iNtroducing inDIEBOOKCLUB

An unprecedented literary initiative by the creator of the Book Bike


What is it?

INDIEBOOKCLUB works two ways: 1) When a reader orders direct through us, we’ll give them a $5 gift certificate to their favorite local bookstore; or 2) When a reader buys any book from their favorite local bookstore, we’ll give them $5 off their next order from us. Click here for details on how to claim either (or both).

why?

I feel an obligation to the booksellers who brought me up, to those who helped nurture my love of discovering new books.

In 2007, I created a thing in Chicago that came to be known as the Book Bike—a three-wheeled behemoth from which I gave away over five thousand books to people in public parks. In the beginning, the books were donated by publishers. By project’s end, I was receiving financial donations from people around the world. I had a blog where people could follow every donated penny spent—thousands of dollars were invested into independent bookstores throughout Chicago, and those purchases were given away from the Bike. I was fortunate to receive international press attention, and, though my Book Bike no longer exists, there are versions of it in operation all over the world, inspired by mine, tailored to the needs of their respective communities.

In 2010, I founded ANTIBOOKCLUB because I wanted to continue sharing books with people and to continue supporting indie bookstores through my efforts. I had no idea how prescient the name would become. It was initially named in response to the so-called death of print that was proliferating through the media at the time because of the advent of ebooks. I came up with the slogan LONG LIVE THE DEATH OF PRINT and sold my books proudly under that banner. But as I learned more about the publishing industry, the name ANTIBOOKCLUB came to mean something else entirely: it became my solitary fight against Big Publishing, a fight I wage to this day.

Booksellers stock their shelves by ordering books through their distributors, and going outside of that system is a pain. But the distribution system is archaic; it is stacked against the independent presses. The rules in place were set decades ago by the then Big Six (today, the Big Five). How can I, a publisher of one to two books a year, financially contend with publishers who spit out hundreds to thousands of new titles a year? I had to pull my titles from distribution. The terms kept us from getting bigger. I want to be an independent press; I don’t want to be an unknown press.

Local bookstores are the cultural lifeblood of any community and I am going to support them in spite of the distribution system that prevents ANTIBOOKCLUB from donning their shelves.

Yours in books,

Gabriel Levinson

October 2019



 


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