Mississippi’s most renowned independent book sellers will gather at Ole Miss on March 20 to discuss how they have managed to thrive in an era in which small stores are regularly gobbled up by the big chains. 
      Richard Howorth, the owner of Square Books in Oxford, John Evans of Lemuria in Jackson, Jamie Kornegay of TurnRow Book Company in Greenwood and Emily Gatlin of Gum Tree Book Store in Tupelo make up a panel that will discuss the state of the book selling trade and the ongoing national war between the big box stores and the independents. They will share their survival secrets at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 20th at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.
      Howorth, a former Oxford mayor and a frequent host to some of the nation’s best-known authors, operates three book stores within a short stroll of each other on the town square. His Off-Square Books annex hosts the town’s popular Thacker Mountain Radio show.
      Evans started Lemuria in a small converted apartment in 1975 saw it grow into a much larger store just off I-55 in Jackson. It has since expanded, with occupying an adjacent warehouse-like space where authors can speak and customers sip beer.
      Before opening TurnRow and its popular sandwich shop in downtown Greenwood, Kornegay got his start writing for the Oxford Eagle. He got the book bug, started writing fiction and took a job at Square Books. He also found time to produce Thacker Mountain Radio.
      Emily Gatlin’s frequent book reviews and her “bookseller Barbie” blogs on the book trade have become well known to aficionados. Her book events at Gum Tree have helped the store, housed in Tupelo’s legendary Reed’s department store, become a regular on the author circuit.
      Overby Fellow Bill Rose will moderate the panel, which is free and open to the public.

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