Indies First Meets With Overwhelmingly Positive Response

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    A flood of positive responses from authors and booksellers quickly followed last week’s announcement of Indies First, the grassroots movement initiated by Sherman Alexie, who called on his fellow authors to support independent booksellers by volunteering in a store of their choice on Small Business Saturday, November 30, 2013.

    In less than a week, more than 150 authors have signed up to work at more than 100 participating bookstores. Alexie himself plans to spend the day at several Seattle bookstores, including The Elliott Bay Book Company and Queen Anne Book Company. He will be joined at Elliott Bay by Maria Semple, Ryan Boudinot, Jonathan Evison, Tom Nissley, and Kathleen Flenniken. Among other participating authors, Laurie Halse Anderson will be volunteering at Oswego, New York’s the river’s end bookstore; A.S. King will be at Aaron’s Books in Lititz, Pennsylvania; and Joshua Mohr at San Francisco’s Green Apple Books.

    “This is such a fabulous idea,” said Becky Anderson, owner of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois, who will be hosting several authors on Small Business Saturday, including Luis Alberto Urrea, John Madormo, Andrea Beaty, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. “We need to embrace our local authors –– make them feel as if they’re part of our staffs and community.”

    In the days following Alexie’s call-out, many authors, booksellers, and publishers took to Twitter using the hashtag #IndiesFirst to show their support and spread the word.

    For authors and booksellers who wish to participate, there is still plenty of time to sign up on the Indies First page. After signing up, authors must contact the bookstores directly to make arrangements.