Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Authors, Booksellers, Readers: You're invited (by none other than Sherman Alexie)

Sherman Alexie

In a letter signed "Sherman Alexie, An Absolutely True Part-Time Indie," one of America's best-known authors had launched a great concept, declaring November 30 "Indies First" day at local bookstores all over the country.

Addressing all "book nerds," Alexie makes his pitch:  "Now is the time to be a superhero for independent bookstores. I want all of us (you and you and especially you) to spend an amazing day hand-selling books at your local independent bookstore on Small Business Saturday (that's the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 30 this year, so you know it's a huge weekend for everyone who, you know, wants to make a living)."

"Here's the plan," Alexie explains. "We book nerds will become booksellers. We will make recommendations. We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends' books. Maybe you'll sign and sell books of your own in the process. I think the collective results could be mind-boggling (maybe even world-changing)."

The "Indies First" idea grew from an invitation extended to Alexie by Janis Segress when she and others re-opened Seattle's Queen Anne Book Company last spring. Alexie accepted. After all, he says, "What could be better than spending a day hanging out in your favorite hometown indie, hand-selling books you love to people who will love them too and signing a stack of your own?"

I love this idea. It plays right into one of my secret but (usually) suppressed urges: to tug the sleeves of strangers whenever I spot titles I love on the shelves of a bookstore. I'm spreading the word well in advance because booksellers need to sign up (only two to date in Alaska - what's up with that?) and so do authors.

Authors, booksellers, readers - you're all invited. Mark your calendars, sign up, and let's get out and sell books!