What I Learned from Booksellers

GLIBA spring meeting 2014Being in a room with a group of energetic booksellers was a great way to spend a sunny winter day in Cleveland. The Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association held their spring meeting with Oren Teicher and Joy Dallanegra-Sanger of the American Booksellers Association leading a lively discussion about what makes indie bookstores special and how they can continue to thrive. It was impossible not to get swept into the tide of creative ideas coming from the 30+ booksellers assembled.

When much of the media is writing off brick and mortar stores, these enthusiastic booksellers are reinventing themselves as entertainment venues, cultural centers and community gathering places. The membership of the ABA is growing as more and more small bookstores are opening across the country. The idea that a local bookstore can become an indispensable part of their community is a message I loved hearing.

Here are some interesting facts about the importance of supporting the small independent stores in your town:

· Indies are the way many of us learn about new authors – through author appearances or staff picks

· Self-published authors often have only the indie bookstores to get their books into the public’s hands

· Many local bookstores actually have self-published author events where authors can meet and greet readers

· Shopping at indies is a good way to promote smaller/local authors – after all every author starts as a “small’ author.

· The ‘shop local’ movement has changed the way people think about their community and where their money is going.

· Physical books or e-books, you can buy either format from your local bookstore

· What’s better than Amazon’s “You may like this” or reviews you read online? A personal recommendation from someone who actually knows YOU.

· Local shops do an amazing number of events to support the your community – like the Literati fundraiser for Binc on March 30th

So get out this weekend and shop local – begin your relationship with the shop owners who support your community and your neighbors! Like the booksellers say:

See it here,

Buy it here,

Keep us here!

Post by Kit Steinaway, Office Manager, Binc Foundation

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