IndieBound Literary Liberation Underway

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IndieBound, the American Booksellers Association's new community-oriented movement celebrating the value of independent businesses, is underway. On Monday, a Literary Liberation Box, including tools that booksellers can use to promote IndieBound in their stores and in their communities, was shipped to all independently owned ABA member stores. Booksellers on the East Coast began receiving the box on Tuesday, and all stores should experience Literary Liberation within the next several days.

"IndieBound reflects the excitement of localism and the appreciation of independent business spreading across the country today," said Meg Smith, ABA Chief Marketing Officer. "And it provides ABA members with a new, fresh way to promote themselves to their customers, as well as to align with other independent businesses in their communities."

Smith added, "When the Literary Liberation Box arrives in stores, we hope owners will take the opportunity to spread the excitement among staff by opening the box in their presence." (Here's a look at what booksellers will find in the Liberation Box.)

Thus far, bookseller response to IndieBound and the Literary Liberation Box has been enthusiastic. "I think it's fantastic," said Christine Onorati of WORD bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. "I am totally excited about it. [IndieBound] has exceeded my expectations, and it is customizable, and that is really important." She added that the "edgy" look is "well done. I'm very impressed."

Farley's Bookshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania, displays the IndieBound "Eat. Sleep. Read." poster on its doorstep and the "Declaration of IndieBound" in the front window.

Onorati, who two months ago started forming an informal independent business alliance, said, "This will help me. I can go right into the stores, give them signs, and show them all of this stuff, and start getting something together." In the bookstore, she placed the "Here's What You Just Did" sign up "right away, and called the bag company and ordered the recycled bags."

At Farley's Bookshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Alexis Kaelin told BTW, "I was very excited -- it's a neat box, and a neat transformation [from Book Sense]. It's inspired me to shop at other local stores, too." Farley's put most of the materials from the Literary Liberation Box out on Wednesday, with the bookmarks, bookplates, and other items placed at the cash wrap. "People are excited about the book plates," Kaelin said.

"We love it," said Stephanie Anderson of Moravian Bookshop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. "Our head buyer is wearing the pin with the IndieBound logo on it. And we like everything that says 'Eat. Sleep. Read.' on it."

The timing of the box's arrival was good, Anderson reported, because the Sustainable Business Network of the Greater Lehigh Valley (SBNLV) just kicked off its yearlong Think Independent campaign. "So we're going to use a lot of IndieBound stuff that we will display in-store and in our window and combine that with the Think Independent campaign."

The Village Bookshop in Bradenton, Florida, is proudly IndieBound.

In Bradenton, Florida, Doug Knowlton, owner of The Village Bookshop, immediately displayed his IndieBound materials and sent an e-mail blast with a link to to the 300 or so customers on the store mailing list. "A member in my writing group has already signed up for a t-shirt," he said. "And I'm going to need a lot of the bags ... maybe some with our logo."

After reading more about IndieBound at lunchtime, "I got even more excited," Knowlton said. "And I don't get excited."

The Village Bookshop's MySpace page now features IndieBound and invites customers to a rally, where they can sign the Declaration of Independents.

Here's a look at what booksellers will find in the Literary Liberation Box:
  • Rally Cards. These pull readers in with a cool image on the front, while the back gives more info on what IndieBound is all about. These cards give customers the information they need to turn around and spread the word. Booksellers can find more great designs and messages at Bookseller DIY, the home for all customizable IndieBound stuff.

  • Palm Cards. These cards fit in the palm of the hand. The great design catches the eye, while the back carries a powerful message. Booksellers can hand them out like business cards -- or like candy -- near the register, at events, or get their customers involved to spread the word further. Booksellers can use them to start a conversation about IndieBound, and about why independent businesses matter.

  • Shopping Bag Samples. The box contains a sample of new shopping bag designs made from recycled craft paper and styled with the IndieBound look. These use more spirit lines, like "Peace. Love. Books." There's also a smaller bag size for children's books, proclaiming the pride booksellers take in "Raising Passionate Readers." Booksellers will receive a bag order form, where booksellers can get either size bag, flat or with handles, and customize them to feature their store logo.

  • Bookmarks. The bookmarks have fun designs -- and a great reminder on the back of why shopping at Indies is so important There are more designs available in the Bookseller DIY, and each design includes a space for their store's name. Print it, stamp it, and pass it out to all their customers.

  • IndieBound Bookplates. These speak directly to customers -- literally. These messages are memorable and funny, and there's room for a bookseller's store's stamp on the front.

  • The Staff Shirt. This red T-shirt with white lettering reads, "This is the part where I save the day." There's only one per box, so booksellers will have to decide who gets it. There are other shirt designs not only in the Bookseller DIY, where booksellers can print their own templates and customize shirts any way they like, but at a members-only, wholesale Printfection Online Shop booksellers can find tons of T-shirts, plus baseball shirts, hoodies, even some for the kids.

    All the shirt designs feature IndieBound spirit lines, cool sayings, and tag lines that get the message across. All the suggestions are listed in the Bookseller DIY, but these are just suggestions. Booksellers can come up with their own lines and use them everywhere -- and send any great ideas to!

  • Window Decals. The box contains 10 "We're IndieBound" window decals These are a great way for booksellers to start a conversation with their indie retail neighbors about IndieBound, and why the independent and local movement is so important. ABA will supply an unlimited number of basic decals to member stores. There's also a customizable version housed in the Bookseller DIY, with space for the store's logo, or an independent business alliance logo. Booksellers can get together with their local print shop to produce a version just for their community, and see how far it spreads.

  • And much, much more.

A separate package will contain three posters: a 17" x 22" print of the Declaration of IndieBound; an 18" x 36" red IndieBound banner; and a 36" x 72" Eat. Sleep. Read. poster. All three of these, plus variations and more great poster designs, are available on the Bookseller DIY page. These files are print-ready as is, but high quality and easily customizable. Booksellers can add their logo, or change the colors to suit their store's decor.