I’m only four days into this 10-day Indie Bound road trip and I’m already filled to the brim. Good Indie booksellers are some of the busiest people on earth, and yet the ones I stopped to see—even those who didn’t yet know me—found ways to be gracious with their time and attention.
I am deeply gratified (but not at all surprised) by the kind reception I have so far received. Sellers have listened attentively as I shared my vision for Danielle Dufy Literary— for the work I will do to promote short-form literature, to grow its readership, and to support Indie Bookstores. Each one asked good questions, provided helpful information, gave judicious advice, and offered encouragement. I feel so lucky.
So let me tell you this: when I say “Indie Bound,” I never only mean I am bound for Indie Bookstores. I also always mean I am bound to them. And I want to be. Independent bricks and mortar bookstores have always felt like home to me. I was a regular customer, friend, and loyalist long before they became an endangered species; and in recent years I have kicked up (by many notches) my support, my evangelism, my activism on their behalf, even to a fevered pitch. I cannot imagine a world without these bookstores or these booksellers. Nor do I want to.
Indie sellers themselves are a such special lot. They’re genuinely friendly, engaged, upbeat, helpful, committed. They love books, of course– and talking about books, recommending books, helping you find books. But they also love people, ones they know and ones they don’t know, buyers and browsers, regulars and tourists. And they love their communities. They want them to get better and stronger and more self-sufficient; they want their local economies to blossom and thrive. And Indie Booksellers do their part–more than their part–to make it so. What’s not to love? What more could they do to earn our strong support?
I wish I were a reliable photographer. It would give me such pleasure to show you the many faces of independent bookselling I’ve come to know on this trip, not even to mention how much I’d love to show you all their one-of-a-kind, off-the-chart stores. Instead, I’ll let these two warm, welcoming, smiling faces –two I know well–typify the many others who could just as easily have represented Indie Bookstores here.
The stakes are high. The time is now. Join me and get your Indie on!