You could call it Independents’ Day but Authors for Indies is a much more accessible title. When you want to tell the public about how important independent bookstores are to communities, what better way than to round up several local authors and have them spend a day meeting customers and talking up literature at the same time?
Authors for Indies is coming back to Audreys Books this Saturday and it’s going to be bigger and bookier than ever, with 21 local authors volunteering as guest booksellers stationed throughout the store and even doing readings. All the while, they’ll be talking about how important these stores are to our communities, our reading lives, and our cultural well-being.
“When I walk in to Audreys – my local independent – and see my book front and centre alongside other local authors (even long after our publication dates), I see a community,” said Jessica Kluthe, the Morinville-raised author of Rosina the Midwife, her 2013 well-researched account of her Italian great-grandmother.
Marty Chan, another well-known Morinville-raised author, explained that supporting one means supporting the other. It’s like two for the price of one, he said.
“The two go hand-in-hand: local authors and independent booksellers. It’s a great relationship they have, certainly because one feeds into the other,” he continued.
Audreys Books was first incorporated in 1975 but can trace its roots all the way back to when Mel Hurtig first opened his bookstore in 1956. Audreys proudly calls itself Edmonton’s oldest independent bookstore. The store frequently hosts in-store author readings and signings, and hosts speakers and feature authors on tour in partnership with local venues. Its staff members are trained to be knowledgeable about books and authors, and it refers to its stock as a curated selection.
“It’s all well and good to have your books out there in chain stores or on Amazon, but the thing about independent booksellers is they have a personal touch. They’re hand-selling books to customers and telling them about great books that they’ve read. Sometimes you don’t get that same experience if you’re going online shopping on an Amazon site, going, ‘I don’t know if this is a book that’s for me.’ When you’re in an independent bookstore, you have a bookseller who’s actually read the book and is asking about your tastes in reading and they can find books to match your tastes,” Chan said.
He will actually be doing two events to support Authors for Indies on Saturday. He’ll be at The Bookworm Used Bookstore at 62 Athabascan Ave. in Sherwood Park first from noon to 1 p.m. Afterward, he’ll zip to downtown Edmonton to be at Audreys from 2 to 3 p.m.
Kluthe, for her part, will be on active duty at Audreys during the shift before he arrives.
This year, the store will be offering an Open Mic downstairs for anyone who would like to read for authors during the day. Upstairs, writers including Ted Bishop and Laurel Deedrick-Mayne will be writing in the window for 15-minute stretches while elsewhere Lorna Schultz Nicholson will do a reading in the kids’ room and there will be an ‘Author is In… 5 cents’ booth just like the psychiatrist kiosk Lucy Van Pelt offered in the Peanuts comic strip. There, readers can sit and meet authors for five minutes.
There will be a photo booth, cake, swag, literary quizzes, and a chance to win prizes such as tickets to the Citadel Theatre’s production of Sense & Sensibility, Litfest tickets and a limited print by children’s author and illustrator Kevin Sylvester.
A quiz will also be offered to encourage patrons to get to know the authors just a little bit better, with a prize being offered for the person who gets most of the answers correct.
All that plus there are a lot of incredible books on the shelves just ripe for the picking … and reading.
“You don’t have to wade through pillows and candles and picture frames here: you’ll find great local books by authors that you will bump into browsing the shelves. It’s impossible to leave Audreys empty-handed – you’ll stack books in your arms and run your hands over covers and you’ll talk to booksellers passionate about books – a digital cart and a ‘Buy Now’ button have nothing on this experience,” Kluthe said.
Authors for Indies Day runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Audreys Books is located at 10702 Jasper Ave. in Edmonton. For more information, visit www.authorsforindies.com.
Authors for Indies 2017
11 a.m. to noon
Lorna Schultz Nicholson
Noon to 1 p.m.
1 to 2 p.m.
2 to 3 p.m.
3 to 4 p.m.
Audreys Books is located at 10702 Jasper Ave. For more information, call 780-423-3487 or visit www.audreys.ca for more.