The Indies First Campaign

    Indies First Has Expanded! #indiesfirst

    Propelled by the enthusiasm of booksellers and customers, Indies First has expanded into a full-time campaign in support of independent bookstores by authors and publishers, with special appearances, promotional offers and more. The Indies First message is spreading throughout the book world; look for the announcement of the 2014 author spokespeople soon.

    Sherman Alexie came up with the idea for writers to support their local indie by volunteering to work at the store on Small Business Saturday 2013—to handsell, to gift-wrap, to sign books. Alexie called the appeal “Indies First,” and entreated authors to link to an indie when promoting their books online.

    The day was a huge hit. Thousands of authors volunteered as guest booksellers across the country, and Small Business Saturday cemented its place as one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

    Next, Indies First got behind Children's Book Week with Indies First Storytime Day, and again, authors and illustrators were encouraged to participate by one of their own, Kate DiCamillo. Hundreds volunteered as story hour readers.

    Throughout, publishers have created opportunities for indies to showcase titles, offering special terms, and helping to make independents the first place to turn for the next great read.

    Ways to Share Indies First with Your Customers: Next Up

    • September 18: Indies First marketing collateral becomes available through BookWeb’s Designs & Downloads, including designs for posters, window clings, web banners, and table display tent cards
      September 18: Indies First marketing collateral will be available through BookWeb’s Designs & Downloads, including designs for posters, window clings, web banners, and table display tent cards. - See more at:
    • October 2014: ABA mails members Indies First book bags supplied by Penguin Random House, PRH order forms to purchase more bags at cost, and Indies First buttons
    • October to December, 2014: Stores take photos of authors and customers with Indies First bags and buttons and post messages to social media
    • October 20 to October 31, 2014: Publishers offer ABA members special terms on orders of published books placed between October 20 and 31, 2014 (formerly known as “Thanks for Shopping Indie"). No sign-up needed!
    • Saturday November 29, 2014: Authors again volunteer at their favorite indies on Small Business Saturday, link to their favorite indie for book sales, and promote the store in social media
    • November 1 to December 31, 2014: Stores continue to display DIY collateral, and feature titles ordered during special pricing period (10/20 to 10/31)

    [See below for more on how to participate on Small Business Saturday and how to adopt local authors and illustrators.]

    Indies First is ongoing. Booksellers should urge all authors to join in: to participate on Small Business Saturday or another event day, to make an indie the first choice for online sales of their books, and to use social media to promote their favorite local store, all year long.

    To Participate on Small Business Saturday


    1. Contact a favorite local author or illustrator to volunteer. (The store might also be contacted directly by an author or illustrator; any arrangements with them are yours to make or not.)  Stores that don't know or have an author nearby can consult the Indies First Author and Illustrator Index for a list of creatives who would love to participate, and then reach out directly.
    2. Add your event details to the Indies First Event Registry so that it can be publicized on the Indies First map on Bookmark the Event Registry page and return there to edit or add to your event details. Please allow 48 hours for the Indies First map to reflect your submission.
    3. Promote, publicize, and photograph! Use store marketing newsletters, websites, and social media outlets (#IndiesFirst) to further the Indies First message and highlight your event. Encourage your visiting authors/illustrators to do the same. ABA would love to hear feedback and see pictures from the floor.

    Authors and Illustrators

    1. Please join the Indies First Authors and Illustrators Registry by completing this form. Names will remain in the Registry for all future Indies First events. If you're friends with your local indie then contact them directly and volunteer to come to the store.
    2. Review the suggested guidelines for participating authors and illustrators here, which include how to link to an indie for the online sale of your books.
    3. Spread your indie support via your social media outlets (#IndiesFirst) and share, share, share.

     Questions or comments? Please be in touch with us: