Tag Archives: Independent booksellers

Indy First Day/Small Business Saturday, November 29

Reading is such a personal thing to me, I’d much rather give someone a

gift certificate to a bookstore, and let that person choose his or her own books.

Writer & journalist, Erik Larson

A gift suggestion to consider as you work your way down this season’s holiday shopping list.  A best path  to the perfect book – – or the gift certificate — starts with a  visit to a favorite indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014 – a day now known to bibliophiles as Indies First day!

 The Indies First campaign was the brainchild of Sherman Alexie who proposed last year that authors celebrate Small Business Saturday by lending a hand at their favorite indie bookstore. Gaiman’s “audacious and imaginative” idea caught on – over 100 writers helped out at their favorite indie. Indies First became an instant Tradition!

This year, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) introduced Upstream, an independent bookstore-author partnership that builds on Alexie’s Indies First idea. (http://www.bookweb.org/news/daniel-handler-launches-upstream-initiative-support-indie-bookstores)

And in anticipation of Small Business Saturday 2014 writers Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer joined the campaign. Earlier this year Gaiman and Palmer penned a delightful letter to their fellow authors in which they describe their personal love affairs with indies…. “Neil wanted to be an author when he grew up. But if he wasn’t an author, he thought, the best possible profession would be working in a bookshop, pointing people at books they might like, ordering books for them, divining with some kind of superhuman ability that the book with the blue cover that their granny needed was actually Forever Amber, and otherwise making people’s lives better while being in bookshops.”

Palmer’s affair began with a more casual encounter: “Before she started working on her first book, Amanda walked into the Trident Bookstore on Newbury Street in Boston. She wasn’t even in there to browse books…she was in there to go to the bathroom, like you do…On her walk through the store, she noticed a book called Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown, sitting on the Staff Picks table. Amanda remembered seeing Brene’s TED talk about fear and vulnerability, and picked up the book, which she started reading and couldn’t put down. She bought it.   Two months later, Amanda wrote Brene a fan letter, and then Brene wrote the introduction for Palmer’s new book.”

Gaiman and Palmer conclude that “the Internet cannot make this magic happen. It cannot suggest books you have no idea you want. There’s nothing like the human, organic serendipity of an independent bookshop, where people who read and love books share their love with others.”

The Indie’s First campaign (http://www.bookweb.org/indiesfirst) features an up-dated listing of bookstore events scheduled for Small Business Saturday. Conveniently arranged by author and bookstore the list offers location site and brief description of events. Minnesota Indie First participants include these – be sure to check the listing for more complete information and for last minute updates:

  • An Open Book – Wadena – Activities and authors: story time and free craft activities
  • Excelsior Bay Books – Author Molly Beth Griffin, illustrator Jennifer A. Bell of Rhoda’s Rock Hunt, 1:00-3:00
  • Magers & Quinn – Minneapolis – Will Alexander, Anders Nilsen and Charlie Quimby will be selling books all afternoon
  • Red Balloon – St. Paul –Personal shopping with William Alexander, Michael Dahl, Brian Farrey, Michael Hall, David LaRochelle, Carrie Mesrobian, Stephen Shaskan, Trisha Speed Shaskan and Anne Ursu.
  • Scout & Morban Books – Cambridge – Stan Tekiela, Holly Harden
  • Valley Bookseller – Stillwater – local authors
  • Wild Rumpus – Minneapolis – William Alexander, Michael Hall, Lauren Stringer

 

 

 

 

Late Night Library Welcomes Nocturnal Bibliophiles

Somehow long chilly evenings elicit the yearn for a good read– or then again it could be a good listen – in the wee hours.  Think Late Night Library, the ever-expanding virtual library of podcasts and more, treasures to nourish the nocturnal need to know.

As always, there’s an audio treat to suit every taste – from discussions of literature to writer interviews, chats with award recipients, debut authors and more. And if you miss a favorite – or doze off mid-podcast – there’s always the posted link to recapture the moment.

Last week I happened to catch Angela Bole, Executive Director of the Independent Book Publishers Association – a breath of air in a best seller saturated world.  She got me with this:

I think a multitude of voices is really what’s going to make society strong. And literature is the thing that really connects you, and makes you feel like someone who is not quite so alone, perhaps.  In order to do that you need all kinds of different voices because people are so unique, and you need to enable all of these different voices to be found….Essentially, I think it’s so important that we have – and protect – these multiple ways that people are able to tell their stories and the multiple channels that people can tell them in. (Interview 10-21-14)

Bole picked up exactly where Leo J. Harris (see previous post) had left me thinking about his creative adventure with open access publishing.

This is the sort of serendipitous mind-opener you can find any night on Late Night Library.   LNL offers an endless audio flow of ideas to ponder and introductions to emerging writers and like-minded folk who share their thoughts freely and fluently.

