Time to Get Organized: The Indies First Movement Expands

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With booksellers, authors, publishers, and customers joining together in support of independent bookstores, the Indies First movement has grown into a full-time campaign with plenty of ways for ABA members to participate.

As ABA CEO Oren Teicher detailed in an e-mail sent to booksellers on Wednesday, September 10, this fall the movement is expanding on the success of last November’s Indies First/Small Business Saturday and this spring’s Indies First Storytime Day to encompass a number of related ABA programs. Indies First will again be a celebration of all things local with a variety of special offers from publishers, author events, and more. In addition, in response to booksellers’ input, the program’s message to consumers has been strengthened and streamlined and the participation process is easier.

Below, booksellers can learn about the range of programs coming together under the Indies First campaign.

September 18: Indies First marketing collateral will be available through BookWeb’s Designs & Downloads, including designs for posters, window clings, web banners, and table display tent cards.

October 20 through October 31: As publishers look for more ways to show their support of independent booksellers and stores stock their shelves for the holidays, ABA member bookstores will have the opportunity to take advantage of special terms on featured titles from a variety of publishers.

Formerly called Thanks for Shopping Indie, the program’s special offers are for a wide selection of books to be ordered between October 20 and 31, 2014; see the terms here (a username and password are required). Bookstores must promote and feature the titles beginning Saturday, November 29, through the end of the year.

October to November: ABA member bookstores should keep an eye out for an ABA Indies First mailing containing Indies First book bags and order forms supplied by Penguin Random House. Indies First buttons will also be included in the mailing.

Through December, booksellers are encouraged to snap photos of authors, customers, and themselves showing off their Indies First bags and to share these photos on social media. Additional bags can be ordered at cost through Penguin Random House’s sales representatives.

Booksellers should also watch for the arrival of co-branded Indies First/Small Business Saturday bookmarks, courtesy of American Express, the founding sponsor of Small Business Saturday.

November 29: In celebration of this year’s Small Business Saturday, authors will once again volunteer to work as booksellers at their favorite independent bookshops.

Booksellers looking to host authors on November 29 should contact them directly to make arrangements. Authors interested in being booksellers for a day can contact their local bookstore (find one nearby via IndieBound’s store locator) or register here to appear on the Indies First Author and Illustrator Index. (Booksellers will need to sign in to BookWeb to register and to review the index for possible authors to host.) As events come together, bookstores are asked to add their details to the Indies First Event Registry. ABA will help publicize registered events through an interactive map on IndieBound.org.

Opportunities to learn more: Booksellers attending the fall regional trade shows in the Southern, Pacific Northwest, New England, and Southern California regions can learn more about the Indies First campaign at the ABA education session “Maximizing the Benefit of Indies First/Small Business Saturday.” At two of the shows, PNBA and NEIBA, representatives from American Express will appear on the panel alongside bookseller presenters.

Attendees should also stop by the ABA booth at any of the upcoming trade shows to learn more about the Indies First campaign, to snag Indies First buttons and fliers to take back to their bookstores, and to pose for photos with an Indies First tote bag.

With the holiday season fast approaching, now is the time for bookstores to begin planning for a season of Indies First celebrations. Visit BookWeb’s Indies First page to get the full details about the Indies First campaign and its many offerings. Follow the fun this year on Facebook and Twitter, using hashtag #IndiesFirst, and let us know your special plans for Indies First campaign at editorial@bookweb.org. Questions about Indies First can be directed to indiesfirst@bookweb.org