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Sherman Alexie to authors: Work at an indie bookstore on Small Business Saturday

Alexie, author of books including 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,' wrote a letter urging his fellow writers to handsell their books on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 'The most important thing is that we’ll all be helping Independent bookstores, and God knows they’ve helped us over the years,' the author wrote.

By Staff Writer / September 5, 2013

Sherman Alexie said the idea for authors working at indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday came from Queen Anne Book Company co-owner Janis Segress.

Courtesy of Little, Brown

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Author Sherman Alexie is asking his fellow writers to help out indie bookstores.

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“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” writer Alexie recently penned a letter to other authors asking them to work at independently owned bookstores and sell their books personally on Nov. 30, the day that has been declared Small Business Saturday. The effort is being called "Indies First."

“Now is the time to be a superhero for independent bookstores,” Alexie wrote in his letter. “We book nerds will become booksellers. We will make recommendations. We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends' books. Maybe you'll sign and sell books of your own in the process. I think the collective results could be mind-boggling (maybe even world-changing).... The most important thing is that we’ll all be helping Independent bookstores, and God knows they’ve helped us over the years.”

Alexie also asked writers to put a buy button on their website that links to the site for the store at which they sell books. 

The writer said he worked as a bookseller at the Seattle store Queen Anne Book Company this past spring and Queen co-owner Janis Segress came up with the idea.

The American Booksellers Association put the letter on their website with a message urging bookstores and writers to take part. Last year, the ABA supported Small Business Saturday with its "Thanks for Shopping Indie" campaign, which discounted bestselling titles.

Small Business Saturday was supported by President Barack Obama twice over the past two years, with Obama heading to Virginia bookstore One More Page Books this past November. Oren Teicher of the ABA told booksellers' industry newsletter Shelf Awareness that their numbers showed indie stores were 10 percent ahead of overall 2011 book sales in November 2012.

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