Inaugural Authors for Indies Day a Massive Success for Independent Booksellers

May 14, 2015

TORONTO, May 14, 2015: The inaugural Canadian Authors for Indies Day, held May 2, 2015, was hugely successful for independent booksellers across Canada. Nearly 700 authors visited over 120 independent bookstores to celebrate the vital role of independent booksellers in both the Canadian book industry and in the lives of readers.

Stores that participated in this initiative saw an increase of a staggering 18.5 per cent in units sold, according to data provided by BookNet Canada. "As the increase in sales confirms, the 'Authors for Indies' partnership was an enormous success in promoting independent bookstores to the Canadian book-buyer," said Noah Genner, CEO, BookNet Canada. Some stores compared sales to their busiest days in December during the holidays, a huge boost to stores. 

“It was a fabulous time and we sold lots of books,” said Sharon Budnarchuck, co-owner of Audreys Books in Edmonton, Alberta. “Most important for the store was the opportunity for staff to learn more about our wonderful local authors, and our customers got to chat with authors they did not know as well.”

Besides an increase in sales for the day, the Authors for Indies initiative raised the profile of independent booksellers significantly, both within the industry and from the consumer’s perspective. “We were thrilled to be a part of the first Authors for Indies Day initiative. Our members’ stores were packed, customers were having a great time, and booksellers across the country were communicating to support one another and share ideas,” said Lesley Fletcher, Manager of MySTORE, the independent retail division of Retail Council of Canada. “The success of the initiative is measured in multiple forms; from an increase in sales to the exposure that independent bookstores received from the book industry as well as in the eye of the Canadian consumer. This heightened awareness will serve our members well year round.”

Additional commentary from bookstores nationwide:

  • “There was a buzz and an excitement all day. Conversations were happening all over the store. Authors loved promoting their favourite books,” noted Sheila Hoffman, owner of Another Story Bookshop in Toronto. “As author Dennis Lee acknowledged, ‘It was a real celebration of community.’”

  • “We had 14 authors volunteer at our store who were engaged in everything from helping customers on the sales floor to bag books behind the till, Jessica Walker, Managing Partner at Munro’s Books in Victoria, BC. “It was wonderful to see such a strong show of support from the authors and the community for independent bookstores.”

  • “Charlottetown Bookmark had 18 Island authors in the bookstore throughout the day on our first Authors for Indies Day. This is remarkable support given the Island population,” said Dan MacDonald, owner of Charlottetown Bookmark. “Sales for the day were double compared to the same Saturday last year and we hope that this can become an annual event.”

  • “With the help of nearly 700 authors nationwide on May 2nd, we continued to drive awareness for all the brick & mortar bookstores. Our customers still keep coming to discover real printed books, noted store Eleanor LeFave, owner of Mabels Fables in Toronto. “We still have an impact on community literacy and still discover and promote new books, new authors, and continue our love of 'old' books and 'old' authors.”

Store owners are looking forward to harnessing the momentum of this successful event, with holiday 2015 already in the distant future. 

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is the Voice of Retail in Canada representing more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants in general merchandise, grocery and drugs.  Its membership represents over 75% of all retail sales in Canada.  RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information. @RetailCouncil @RCCMySTORE @RCCBooks

For further information:
Lesley Fletcher

Retail Council of Canada

[email protected]