Thursday, October 27, 2016

In The Bookstore with Annie B. Jones

by J.G. Annino

This is my first interview here at our Group Blog with
a bookstore owner. I am excited to introduce
Annie B. Jones, of The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Ga.

 I met Annie when she helped her area's public library
put on its annual author extravaganza. I have enjoyed
getting to know her even more, ever since as she's
traveled down the road into Florida for book events here.

Prediction: this young woman is likely to become famous 
within her field. How many bookstore entrepreneurs have
 invited everyone who could fit, to a sit-down dinner 
among the books, eating fine food on family china?
Annie has. The picture is at her store blog.

What are some of your more popular categories of
children's books? Animal topics? Sports? Nature?

Children's picture books of all kinds are our most popular,
perhaps because they're not quite the same when read 
electronically (their beautiful illustrations look best in print!).
Books with imaginative protagonists, animals, and fairy tales
seem to attract the most little hands

Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, Ga. (Left.)
Irene Latham, visiting children's author (Right.)

Can you share a few specific titles of The Bookshelf's

most-selling children's books? 

The Adventures of Beetle
The Princess and the Giant
I Want My Hat Back
This Is Not My Hat
The Book with No Pictures  
any book we use for story time
often does really well.

How do you decide which children's books to order?

 Our children's manager Rebekah creates draft orders
for all of our children's picture books, middle reader titles

 and YA selections. She's got great taste, and I follow
along behind her and add any titles I think we'll need.

We base our orders on our own personal tastes (Rebekah
leans more toward fantasy, and I lean toward more
realistic fiction) and on customer feedback -- including
 feedback from children and teenagers who love
The Bookshelf as much as we do. 

Our sales reps for different publishing companies
are also great at recommending new titles. 

 Have you ever missed a title & then realized, due to
customer requests or other indications, you needed that
children's title in the shop?  Which ones?

Absolutely! This happens mostly with older titles
 (The Paper Bag Princess
 Each Peach, Pear, Plum)
 We're pretty good about stocking new, fun, current
 titles, but sometimes we forget about the classics!

Our customers are great about telling us their favorite
 older titles, and those often become bestsellers for us. 
People still love classics for baby showers and gifts, and
we're happy to accept and order customer suggestions!

What are three favorite non-book items, that are bought
for children at the bookshelf? (Candy counts!)

We try to stock imaginative, educational toys at
The Bookshelf, and they do really well for us. 
Magnetic play sets and colorful flashcards by Eeboo are great,
 and we carry these awesome super hero capes, 
masks, and tutus from Everfan -- an imaginative play 
company based in Thomasville. It's so fun to watch kids 
try on the capes and roam around the store.
Puzzles are also big!

 Spooky season is here, so can share any 
popular store titles for pumpkin & fun-scary times?

 The Old Woman Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything
Big Pumpkin
Eek! Halloween
Owl Babies (more fall than Halloween)
Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin.


Care to share some favorite titles from your child days?

Children's books really do have the power to create
lifelong readers. I remember my favorite chapter books more than
I remember my favorite books: Caddie Woodlawn,
The Boxcar Children, Harriet the Spy, Bloomability,
Grandpa's Mountain, Emily of New Moon,
An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins,
Anne of Green Gables... honestly,
 I could go on for days. 

That's a great closing line, Annie B. Jones, because 
fortunately you do go on for days and days in your very 
own lovely bookshop of new & recommended volumes. 
Brava! for being where you shine.
To visit The Bookshelf from afar-

Dip into a lively blog there, in which Annie discusses books on screens.

See their national honor nomination (Of course, I voted for Annie & The Bookshelf!-Jan)

Appreciations to Annie B. Jones who is living her very own Kathleen Kelly-inspired dream as the owner of The Bookshelf, an independent bookstore in downtown Thomasville, Georgia. An avid reader since childhood, Annie loves matching her customers with the perfect book. 


  1. The Bookshelf is a must-do stop whenever I'm in Thomasville. Books-A-Million is a two minute drive from my house, but The Bookshelf is the place I take the kids for an experience that's all about the books. We can count on Annie and her staff for sharing new books with us as well as stocking old favorites. When it's time to shop for Christmas I can always find one-of-a-kind gifts at The Bookshelf.


    1. So cool for your young readers to be growing up with a cozy, independent collection of carefully curated walls of sweet shelves packed with the best books & a handy, cute as a button carpet to sit on, too. So fun to see you here, Ms. Sara, at Group Blog!

  2. She has a great job. Thanks for a look inside the Bookshelf.

    1. And you know that so very well, Kathy. Glad you could visit!

  3. What a great idea for a post, Jan. Sounds like I need to make a road trip. The only thing missing is what nonfiction is selling well now.

    1. Well please plan on stopping by Tallahassee for tea, when you plan that adventure. That would be so fun. And yes, about the nonfiction. I should have asked more about that... I'm guessing shark books, maybe farm books, as Thomasvile is surrounded by farms. Maybe nature books.... A guess.

  4. Jan sounds like a place I could settle into! Long live the Bookshelf.

    1. I'm glad you got their great vibe, Janie. It's a 45 minute ride so I'm going to talk my hubby into a Thomasville weekend day trip very soon. I need a fix of The Bookshelf, myself! And it's not soon to make a Christmas gift list!

  5. Thank you Jan - this was a great interview! Eating in a bookstore amongst the stacks - that's got to be a wonderful experience.

    1. You're welcome. Annie B. Jones is so personable a book-pusher. And I agree, her idea whetted my appetite for food among the fiction! Glad you enjoyed meeting her shop this way

  6. Thank you, Jan and Annie! Love the peek into The Bookshelf :)

    1. Glad it's a book nook that grabs your attention in the best of ways, Charlotte. Thank you!