What are some upcoming trends for 2014?
I’m seeing a few more books dealing with sexuality (specifically among transgendered teens, etc.) and, in general, tough issues that teens deal with on a daily basis. But I also see lots more gothic horror, vampire, werewolf and dystopian books as well.
For middle-grade and baby books, I don’t see anything trending. There are always the favorite authors—Rick Riordan, Jeff Kinney, etc.—that middle graders gravitate toward and the classic baby books that are on everyone’s favorite book lists for gift giving, such as Goodnight Moon(1947) and Make Way for Ducklings (1941).
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I would like to see more well-written and thoughtful books for all age groups. Books with more content, insight and lesson-learning while still being interesting and fun to read—more representation of the diversity of cultures in our communities.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I can’t really say because I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’ve read some books being published today that were just “bad” in terms of subject matter and editing. They aren’t acceptable for my bookshelves.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
What makes us unique is being independently owned and operated. I feel that as an independent bookstore, we are a vital part of our community. We act as locations where people can gather to exchange ideas. And we are learning centers as well. We are constantly fighting the “good battle” against e-fairness and banned books, which sets us apart from the others. We treat our customers as extended family members and want to ensure that all their reading needs are met when they walk out the door. It’s like having a very special friend visit and leaving knowing that it was a very fulfilling experience for us both.
Judith has been an owner of Octavia Books in New Orleans for 14 years. When she was younger, her favorite game was playing librarian with her dolls and stuffed animals. You could say she was destined to be a bookseller, even though she graduated from University of New Orleans with a concentration in sociology and urban planning.