The online community is a vibrant gathering place for supporters of indie retail businesses. Those who register for the community can share information about indie retailers (including locations and specialties), comment on community issues, offer book recommendations, and exchange personal communication. Visitors are encouraged to add stores to the national indie retailer map, to become fans of stores, and to connect with like-minded indie enthusiasts.
"The mission of the IndieBound.org Community is to help people across the U.S. share and find great independently owned businesses," said ABA Chief Marketing Officer Meg Smith. "By connecting indie-conscious people with local businesses, we're working to strengthen the health of Main Streets. Thriving local economies make for sustainable communities and happy residents." Smith stressed that the community site is "a work in progress. We're planning on rolling out new features and new content on a regular basis over the next six to 12 months."
Responding to both the consumer shift towards shopping at independent retailers and the growing emphasis on the ideas of localism and sustainability, ABA launched IndieBound at BookExpo America 2008 in Los Angeles. As ABA bookstore members continue to advance the movement through their marketing efforts, by participating in the creation of the Indie Bestseller List and Indie Next List, and with community outreach to neighbors and other indie retailers, awareness of and participation in IndieBound continues to grow. The movement has been embraced by many bloggers, authors, publishers, and other indie retailers during its initial rollout to the public.
All ABA member booksellers are encouraged to create an IndieBound Community account. Users who have created accounts can do a number of things:
- Post comments on retail stores, whether it be a review of each store, a personal experience there, some recommendations -- anything that can help other people learn more about that store;
- Edit existing stores to add more information -- store hours, pictures of the store, etc.;
- Add interest tags both to their own accounts and to stores ... tags like "Southern literature" or "vegan" help connect users and stores, and help everyone discover new things;
- Become fans of stores they know and love -- so that other people can find stores through their user profile;
- Add new stores -- great indie retailers they're familiar with; and
- Add other users as friends, and leave notes for other users.
For more information on the IndieBound Community, contact ABA Web Content Coordinator Matt Supko via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.