go indie

photo by Juanjo Gaspar

It’s not always easy being independent. The rise of click-and-ship buying has delivered a coordinated hit on neighborhood bookstores. Indie retailers need an iron will (and a bulletproof business model) to keep breathing in today’s market.

More than anything, they need loyal customers — people willing to step away from the screen or the big-box outlet and spend their dollars locally. It’s a vote for choice and independence, and nine-and-a-half times out of 10, you’ll benefit from staff and owners who really, really know their stuff.

This is where IndieBound comes in. It’s a community-based movement launched by independent members of the American Booksellers Association. From the IndieBound website, users can search for stores, add new locations to the ever-growing database, and connect with other community members. You can also download the new iPhone app, which offers book recommendations from indie booksellers and direct e-book purchase links. It also uses iPhone location data and comprehensive maps to help you find stores at home and when you’re on the road.

The movement began with books, but it’s expanding to include independent coffee shops, bike stores, movie theaters and more, across both the U.S. and Canada. IndieBound also produces a monthly Next List, billed as “inspired recommendations from indie booksellers.” This list formalizes the best part of shopping indie — connecting with a passionate, knowledgeable bookseller — and leverages that experience across multiple platforms and social networks.

Slick websites and smartphone apps will never replicate the experience of wandering among well-stocked shelves, hearing the wooden floorboards creak beneath your feet, but they’re strategic weapons in the battle against a bland, corporate shopping monopoly. IndieBound is using the techy tools of those mainstream competitors to promote its members’ key advantage: choice, diversity, character and an everyday love of great literature.

photo by Shelby H.

posted 24 Mar 10 in: books, business, retail. This post currently has no responses.

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