Ask Indies is a collaborative project by indie booksellers on Twitter, designed to use their expert knowledge to help you find books. Ask a question about books, and booksellers will respond with recommendations, ideas, and opinions.
Any Twitter user can publicly ask booksellers a question by coding a post with the hashtag #askindies.
Every book page on IndieBound.org now has an Ask Indies button which links to a Twitter form—here's an example. The book's URL and the #askindies hashtag are automatically entered for you. You can tweet your question directly from the site.
Of course, you can also use the #askindies hashtag wherever you post to Twitter -- through Twitter.com, or a desktop or phone client.
These videos were originally posted on The Green Apple Core blog.
Our next Indie City is, well, several cities... We're exploring the not-to-be-missed indies in Rhode Island, starting with Middletown and Newport. Check out these recommendations from Judy, Jenny, Molly and Marilyn of Island Books in Middletown, RI.
Jenny says, "KJ's Restaurant & Pub is one of my favorite places to eat with my family, especially in the summer. A pub style restaurant with a view of the ocean in Middletown, RI. The burgers are great, the nachos are a must, the decor is fun (my kids LOVE the giant saltwater fish tank that divides the upstairs bar from the dining room), and the downstairs offers a bar and game room for those times when we get out without the kids."
Molly says, "Down Under Jewelry showcases independent artists in an original, independent shop - an elegant yet comfortable place to shop for something special.
Marilyn says, "Thames Glass has a wide array of hand blown glass—great for wedding gifts. They also offer glass blowing classes, which is a fun way to do it yourself and have a memento from Newport."
"Crick Camera Shop, family-owned since 1946. A real full-service camera and accessories store with an in-house lab, digital workstations, evening photo classes and more.
Churchill. Now a destination boutique for customers around the country, Churchill's collection of fashion, accessories, jewelry and more simply has to be seen to be appreciated.
Avenues Bistro. Excellent food and service, with an ideal ambience. If you're lucky, you might just catch a visiting author dining before an event in Kansas City.
Curious Sofa. Surely the coolest name for this hip furniture store with a laid back staff and the perfect place to sit. Recline-in or carry out?
Baby Cakes. This downtown handmade chocolate and cupcake sensation came to life when Steve Almond visited for his book CandyFreak. The founder was so inspired she turned his author event into the debut for her chocolate line, Frou Frou Chocolates. WIthin a year she'd added made from scratch cupcakes, using locally-produced Shatto butter and milk.
And of course, Shatto Milk. Kansas City's secret for the best in local dairy. "
From Paige: IndieBound is just about a year old now—hard for me to believe, but true! To commemorate, we've drawn a winner for our points contest: Julie Hahnke of Marblehead, Masschusetts. Julie is the author of The Grey Ghost, a Summer Kids' Indie Next List pick. We've given her a gift certificate to her local indie bookstore, Spirit of '76 in Marblehead. She sent us a short piece on what indies mean to her—and what she's doing with the gift card!
Huzzah! to Indies all across the country! It’s your energy and excitement that has fueled The Grey Ghost’s success. I’m grateful for your enthusiasm, and my question is, what can I do for you?
In a scary economy where financial stability is as fragile as a spider’s web, it’s tempting to let the lowest price drive our purchase decisions. And yet, price isn’t everything. In many ways, it’s the least thing.
When bookstores support authors, when communities support their independent businesses, and when authors support communities, we create a web of mutual benefit for everyone that’s adamantine hard. It’s all about dreaming and our desire to realize our dreams. Our dreams are all different, but if we support others as they strive to realize theirs, we’ll find a community of mutual respect and gratitude circling around us, helping us realize our own.
That’s what IndieBound is about—building and sustaining communities one dream and one transaction at a time!
I thought it would be appropriate to use my IndieBound gift card to help support another community—one that’s far off geographically, but very close to my heart.
My dear friend and illustrator, Marcia Christensen, is the Queen Mother to an African village in Ghana. Marcia and her husband, Jim, have been supporting this community for years, building a church, creating a school, establishing scholarships, and developing a library at a nearby secondary school for girls.
With my IndieBound gift card, I’m purchasing children’s and teen books for the secondary school library in Mawuko, Ghana. I’ve chosen some of my favorites, picking titles that represent broad cultural diversity for a range of ages. Here’s what I’m sending them:
The Grey Ghost by me (I donated this)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky
Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Well, I think so, anyway. But it is one of the best!
The IndieBound iPhone app has been selected for inclusion in O'Reilly Media's Best iPhone Apps: A Guide for Discriminating Downloaders. O'Reilly's guide details over 200 of the best apps available, and the IndieBound app even made it on the cover.
Coincidentally, updates are soon to come for the IndieBound app, including multiple book lists per user, which are synced back to IndieBound.org, and the option to remember a favorite store for repeat online shopping. We'll let you know when the updated app is live in the iTunes store.
Be sure to check out the Best iPhone Apps book—we're so proud. Thanks, O'Reilly!
Here's more from Kansas City. This time we got recommendations from Becci of the great I Love a Mystery Bookstore. Becci says:
"You can't come to KC and not have BBQ. Here are two world class BBQ joints: Oklahoma Joe's Barbeque—crazy name for a KC restuarant and even crazier location in a converted gas station/auto parts store. You can still fill your car with gas and have one of the best BBQ dinners in the country. Next up is Johnny's BBQ across the stateline in Mission, KS. Johnny has a great rub and wonderful smoked meats.
The Brookside area is a friendly neighborhood with quaint shops and sidewalk restuarants. The Blue Grotto has sidewalk seating, excellent wine and wood-fired pizza."
When in Brookside, check out Brookside Toy & Science, where two of the best things in life abound: science and toys!
And of course take a trip to I Love a Mystery to visit their skeletons, gargoyles and pick up some interesting new mysteries or Sherlockiana. And while you're over the stateline, visit Vinyl Renaissance to lose yourself in vintage vinyl.
Something new at IndieBound.org: each month we'll feature a city that's full of independents, and in weekly entries highlight some of our favorites. You can find all these indies and others in featured cities at our Indie Store Finder.
First up: Kansas City, Missouri!
- Acme Bicycle Company - KC's first and only custom bicycle shop, offering new and used bikes and bicycle advocacy. If they won't ride it, they won't sell it.
- Happy Gillis - Happy is in its name. Comfy cafe where you can eat great homemade soups and sandwiches, nibble brownies, and just hang out.
- Creative-Coldsnow - Everything you need to get creative, from paints and modeling kits to full-scale skeletons and baking soda rockets.
- Le Fou Frog - Ultra-charming French bistro that's the perfect escape. Join them for their annual Bastille Day Festivities!
- Pryde's Old Westport - A family-owned KC original for over 40 years that carries all you want in cookware, bakeware—and Fiestaware.
- Paleterias Tropicana - Homemade, all-natural ice cream made in the Michoacan style, plus fruit cocktails, fresh fruit juices, smoothies and more.