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ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz announces the launch of IndieBound.
In the spirit of the Boston Tea Party, booksellers declared a new era of Independents at Thursday night's Celebration of Bookselling, sponsored by Ingram Book Company/Ingram Publisher Services. The American Booksellers Association -- building on a rising tide of localism -- launched its new program, IndieBound, to enthusiastic applause in an SRO ballroom. The program is designed to unite booksellers, readers, indie retailers, local business alliances, and others in support of local activism and local economies and to lead an Independent Revolution.

ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz told the hundreds of attendees that "the times -- they are a-changin'" and the moment is right for a program centered on localism. "America has clearly reached a tipping point -- the big store on the highway doesn't do it anymore ... as [shoppers] are turning to the people in their communities -- they are turning to people who believe the same things they believe in."

A video presentation featuring the ABA Board, launched the declaration of IndieBound, and the board -- wearing IndieBound spirit-line shirts ("This is the part where I save the day") took the stage.

"Independent booksellers in stores of all sizes will soon proudly be telling their customers and other indie retailers that 'we're IndieBound,'" said incoming ABA President Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. "Locally owned, indie booksellers introduce readers to great new writing, contribute far more to the health of their local economies, and play a crucial role in maintaining the unique character of their communities. I can't wait to begin working together with other indie retailers to spread the IndieBound movement."


Following a year of study and planning, ABA designed IndieBound to tap into the growing national localism movement, with fresh ways for independent booksellers and other independent businesses to better convey their core strengths -- independence, passion, community -- to customers. A community-based website, IndieBound.org, has launched today as well, and will serve as the gateway for the entire indie community, with access to The Declaration of IndieBound manifesto, book-related related content, and more functionality planned for the coming weeks and months.

IndieBound's various features, and flexibility, generated kudos from independent booksellers from across the country. "IndieBound embodies so much of what I love about independent bookselling, the things that have made this industry my passion," said Jessica Stockton Bagnulo of New York City's McNally Robinson Booksellers. "It's about community, about integrity, about the revolutionary idea that you don't have to be big to be good, that freedom of thought and uniqueness are so much more valuable than economies of scale.... I think IndieBound is something that people are going to want to be a part of, and I think it will bring a whole new generation into our independent bookstores."

Linda Barrett Knopp of Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina, appreciates the adaptability of IndieBound's resources. "The marketing materials ... are exciting, very indie- and local-oriented, positive, youthful, inclusive, and informative in a way that catches your eye and makes you want to be a part of it, either as a bookseller, author, or customer," she said. "I'm very optimistic about IndieBound and its reception by booksellers and the public. The timing is perfect, as we turn to our communities for support during challenging times."


Here's the part where indie booksellers save the day!
An integral part of IndieBound's purpose, to bring together local businesses of all stripes, is what appeals to Kelly Justice of the Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia. "The most exciting thing to me about IndieBound is being able to officially partner with my neighbor businesses in our pride and passion for the city of Richmond and the things that make it unique. As a new bookstore owner who has been an independent bookseller for 19 years, [I realize] this flexible, modular revolution allows me to focus on relationships with my fellow merchants and customers rather than meeting with graphic designers, marketing people, etc.... I'm ready to save the day in my hometown! Are you?"

Also noting IndieBound's potential for uniting booksellers with other local independent retailers is Michael Selleck, Simon & Schuster's executive vice president of sales, who told BTW, "IndieBound is great because it allows booksellers to design the program that best suits their needs, and it also gives them a leadership vehicle to reach out and strengthen independent businesses in their communities. Working together to enrich the local economy can only do good things for our authors, their books, and their readers."

David Young, chairman and CEO of Hachette Book Group USA, appreciates IndieBound's innovative style: "We are very excited about the new IndieBound program. It brings a fresh new look to this important initiative and is sure to reinvigorate interest," he said. "Hachette Book Group is looking forward to putting great energy into working with our independent bookseller partners."

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