Indies First

Sherman Alexie just proposed something that I think is super-cool, and I might try to pull off, myself.

Read here:


Read it? Cool.

Being a former bookseller, this idea is totally up my alley. When I worked retail, I loved the one-on-one interaction, the fun of getting to know someone enough to learn their aesthetic, or the one they were shopping for. There was nothing quite as cool as finding the exact right game for a family to play at a holiday, or connecting a reader with their next favorite book.

Alexie’s post has a slightly mercenary angle to it, in the ‘if you hand-sell a bunch, you will sell your own book, too’ kind of way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Thing is, there aren’t, to my knowledge, Indie bookstores in Baltimore that have a SF section substantive enough for me to be useful that also sell ebooks. Only a small # of indie bookstores have partnered with Kobo to sell epub ebooks – the strategy for indie ebookselling is still emerging, since the current math makes it counter-productive for most indie bookstores to spend time selling ebooks when they could be encouraging print book sales.

Alexie’s idea is a sound one, but how well does it apply to me? I’d still love to do it, since for me the main objective is to show my support for indie bookstores, which is strong.


But my perspective speaks only for me. This idea brings up lots of questions based on the different roles in this proposed scenario.

To my author friends – Would you do this? What’s your take on hand-selling? Do you like it? Fear it?

And booksellers – Would you have an author come into your store? How would you use them?

And bookstore shoppers – Do you like being hand-sold, or do you like to hunt for books on your own? How would you react to an author offering to help you find books in their genres of expertise?

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