Arts and Entertainment

WEST SOUND BOOKSELLERS | IndieBound promotes community pride

Look for this logo at your local bookstore. - Stock Photo
Look for this logo at your local bookstore.
— image credit: Stock Photo

A dispatch from the West Sound Independent Booksellers, a collective of independent book stores from Port Gamble to Gig Harbor

What is IndieBound and why are we seeing it in the windows of all these businesses on Winslow Way?

That is the question we hear frequently from our customers of Eagle Harbor Books, where the IndieBound logo is prominently displayed throughout the store. In its essence, the IndieBound program is about raising awareness and taking pride in our unique community. It is a community-oriented movement that binds together booksellers and other independent retailers, their customers, and local business alliances who share the belief that healthy local economies sustain entire communities. When you shop at an IndieBound business, you are helping in this important effort.

The IndieBound marketing program was conceived and developed within the American Booksellers Association (ABA), the national trade association supporting locally owned bookstores across the country in their struggles to compete with national chains, online retailers, and box stores. This is no typical marketing campaign, however, and it is in no way limited to the bookselling industry.

There is a growing awareness among American consumers that shopping locally matters to communities. On a practical level, IndieBound makes a strong case that the effect of more money staying in the community is dramatic. For instance, for every dollar spent at an Indie business, 68 percent stays in your local community. This is compared to 43 percent spent at a box store or national chain, and even less when shopping with a national online retailer.

Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors. More of your taxes are reinvested in your community — where you live.

IndieBound helps local businesses demonstrate that buying locally supports the environment. Less packaging is required, less transportation is used to get the product into consumer’s hands, and there is a smaller overall carbon footprint for each product sold locally. Shopping locally means reduced infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

Finally, IndieBound recognizes that national chains are responsible to their stockholders whereas independent businesses (Indies) are responsible to their local customers. The program helps to promote what Bainbridge Islanders already know, that local retailers are your friends and neighbors. As you support them, they support you.

Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. More independents mean more choices, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

The IndieBound program offers a valuable tool for consumers as well. Individuals can submit reviews or recommendations of a favorite local business, or a business with which they have had a good experience. Consumers can read what others think of the businesses in their community, or look for IndieBound businesses in their travels. At Eagle Harbor Books, we take advantage of a special feature of the IndieBound program known as the IndieNext List, which was developed for booksellers.

Recognizing that Indie booksellers are close to their customers and have always been discoverers of “the next great read and the next unearthed gem,” this list is IndieBound’s monthly compilation of personal favorite book recommendations from independent booksellers across the country. Several of our booksellers here at Eagle Harbor books are frequent contributors to this list by nominating their favorite books each month. The more times a book is nominated the more likely it is to appear on the IndieNext list.

This recommendation, from Eagle Harbor buyer and a passionate reader, Jan Bowman contributed to the appearance of “The Little Book” by Seldon Edwards on the current IndieNext list.

“In 1988, at the age of forty-seven, Wheeler Burden has found fame as a baseball pitcher, rock star, and author. The son of a Harvard legend who died a hero in WWII, he was raised by the grandson of a well-known Boston matron and an eccentric mother. Without explanation, Wheeler suddenly finds himself in 1897 Vienna. There, he befriends a young man who is his father, and becomes entangled in the lives of his grandparents. Edwards I a masterful storyteller, weaving multiple plots, examining social and political upheavals, and creating passionate characters. This novel, thirty years in the writing, is a riveting and intelligent work.”

The IndieNext list is on display at Eagle Harbor Books and on their web site eagleharborbooks.com. Learn more about IndieBound at indiebound.org.

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