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American Booksellers Association: The future is indie

by | Jun 1, 2023 | News

“The future is indie,” American Booksellers Association (ABA) CEO Alison Hill told the body’s AGM.  She was commenting on the 34% increase in ABA membership in the past three years, as well as 173 stores opening in 2022.  She continued:  “The ABA wants to not only support you in that future, but help make it possible. In a time when too many individuals are focused on taking books out of readers’ hands, your work putting books in people’s hands is more important than ever.”

In her annual report, she called 2022 “a year of incredible growth for the indie channel” and said that the ABA was “honoured to play a role in supporting and championing your stores. Independent bookstores continued to demonstrate remarkable resilience, adaptability, creativity, and passion. Most of you experienced sales above pre-pandemic levels and many of you grew–expanding, adding second locations, growing and evolving from a pop-up or mobile store to a bricks-and-mortar store, or vice versa. The indies rocked it in 2022.”

The ABA’s 34% increase in membership translates into 2,185 bookstore companies with 2,599 bookstore locations.  Since the pandemic started, 475 new stores have opened, 140 of them BIPOC-owned (black, indigenous or people of colour).  In 2022, 173 member stores opened and 53 closed. In 2023, some 56 stores have already opened, while 198 are set to open in the next year or two.

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