Tomorrow is The Big Day. Thank you each and every one. From the 91 bookstores (final count) that signed up this year, the 600+ authors who made their time available, to the sponsors who pitched in. We’re especially thrilled that some brand new stores jumped into the fray and are celebrating their first Authors for Indies Day.
In 2015 and 2016, the work was all about getting the foundational pieces of the event working. This year, thanks to more volunteers and sponsors, we’ve been able to add on: the Kevin Sylvester print contest, the pilot programs for Adopt-A-Bookstore and the AFI Road Show, getting literary festivals to promote AFI Day to their audiences, and getting more mention in regional/local media.
This year, it definitely feels as though participants have a strong understanding of the bigger goal.
Yes, Authors for Indies Day is a day for authors to show appreciation and support for independent bookstores. But the long term goal must be to raise the public’s awareness of how vital indie bookstores are to Canada’s literary well-being.
Achieving this is a marketing challenge, one that requires putting indie bookstores in the limelight consistently, every year, and with great fanfare, until all book lovers understand why indie bookstores deserve our support all year round. I don’t know of another event in Canada that’s doing this for indie bookstores nationwide.
The event itself is always a challenge. I won’t beat around the bush on that one. The American Booksellers Association puts on their event with help from a dedicated staff person, budget, infrastructure, and well-established membership communication channels. We have volunteers, heart, and grassroots support.
It’s testimony to how much AFI participants and sponsors appreciate the role indie bookstores play in Canada’s literary ecosystem. You can’t help but feel proud.
And now, as our banner says: Let’s go party like book nerds!