In the past 25 years, the book publishing industry—and by extension, book sales and markets for authors—have undergone a massive transformation. Corporate mergers and takeovers consolidated many of the biggest names in the industry.
Technological advances saw traditional print publishing, while still dominating the industry, yielding market share to digital and audio production. Into this evolving landscape came the online “big box” retailers who muscled their way into the global marketplace, often to the detriment of small-town bookshops, “mom-and-pop” stores, and authors.
In 2008, the American Booksellers Association launched an initiative to support local communities and promote a nation-wide network of independent bookstore and connect authors and readers. Here’s a blurb from bookweb.org about the initiative:
The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.
Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.
And here’s a quick overview of the initiative from the IndieBound website:
IndieBound is an initiative of the American Booksellers Association dedicated to making the world better one independent bookstore at a time.
Locally owned, independent businesses pump money back into their communities by way of taxes, payrolls, and purchases. That means more money for sound schools, green parks, strong fire departments, and smooth roads, all in your neighborhood.
Independent bookstores have always occupied a special place in communities. Through IndieBound — and the Indie Next List fliers and Indie Bestseller Lists — readers find trusted, bookseller-curated reading options, newly discovered writers, and a real choice for buying.
IndieBound allows indie booksellers to communicate this vital role they play in their local economies and communities. It allows authors to show their dedication to indies nationwide, easily done by linking to thousands of indie bookstores through IndieBound.org. And it allows consumers to feel that their actions are a part of a larger picture — to know that their choices make a difference and that others are working toward the same goals.
I’m proud to support Pearl’s Books, our local indie bookstore located here in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The bookstore is named in memory of their beloved King Charles Cavalier spaniel. (Drop by the store and you’ll see a framed photo of Pearl on the table beside the entrance.) I visited Pearl’s today and was thrilled to see so many lining up to support Independent Bookstore Day. Here’s a photo I found on Pearl’s Facebook page:
To find an independent bookstore near you, click here.