Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A reflection on the Unchained Tour...and some news!

Writer Lila Allen had this to say about getting on board with the Unchained Tour this past October. I echo many of her sentiments. I didn't get to tour with the group, but I was able to play a major role in the planning of the tour (and of course helped coordinate the fabulous events in Athens on October 20th!).

Here is Lila's piece.

And here's a little teaser for you, too:  the Unchained Tour might be rollin' back through in a few months.  I know all those who attended round one will be back along with the hoards of people who weren't able to make it to the first show.  I'm very much looking forward to this!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We Are Athens Discussion Group meets 3/9/11 @ Hendershot's

Next book selection for March 9 We Are Athens discussion group: The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition by Michael H. Shuman

"Defenders of globalization, free markets, and free trade insist there's no alternative to mega-stores like Wal-Mart; Michael Shuman begs to differ. In The Small-Mart Revolution, Shuman makes a compelling case for his alternative business model, one in which communities reap the benefits of 'going local' in four key spending categories: goods, services, energy, and finance. He argues that despite the endless media coverage of multinational conglomerates, local businesses give more to charity, adapt more easily to rising labor and environmental standards, and produce more wealth for a community. They also spend more locally, thereby increasing community income and creating wealth and jobs. The Small-Mart Revolution presents a visionary yet practical roadmap for everyone concerned with mitigating the worst of globalization." -Goodreads.com

Search for it on 
our full-service website, where you can find virtually any book in print (as well as DVDs and music!).

Discussion Group Meeting Will Be Wed., March 9 @ 7PM

All are welcome to attend the We Are Athens discussion group Wednesday, March 9, 2011 from 7-8:30 PM. We will meet at Hendershot's Coffee & Bar, 1560 Oglethorpe Ave (at the Loop). 

Reading the book is NOT required!

While we encourage you to at least be familiar with the concepts presented in this book, reading the book is not a prerequisite.  Come ready to discuss the themes and ideas presented in Small-Mart Revolution (& listen to what others have to say). Our meetings are open to any attendees, a space for free speech and healthy exchange. Discussion is always lively. Please join us!
Visit http://www.avidbookshop.com for links to our new & used online stores.

We have lots of copies of Small-Mart Revolution at our webstore (http://avidbookshop.theretailerplace.com), and we'd be most appreciative if you bought from us or checked your book out of thelibrary.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

My favorite novels by female writers - 2010

A belated happy new year!

The Athens Banner-Herald asked me to create an article featuring my Top 10 Reads of 2010.  I shared this link via Facebook and Beyond the Trestle already, but a few customers told me they hadn't seen it yet. I thought it best to cover all my bases by posting on the bookstore blog!  Here's the link to the ABH article:  http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/010211/liv_764268028.shtml
What books were your favorites of 2010?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why I don't want Borders to close...

Here's my latest post at Beyond the Trestle.  It's a couple days late so sort of a rush-write, but I trust it will make sense.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The question you might have on your mind: why is there no storefront yet?

(File this under FAQs you've yet to utter.)

If you keep your ear to the ground in Athens and/or in the bookselling world, you know that I've been working towards opening Avid Bookshop for years now.  Perhaps I'm a touch paranoid, but I think it's not too crazy to assume that some of you are thinking, "WHY IN THE WORLD ISN'T THIS BOOKSTORE OPEN YET?"

Here, in a nutshell, are a few reasons why we have yet to move into a retail space:

1. Adieu, business partner. After working together for months, my business partner (and close friend) reevaluated things and decided that starting the bookstore business was not the best move for her just yet.  I spent a couple months figuring out a, if I wanted to open the store on my own, b, if I COULD open it on my own, and c, how her absence would change the bookstore plans (it changed a lot).

2. The economic crisis/slump/catastrophe/nightmare/problem-period.  This affected my own income (which I'm using to float myself during the first few years of business), my spending habits, and more.  On a less personal level, the crisis caused banks to completely rework their lending requirements, resulting in my being totally prepared for loans that no longer existed.  More on that at the end of this post.

3. Personal stuff.  I could go into more detail here, but suffice it to say that we were dealing with a lot at home in 2010.  Things are going well now and everyone is healthy, but for awhile there I had to totally hold off on finding a storefront because of a need to put my family first.

