Podcast Episode 89: Behind-the-Scenes of Indie Book Buying with Elizabeth Barnhill (Fabled Bookshop)

Indie Book Buying


In Episode 89, Elizabeth Barnhill (@wacoreads on Instagram and book buyer for Fabled Bookshop) goes behind-the-scenes about what it’s like to buy books for an independent bookstore.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).


  • How Elizabeth got her job as book buyer at Fabled Bookshop with no “official” previous experience (and if the owner was nervous to hire someone with no experience).
  • The most surprising thing Elizabeth discovered about being a book buyer.
  • What Elizabeth’s relationship with publishing sales reps looks like (including how far in advance they meet).
  • What happens when Elizabeth ends up not liking a book she’s ordered for the store.
  • How far in advance of publication date Elizabeth reads and orders books.
  • How Elizabeth factors in other readers’ opinions of a book into her orders (traditional media reviews, early readers on #bookstagram, etc).
  • How Elizabeth handles ordering in relation to trends (and her take on the trends of 2021).
  • How Elizabeth decides how many of a particular book to order.
  • How COVID impacted her ordering.
  • The biggest book buy she’s ever done for a single book.
  • How Elizabeth decides how much of each order should comprise a specific genre.
  • What the initial book buy for Fabled looked like when it first opened.
  • How Elizabeth decides which books to feature most prominently around the store.
  • If she hand sells books she doesn’t personally like.

Elizabeth’s Book Recommendations [30:19]

Two OLD Books She Loves

Two NEW Books She Loves

One Book She DIDN’T LOVE

One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About

Last 5 Star Book(s) Elizabeth Read [49:18]

Other Books Mentioned

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Barnhill Instagram

Elizabeth Barnhill (@wacoreads) is the book buyer for Fabled Bookshop and Cafe located in Waco, TX. Originally from Alabama, she has lived in Texas for most of her life.

Elizabeth graduated from Baylor University and worked as a speech pathologist before landing her dream job reading books for a living when Fabled opened in 2019.

Elizabeth has been married for 25 years and has three kids in high school and college.

Next Episode

In 2 weeks, Elizabeth Barnhill, author of The Turnout, is joining me (airing August 4).

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Indie Book Buying


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