In an effort to get the holiday shopping season off to a strong start, the American Booksellers Association is talking up its newest initiative at the fall regionals, “Thanks for Shopping Indie.” The program, which is designed to piggyback on the third annual Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express, will enable member stores to receive a promotional discount on 10 titles from 20 publishers. Booksellers can use the special pricing to offer something extra to their customers at the holidays. Amex offers cardmembers who register for SBS a $25 statement credit for shopping at small businesses. And like SBS, “Thanks for Shopping Indie” starts on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 24, but it extends beyond a single day through the following Saturday, December 1. Booksellers can continue the promotion.

“This is our opportunity as a channel to tell our publishing friends and demonstrate that we can make a difference,” says ABA CEO Oren Teicher. It’s also an added incentive to get customers into independent bookstores this holiday season. Last year’s SBS drew 103 million shoppers. More than 2.7 million Facebook users “liked” Small Business Saturday, and there were close to 165,000 supportive tweets. Amex created SBS in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers.

To participate in ABA’s “Thanks for Shopping Indie,” booksellers need to stock 10 titles from among 60 designated 2012 Indie Next picks, including at least one adult and one children’s book. Children’s-only bookstores are exempt from the adult-title requirement. In addition, booksellers need to set up a front-of-store “Thanks for Shopping Indie” display and to highlight the promotion in their newsletter and through social media. In exchange they will receive special pricing on orders for 10 titles that are placed between October 29 and December 31, 2012. Complete details and sign up information are available on the ABA Web site.