The 2nd annual Canadian Authors for Indies Day is coming up on April 30, 2016. At independent bookstores across Canada, authors will be volunteering as guest booksellers, and that’s just the beginning of the bookish fun in store. Keep up with the BookNet Canada blog for updates, and don't forget to follow @authors4indies and #AFI2016 on Twitter.
Kieran Leblanc, active participant in the cultural industries sector in Alberta, has written a love letter from Alberta authors to Edmonton indies. In addition to her role as executive director of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta, she is a founding member of the Alberta Partners for Arts and Culture, board member with the Book and Periodical Council, and a member of the Member Advisory Committee with Access Copyright. Her past board involvement includes Shadow Theatre, the Forum for Young Albertans, Edmonton West Rotary Club, and Creative Alberta. Kieran is in her third year as chair of the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton.
There is no doubt that Alberta authors love their independent bookstores. In Edmonton, Audreys Books stands alone as a beacon of what a real indie bookstore looks like. It is warm, welcoming, and features two floors with shelves and tables full of books! Audreys has long supported the authors and independent book publishers in Alberta. Not only do they feature author readings and signings, and stock their books, but the staff at Audreys are all over the community, making beautiful books available to readers at conferences, trade shows, and special events.
Here is what some authors have to say about why they love independent bookstores:
"Teaching creative writing at MacEwan University, it is a great blessing to be able to send my students down the street to Audreys where books by Edmonton and Canadian authors are prominently displayed, where the staff knows local writers and are involved in the writing community, a place of literary events and bookish conversation.
Independent bookstores are crucial to the literary and intellectual heart of our community, a place for both writers and readers."
–Jacqueline Baker, author of The Broken Hours
"I love my independent bookstore because it promotes and supports the work of local writers and knows them personally. My independent bookstore hosts book launches, special events, local festivals, and other events in order to connect readers with the work of local writers. They believe in and love what they do!
I love independent bookstores because they connect with the local writing community and the local reading community—and, so, independent bookstores are connected in some way to us all."
–Wendy McGrath, author of North East
"Because my wish is their command. Pronto, with smiles, and recognition not only of who I am as a local author but also of the book I'm asking about!
–Myrna Kostash, author of Prodigal Daughter
"Independent bookstores matter because they are so much more than bricks and mortar; they are the heart and soul of community.
My independent bookstore stands alone and proud in a city that has been overrun by box stores. My independent bookstore supports readers and writers alike with an engaging staff who listen and connect with customers: finding exactly what they’re looking for or introducing them to unexpected treasures from the shelves. I’ve watched as customers come in to quickly find one thing and leave an hour later with an armload. The window display wrapping around the corner offers an enticing display of offerings from local authors and global literary superstars alike. It is a movable feast, with great care taken to reflect the ever-evolving social, political and seasonal appetite of our city. As an independent store they are the bastions of freedom, able to display, stock and sell according to the needs and wants of the community. They take risks, often operating on passion and a shoestring.
There is no pretense here. There is no $5 coffee or soft chairs to curl up in. The floor creaks; the stairs and wooden handrail leading to the basement are well-worn testaments to the thousands of customers who have come through the doors. By day, this is where the magical kingdom of children’s books, toys and games can be found. But several nights each week, a transformation takes place. The stacks from the magical children’s section are rolled to the walls and folding chairs are assembled to welcome that evening’s guest author event Here the coffee perks in its urn and humble dessert squares are laid out on platters; a signing table is prepared. The atmosphere is electric and intimate. It is the heart of the community.
And yet across the river or further downtown there may be another event; a conference or author drawing a crowd too big for the store to accommodate, and there you’ll also find the owners of my independent bookstore, having ordered and schlepped all the required books, promoting and selling for those authors. My independent bookstore is the soul of the city.
Authors need to sell books and box stores and digital downloads are likely here to stay. To me, the difference between them and an independent bookstore is this: They’re okay to visit but there’s no place like home."
–Laurel Deedrick-Mayne, author of A Wake for The Dreamland
Drop by Audreys (corner of 107 Street and Jasper Avenue) and meet these authors on Saturday:
Richard Van Camp
Melanie McGillivary (M.J. Summers)