The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books has added IndieBound buy buttons to its website’s authors and performers page in response to last week’s outcry over the exclusive Amazon purchasing links provided for each of the event’s participating authors.
Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (SCIBA) President Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon a Time bookstore in Montrose, California, said that the placement of the Amazon buy links was coordinated by the Los Angeles Times’ advertising department, not the festival staff.
Booksellers were nevertheless upset to find no option for the site’s visitors to purchase books locally, despite the strong presence of independent booksellers at the festival over the past 17 years. “The indies started it years and years ago, so we just want to make sure we are still in the loop and being represented,” said Palacios.
The behind-the-scenes work by SCIBA and bookstore members to see the issue resolved was immense, said Palacios, and the conversation reached beyond booksellers to include authors, publishers, and customers. “We want to make sure that our channel is heard, and we were certainly heard last week,” she said.
Last week, SCIBA asked for a number of concessions from festival organizers and saw several of them met, said SCIBA Executive Director Andrea Vuleta. “We are very pleased with the festival staff. They have been pretty accommodating. I’m not saying that we got 100 percent of everything we hoped, but they certainly have been creative and helpful.”
The festival is providing SCIBA with a booth at the April 12–13 event for the promotion of independent bookstores and California Bookstore Day, and members will have an extended early signing discount for next year’s show. The festival also committed to supporting independent booksellers through outlets at the festival and through social media.
“We’ve gotten the point across,” said Palacios. “The voices across America were heard. That is a fact.”