Authors for Indies, the three-year-old event that brought writers into local bookshops to handsell titles for a day, is going to look a lot different next year.
According to a press release from Janie Chang, a Vancouver-based writer and Authors for Indies founder, an unnamed organization, to be announced once its budget and team has been established, will take over the event in 2018. Chang anticipates Authors for Indies will also rebrand to reflect the fact that it is no longer an author-led endeavour. Two booksellers, Shelley Macbeth (Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge, Ontario) and Mary-Ann Yazedjian (Book Warehouse, Vancouver), will continue to work with the new organization.
The inaugural 2015 event featured more 120 stores participating across Canada. That number dropped to 87 in 2017. While similar events in the U.S., such as Indie Bookstore Day, receive government funding for staffing and marketing support, AFI was run completely on volunteer efforts. In the press release, Chang says, “I’ve always thought of AFI as a Band-Aid until a better-equipped organization came along. It needs institutional-level support to succeed. It needs staff to run the event and advocate for indie bookstores all year. It needs engagement from booksellers beyond hosting authors for an annual event.”