Just as Amazon’s two-day Prime Day sales extravaganza winds down today, the American Booksellers Association is launching a national marketing campaign, “Boxed Out," that is designed to draw attention to the challenges indie booksellers are dealing this upcoming holiday season with both Amazon and a pandemic. Boxed Out features installations covering the facades of six indie bookstores in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles; there will also be a #BoxedOut social media campaign. The installations replicate the brown boxes with the Amazon logo that have become ubiquitous on front porches and in apartment building lobbies across the country.
The façade of each of the five indies featuring Boxed Out’s signature installations has been covered with cardboard, with cardboard boxes emblazoned with #BoxedOut/#ShopIndie piled up in front. The cardboard coverings are filled with provocative declarations, such as, “If you want Amazon to be the world’s only retailer, keep shopping there," and "Amazon, please leave the dystopia to George Orwell," and ""Our Wi-Fi is free. Please don't use it to make a $1.6 trillion company even richer." The cardboard books displayed on top of the boxes have titles like To Kill a Locally Owned Bookstore and Fear and Loathing Through Lost Wages. The signature installations have been placed at McNally Jackson in Manhattan and three Brooklyn bookstores: Café con Libros, Community Bookstore, and Greenlight Bookstore. Installations are also set up at Book Soup in West Hollywood, Calif. and at Solid State in Washington, D.C.
Allison Hill, ABA's CEO explained the motive for the campaign as well as its timing, stating: “More than one indie bookstore a week has closed since the Covid-19 crisis began. At the same time, a report forecasts that Amazon will generate $10 billion in revenue on October 13 and 14 during its Prime Day promotion. Convenience has a cost and a consequence. Closed indie bookstores represent the loss of local jobs and local tax dollars; the loss of community centers; and the loss of opportunities for readers to discover books and connect with other readers in a meaningful face-to-face way.”
The Boxed Out marketing campaign was designed by DCX Growth Accelerator, the advertising agency behind the award-winning “Palessi” prank, when discount shoe retailer Payless opened a fake luxury shoe store and fooled a group of social influencers into paying hundreds of dollars for cheap shoes.
Fourteen indies across the country are officially launching #BoxedOut today via social media, as well with their own DIY displays and posters supplied by the ABA, including Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.; BookBar, Denver, Colo.; Books & Books, Miami, Fla.; Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.; Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, Kan.; Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich.; Moon Palace, Minneapolis, Minn.; Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.; Word in Brooklyn and Word in Jersey City; Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.; Village Books, Bellingham, Wash.; Loyalty, Washington, D.C.; Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.