Make like Obama and shop 'Small Business Saturday' this weekend

Saturday will see the launch of 'Thanks for Shopping Indie,' an independent booksellier promotion which includes discounts on 66 'Indie Next List' titles.

Joanne Ciccarello
Broadside Bookstore in Northampton, Mass. is an independently owned bookstore.

Want to take a page out of President Obama’s book? Shop local this Small Business Saturday. Last year, after Thanksgiving, Obama skipped the Black Friday crowds (a security nightmare, we imagine) and the Cyber Monday rush (he had a few other things on his plate, like Pakistan, Egypt, and healthcare reform). But he made a rare exception for Small Business Saturday, taking daughters Sasha and Malia to Kramerbooks & Afterwards Café, an indie bookstore in Washington, D.C., where he browsed for books and greeted shoppers, including one young boy with his grandmother.

“You doing some Christmas shopping? Not yet?” he asked. “Well, we’re starting early. This is ‘Small Business Saturday,’ so we’re out here supporting small businesses,” the President said, according to news reports.

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide. This year, independent bookstores are playing a starring role. On Saturday, the American Booksellers Association will launch Thanks for Shopping Indie, a weeklong promotion bringing customers special pricing on a bevy of indie titles.

For this inaugural promotion, the ABA worked with more than 20 publishers to get discounts on 66 ‘Indie Next List’ titles, including B.A. Shapiro’s “The Art Forger,” Jami Attenberg’s “The Middlesteins,” Junot Diaz’s “This is How You Lose Her,” and Bee Wilson’s “Consider the Fork.”

Each indie bookstore has its “own unique plans for the promotion,” Bookselling This Week reported.

“Because we love so many of the titles on the list, we decided to go pretty big with the promotion,” Libby Cowles, community relations manager for Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colo., told bookselling industry newsletter ShelfAwareness. “We love the message of thanking our customers for supporting independent businesses during the Thanksgiving holiday.” Maria’s Bookshop will display 25 of the staff's favorite titles in the front of the store with signage promoting "Books We Love."

According to ShelfAwareness, many bookstores will also be featuring a two-day sale on the Kobo Mini for $49.99 (it’s usually retails for $79.99). That special Small Business Saturday promo price is only available Friday, November 23, and Saturday, November 24.

We’re grateful for indie bookstores and we plan to wear our gratitude on our sleeve this Small Business Saturday. We hope you do, too.

(And if you’re curious what was in the First Family’s book bag last year, here’s a list: “The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz, “Tails” by Matthew Van Fleet, “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever” by Jeff Kinney, “Zen Shorts” by Jon Muth, “The Tiger's Wife” by Tea Obreht, “Descent into Chaos” by Ahmed Rashid, and “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selnick.)

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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