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Friday, May 30, 2008

Indie Bound?

posted by on May 30 at 9:00 AM

Last night, I attended the American Booksellers Association Celebration. There was a lot of back-patting and award-giving, as many of these convention celebrations tend to be guilty of. But the big deal was at the conclusion. The ABA announced that they were doing away with BookSense, which is the outreach arm of the ABA. Most independent bookstores carry the BookSense 76 fliers, which are little four-page fliers packed with recommendations from booksellers around the country. After they announced the death of BookSense, there was a little light show and then they announced that the new slogan/website/philosophy of independent bookstores around the country was going to be…


As in, “I’m bound to be going to an independent store,” I guess. When they announced that bookstores around the county were going to start carrying IndieBound fliers (Changed from the BookSense 76 to the hipper-than-thou ‘NextList.’), suddenly the hall was filled with skipping girls handing out IndieBound Declarations of Indpendence and IndieBound pins and those plastic glow-necklaces that people wear at raves, only in the official color of IndieBound, which is red. People said things like “Welcome to the revolution” and “The revolution is now.” Apparently, independent bookstores are becoming Russian revolutionaries.

The reaction in the hall was decidedly mixed. Not everyone seemed to be buying into the IndieBound revolution, although you can already buy the IndieBound Gear at the IndieBound website:


I’ve included the Declaration of IndieBound after the jump. Just for fun.

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for individuals to denounce the corporate bands which threaten to homogenize our cities and our souls, we must celebrate the powers that make us unique and declare the causes which compel us to remain independent.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all stores are not created equal, that some are endowed by their owners, their staff and their communities with certain incomparable heights, that among these are Personality, Purpose and Passion. The history of the present indies is a history of experiences and excitement, which we will continue to establish as we set our sights on a more unconstrained state. To prove this, let’s bring each other along and submit our own experiences to an unchained world.

We, therefore, the Kindred Spirits of IndieBound, in the name of our convictions, do publish and declare that these united minds are, and darn well ought to be, Free Thinkers and Independent Souls. That we are linked by the passions that differentiate us. That we seek out soul makes to share our excitement. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the strength of our identities, we respectively and mutually pledge to lead the way as we all declare that we are IndieBound!

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That is so *awful.*

Posted by Gloria | May 30, 2008 9:11 AM

Ok it is a little cheesy.

But I do appreciate that they are blatantly giving a big middle finger to corporate bookstores in the middle of this banquet.

Posted by ashley | May 30, 2008 9:25 AM

Well, if indy booksellers are to become the new rock stars due to this new IndieBound gimmick, I, for one, am taking full advantage of that there.

Here's how: First, I'll write a memoir. All about how I woke up one morning to find myself mysteriously transfigured into a giant, enormous, 700-pound, chain-smoking gorilla trapped in a zoo in South Africa. Then, I'll change my name to something snappy, like, say, Frey. James Frey.

Then, I'll change my mind. Oh, the scandal that would ensue! And indy booksellers nationwide shall thereby profit profoundly and/or profusely. I can see the green rolling in from halfway down the block!

Everything is going exactly according to my evil creative fiction plan! Bwaaaa-ha-ha-ha-haaa!

Posted by Jeff Stevens | May 30, 2008 9:34 AM

Christ... I knew they were desperate, but I had no idea how bad it's gotten...

Posted by natopotato | May 30, 2008 9:40 AM

Yes, I too appreciate how they co-opted the US Declaration of Independence in their quest to sell you their "gear." Way to stick it to corporate culture.

Posted by Gloria | May 30, 2008 9:41 AM

See? This is why I don't read books.

Posted by JB | May 30, 2008 9:58 AM

@5 The main point isn't to sell gear. The main point is to brand themselves. Yes it's a corporate tactic, but it's a damn effective one. I'm not saying that this is the best branding scheme ever (it's kinda lame actually), but I understand where they're coming from.

Posted by ashley | May 30, 2008 9:59 AM

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