What's Authors for Indies Day?
Authors for Indies Day (Saturday, April 29, 2017) is an annual event held at independent bookstores (indies) all across Canada. On this day, Canadian authors show their appreciation for indie bookstores by volunteering as guest booksellers. AFI is a different sort of literary event -- it's a grassroots volunteer-run campaign whose goal is to raise awareness of indie bookstores and how important they are: to our communities, our reading lives, and our cultural well-being.
In a world of big box stores and franchised businesses, we all love how small local bookstores add character and appeal to our neighbourhoods. Bookstores are havens filled with imagination, inspiration, and information. Browsing in a bookstore is one of life's great pleasures. Talking to knowledgeable staff about books they think we will love is to share in their passion. But no matter how much booksellers love their work, it's a tough business. So on April 29, let's show them some love and make it a great retail day for indie bookstores.
Save the date on your calendar. Tell your friends, family, and colleagues about Authors for Indies Day. And on Saturday April 29, come out to an independent bookstore to meet authors, join in some activities, celebrate, shop, and have fun.
What kinds of activities will be taking place at participating bookstores?
It's all up to the individual bookstore because they know better than anyone else what would appeal to their customers. Stores might organize author readings, games for kids, door prizes, or team up with the bakery next door for yummy treats.
What's for certain is that you'll meet authors and book illustrators. We'll be hanging out, chatting with customers, recommending books -- not necessarily our own books, any book we think you'll enjoy. We might be reading to kids or inviting them to draw on a big mural together. We'll chat with customers, booklover to booklover. Because authors like nothing better than to share a good title or three. Be warned! It's hard to leave an AFI event empty-handed.
Call ahead and talk to your local indie about what they have planned. Or just drop in on April 29 and be surprised.
Which authors will be at my local independent bookstore?
Under the FIND A STORE link above, select your province. You'll see a list of the bookstores and authors who are participating in Authors for Indies. We only list stores after they line up authors. The list gets updated every day as stores and authors team up; so in February you may not see much going on in your province. By late March, things should be hopping, so check in closer to the date!
Does it really make a difference to indie bookstores if I visit one on Authors for Indies Day?
Yes! AFI generates a sales bump for bookstores. And with approximately 100 stores and more than 600 authors participating, we make the news -- which also helps raise awareness of indie bookstores.
Would I have a good time?
What’s not to love? You get to visit your local indie bookstore, meet incredible Canadian writers (if we do say so ourselves), and find out what books they can’t live without. Authors have the BEST book recommendations. Many stores host several authors so in one day you could meet authors who write: kids books, mysteries and thrillers, romance, literary fiction, poetry, SF/fantasy ... you get the idea. As someone said last year, "the line-up of authors at some of these stores would put a literary festival to shame."
And you get to support your local indie bookstore while you shop and chat. It’s a fabulous way to spend a Saturday with family and friends. Unless you prefer vacuuming.
Why are authors doing this AFI thing?
Indie booksellers support Canadian authors like no other. They read our books, promote them, celebrate them, put them on Staff Picks shelves and on bookcases proudly labeled "Canadian Authors". They invite us for readings and recommend us to their book clubs. They support us. This is our way of giving back some of that love.
How did this start and who organizes this?
We were inspired by the Indies First Campaign in the USA, started by author Sherman Alexie and organized by the American Booksellers Association. In Canada, Authors for Indies Day is a grassroots movement organized by volunteers. This year the core team consists of:
- Janie Chang (Author): organizer, webmaster, content editor, newsletter editor, AFI founder
- Karry Eilers (Booklover): content editor, list updater
- Kate Hilton (Author): organizer, content editor, guest blogger wrangler
- Karen Lee (Communications Consultant, Writer): PR, media outreach
- Shelley Macbeth (Bookseller): bookseller communications, subject matter expert
- Robin Rivers (Journalist, Digital Entrepreneur): PR, media outreach
- Jennifer Robson (Author): 2017 spokes author and goodwill ambassador
- Candie Tanaka (Writer, Artist, Entrepreneur): social media
- Kitty Widjaja (Designer, Artist): graphics
- Mary-Ann Yazedijian (Bookseller): bookseller communications, subject matter expert