4. The introduction of new, friendly competition.  When a new bookstore moved to Athens in October, I was forced to look at my business plan in a different way, wanting to make sure that my plans & services complemented the city's other bookstores--I want each of our shops to be different enough that you want to spend time in all three indie stores.  Non-chain bookstores are as unique as their owners, after all. As someone who rearranges the furniture at least once a month, shifting my plans was a fun experiment, and I think you'll be pleased with the results.

5. The limited suitable retail space in my target neighborhood.  After a veritable drought, there may finally be some options along the Prince Avenue corridor, and I'm looking forward to opening up shop in a space that's accessible to all you Avid readers in Boulevard/Normaltown and the surrounding neighborhoods.  I don't want to jinx anything by saying much more.  As many retail store owners have told me time and time again, location is of the utmost importance, and waiting for the perfect (or near-perfect) spot is far better than opening in a place that won't suit my business.

6. I haven't exactly been twiddling my thumbs. Because I am addicted to biting off more than I can chew, and because I'm a sucker for anything related to Athens, books, community building, neighborhoods, and more, I've been keeping myself very busy with other projects as I wait for the perfect time to open the Avid Bookshop storefront. I've been running a successful bookstore business online (http://www.avidbookshop.com), organizing events (including my favorite one from October 2010!), hosting book clubs, and more.  I'm also on the board for We Are Athens (Buy Local), the Athens Regional Library, the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, and my condominium association. I have a few non-bookstore jobs, too:  I'm a regular contributor (writing about books and reading) to local publications Beyond the Trestle, the Athens Banner-Herald, and Athens Magazine.  I also have two other part-time jobs editing & writing, so those keep me occupied in the hours I'm not working on bookstore duties.

Hope that answers your burning questions!

In the meantime, I'm so grateful to those of you who've been shopping with me online (or at special sales, events, and markets).  I'm always here to give you book recommendations (it's my job, after all).

Please know I'm working hard to make sure that I bring to Athens a neighborhood, community-focused bookstore that suits YOUR needs.  Your patience and support mean so much to me as I continue on this journey.

-Janet Geddis

And, as promised above, here are some boring details about the economics of this, just in case you want to read my ramblings:

Turns out 2008 was one of the worst and best years to decide to launch a brand-new business.

The Good News about these last few years, economically speaking:
For many of us, the economic crisis led us to reevaluate our spending habits, our homes, and our communities.  The buy local movement is growing rapidly (locally, the We Are Athens initiative, an organization I am on the founding board of, is ramping up for a big year!), and people are spending their precious disposable income more carefully.  As megacorporations and big-box stores continually under-serve shoppers, well-run, independent businesses are taking the reins.

The Bad News about these last few years, economically speaking:
Starting a business from scratch in the best of economic times is hard enough; small business loans are hard to get, but banks have historically been willing to take a chance on young entrepreneurs.  This changed over the last couple of years, however.  As you're well aware, many banks have failed.  Those that remain have more stringent lending policies, especially as many of the loans they've granted are going unpaid by struggling or unprepared business owners or homeowners. As much as they want to help out local entrepreneurs, local banks cannot usually take the risk.  Which means those "surefire" loans I'd planned to get a few years ago all but dried up. No need to cry, though--I'm an inventive entrepreneur with a strong support system and a willingness to quickly accommodate to changes in the book industry and our town.

Monday, January 10, 2011

personalized book club services

The new year is here, and with it myriad resolutions about taking better care of ourselves, taking time out for friends, and—for many—vows to read more books.  January is a popular month for starting book clubs, and I (Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop founder) am here to help.

Lots of people want to start brand new book clubs; others want to revive their groups and find more interesting reads that will encourage better attendance.  I work with local book clubs to help moderators find a good selection for their particular clubs.  

For no fee, I will talk with you (in person, via telephone, or via email) to discuss your book club’s tastes, goals, interests, and meeting schedule.  At minimum, I can provide you with a list of books catered to your group so that you can choose book club reads for 2011.  On the other end of the spectrum, I can meet with club founders in person, find other members to join, generate discussion questions, help you find meeting space, and more. 

If you’d like to learn more about Avid Bookshop, including personalized book club guidance, please contact me at avid.athens@gmail.com.  

Avid is a locally-owned bookstore business with a strong community focus.  You can find virtually any book in print at http://www.avidbookshop.com