IndieBound Takes a Bow at BALLE Conference

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IndieBound, the new American Booksellers Association initiative involving booksellers, readers, indie retailers, local business alliances, and others in a community-oriented movement that proclaims the importance and value of independent businesses, was the subject of a presentation at last week's 6th Annual BALLE Conference in Boston.

ABA COO Oren Teicher presented an IndieBound information session at the invitation of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies as part of its pre-conference programming, "Grow Wealth: 3rd Annual Local First Economic Development Conference," on Thursday, June 5.

"ABA launched IndieBound because we're convinced that Local First programs are indispensable for our members who want to remain competitive," Teicher told BTW. "We were happy to accept the invitation from BALLE because we're anxious to collaborate with like-minded organizations and to complement their programs and resources."

The 150 or so BALLE members at the session were given an overview of IndieBound's many resources, including the "Declaration of Independents," "We're IndieBound" window decals, a "Love Your Local" poster, and "Here's What You Did" flier.

Betsy Burton, co-owner of The King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a founder of Local First Utah, who participated in the BALLE conference told BTW, "I love IndieBound. I think it's a great program.... I've been hoping for years that other independent booksellers would jump into the Local First pond, because I view it as the salvation of independent bookstores." For booksellers whose communities don't already have an established Local First alliance, Burton said, "IndieBound makes starting a network so much easier."

Noting that her own local alliance, Local First Utah, is already a well-branded program, Burton said she saw IndieBound's resources as complementary to its efforts. "The [IndieBound] materials are wonderful and adaptable ... we'll pass them out statewide," she said.

The IndieBound presentation at BALLE was informative and well received, noted Burton, adding that a lot people were complimentary about the program and were happy to hear that ABA's efforts would be helpful to their own.

Burton, herself, was the convener of the Friday BALLE conference breakout session "Local First: Framework and Tools," featuring panelists Frank Kramer of Cambridge, Massachusetts' Harvard Book Store and Elissa Sangalli-Hillary of Local First Western Michigan. --Rosemary Hawkins