Bookstores IndieBound for Independence Day

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As Americans gear up for next week's Fourth of July celebrations, ABA member booksellers are using IndieBound marketing materials to create or supplement their own unique "Independents" promotions.

The staff at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida, is building anticipation for the Fourth of July weekend celebrations at their three Florida stores with daily e-mail "teasers" that incorporate IndieBound "Think Outside the Books" and "IndieBound" graphics together with quotes on independent thought from iconic authors, reported Debra Linn, who works on events and marketing at the store. The e-mail campaign began on Tuesday, June 24. In addition, Books & Books will be sending its regular monthly e-mail on Friday, June 27, and this will highlight both the Indie Bestseller Lists and the Indie Next List.

For the Independence Day celebration, the Books & Books stores will hang the "Eat. Sleep. Read." posters and will use "all the different materials from the Literary Liberation Box," Linn reported. "We will hand out the bookmarks, and we will be creating double-sided fliers" with the e-mail teasers on one side and one of the IndieBound logos on the other.

Linn explained that she especially likes "Think Outside the Books" since it captures the spirit of Books & Books -- community-based, but with an independent attitude. In that spirit, for its Fourth of July celebrations, Books & Books plans to commemorate all independents, and the store is inviting its fellow local businesses to join their celebration. "On July Fourth, it's a celebration of all independents as well as our interdependence," Linn noted.

Jan Healy of Eagle Harbor Book Company in Bainbridge Island, Washington, said, "The Bainbridge Island Downtown Association [BIDA] is very excited about all the [IndieBound] products and IndieBound." The store itself will be placing select IndieBound materials throughout the store and in the window.

BIDA's Economic Development Committee has been developing a Buy Local campaign, "Think Bainbridge/Buy Local." The group plans to launch the campaign during "Celebrate Independents Week," held July 1 - 7.

In an e-mail to BTW, BIDA member Sarah Wen, owner of the Bainbridge clothing boutique Kennedy & Kate, wrote: "We are totally inspired by the positive spirit of IndieBound and impressed by the fresh and exciting marketing materials. We quickly adopted some of the spirit lines (like 'declare your independence' and 'unchain yourself') and incorporated elements of IndieBound's identity into our campaign, so that the two campaigns complement each other."

For "Celebrate Independents Week," BIDA plans to deliver marketing materials (including window decals) to approximately 50 downtown merchants. "We will reach out to the community at large on July 3 with an Info Booth at our annual street dance where we will hand out materials and giveaways from both Think Bainbridge/Buy Local and IndieBound," Wen noted.

In Tampa, Florida, the Tampa Independence Business Alliance (TIBA) will be holding its seventh annual Independents Week event, and Inkwood Books will be incorporating IndieBound materials into the celebration. On Saturday, June 28, at Nature's Harvest Market, TIBA will kick off events with an expo, where "we'll be using the IndieBound spirit cards to help people get involved," said Inkwood co-owner Carla Jimenez.

Jimenez will also be creating a customized "Here's What You Just Did" poster for each TIBA member, which she'll give them at the expo. And at the bookstore, Inkwood will be offering a 20 percent discount on the Top 10 Indie Bestsellers.

To promote the weeklong sale, Jimenez sent an e-mail to the store's customer list that began with the Declaration of IndieBound, followed by details of the store's promotions and other information. Materials from the Liberation Box are also featured around the store. "People are responding very well," Jimenez said. "This is a quiet time of year for us, so it will take a while to build, but we're all behind [IndieBound], and the staff is enthusiastic."

At The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, co-owner Betsy Burton noted that Local First Utah is celebrating Independents Week from June 28 through July 5. Farmers markets will "bookend" the weeklong event, she said, which will feature a live cooking competition where participants will use selected ingredients from local farms.

During Independents Week, The King's English will be offering discounts of 17.76 percent, Burton reported. And when celebrations kick off on Saturday, it will also be the first time that any King's English customers will see IndieBound materials. "We're putting it all up on Saturday, June 28 ... for the first time -- all over the place," said Burton, who added that she expects a great response from customers. "We've trained the staff because we know people will ask about IndieBound," she explained. "We've taught them to say the right things."

Added Burton, "The program is great ... and uses wonderful materials. The bright red posters ... are the most eye-catching things any one has produced in the movement."

And in Bradenton, Florida, The Village Bookshop's MySpace page now features IndieBound and invites customers to a Fourth of July rally, where they can sign the Declaration of Independents.

For bookstores still looking for IndieBound event ideas for Independence Day week, ABA's IndieBound staff offer up the following:

  • Hold an Indie Block Party. Organize a block party, sponsored by all the independent businesses in your area. Everyone can provide something different: food, music, or fun! Bring all your IndieBound gear, and give "We're IndieBound" window decals to all the participating businesses. Hand out copies of the Declaration of IndieBound and have a Declaration Signing table. There doesn't have to be an occasion any more special than promoting your community's unique, independent culture. See for tons of great block party ideas and organizational help.

  • Independents Day. Similar to America Unchained, a nationwide event sponsored by the American Independent Business Alliance, plan a citywide holiday from shopping at chains. Challenge your neighbors to shop independent for one day. Work with your local business alliance to do as much local promotion as possible to get the word out. Have your area indies tally the change in business that day, and release the results. It will be a fun and thought-provoking experience for local consumers and area businesses. --David Grogan