Why Indie Bookstores Represent Everything You Want to Fight for from Free Speech to Buying Local to Building C
Publication Date: July 19, 2011
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The revival of independent bookselling has already begun and is one of the amazing stories of our times. Bookseller Andy Laties wrote the first edition of Rebel Bookseller six years ago, hoping it would spark a movement. Now, with this second edition, Laties’s book can be a rallying cry for everyone who wants to better understand how the rise of the big bookstore chains led irrevocably to their decline, and how even in the face of electronic readers from three of America’s largest and most successful companies—Apple, Amazon, and Google—the movement to support locally owned independent stores, especially bookstores, is on the rise. From the mid-1980s to the present, Andy Laties has been an independent bookseller, starting out in Chicago, teaching along the way at the American Booksellers Association, and finally running the bookshop at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts. His innovations were adapted by Barnes & Noble, Zany Brainy, and scores of independent stores. In Rebel Bookseller, Laties tells how he got started, how he kept going, and why he believes independent bookselling has a great future. He alternates his narrative with short anecdotes, interludes between the chapters that give his credo as a bookseller. Along the way, he explains the growth of the chains, and throws in a treasure trove of tips for anyone who is considering opening up a bookstore. Rebel Bookseller is a must read for those in the book biz, a testament to the ingeniousness of one man man’s story of making a life out of his passionate commitment to books and bookselling.
ANDREW LATIES co-founded Children’s Bookstore, Children’s Bookfair Company, Children’s Museum Store, Povertyfighters.com, and Eric Carle Museum Bookshop, and created the film, Art of Selling Children’s Books. He shared the 1987 Lucile Micheels Pannell Award for bringing children and books together. ED MORROW is co-founder of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, and has served as president of both the New England and the American Booksellers Associations. BILL AYERS is distinguished professor at University of Illinois, founder of Small Schools Workshop and Center for Youth and Society, and author of fifteen books on teaching and children’s rights.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review of first edition)
"Everything you always wanted to know about the book business but were afraid to ask."
—Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar
"Andy has put so much passion into his book that it is impossible to read before bed: the book incites a disturbing concoction of adrenalin and hormones that rages against that good night. Not only does Andy not go gently there, he refuses to go, period. This book is heartfelt and honest."
—Bernie Rath, former executive director, American Booksellers Association
“The local independent bookstore was long a hallmark and core contributor to the intellectual life and well-being of individuals and communities. In this modern era of "big box" bookstores, chain store booksellers, online book sellers, and digital publishing, those traditional independent bookstores are becoming an 'endangered species'. That's why Andrew Laties "Rebel Bookseller: Why Indie Bookstores Represent Everything You Want to Fight for from Free Speech to Buying Local to Building Communities" is such a timely and important contribution to our national dialogue. Now in a fully updated and significantly expanded second edition, "Rebel Bookseller" is a personal history of how Laties got into selling books, how he has survived and even prospered against book marketing factors that have proved devastating to so many others, the growth of the big chain booksellers, and more. Of special note are the wealth of anecdotes, innovations in book selling, and the cogent 'real world' advice for anyone contemplating starting up an independent bookstore of their own. Informed and informative, occasionally inspired and inspiring, "Rebel Bookseller" is very highly recommended reading.”
—Midwest Book Review
“The revival of independent bookselling has already begun and is one of the amazing stories of our times. Laties wrote the first edition of “Rebel Bookseller” six years ago, hoping it would spark a movement. Now, with this second edition, his book can serve as a rallying cry for everyone who wants to better understand how the rise of the big bookstore chains led irrevocably to their decline, and how even in the face of electronic readers from three of America’s largest and most successful companies — Apple, Amazon and Google — the movement to support locally owned independent stores, especially bookstores, is on the rise. So, yes—despite the pessimistic cries from doomsayers—the book is not dead.”
"Andy Laties has been a huge inspiration to me and many of my fellow booksellers, and his passion is as galvanizing as his business models. Not every one of his self-proclaimed wild ideas will make sense for every store or in every market (that's the nature of independents), but the very fact of someone out there turning received wisdom about the book business on its head, and thinking about things in truly new and optimistic ways, has made a difference that can be seen in the new crop of indie bookstores that has sprung up in recent years. We owe a lot to Andy for shaking things up, and I'm excited about this new edition getting out there and blowing the minds of even more book people."
—Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore