Sherman Alexie Wants You To Be A 'Superhero' For Indie Bookstores | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Sherman Alexie Wants You To Be A 'Superhero' For Indie Bookstores

Play associated audio

Back in September, poet and novelist Sherman Alexie wrote an open letter to a group of people whom he called the "gorgeous book nerds" of the world, asking them to become "superheroes" for independent bookstores.

More than 1,000 authors answered his call, which means signing on to work at local indie bookstores today, Small Business Saturday, as part of the Indies First campaign. Alexie tells NPR's Scott Simon that he'll be doing a marathon of five stores, helping to sell some of his favorite books. Has Alexie sold books before? "No," he laughs, "although when you're a writer in this era, certainly you are pretty much a salesperson."


Interview Highlights

On the importance of independent bookstores

My career happened because the booksellers at independent bookstores hand-sold my book. Readers and potential buyers would come into their stores, they would pick up my books of poems, my books of short stories — published by micropresses — and put it in their hands. And that's the kind of relationship that exists between independent booksellers and their customers, and authors have a chance there that they wouldn't otherwise have a chance in this giant Internet world where it's impossible to get noticed.

On recommending his own books today

That's not primarily why I'm there — and I'm also working in Seattle, my hometown, where I live, so certainly most of the people who show up are probably already going to have copies of my books. I'm going to be doing what a bookseller does — they're going to walk in and ... I'm going to ask them, what kind of book are you looking for? And they're going to say, "Well, I loved this book of stories by Lorrie Moore," and I'm going to say, "Well, why don't you check out Natalie Serber's Shout Her Lovely Name? I think you'd really enjoy that."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Author Margaret Atwood Contributes Manuscript To Future Library

As part of the Future Library project, Margaret Atwood's Scribbler Moon will not be read until 2114. Trees, that will be made into paper for that text, were planted last year in Norway.
NPR

How Dorothea Lange Taught Us To See Hunger And Humanity

Perhaps no one did more to show us the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photos of farm workers and others have become iconic of the era.
NPR

Santorum Hopes To Catch Lightning In A Bottle A Second Time

The former Pennsylvania senator, who won Iowa in 2012, hopes he can do it again. But with a more crowded field, he might find it difficult to stand out.
NPR

How Will The Next President Protect Our Digital Lives?

For the first time in a White House race, the candidates will need a game plan for cyber policy for Day 1 in the Oval Office and will have some tough choices to make.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.