Mar4CHIRPLogoCandlewick Press in Somerville, Mass.,affirmed its commitment to independent bookstores with the launch of a newmarketing program aimed specifically at frontline indie booksellers, CHIRP. Ina bit of double entendre, "CHIRP," short for Candlewick's Handselling IndieRecognition Program, also refers to a short, lively, high-pitched sound, thekind someone makes when they're excited about a book.

Late last week Candlewick sent out the first CHIRPwhite boxes to 265 independent accounts. Inside were copies of rep picks forthe coming spring season along with bookmark-sized "handselling tip cards" withreviews and handselling ideas from other booksellers, including Carol Sokoloffof Prairie Lights in Iowa City and Judy Wheelerof Towne Center Books in Pleasanton, Calif. Also included were blankshelftalkers and booktalkers printed on card stock with the CHIRP logo.

"I was so exited to get the box. It feels sogood to know Candlewick respects what we do for them," says Rebecca Fabian,children's department manager at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass.,who had already read and "loved" two CHIRP selections: The Agency and Finnikin ofthe Rock. Added Stephanie Anderson, manager of WORD Books in Brooklyn, "It's really nice to see somebody reaching outto frontline booksellers."

Mar4CHIRPDisplaySusan Richard, owner of Inklings Bookshop in Yakima, Wash.,especially appreciated the care that went into the program. "I thought it was acute name, and the packaging was nice," she says. "We don't get very manyadvance galleys for kids' books and to have finished books is good. Everyonewho was on the floor when the box came was excited."

Director of field sales Elise Supovitz, who isspearheading CHIRP, emphasized that it is more of a bookseller-inspired programthan a typical publisher push program. "Given that as much as 70% of sales inthe kids' section of indie stores comes from handselling," she says, "we decidedto create a program that speaks directly to this core strength of independentbooksellers."

In addition to the seasonal CHIRP box, Candlewickwill add a dedicated [Web site], next week.Booksellers who signup for the CHIRP e-newsletter will be entered into a drawingfor a paid trip to ABA's2011 Winter Institute. CHIRP stores can earn special discounts and dating forrep picks and to additional co-op dollars. That should give indies even more tochirp about.