What is an indie bookseller association?
It takes a village to write a book, and the same can be said for running an independent bookstore! With online retailers – Amazon in particular – threatening the survival of many specialty mom-and-pop shops, it’s essential for these independent stores to join forces, learning from each other’s successes and finding creative ways to engage and support their community. In a nutshell, this is what bookseller associations do – provide a space for booksellers to unite for the good of their local community and region-at-large.
Founded in 1900, the American Booksellers Association is a non-profit trade association that promotes independent bookstores across the United States. Under ABA’s “umbrella” are eight different regional associations:
California Independent Booksellers (California)
Great Lakes Independent Booksellers (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky)
Midwest Independent Booksellers (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan)
Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming)
New Atlantic Independent Booksellers (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and West Virginia)
New England Independent Booksellers (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island)
Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon)
Southern Independent Booksellers (Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Mississippi)
How can authors get involved with their regional bookseller association?
There are several ways that authors can connect with their regional associations:
- Add purchase links to your website. We recommend linking to your book’s page on IndieBound and Bookshop.org as a way to encourage your fans to shop local.
- Attend events. Most regional groups gather for annual conferences, and there are often opportunities for publishers and authors to share their new and upcoming book releases with booksellers.
- Take out an ad. These regional groups also have email newsletters. Purchasing an ad is an easy and effective way to reach booksellers in your area.
- Send out mailings. If you’re able to gather addresses for the booksellers in your area, you can send them a personalized mailing with an ARC of your book and marketing/sales information.
- Make personal connections. Attend events at stores near you and support them by purchasing books there! You can also call ahead and arrange a time to speak with a buyer or event coordinator.
- IndieNext. As you develop your relationships with booksellers, they may be more willing to nominate you for the IndieNext awards. These awards showcase the titles that booksellers plan on hand-selling to customers, and being nominated is a great honor!
There are plenty of ways that getting involved with your regional bookseller association can benefit you as an author, but remember: you only get what you give! Be sure to tell your readers to shop local, promote stores in your area, and let booksellers know that you’re sensitive to their financial needs. After all, bookstores are the literary heart of every city, and they can’t operate without the support of readers and authors in their communities like you.
Jackie Karneth is a publicist with Books Forward is an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.