by Christina Cavanaugh

Octavia Books, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, prides itself on a friendly staff that is always willing to recommend a book to whoever walks through its doors.

Not only does the shop make sure that everybody who comes is able get a helping hand when it comes to picking out the next novel in its customers’ bookshelves, but it also features staff recommendation lists. Every employee also gets the chance to pick out his or her favorite selections and give readers suggestions for what could be their next pick.

Octavia keeps its focus local, featuring local authors and information about its surrounding community. By making sure to highlight the proximate writing, it serves as a great tool for local authors to get the word out about their newest publications and get feedback on them once they’re hit the shelves.

The store also gives authors great chances for publicity by hosting book signings and readings, which gives the writers great chances to meet with their adoring fans and possibly pick up some new devout readers along the way.

2330_69456766016_2182_nOn its website, local works and books that are set in the southeast corner of the United States are featured; readers who want a taste of the region through literature will be excited to find all kinds of works, everything from fiction to coffee-table photography books.

One of the most ingenious parts of Octavia’s website is its “Local Flavors” page, where visitors can pick categories and find books that detail everything from southern cooking to Mardi Gras. The page is a great tool for people looking to find authentic works, and sometimes cultivates or highlights an interest that previously went unnoticed.

Upcoming events listed on the website include frequent author appearances, but Octavia also manages to stay in touch with the community and contributes to the local efforts and events. The shop even offers to collect books for people who can’t make it to the physical book signings, and will ship them to you if you can’t pick them up in-store.

Helping out local book authors and fans doesn’t stop there, though-the Octavian, the store’s bi-monthly newsletter, highlights the best and brightest in the categories of just released and coming up.

Despite being published only six times a year, the extensive newsletter definitely provides more than two months’ worth of reading material and activities. Listing dozens of books by categories of reader interest isn’t all that the newsletter does. It also highlights upcoming events, including book club meetings and local signings.

Octavia’s commitment to the community helps highlight local authors and works that provide an immersive cultural experience for readers of all genres.

Images courtesy of Octavia Books 

Christina Cavanaugh is a rising senior at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA., where she is a triple major in Journalism, English and Spanish. She is an editor of her school’s paper and is currently pursuing an honors thesis based on portrayal of women’s roles in British Renaissance literature. When she’s not reading,writingediting or studying, she can be found volunteering her time as an EMT-B.