IndieBound.org was founded almost a year ago by members of the American Bookseller Association looking for a way to work together with other indie booksellers and other locally owned businesses.
IndieBound promotes shopping local by providing easy ways for readers to find local bookstores and shop there either in person or online. There’s a pretty nifty website with store location widgets (search by zip code—yep, IndieBound is just in the US as far as I know) and links to indie bookstore’s sites and eCommerce action.
Even more interesting to me is the iPhone app which allows you to have book lists (wish lists) with you wherever you go as well as providing the store location service of the website. A handy tool if you’re like me and often forget the author or title of the books that you’ve been dying to pick up the instant you actually get in range of a bookshelf.
The Indie Bestseller and Indie Next lists are fundamentally virtual handselling. Booksellers are providing their insight and recommendations even in an online shopping experience which, to me at least, offers a significant challenge to Amazon. Whereas on Amazon, I’ve had a lot of People who Bought This Book Also Bought This Random Title That Has Zippo Connection to The One You’re Buying, the Indie Next list provides me with picks from educated booklovers who do this for a living.
Could there be something like this in Canada? I know there are tons of bookstores (and other local businesses) that I’ve yet to find just in Toronto, let alone in other regions where I might be meandering for business or pleasure.