A Letter From ABA President Gayle Shanks About IndieBound

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Gayle Shanks
ABA President

Dear Fellow Booksellers,

A week ago today, the wonderfully festive Celebration of Bookselling at BookExpo America concluded with the launch of IndieBound, our new initiative, which we believe will become a national movement celebrating the value of independent businesses and the very special role that we booksellers play in our local communities.

Because we on the ABA Board are so excited about the potential of IndieBound, I wanted to write as soon as possible after the show and share a bit more about the program with those of you who couldn't be at BEA.

IndieBound is an outgrowth of our successful Book Sense marketing program, but it is not simply a "new" Book Sense. Through IndieBound, we can play a unique role in a national movement of booksellers, other indie businesses, readers, and local business alliances -- a movement celebrating the values that make independent businesses unique. It will give us the tools we need to help spread the word that big is not always better, that sustainability makes sense, and that healthy local economies help communities thrive. And it's going to do it with humor, great graphics, and no "oughts" or "musts." IndieBound is not top down -- you will be able to implement it in the ways that make the most sense in your own community.

Independent booksellers have always been catalysts in their communities for helping people take the next step in local development and growth that maintains the uniqueness of their neighborhoods, and we believe that's exactly what IndieBound can do.

And IndieBound will help us sell more books. It will continue many of Book Sense's established features, including bookseller recommendations and bestseller lists. The marketing components of Book Sense have been redesigned, enlivened, and made much more consumer-friendly. If you haven't yet seen the new IndieBound materials, I know this all may sound a bit abstract. But not to worry! By the middle of June, you will be receiving your Literary Liberation Box, which will contain all the materials (posters, decals, handouts, and more) that you and your fellow booksellers will need to launch IndieBound in your store and your community. (Here's a hint: You might want first dibs on the T-shirt...)

As I said, this is simply the beginning of the story! There will be much more coverage in BTW, and, even before the Literary Liberation Box lands in your store, I encourage you to visit BookWeb.org and IndieBound.org and to begin exploring all the materials and resources that IndieBound offers you. And, please, do e-mail me with your ideas and feedback, and I encourage you to be in touch with Paige Poe, your IndieBound outreach liaison.

As your new president, I feel very lucky to be here with you at the start of this new program.


Gayle Shanks
ABA President
Changing Hands Bookstore
Tempe, Arizona