On November 26, independent booksellers around the country will be celebrating Indies First on Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving), with author events, flash storytimes, discounts, and cake as a way to offer their customers a relaxed alternative to the frenzied shopping experience of Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday selling season.
Now in its third year, Indies First is the brainchild of Sherman Alexie—who hired a party bus to take him and a group of authors to visit three local Seattle bookstores this year. The idea behind Indies First has quickly taken hold and bookstore in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia will be participating this year.
To support booksellers’ efforts, an array of publishers made special offers as did Baker & Taylor, which is providing extra margin and faster shipping on all trade books this week and next. Libro.fm, the digital audiobook provider that recently partnered with the American Booksellers Association, is working with 35 stores to give away a free audiobook on Indies First. The goal, according to cofounder Mark Pearson, is to drive traffic to indie bookstores. Customers will get to select from more than nine digital audiobooks, including Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
This year’s Indies First spokesperson, Lena Dunham, will be visiting Book Soup in Los Angeles. In an open letter to authors, which was posted on the ABA website, she wrote, “I wouldn’t be who I am without support from independent booksellers” and singled out indies as “places for learning, community-building, and falling in love with strangers.” Dunham will be joined at Book Soup by Aris Janigan (Waiting for Lipchitz) and Jade Chang (Wangs vs. the World).
A sampling of other bookstore events planned for Saturday include Eso Won Books of Los Angeles, which is offering a special sale all day along with food from Marcus Samuelsson’s The Red Rooster Harlem. Across the country, New York City’s Books of Wonder will hold events with Caldecott medalist Jerry Pinkney and Caldecott Honor artists Melissa Sweet and Pamela Zagarenski, among others. In Palmyra, N.Y., The Dog Eared Book is also participating in Candlelight Night, which will take place on the same day in its historic village. Carolers and a hayride on Main Street are part of the festivities.
Parnassus Books in Nashville is donating a portion of its day’s sales to two local charities: Book ‘em and Nashville Humane Association. The store is promising “a bevy” of local authors who will be handselling.
A full schedule is available on IndieBound.com.