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ALLi Campaign: Authors For Bookstores

Debbie Young
Debbie Young

In line with our mission to have indie authors’ books included wherever readers gather, ALLi runs a campaign called Authors For Bookstores (#authors4bookstores on social media).

The aim of the campaign is to encourage indie authors and booksellers of print books in brick stores to work together, to mutual benefit

We know that many indies have no interest in bookstores, or print books and, of course, that’s their prerogative. Indies are, by definition, the expert in their own careers and the creative director of the publication as well as the writing of their books.

But we also know that many indies feel completely differently. They enjoy seeing their books in brick stores. They want to support high-street stores as places where readers gather and the general public is reminded of books. They believe indie authors and bookstores, especially indie bookstores, can work together to the benefit of both.

Debbie Young, ALLi Publications Manager, is one such author and she headlines our this campaign, which was the brainchild of Piers Alexander.

See Debbie and Piers launch the campaign in Foyle’s Bookstore, Central London here and some key concepts and links to transcripts below.

How to Get your self-published book into bookstores 2016 Alliance of Independent Authors

Central to the campaign is Debbie’s book, How To Get Your Self-Publishing Book into Bookstores, which members can download free in the Member Zone and non-members can purchase here.

TRANSCRIPT highlights from Debbie Young’s speech, launching ALLi’s Authors For Bookstores campaign:

Standing in this beautiful new Foyles store to launch ALLi’s Authors For Bookstores campaign, for a moment we can fool ourselves that reports of the decline of bricks-and-mortar bookshops are greatly exaggerated.

This shop is a fantastic temple to the written word, rising like an Aztec pyramid housing literary deities, and I defy anyone to walk through it without wanting to pick up books, stroke them, browse them and buy them to take them home.

But bookshops are becoming an endangered species… not because books are going out of style. What’s changing is people’s buying habits. People are moving away from brick bookshops, or only setting foot in them to “showroom” – the new term that describes checking out the physical product in store before going home to buy it online.

 

…Whether or not we decide to pitch our books to bookshops, there are still many simple and affordable things that authors can do to help high street bookshops thrive.

In fact, we have much more power to help bookshops than we might think. Because we’re not just authors, we’re also bookbuyers.

And we’re not just any bookbuyers, we are bookbuyers with influence. We move in influential circles, sharing recommendations with other authors, writers groups, book groups, and other readers. We drive purchases. We are a powerful force. I’d argue that we should be considered super-customers to the average bricks-and-mortar store.

As super customers, we have a choice. We can ignore bookshops and do all our bookbuying online. But we do that at the peril of authors everywhere, because all that does is increase our dependence on online retailers. We will lose the physical showcase and shopfront that reminds shoppers that books are good things to buy. We will no longer have these fabulous ambassadors for reading on the high street. We’ll be on our own. In the ether. Without professional booksellers.

It’s a no-brainer. We must support them – which includes helping them to evolve into the kind of high street trader that bookstores of the future will need to be, We believe that includes working with them to develop events that will pull more shoppers into their stores. By this we don’t just mean events for readers, but also events for authors. The bookshops of the future could well become hubs of creativity and writing, not just of reading.

ALLi’s #Authors4Bookstores manifesto, to be published shortly on our website, proposes 20 easy actions which are within your power. Most of them will cost you little or nothing to carry out. And every time you do any one of them, you’ll be helping physical bookshops to survive.

You’ll also be helping to build a better relationship between authors and booksellers, and between you and your local bookshop.

We’re launching this campaign today in London, in a quintessentially British independent bookshop, but it’s replicable wherever you live in the world. We’ll be helping and encouraging not just ALLi members, but authors of all kinds, to implement it globally over the coming months. Today we just want to sound the rallying cry, and where better to do it?

So for today, the takeaway message is very simple: ask not what bookshops can do for you – but what you can do for bookshops.

Let’s work together to keep bookshops on the high street as a universal temple to the author’s trade, as embassies of reading, for the greater good of booksellers, writers, and readers all over the world.

Thank you.