Around Indies

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Antigone Books to Celebrate Independents Week

Independent businesses and local shoppers across the nation will celebrate Independents Week this July 1–7. The national campaign is organized by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) to encourage residents to support their communities’ economies by patronizing local establishments.

Many local independent business alliances are planning community-wide celebrations, corralling area businesses for weeklong festivities, giveaways, and discounts. In Tucson, Arizona, Antigone Books is celebrating an early Independents Week, from June 27 to July 5, with more than 100 fellow business members of Local First Arizona, the state’s independent business alliance. Antigone Books has participated in Independents Week for several years, but co-owner Trudy Mills is particularly looking forward to some new promotions.

This year, customers have a chance to snag a Golden Coupon, which gives them a 20 percent discount at a participating business. Local First Arizona has also produced a passport to encourage shoppers to visit a host of member businesses during the week to earn stamps toward raffle entries. Each business listed in the passport has provided an item to be included in the raffle, and the grand prize is a staycation at a local historic hotel.

“I think the passport was a great addition,” said Mills, who noted that a similar, but much smaller, promotion last year met with success. “They didn’t have to buy anything, but it got them into stores they don’t otherwise go to. I do think the passport pulls people in.”

To assist businesses in the planning and publicizing of Independents Week, AMIBA has made available a full menu of free and customizable resources, such as logos and graphics, media and press releases, activities, social media posts, and other tools.

Itinerant Literate Profiled for Unique Approach to Bookselling

This week, the Charleston City Paper featured the South Carolina city’s newest literary offering, the Itinerant Literate bookmobile, which should be officially up and running this fall.

Julia Turner and Christen Thompson, who came to the bookselling business by way of the Denver Publishing Institute and their current jobs at The History Press in Charleston, will soon begin raising money to buy an Airstream trailer, which will be outfitted with an initial purchase of 3,000 titles.

The team attended Winter Institute in Asheville earlier this year to collect ideas and feedback, and now have plans to offer book club packages and party rentals for adults and children in addition to the bookmobile’s set schedule and locations.

In the meantime, they are hosting pop-up events throughout the region, including a story hour and raffle at Revelry Brewing and a sale at the Dig South Space Walk interactive festival. Ahead of the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, Itinerant Literate will host a To Kill a Mockingbird trivia night.

The goal of the pop-up events is to gauge community interest and discover what Charleston’s readers are seeking. “We don’t want to be just the bookstore that we want — we want to be the bookstore that the community wants and needs. And we don’t pretend to know everything the community wants or needs,” said Thompson.

Finally Found Books Goes Nonprofit

Todd Hulbert is seeking to turn Finally Found Books in Auburn, Washington, into a nonprofit venture after no buyers were found for the store, which he put up for sale earlier this year, according to the Auburn Reporter.

The Washington Literary Organization, a new 501(c)(3), is currently raising funds to purchase the store. Hulbert serves as the president of the organization’s 13-member volunteer board of directors.

After months of considering his possibilities, “it was determined that the only viable, long-term option to keep it alive was to set up a nonprofit and expand the many programs offered,” Hulbert said. “There are so many benefits to doing so, not only to this store but also to many struggling bookstores across the nation.”

As detailed on Finally Found Books’ website, becoming a nonprofit means the bookstore can put a greater focus on promoting literacy, supporting schools and libraries, and becoming a community center. A nonprofit status allows the store to accept donations and submit for grants, utilize volunteers, and take advantage of tax deductions.

The funds raised through the Washington Literary Organization will be used to purchase the bookstore and will go toward the planning of its programs, including training and internships, gift certificate and book donations for schools and community causes, and a traveling story time.