Jason Reynolds has been named the Indies First spokesperson for the second consecutive year by the American Booksellers Association.
To support Reynolds's mission of providing children in low-income communities with access to books that reflect their own experiences, ABA and American Express are working with Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing to make available 20,000 special edition copies of Ghost, the first book in Reynolds's bestselling Track series, this holiday season.
Through the Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday campaign (#IndiesGiveBack), independent booksellers across the country can sign up to receive a free box of special "Indies First/SBS" paperback editions of Ghost to distribute to children in an underserved community on or around Small Business Saturday (November 24). Stores that participate in this giveaway will also be invited to enter to win one of two in-person visits from Reynolds in 2019. (Check Bookselling This Week for more details in the coming weeks.)
At the Celebration of Bookselling luncheon at BookExpo, Reynolds received the Indie Champion Award, presented by independent booksellers, and has encouraged indie bookstores to be especially welcoming to those in their communities who don't frequent their establishments.
"It is your responsibility to make sure people who come into your store know that they're welcome there and that you are happy they are here, that their story is represented, and that what they need they may be able to find in your space," he said.
Regarding his second term as Indies First spokesperson and of the #IndiesGiveBack campaign, Reynolds observed: "Bookstores benefit their communities in a myriad of ways, and I'm thrilled that I get to sing their praises for another year. I'm grateful and honored that booksellers have this opportunity to share Ghost's story with thousands of young people across the country who don't have access to books they feel connected to." He will support Small Business Saturday by participating in an event at a local indie bookstore.
Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, ABA senior program officer, commented: "Jason Reynolds's commitment to fostering the mission and passion of independent booksellers is unequivocal, and we did not think twice about naming him our Indies First spokesperson for a second year. We are proud to have the support of American Express and Simon & Schuster to advance Jason's mission of providing children in underserved areas stories that speak to them."
To participate in the Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday campaign, stores must sign up to receive their free 24-copy carton of Ghost by 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 10. Limit one carton per store while supplies last. The ABA noted that in signing up to participate, stores agree to work with a local school, community or literacy organization, or youth group to give the books away to a program or school for underserved or low-income children at an event on or around November 24.
In addition, stores have the option to purchase additional 24-copy cartons of the title for giveaway, at cost and including free freight. That order also must be received no later than 5 p.m. September 10. ABA will invoice stores for extra cartons. All books will ship free directly to stores and will arrive by November 15; the books are nonreturnable, not for resale, and must be donated. This offer is available while supplies last, so stores are encouraged to sign up to participate as soon as possible.