Reading is such a personal thing to me, I’d much rather give someone a
gift certificate to a bookstore, and let that person choose his or her own books.
-Writer & journalist, Erik Larson
A gift suggestion to consider as you work your way down this season’s holiday shopping list. A best path to the perfect book – – or the gift certificate — starts with a visit to a favorite indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014 – a day now known to bibliophiles as Indies First day!
The Indies First campaign was the brainchild of Sherman Alexie who proposed last year that authors celebrate Small Business Saturday by lending a hand at their favorite indie bookstore. Gaiman’s “audacious and imaginative” idea caught on – over 100 writers helped out at their favorite indie. Indies First became an instant Tradition!
This year, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) introduced Upstream, an independent bookstore-author partnership that builds on Alexie’s Indies First idea. (http://www.bookweb.org/news/daniel-handler-launches-upstream-initiative-support-indie-bookstores)
And in anticipation of Small Business Saturday 2014 writers Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer joined the campaign. Earlier this year Gaiman and Palmer penned a delightful letter to their fellow authors in which they describe their personal love affairs with indies…. “Neil wanted to be an author when he grew up. But if he wasn’t an author, he thought, the best possible profession would be working in a bookshop, pointing people at books they might like, ordering books for them, divining with some kind of superhuman ability that the book with the blue cover that their granny needed was actually Forever Amber, and otherwise making people’s lives better while being in bookshops.”
Palmer’s affair began with a more casual encounter: “Before she started working on her first book, Amanda walked into the Trident Bookstore on Newbury Street in Boston. She wasn’t even in there to browse books…she was in there to go to the bathroom, like you do…On her walk through the store, she noticed a book called Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown, sitting on the Staff Picks table. Amanda remembered seeing Brene’s TED talk about fear and vulnerability, and picked up the book, which she started reading and couldn’t put down. She bought it. Two months later, Amanda wrote Brene a fan letter, and then Brene wrote the introduction for Palmer’s new book.”
Gaiman and Palmer conclude that “the Internet cannot make this magic happen. It cannot suggest books you have no idea you want. There’s nothing like the human, organic serendipity of an independent bookshop, where people who read and love books share their love with others.”
The Indie’s First campaign (http://www.bookweb.org/indiesfirst) features an up-dated listing of bookstore events scheduled for Small Business Saturday. Conveniently arranged by author and bookstore the list offers location site and brief description of events. Minnesota Indie First participants include these – be sure to check the listing for more complete information and for last minute updates:
- An Open Book – Wadena – Activities and authors: story time and free craft activities
- Excelsior Bay Books – Author Molly Beth Griffin, illustrator Jennifer A. Bell of Rhoda’s Rock Hunt, 1:00-3:00
- Magers & Quinn – Minneapolis – Will Alexander, Anders Nilsen and Charlie Quimby will be selling books all afternoon
- Red Balloon – St. Paul –Personal shopping with William Alexander, Michael Dahl, Brian Farrey, Michael Hall, David LaRochelle, Carrie Mesrobian, Stephen Shaskan, Trisha Speed Shaskan and Anne Ursu.
- Scout & Morban Books – Cambridge – Stan Tekiela, Holly Harden
- Valley Bookseller – Stillwater – local authors
- Wild Rumpus – Minneapolis – William Alexander, Michael Hall, Lauren Stringer