With less than 10 days to go until Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday shopping season, independent bookstores around the country are finalizing their plans for the sixth annual Indies First celebration. Held every year on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, Indies First has grown to include more than 500 indie bookstores around the country.
|Jason Reynolds at BookExpo earlier this year.
Author Jason Reynolds has returned as the official Indies First spokesperson for the second year in a row. This year, Reynolds and the American Booksellers Association, with help from American Express and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, are working to distribute some 20,000 special-edition copies of his novel Ghost to children in under-served communities through the Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday campaign (#IndiesGiveBack).
Reynold will kick off the Indies Give Back campaign next Sunday at the Miami Book Fair in Miami, Fla., where he will take part in public talks, book signings and school presentations, and help distribute some 600 copies of Ghost.
Digital audiobook seller Libro.fm will be celebrating Indies First with more than 100 audiobooks on sale. More details, and materials for booksellers to use on November 24, can be found here and here.
At Kona Stories Book Store on the Big Island of Hawaii, this year's Indies First celebration also marks the store's 12th anniversary. Co-owners Brenda McConnell and Joy Vogelgesang will greet customers at the door with homemade sangria and there will be carrot cake made from a recipe in the Island Naturals Cookbook; the cookbook's author, Gina Franchini, will be on hand to sign copies. The Grinch will also be around and available for photos between 1 and 3 p.m.
Greenlight Bookstore's Prospect Lefferts Garden location will celebrate its second birthday on Indies First. As a thank you to customers, Greenlight will be offering 20% off on everything in the store, and the birthday weekend will also be full of prize giveaways and other surprises.
At Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., there will be a day's worth of activities celebrating Indies First, including seven visiting authors, three story time sessions and, from 10:30 until 3:30, the work of several guest artists will be displayed around the store. At various other times throughout the day, there will be live music, visits from therapy dogs and a live game demo. In celebration of the new Fantastic Beasts movie, Flintridge will be running a build-your-own-Fantastic Beast contest, as well as Harry Potter trivia games, with free fantasy books going to the winners. And finally, there will be drawings for tote bags filled with books.
In Manasquan, N.J., BookTowne will be celebrating Indies First/SBS with visits from Marlana DeMarco, author and illustrator of Growing Up in the Dragonfly Zone, and Bob Drury, co-author of Valley Forge.
On both Black Friday and Indies First/SBS, blue manatee children's bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio, will offer 20% off all blue manatee press titles. There will be fun giveaways to go along with book purchases, and the store will kick off its holiday gift card sales, which will run until December 24.
And in Chicago, Ill., Women & Children First will have complimentary refreshments for customers, along special giveaways of tote bags, prints and more. A percentage of the day's profits will be donated to Brace Space Alliance, the first black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center on the South Side of Chicago.