Indie Bookstores

Indies battle Amazon — by becoming publishers

3 January 2012

From Salon:

Of all the booksellers I’ve met over the years, no doubt the busiest is Mitchell Kaplan. In addition to overseeing Miami’s venerated Books & Books stores, Kaplan is a co-founder of the Miami Book Fair, a former president of the American Booksellers Association, and the most recent recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award. So it was pretty surprising to see Kaplan himself when I read at his flagship store in Coral Gables last month.

Even more striking was the book Kaplan giddily showed me: a new anthology of stories by South Florida writers called “Blue Christmas: Holidays Stories for the Rest of Us.” (As a former Miamian, I’d written a piece for the collection.)

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he said, gazing at the deep-blue cover.

Kaplan is a guy who gets excited about all sorts of books. The difference, in this case, is that he published “Blue Christmas.” More precisely, his new imprint, B&B Press, released the book. It thus represents a heartening trend in the brave new world of publishing. Rather than trimming their sails, a number of independent booksellers are taking a page from Amazon by producing titles themselves.

. . . .

As publishers, indies enjoy a few distinct advantages over the competition. First, they can emphasize titles of local interest by local writers. Second, they can showcase the books in their shops. Third, because of advances in printing, they can bring books to market more quickly than traditional publishers. Just as important, when an independent bookstore sells a copy of one of their own titles, they collect all the profits, rather than a sliver. Consider it a poor man’s version of vertical integration.

Kaplan told me he hoped other bookstores would take up small-scale publishing. That’s already happening.

. . . .

The leap into publishing by indies can be seen as the literary equivalent of the locavore movement. It not only emphasizes local writers, and local subjects, but also asks residents to support a local business with their dollars.

Teter is under no illusion about the forces arrayed against independent bookstores, not the least of which is the rise of electronic books. But she, along with her compatriots, is cautiously optimistic that small-scale publishing can be part of the answer, by providing an alternative to traditional publishers and Amazon, which are increasingly focused on books they can turn into national bestsellers.

As Kaplan reminded me, the true value of a great independent bookstore resides in its connection to a particular community: “If someone loves our bookstore, has been coming in for years, understands what we’re trying to do, and you can put a great book in their hands that was published by our store, I mean, who’s going to say no to that?”

Link to the rest at Salon

Kindle Indie Books

17 September 2011

About a month ago, Amazon created Kindle Indie Books which Amazon describes as “a convenient way for readers to explore and browse for top selling, popular and high quality books from independent authors and publishers who publish using KDP. ”

How do you get your book on Kindle Indie?

How can I become a featured author?
Our editorial team selects authors to highlight in this area based on criteria that we believe will best serve the interests of Kindle readers. At this time, we do not accept submissions for this placement.

How can I have my books featured in the Kindle Indie Bookstore?
We use a combination of automated techniques and editorial activities to select books based on criteria that we believe will best serve the interest of Kindle readers. At this time, we do not support any specific requests for placement. The likelihood of appearing within the Kindle Indie Bookstore is higher for highly rated, popular and top selling books.

How often are the top selling books updated?
The top selling independently published books are located on the right side of the Kindle Indie Bookstore page and are updated hourly. Books that are featured in the top KDP genres are updated in real-time.

How many genres are featured in the Kindle Indie Bookstore?
Currently we feature books from 7 popular categories in the Kindle Indie Bookstore.

Why do you only feature a select number of genres in the Kindle Indie Bookstore?
We chose seven categories that our Kindle readers look at frequently. Periodically we will review our top selling categories and add to the Kindle Indie Bookstore so that readers can enjoy more variety of great indie books.

Here’s the FAQ Link

Not exactly a model of clarity, but promoting indie books in a separate location is a beneficial step. The Kindle Indie Books page rotates 4-5 authors, so if you’re featured, visitors may not see you. It also rotates the order in which various genres are shown.

In order to view all the different combinations of authors and genres, hold down your Shift key and click on the Reload button on your browser (the little arrow pointing in a circle) if you have a Windows computer. If you have a Mac, undoubtedly, it’s easier.

The page also has a Kindle Indie Books Bestseller List, Top-Rated Indie Books, New Indie Releases and several other indie promo features.

Perhaps Passive Guy has not been paying attention, but he hasn’t seen much about this. He’s going to figure out where to drop a link to it on The Passive Voice and suggests indie authors may want to do the same thing. The more traffic and sales Amazon sees coming through its indie portal, the more likely the company is to make the portal more prominent.



Source for Online Indie Bookstores and Book Recommendations

15 July 2011

Passive Guy was interested in the number and variety of ideas that appeared in response to yesterday’s How Do You Find Good, Reasonably-Priced Ebooks? post. One of the comments was from Damon Courtney who pointed to his new Pauper’s Book Club. Damon’s comment generated more discussion, including responses from a couple of people who indicated an interest in doing something similar.

Do you think it’s a good idea for PG to add an Indie Bookstore page here?

PG doesn’t visualize anything fancy – a listing/link to each bookstore and 3-4 lines describing it. The list might be grouped by genre or another reasonable organizing principle. If someone or several someones are already doing something like this, PG is happy to defer this exercise to them or include them in the links page.

The object is to start answering the question, How Do You Find Good, Reasonably-Priced Ebooks? in a better way. Thanks to all of you, this site receives more traffic than many indie/author/book websites and pointing visitors to good places to find and purchase books fits with what PG is trying to accomplish here.

PG has admitted he personally regards places like Kindleboards and Goodreads less than helpful. In his mind’s eye, he visualizes an online equivalent to a good physical indie bookstore where the offering is curated. He has no bias against computer curation if the algorithm works well.

Your thoughts? PG is particularly interested if someone else has already done this in a visible way because he’s not anxiously seeking another project at the moment.

Indie Authors + Indie Bookstore = Self-Pub Success

10 February 2011
Comments Off on Indie Authors + Indie Bookstore = Self-Pub Success

Blog post from Josie Leavitt, co-owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont, about working with two local authors who self-pubbed in hard copy.  This approach doesn’t sound scalable, but more than one major author has started the big climb when indie bookstores start singing praises.


This past holiday season two of our bestsellers were self-published books. This was a HUGE surprise to me when I ran the numbers at the end of the year. I have had time now to ponder the reason for this and have several reasons that this happened.

– The books were actually good.

. . . .

– Both authors were relentless at getting excellent press about their books. They didn’t just get press once, they got it repeatedly.

. . . .

– The authors were good about checking in about stock levels. Normally, self-published authors can get a little overly aggressive about checking stock, but with these two books at the holidays, it was enormously helpfu

. . . .

– Both authors were very meticulous about record-keeping. This just makes my job easier. We try to keep up with receiving self-published books when they come, but so often the consignment issue precludes entering books into the inventory, so having another set of good records was vital. I know how many I’ve sold by the negative numbers listed for that book at the end of the day. Basically, I receive backwards and the authors do it the right way, so it works out.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly ShelfTalker

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