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Canada's First Authors For Indies Day

Book lovers across Canada can gather together to discuss some of their favourite Canadian literature with their local authors and booksellers.

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Inside Mabel's Fables photo by Laura Zizek

A book can act like a portal and bookstores are the temporary housing where these portals eagerly await their forever homes. There are sellers full of recommendations and if you're lucky a rolling ladder, where you can recreate your Beauty and the Beast fantasies. And on May 2, 2015 Canadian book lovers everywhere can celebrate their love of bookstores during the inaugural Canadian Authors for Indies Day.

The Vancouver based author, Janie Chang, created this one day event across Canada where 122 independent bookstores and 655 Canadian authors will join forces to showcase how important independent bookstores are for a community. Chang was inspired by Indies First, a campaign launched in America by author Sherman Alexie.

"When you go into an independent bookstore I really find they make a big effort to feature Canadian authors, authors from that province and authors from that town," says Chang, but on May 2, 2015 the day is really about supporting your local indie bookstore and the authors understood this. Authors like Ann-Marie MacDonald, Terry Fallis, Farzana Doctor, Carrianne Leung, and Kenneth Oppel who are all participating, just wanted to give back to their local bookstores. Also Chang says, "we all have this closet fantasy of working in a bookstore and selling and recommending books to people."

Each bookstore is in charge of what types of events they have throughout the day whether it's readings, signings, or like at Kidsbooks in Vancouver, the West Broadway location, kids can join in painting a mural alongside illustrators and authors. It is also a great way for the readers to have informal chats with writers, says Anjula Gogia who is the events coordinator at Another Story Book Shop.

It will also switch the dialogue from the normal "doom and gloom," talk that surrounds independent bookstores, say Eleanor LeFave, owner of Mable's Fables, to conversations about how bookstores are surviving and thriving.

Research from the 3/50 project says for every $100 you spend at a locally owned independent store $68 of that stays in your community. Versus if you spend $100 at an international/national chain only $43 would stay in your community and if you spend it online nothing stays in your community. Chang's ultimate goal for the event is to create more traffic for independent bookstores, for people to notice that bookstores these days have become cultural hubs for the community by hosting book launches, signings, readings, book clubs, and a place to encourage aspiring writers.

Bookstores also offer in-person recommendations, which you cannot get when you're buying books online. The algorithm although based on what you've been purchasing can be too tailored and eliminating the opportunity to browse and discover something new. "When you go into a bookstore all things happen by serendipity," says Chang you may find a book with an eye-catching cover or find an intriguing book on a topic you may not normally read. "I just don't want a layer of technology standing between me and that experience," says Chang, and a bookstore is a great way to broaden your horizons.

Reading can be a very solitary act but recommending a book is a very sociable one, says Chang, and on Saturday book lovers around Canada will be gathering together to share their favourite Canadian literature.

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