Hi there, and welcome to PW’s first-ever issue dedicated to independent bookselling and publishing.

When I sat down to write this note, I worried about preaching to the choir. Nobody here needs to be convinced of how vital bookshops are to their communities, or reminded of the culture-shifting role small and independent presses have long had and always will have in society. Indie stores and publishers do kick-ass work every day, and one of the great honors of my professional life—and I think it’s safe to say the same holds true for everyone at PW—is the opportunity to chronicle that work.

So, let’s do that with a bit of an exclamation point this week. Just in time for Independent Bookstore Day, we’re checking in to salute the perseverance, innovation, and passion of indie booksellers; the vision, risk-taking, and sometimes flat-out freakiness of indie publishers; and especially the red-hot zone where all that overlaps.

To kick things off, we’ve crowned our bookstore and sales rep of the year. Congrats to Warwick’s on taking home this year’s Bookstore of the Year honor. Warwick’s is an institution if ever there was one, having been a family operation since 1896; it’s moved three times since and is now part of the fabric of La Jolla, Calif. Our Sales Rep of the Year doesn’t have quite that history, but Patricia Nelson does have decades of experience in the biz. Before joining up with University Press Sales Associates 25 years ago, she’d had an entire other life on the bookselling side.

Here’s some of what else is on tap: we checked in with a new generation of booksellers who are rethinking what a store can and should do, surveyed some upstart small and micro presses, sat down with Andrew O’Hagan to discuss his new novel that’s coming this summer from indie stalwart Norton, and talked with the heads of three indie publishing organizations about the state of play and what’s around the corner. Oh, we’ve also stocked our reviews section solely with coverage of books from outside the Big Five.

We had a lot of fun putting this issue together. I hope you enjoy it.

To read more from our Independents Issue, click here.