This summer, publishers and authors are pitching in to raise more money to support independent bookstores as well as We Need Diverse Books.
First is the return of Indie Shindig, a virtual event series for booksellers created by Workman Publishing, Abrams Books, Bloomsbury Publishing, Candlewick Press, Chronicle Books, and Sourcebooks that benefits We Need Diverse Books and the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation.
The Indie Shindig was first held last year as a 14-part event series in which publishers pitched books to booksellers. For each bookseller who attended the event, the combined publishers donated $10 to Binc, with a cap of $15,000. By the end, the Shindig raised, $5,000 for Binc and attracted participants from163 bookstores.
This year’s event is similar, but will offer just six events. That said, the stakes are higher: for each bookseller who attends one of the events, the combined publishers will split a donation of $20 per bookseller attendee between WNDB and Binc with a cap of $18,000 total.
Each event this year will last one hour, and occur on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, from Monday, May 10, through Monday, July 26 at 4 p.m. EST and take place on Zoom. The whole series will feature 130 titles across a variety of genres. The first event on May 10 will have two panels. The first will include authors Shruti Swamy, Jamise Harper and Jane Mount, Xio Axelrod, Hilma Wolitzer, and Gene Kwak in an Adult Fiction Panel moderated by Pamela Klinger-Horn of Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, Minn. This will be followed by authors Mari K. Eder, Molly Wizenberg, Trystan Reese, Emma Marris, Colin Nissan, Rowan Jacobsen, and Brian A. Primack featured on an Adult Nonfiction Panel moderated by BrocheAroe Fabian of Sourcebooks and the online River Dog Book Co.
Individual authors too are also getting into the act of helping support stores. Gayle Forman, the award-winning YA author, has partnered with her publisher, Viking Children’s Books, for a campaign that will also raise money for Binc. To start, all preorders and first week of sales of Forman’s new novel, We Are Inevitable, will be donated to Binc’s “Survive to Thrive” fundraising campaign. The novel, which publishes on June 1, involves a teenager, who together with a friend, rallies a town to revive his father’s dying used bookstore. Penguin Young Readers will match the donation to Binc.
Then, throughout the month of June. Forman will team up with other authors and booksellers for a series of virtual events for independent bookstores. The campaign has been dubbed the "We Are Irreplaceable” independent bookstore campaign taking and the entire series of is being called the Summer of Support.
“When I started writing We Are Inevitable four years ago, pandemics were the stuff of dystopian fiction,” said Forman in a press release. “But I finished the novel, about a teen boy and his father struggling to keep their bookstore afloat, against a reality of lockdowns, sirens, nightly claps for essential workers—and existential threats to indie bookstores. As with so many things, Covid-19 has revealed what has always been true: not just that we need books to connect us, we need booksellers and bookstores to do that as well. The ‘We Are Irreplaceable’ campaign is the natural outgrowth of that, to celebrate the importance of indies, and to support the bookstores and booksellers who have proven themselves to be absolutely essential.”