From Publishing Perspectives:
This year a new wrinkle appeared in the consumer fabric swaddling Thanksgiving weekend. The kickoff of the holiday shopping season already features designated days targeting differing stripes of shopping and shoppers: BlackFriday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday. (Credit Card Debt Wednesday, anyone?) Now there is another event to mark on the calendar: Indies First.
Indies First is a spin-off of Small Business Saturday, aimed at supporting local independent bookstores. Though targeted at a fraction of the small business marketplace, results of the event’s inaugural outing appear to indicate that this is one spin-off that will have a long, successful run all its own. Brought into being through the efforts of author Sherman Alexie, and with the administrative and online support of the American Booksellers Association, Indies First thrust the people who normally write books into the shoes of those who sell the fruits of their labors. For independent booksellers, that meant having local authors roving the aisles of their stores the Saturday after Thanksgiving, recommending books to customers and signing some of their own works.
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I joined a group of enthusiastic authors, all of us happy to promote a store that has promoted us over the years. Malaprop’s bookseller Cindy Norris scheduled us to work in shifts throughout the day. We had already submitted the titles of books that we wanted to recommend to customers, the idea being that hawking your own wares feels awkward at best, but talking about other people’s writing is something we do all the time anyway. Malaprop’s also created a display of books we authors had written, and had t-shirts made for us that read “Thanks for Shopping Indie.” The shirts differed in color from those of the staff so that we might be easily identified in case someone wanted to strike up a conversation or ask us to sign their books.
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By any measure, Indies First was a huge success. The inaugural weekend saw more than 1,000 authors hand-selling books at more than 400 bookstores. In Asheville, that success could be seen at the cash register and in the aisles.
Malaprop’s manager Linda Barrett said that the weekend’s sales were up a whopping 46% over last year. “Both days were terrific,” she said, “but Indies First/Small Business Saturday was much busier in foot traffic and sales.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives