Interview with the American Booksellers Association

NetGalley is a proud supporter of independent bookstores, and we’re honored to have the American Booksellers Association (ABA) as our official Bookseller Sponsor of the 2016 NetGalley Challenge.

ABA logoToday we’re highlighting the important work of the ABA, which was founded in 1900 as a national not-for-profit trade organization that works to help independently owned bookstores grow and succeed. As a special treat Oren Teicher, ABA CEO, sat down with us to chat about the ABA and how our members can get involved.

The ABA has so many great programs to help bookstores stay competitive and to reinforce the value of shopping indie. One in particular is the American Booksellers for Free Expression – can you give our members a brief description, and how they can get involved?

American Booksellers for Free Expression, a project of the American abfe logoBooksellers Association, is the bookseller’s voice in the fight against censorship. It defends the First Amendment rights of booksellers and their customers in local communities, state legislatures, Congress, and the courts. We invite everyone to sign up for our free newsletter, Free Speech Report. We also encourage them to support Banned Books Week, the only national celebration of the freedom to read. Thousands of bookstores and libraries participate every year during the fourth week of September. This year’s celebration is Sept. 25-Oct. 1.

I’m sure most of our members have heard of IndieBound (or have spotted it in their local indie), the local first-focused marketing program developed by the ABA. Can you describe the different components of IndieBound and how it benefits bookstores and patrons?

IndieBound is a collaborative program among the independent bookstore members of the American Booksellers Association that focuses on the unique attributes of indie stores and the power of “local first” shopping. Independent bookstores have a special place in their communities, a third place — not home, not work — where readers and book buyers can discover their next great read, share great experiences with authors, and establish deeper connections with other passionate readers and their own community. In the monthly Indie Next List and the weekly Indie Bestseller lists, readers can find insightful, curated lists of great titles and newly discovered authors, and authors show their dedication to indies nationwide by linking to their favorite bookstore or to thousands of indie bookstores through And consumers can know, too, that by shopping indie their dollars are staying in their communities, which means more money for sound schools, strong first responders, green parks and ball fields — all the things that make for happy and healthy communities.
indiebound logo
Through our partnership, booksellers who sign up for NetGalley can nominate titles to be considered for the Indie Next List—and we see a lot of activity generated from our members! Can you tell us the history of the Indie Next List and how it has evolved?

Indie Next logoAs readers know, one of the most interesting sections of an indie bookstore is the Staff Picks section, and the Indie Next List is, in effect, a monthly national staff picks of upcoming fiction and nonfiction. Each month, hundreds of independent booksellers nationwide send ABA nominations for the titles that they are most looking forward to hand-selling to their customers. These passionate recommendations drive the selection of 20 fiction and nonfiction titles that make up the Indie Next List, with the title getting the most nominations becoming that month’s number-one selection. Customers in bookstores coast to coast pick up the Indie Next List flier and peruse the titles online at, as well as see the books in stores’ in-store displays. The list is a diverse mix of subject matter, taste, and genre — and is a showcase for both favorite authors and new voices. There is no shortage of great writing right now, and the Indie Next List helps readers discover the best of the best.

Another exciting connection point between NetGalley and the ABA was the creation of the Digital White Box program, to help introduce indie booksellers to more new books from a wide variety of publishers and genres. How can ABA member stores ensure they’re taking advantage of this free member benefit?

Yes, ABA offers digital galleys (for print books) via the Digital White Box with NetGalley. Booksellers on NetGalley can simply click here to tell us you’d like to receive this monthly email, and they should include the email addresses of everyone in your store. (Access to each book is linked by email address, so it’s important to sign up all staff members individually.) ABA member stores can also just make sure your ABA member number is added to their NetGalley Profile, and they will receive the Digital White Box automatically.

digital white box logoThe Digital White Box provides a curated, exclusive selection of books for indie bookstores, and the titles are immediately available to your colleagues in the store. Booksellers tell us that the email often helps them identify unexpected successes, in a wide variety of genres, from a diverse set of publishers.

As an important support system in the bookselling community, the ABA helps organize and host a number of events and promotions throughout the year for booksellers and patrons alike. We’re excited by the newest ABA initiative, the New Localism – can you give us some insight into how this program was developed and what results you’ve seen so far?

For many years now, we have seen the growth of localism — from farmers’ markets to the increasing awareness of the importance of locally owned Main Street business for vibrant and diverse communities with real job creation. The localism movement has become a major influence in the decisions of consumers regarding where they will make their purchases and spend their dollars. Nationally, literally millions of consumers are deciding to shop in a locally owned business because it is locally owned. But as an increasingly large percentage of consumer purchases are made online, ABA has led the way in examining what the dollars-and-cents effects are on our local communities. A study commissioned by ABA found that what’s good for Amazon is not good for the overwhelming number of communities in the U.S. The study revealed that Amazon’s total nationwide sales tax gap in 2014 is an estimated $625 million, and the displacement of retail from local communities to the Internet exacts a large (and growing) cost of approximately $420 million in property taxes annually. This results in a total of more than $1 billion in revenue lost to state and local governments in just one year, a huge shortfall in the monies needed to support schools, libraries, first responders, and other key services. For the year 2014 alone Amazon sales produced a net national loss of 135,973 retail jobs, with only eight states showing a net gain in jobs. And those numbers take into account all the jobs currently in Amazon distribution centers. In the end, where we spend does shape where we live.

new localism
Did you know…

When you shop at a locally owned independent business, your entire community benefits:
The Economy

  • Spend $100 at a local and $52 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
  • Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  • More of your taxes are reinvested in your community–where they belong.

The Environment

  • Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.

The Community

  • Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you.
  • Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
  • More independents mean more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.

Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.


Bookstore Spotlight

With Independent Bookstore Day quickly approaching (April 30th!), we wanted to celebrate by introducing you to spectacular shops that you should visit. Today we’re featuring Brazos Bookstore, located in Houston, Texas – continue reading to discover what makes this bookstore and its staff unique, and all the great events they have planned!BB Logo 2-color CMYK
What are some fun facts about your store?

I feel like I should tell you the details–we were founded in 1974, we were nominated for PW’s Bookstore of the Year in 2016–but are these facts fun? The most interesting facts about our store, as far as I’m concerned, are about each of us individually: one of us won a James Patterson Bookseller Bonus this year; one of us is a renowned classics scholar; two of us are on the way to graduate MFA programs; several of us are published authors. We adore literature, and we adore being a part of the writing community, and bestsellers at our store are frequently literature in translation. Does this reflect the space of Houston itself–unruly, full of different people with various ambitions? Maybe. Or, how about this: Robert Durst was an occasional customer. Is that fun?Brazos Outside

Why do you think indie bookstores are essential?
We always joke here: yes, the books are what we sell, but really, WE’RE the product (in the least creepy way possible, of course!). I mean, why the hell go to an independent bookstore–or indie record store, or indie movie theater–these days? You can get the stuff online, with a single click. The trick of the indie bookstore is that it’s half retail space, half cultural hub. You come because you want personal recommendations; you come because you want to feel plugged into a larger artistic community; you come because reading and writing can be, occasionally, a lonely endeavor, and it’s better to be lonely together. In short, you come because you can love Amazon all you want, but Amazon will never love you back.

Can you tell us about the activities you have planned for Independent Bookstore Day?
Emblazoned in neon outside our front door: SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE! At least, I keep trying to convince the rest of the staff to install a sign like that. But for IBD, we want to make sure you can come in the morning and hang around until close and never get bored. Accordingly, we’re partnering with the Houston Zoo to bring animals into the store for a morning story time; we’re throwing a happy hour in the afternoon, and unveiling art on our windows; and in the evening, we welcome a local writer named J. Bradford Hipps to read from his new debut novel, THE ADVENTURIST. Also, I may try to raise the funds to install more neon signs outside our door, including one that says, BRAZOS BOOKSTORE: 1 BILLION SERVED! It’ll be a full-time position to update the sign on a daily basis…

Brazos Inside

Beyond IBD, what exciting events/activities are happening in your store?
Ever looking forward, on IBD, we’ll reveal our major summer program: called Summer of Kubrick, we’re partnering with Houston film institutions to present screenings, parties, and book groups that put cinema and literature in conversation. We also have a fantastic mural on our window: the face of Kubrick himself. One bookseller joked today that it has become the store’s very own T.J. Eckleburg. Wherever we go at Brazos, Kubrick watches us. Let’s hope we can live up to his fastidiousness and originality.

BB Logo 2-color CMYKHouston, Texas
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

To learn more about Independent Bookstore Day you can read our article, and to find a participating bookstore near you by visiting the official IBD website.

*Benjamin Rybeck, Marketing Director of Brazos Bookstore, interviewed by Tarah Theoret


Bookstore Spotlight

Independent Bookstore Day is quickly approaching (April 30th!), and we wanted to celebrate by introducing you to spectacular shops that you should visit. Today we’re featuring Wild Iris Books, located in Gainesville, Florida – continue reading to discover what makes this bookstore unique, and all the great events they have planned!
Wild_Iris_logoWhat are some fun facts about your store?
Wild Iris Books is Florida’s only feminist bookstore and has provided feminist bookselling space for over 20 years in Gainesville. Our inventory reflects a lens of intersectional feminism – women’s studies, minority studies, trans, queer and LGB studies, and alternative children’s books. We collaborate often with other non-profits in the area including feminists and other social justice activists.

Why do you think indie bookstores are essential?
Indie bookstores are essential because books can be magical and sacred things and few people love books as much as indie booksellers. Indies also help to build up local authors, supporting the storytellers in our community. And shopping at Indies keeps more of our money at home, going to people living and working and loving in our own neighborhoods. Feminist bookselling is so vital to us because with the bookstore we can encourage and support a space for ideas, activist work, and critical analysis of systems of oppression in our society.

Can you tell us about the activities you have planned for Independent Bookstore Day?Wild Iris Books
This year Wild Iris Books and our neighbors – The Civic Media Center, SAW, and the Citizens Co-op – are teaming up to create a block party for Independent Bookstore Day. The celebrations from 10am-4pm ET on South Main will include authors, UF student readings, live painting, music, community art projects, and more.

Local authors will be taking shifts during the day as guest booksellers at Wild Iris – talking about the books that changed their lives and helping people find their next great read. Lauren Groff, local author of Fates and Furies, was selected as the IBD Author Ambassador for 2016 and she can be seen in her IBD YouTube video encouraging local community members to, “buy dozens of books!” when they visit their favorite indie on Saturday, April 30th. Lauren will be guest bookselling all day with Wild Iris and is crafting gift bags for the first 20 customers of the day.

Guest Booksellers will include: Lauren Groff, Joe Haldeman, Tom Hart, Leela Corman, Sandra Lambert, William Hatfield, Write Handed Poet A. Denèe, and Leanne Lawrence.

Community Guests and Activities: WellFlorida Council, Inc. live painting with the Art of Carrie Martinez, Alachua County Humane Society, music with Mama Trish, African dance performances with larry d rosalez-lewis, poetry by Mellow Soul Tuesdays, Alachua County Library, Girls Rock Camp, Gainesville Area NOW, Trans Affairs, readings with UF MFA students, and more!

Beyond IBD, what exciting events/activities are happening in your store?
One of the events we are most proud of is our monthly Free Store. We collect donations from the community of just about anything – clothes, shoes, housewares, kids items and then hold a huge Free Store where people can come and take anything they may need. We’ve been hosting this for over a year and each Free Store we have an average of  3 truckloads of donations. Being blocks from a homeless shelter – lots of people have come to depend on Free Store to supplement what they need. We have volunteers who purchase hygiene products, diapers and pads/tampons that we distribute as well. We’ll continue to do this monthly. Free Store Facebook Page

Visit Wild Iris Books!
Gainesville, Florida
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

To learn more about Independent Bookstore Day you can read our article, and to find a participating bookstore near you by visiting the official IBD website.

*Erica Merrell, Co-owner of Wild Iris Books, interviewed by Tarah Theoret


Independent Bookstore Day – Join the Party!

We at NetGalley are huge fans of independent bookstores. We know that when we walk into an indie bookstore we’re going to be greeted by true book lovers, who take great care in choosing the books they carry and which one they are going to recommend just for you. It’s that personal touch that excites us – knowing that we’re going to meet someone who loves books as much (or maybe even slightly more) as we do, and they’re going to put our next favorite read in our hands. This is why it’s our sincere pleasure to help promote this year’s Independent Bookstore Day!

Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) is a national event that focuses on celebrating books, booksellers, bookstores, and authors. On April 30th, over 400 independently owned bookstores will be a flurry of activity – this includes special events, guest booksellers/authors, exclusive merchandise, giveaways and prizes, and a chance to connect with your community.

Did you know. . .

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMIndependent Bookstore Day originated from California Bookstore Day, and this is the second year that IBD has been nationally celebrated.

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMThe majority of participating bookstores see significant increases in sales and foot traffic on this day, all thanks to loyal book-lovers like you!

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMCanada is getting in on the fun with Canadian Authors for Indies Day!

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMPlus, April 30th is a great day to visit your local indie and pick out a Mother’s Day gift…

For more information about Independent Bookstore Day and to find a participating bookstore near you: #BookstoreDay on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”
― Ann Patchett, bestselling author and co-owner of Parnassus Books

netgalley IBD 2


Get the books of Winter Institute

(even if you won’t be in Denver!)

We love helping our community discover new books of interest. As part of our efforts to help booksellers in particular, we coordinated this feature with the American Booksellers Association, which just appeared in their weekly newsletter, Bookselling This Week. Seeing as these are some truly exciting books, we want to share them with our entire community.

Via NetGalley, booksellers are now able to preview e-galleys of a standout list of books that will be available in the Galley Room at ABA’s Winter Institute 11. For those who won’t be in Denver from January 23–26 (or for those who just want to get started reading right away!), here we highlight 10 titles to request (or wish for) on NetGalley right now. Plus, the beloved Buzz Books are back!

2016 Adult Buzz Book2016 YA Buzz Book

NetGalley is pleased to again be partnering with Publishers Lunch on the seventh Buzz Books edition, which evokes all the excitement of Winter Institute with significant samples of some of the spring/summer publishing season’s biggest titles and potential breakouts and new discoveries. BUZZ BOOKS 2016: Spring/Summer presents readings from 40 adult books, and BUZZ BOOKS 2016: Young Adult Spring/Summer gathers excerpts from 20 forthcoming YA titles. At the end of most excerpts, you will find a link to the full galley on NetGalley!

Everyone Brave is Forgiven


This season shows no shortage of breakout books from familiar names in literary fiction. From Chris Cleave, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Little Bee, comes Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Simon & Schuster)—a spellbinding novel about three unforgettable individuals thrown together by war, love, and their search for belonging in the ever-changing landscape of WWII London. Look for it also in Publishers Lunch’s Buzz Books 2016: Spring/Summer.






From Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice in Eligible (Random House). Equal parts homage to Jane Austen and bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.


As Good As Gone



The American West is bestselling author Larry Watson’s forte, and in As Good as Gone (Algonquin Books), his tenth novel, he has created his most vivid, genuine antihero yet in Calvin Sidey, a man stuck in a myth. With the crisp, restrained prose for which Larry Watson is revered, As Good as Gone is a story of a man increasingly at odds with the world.


Here Comes the Sun




From bestselling authors we move to highly anticipated debuts, such as Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (W. W. Norton & Company), in which a cast of unforgettable women battle for independence while a maelstrom of change threatens their Jamaican village. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise.


Bricks That Built



Kate Tempest, a major talent in the poetry and music worlds, sits poised to become a major novelist with The Bricks that Built the Houses (Bloomsbury). Driven by empathy and ethics, it’s a blazing and beautiful novel, wise but never cynical, generous and vigorous. Love animates this debut novel, rich with characters and restless in perspective, sprawling across London.





L.S. Hilton’s Maestra (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) is already stirring buzz from Hollywood to London and back again as one of the year’s big new thriller discoveries. With the cunning of Gone Girl‘s Amy Dunne, and as dangerous as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Lisbeth Salander, the femme fatale of this Talented Mr. Ripley–esque psychological thriller is sexy, smart, and very, very bad in all the best ways. You’ll also meet her in Buzz Books 2016: Spring/Summer, along with the author of the next title on our list…


All Tomorrows Parties



In All Tomorrow’s Parties (Grove Press) Rob Spillman (editor of Tin House magazine) traces his past to craft a deeply affecting coming-of-age portrait of an artist’s life that serves as an exhilarating cultural tour of the last quarter century through the lens of two transforming cities, drawing on musical inspiration from the Sex Pistols to Sonic Youth and the words of literary heroes such as Paul Bowles and Ken Kesey.




Must-reads in the young adult realm include Flawed (Feiwel & Friends), a breathtaking YA debut from award-winning and bestselling author Cecelia Ahern. The Scarlet Letter meets Divergent in this thoughtful and thrilling novel that depicts a society in which obedience is paramount and rebellion is punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.


Every Exquisite Thing




Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick brings us Every Exquisite Thing (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a heartfelt YA novel that serves as a celebration of the self and the formidable power of story. Find an excerpt in Buzz Books 2016: Spring/Summer.


Tell Wind Fire




Finally, Tell the Wind and Fire (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group) by New York Times bestseller Sarah Rees Brennan is already a much wished-for book on NetGalley. This magic-infused tale of romance and revolution is lush, dramatic, and poignantly timely.





Booksellers, don’t forget to nominate your favorites for the Indie Next List by using the Feedback button in NetGalley, and continue getting the earliest access to new galleys all year long by opting into the Digital White Box too.

Librarians, you can also get in on the fun an nominate your favorites for the LibraryReads list!

News from NetGalley

At NetGalley, we like to take a moment at Thanksgiving to thank you for your loyalty and support. We are grateful to have a dedicated community of Book Advocates who love reading and recommending – you truly help new books succeed!

By the end of this year, your enthusiasm for reading & recommending will mean that nearly 2 million books will be read through NetGalley, with close to 500,000 reviews and recommendations shared. You have helped place great books in stores, academic courses, schools and libraries around the world. And most importantly, book influencers like you help readers discover new books, fall in love with spell-binding stories, learn about a timely or relevant topic, and become lifelong fans of new authors.

Be a part of our tradition…


Join us in thanking the publishers who use digital galleys to give you early access to their books. Post a thank you message on our Facebook page, or on Twitter using #thankspublishers. We’ll collect and share each “thank you” to our publishers, on your behalf.


This week, we’re also showing our appreciation for indie bookstores. Help us celebrate Indies First, a national (US) campaign on Small Business Saturday in support of independent bookstores, by browsing your favorite Category on NetGalley to discover the highlighted Indies First books.

It’s a pleasure and a privilege to help you discover new books. On behalf of our team and the 350+ publishers and hundreds of authors who use NetGalley, thank you!

All best,
Tarah Theoret
Community Manager