It’s folly to try to categorize or describe the many facets of LNL. As with any good library, it all depends on what you’re looking for. You want “gossip?” That’s Dog Eared and Dispatched where you can get the latest scoop on Amazon or what’s happening in the publishing game. Famous First Words offers the back-story on breakthrough books.   The Rookie Report shines a spotlight on the newly published – or there’s WebComic – you can probably figure that one out

Though LNL emanates from the Portland, Oregon book scene, they somehow manage to catch the spirit – and the live feed – from hot spots such as this month’s Brooklyn Book Festival.

Next time the wind howls and the sun goes down about the time the kids get out of school, check out LNL to see what the LNL team is up to now.

Understand, of course, LNL is not just for night owls – they just have unique insights into the psyche of insomniacs. Others can click and enjoy 24/7. (http://latenightlibrary.org/about/)

 

 

 

 

Indies Reign at the Twin Cities Book Festival & Beyond

Readers relax and refresh!   Popular reviews, awards and stacks of soul-less bestsellers are no measure of a reading culture.  Turn to the indies – the publishers and the booksellers – who know a good read when they read one and who make sure the words and ideas of creative writers reach the reading public.

This weekend presents an awesome opportunity when Rain Taxi opens the doors to the Twin Cities Book Festival,  their annual reader-magnet bonanza!   It’s Saturday, October 12 (that’s actually tomorrow!) at the Progress Center on the Fairgrounds.

Check their website (http://www.raintaxi.com/bookfest/) for all the details, including a guide to a robust agenda for the children’s pavilion.  Admission and parking are free with options for ticketed events set for Friday evening.

If your faith in the power of independent presses needs more of a boost, check the reviews of a couple of Minnesota’s finest, in Jason Diamond’s piece on “25 Independent Presses That Prove This is the Golden Age of Indie Publishing.”  In an October 1 article published in Shelf Awareness Diamond writes  that “no matter what the latest doomsday prognostication about the future of big publishing happens to be, this is an exciting time to be a fan of literature.”

Among the presses Diamond lauds are Minnesota’s own:  About Graywolf he writes: “We almost feel silly saying this, but this Minnesota nonprofit press gets better with age.  Their last few years have featured a killer streak of releases from Joshua Cohen, Thomas Sayers Ellis, a stunning new translation of Dante’s Inferno, Stephen Elliott, Benjamin Percy, Fiona Maazel, and many other books that should be on your TBR pile.”

Describing Coffee House Press, the pride of Northeast Minneapolis, Diamond writes:  “Growing from a 1970’s poetry magazine into one of the most well respected indie presses is no small feat., but this nonprofit press that’s housed in Minneapolis’ historic Grain Belt Bottling House has published more than its share of award-winning writers (Stephen Dixon, Anne Waldman, Frank Chin) and continues to be one of the presses that all other indies – and even big publishers – look to for inspiration.”

One way to show your support for the work of the indies is to join forces with other avid readers who are supporting  the indie booksellers’ Indies First project set for November 30.  More on that in an earlier post or check one of the several websites that cover the events of the day, e.g. Bookweb (http://www.bookweb.org/news/sherman-alexie-spearheads-indies-first)

 

“Book nerds” Pitch in for Indies on Small Business Saturday

Author Sherman Alexie is well known to Minnesota readers.  In fact, he will be in Minnesota next week to speak at Minnesota State University Moorhead. (Thursday, September 12, 7:00 p.m.)   His talk at Plymouth Congregational Church last fall drew an SRO crowd.  He’s been on “Talking Volumes” and was interviewed on Bill Moyers’ show.

His fans may want to heed his recent brainstorm:   Alexie is out with an idea that may resonate with Minnesota writers, readers, booksellers other “book needs”, as Alexie calls his colleagues.

The popular writer has proposed this week that writers enter the world of commerce by participating in Small Business Saturday, the national initiative of independent business;  more specifically, Alexis suggested that writers – and presumably other bibliophiles, join ranks with independent booksellers.   Small Business Saturday 2013 is November 30, Thanksgiving weekend– in the wake of Black Friday.

Alexie may be taking a lead from the Obama family who last year celebrated the day by shopping at One More Page Books in suburban Virginia.  Or he may be buoyed by the fact that Oren Teicher of the American Booksellers Association has reported that 2012 sales by independent booksellers were ten percent ahead of 2011 sales.

In a letter to a small group of authors (http://www.bookweb.org/indies-first)  sent over Labor Day weekend Alexie called on them to become “superheroes for independent booksellers“ by working at their favorite indie in whatever role is needed.  “We book nerds will become booksellers.  We will make recommendations. We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends’ books.  Maybe you’ll sign and sell books of your own in the process. I think the collective results could be mind-boggling …The most important thing is that we’ll all be helping independent bookstores and God knows they’ve helped us over the years.”

Though the drive is just aborning, the mechanics are actually in place The ABA has created a webpage for those who wish to sign up.  Authors sign up here:  (http://www.bookweb.org/indies-first-author-sign) and booksellers can sign up here: (http://www.bookweb.org/indies-first-bookstore-sign).

Minnesota “book nerds” may want to call or stop by an indie bookstore to learn more, express support, even sign up to lend on hand to sell, shelve, hype, to get up and do what needs to be done to help out the Indies First cause on Small Business Saturday.