After big publishers gave an overwhelmingly positive initial response to the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association's idea for California Bookstore Day, the association enlisted the help of its compatriots at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association to take the event statewide and hired Samantha Schoech to coordinate and publicize the Day, which will be held on May 3, 2014. In addition, last Friday, NCIBA released a promotional video and logo as part of its launch of an Indiegogo campaign to raise $30,000 to help pay for the events
Schoech, a freelance writer and publicist (married to Pete Mulvihill, co-owner of Green Apple Books in San Francisco and a main force for California Bookstore Day), sent a letter to publishers last week asking officially for their participation in the event, which organizers hope will celebrate the connection of readers, authors, booksellers and publishers in bricks-and-mortar environments and lead to a National Bookstore Day in 2015 and .
"For one day, and one day only, a number of very limited edition, unique word-based items and books," will be available exclusively at perhaps as many as 300 independent bookstores across California and be the kinds of items that will draw people to the stores, Schoech wrote.
She suggested that perhaps Daniel Handler or another musically inclined author might release a vinyl 45-rpm record; Paul Theroux might do a chapbook; or Dave Eggers could provide a word-enhanced shower curtain. The print runs would be limited to 300-1,500, and most will be priced at $15-$50 (although a few could go as high as $200).
Handler has not committed to doing a record but with his wife, Lisa Brown, has signed on for the effort. "You never know what Daniel Handler is going to do," said Schoech, "but you know it is going to be fun."
NCIBA executive director Hut Landon said that one reason he expects California Bookstore Day to be successful is that the state is rich in both authors and booksellers.
"Hats off to the great California Indie booksellers to spearhead such a great idea," said Katya Shannon of Penguin. "Leave it to them to come up with a terrific celebration of the power and cool factor of books and bookstores. Let's hope this spreads across the country!"
"We love the creativity and energy of the California bookstore community, and this has the potential to be a terrifically effective way to showcase great stores, and celebrate the fantastic West Coast reading culture," said Ruth Liebmann of Random House. "It's too early in the process to discuss specifics, since we just got the formal proposal very recently, but it's a terrific proposal. We plan to participate, which should be a lot of fun for everyone involved."
Schoech is organizing a panel of booksellers and others to pick 20 items from publisher submissions, which are due September 30.
As of yesterday, the Indiegogo campaign--which, unlike Kickstarter, is a non-Amazon-backed crowdfunding platform--had raised more $1,000. --Bridget Kinsella