Authors and Booksellers Unite on Small Business Saturday
Black Friday, now only a few weeks away, is the one hope for many retailers to end this year in the black. Not least of which is Barnes and Noble which, judging from its latest ad campaign, is banking on the retail frenzy to revitalize struggling Nook sales. But big chains like B&N aren't the only booksellers looking forward to a post-Thanksgiving splurge. Independent bookstores look for a good showing on November 30th, dubbed Small Business Saturday, and have enlisted hundreds of authors to up foot traffic in their stores.
The initiative, called Indies First, is the invention of the American Booksellers Association, which has called upon authors to become booksellers for the day. The ABA worked with prominent authors, like Sherman Alexie, creator of Smoke Signals, to get the word out.
In early September, Alexie wrote to his fellow authors saying, "Now is the time to be a superhero for independent bookstores," and encouraged authors to join the grass roots movement. The procedure is simple: author reaches out to bookstore, bookstore and author agree on events for the day (book signings, special discounts, etc.), and author shows up to support an independent book store on what is typically their biggest sales day of the year.
Alexie makes the reasoning behind this movement clear, "The most important thing is that we'll all be helping independent bookstores, and God knows they've helped us over the years."
With fewer people finding and purchasing books in bookstores, this strengthened alliance between authors and booksellers cannot come at a better time. Here's hoping the movement takes off, and more nationwide author, bookseller events take root.
To see if your local bookstore is hosting an author bookseller, check out the Indie First interactive map.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.