160: Holland Saltsman (The Novel Neighbor)

Holland Saltsman on Innovation City

“If you can get a book in the hand of a kid, that’s phenomenal. If you can get a book in a kid’s hand, and they get to meet that author, and they get to hear about the book and they get to hear about the process, odds of them picking up that book up and reading it are just tenfold.” – Holland Saltsman

Welcome to Season 3 of Innovation City, a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Holland Saltsman, Owner at The Novel Neighbor, “where people, art and books meet.” Holland opened the bookstore six years ago to fill a need for an independent bookseller, and it ended up being a place for connections. In this episode, Holland sits down with the team to discuss bookstores in the age of Amazon, hidden gems of the book world, creatively interacting with customers and keeping the business afloat during a pandemic, and much more!

They discuss:

  • How Holland was inspired to open her business
  • The Novel Neighbor was designed to be a revolution in art
  • Her superpower is connectivity
  • Favorite connection experiences were hanging out with Andrew McCarthy, Dav Pilkey, hosting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • In the age of Amazon, why books?
    • Kids want to be off screens occasionally
    • They want to connect with the authors
    • Mystery boxes
    • Employing local people
    • Paying taxes locally
    • Donating to the community
    • Kids programs with authors, book-themed birthday parties
    • Personalized service
  • The Novel Neighbor IS Holland Saltsman
  • The books every bookstore has vs. hidden gems
    • It’s a guessing game
    • If it’s something Holland is excited about, she can get others excited about it
  • Interacting creatively with customers during a pandemic
    • Being active on social media channels
    • Putting up new releases in the store window along with QR codes customers can scan when walking by the store
    • FaceTime shopping
    • Trying to offer the same level of service, even though people couldn’t be in the store
    • “Virtual concierge”
  • Highlighting artists who are usually swamped, but due to COVID-19, suddenly have nowhere to exhibit
  • Serving kids
    • Virtual storytimes
    • Where’s Waldo
    • Interactive author/illustrated connections
    • Virtual and in person school visits
  • Holland’s favorite books
    • The Sparrow
    • When You Reach Me
    • The House in the Cerulean Sea (favorite of 2020)
    • And so many more…
  • Connect with The Novel Neighbor and The Noble Neighbor thenovelneighbor.com, thenobleneighbor.org

Lightning Round:

  1. What moves you to tears or gives you goosebumps?
    • Genuine kindness
  2. What was your childhood dream?
    • Travel
  3. What are you working towards that you could use help with?
    • The nonprofit to connect underserved schools with author visits.
  4. What do you spend too much time doing?
    • Worrying about silly little things
  5. What is your perfect day?
    • An iced coffee, friends, being by the water, good food, good drinks