the store until they received the catalog. This year we will select both newspapers instead of just the local.
Vickie Crafton, Litchfield Books, SC
Just a note to let you know that I really enjoyed the 2003 holiday catalogs. Most customers were pleasantly surprised at the quality and liked seeing my contact information on the back. It helped folks (and still does) realize that there’s a new independent bookstore in town.
Nicole Spivey, Living Room Book & Pastry, NC
Customers expect it, they love the catalogs.
Karin Wilson, Page & Palette, AL
The holiday catalogs are a very effective marketing tool. We had people calling to order books without book titles or authors, but they had the location in the catalog. It is so helpful to small stores who would be unable to produce a catalog alone.
Barbara Hoffman, Bohannons’ Books With A Past, KY
The holiday catalogs were absolutely a great boost to our store image and sales. Customers really liked them and it gave them ideas for gifts. We handed them out to every person and put them in different locations and we got fantastic promotion. I would not like to miss them.
Amy Schmaedeke, Book Bank USA, FL
We wanted to let you know how well we liked the holiday catalogs last year and to let you know that our customers were really happy to receive them. We were a new bookstore and fell like many people found us for the first time because of the catalogs. We distributed them in our local newspaper, by hand , and in store and saw increased traffic almost immediately. we would love to see more catalogs like those throughout the year, they work so well. Thank You, Thank You!!
Steve and Donna Marlowe, Spectacle Books, NC
The catalogs are great. We stuff them in all of our customer’s packages, and also distribute them elsewhere. We also use them as a basis for several displays. Our customers love them because it gives them great suggestions for great Christmas presents. We appreciate SEBA’s willingness to support the catalog effort.
Dorothy Pittman, Hortons Books & Gifts, GA
At Burry Bookstore one of our main methods of advertisement is direct mail. We add customers to our mailing list on a daily basis, and those who have not made a purchase in over 12 months are removed from the list. This way we know we are targeting regular customers with our mailings. We mail a newsletter each quarter for the first 3 quarters of the year. The newsletter includes a list of popular new titles coming out, coupons that can be redeemed, as well as information about the events we will be hosting. For the last quarter of the year we mail the SEBA holiday catalog with an invitation to our annual Christmas Open House that we hold in mid-November and a list of the additional events we will be hosting in November and December. We have customers bring in their catalog with items they have marked for themselves or for people on their gift list. We also have customers call to ask about titles in the catalog. This is one of the most inexpensive and effective means of advertising that I can imagine and is an opportunity that SEBA members should definitely take advantage of, no matter the method of distribution.
Emily Phillips, Burry Bookstore, SC
SEBA 2004 by the Numbers
700 + orders written
19,050 books given away by publishers at SEBA Events & Autographings
473 core member booksellers
35 first-time attending entities
157 core member stores
762 boxes of books moved by volunteers
2050 meals served
324 exhibitor tables
140 exhibiting companies
33 first-time exhibiting companies
97 associate attendees to include librarians, press, authors, publishers
172 show specials offered
25 hours of education offered
1 “Voice of SEBA”
2 new board members installed
$1,012 raised for Salvation Army – Florida Division
49 hours of security
698 molded plastic folding chairs rented
3050 linear feet of aisle carpet
9 happy winners:
Five All Pass Winners for 2005
The Booksmith won the $500 Buyers Raffle
Rustic Charm won the $1000 Buyers Raffle
Boku Books won a free table at SEBA 2005 for the $500 order
Brown Bag Bedtime Books won free table at SEBA 2005 for the $1000 order
For more information please visit: http://www.bookweb.org/news/seba-announces-winner-2002-charles-s-haslam-award