We’re Indie Bound … Or Are We?

So today is sort of a beef/vent/getting out of my own head post.

Right now in my little town book shop I’ve seen this emergence of these brightly colored red/white/black posters screaming Indie Bound.  I figured since I’m Indie, with an organic interest, I wanted to know more.  I mean, anything Indie I get get behind.

In case you’re unfamiliar … Indie Bound is this: A small organization that moves consumers to find small, local shops and encourages a person to opt to spend their money there as opposed to big box stores (a la your local bookstore over B&N).  And the kicker is, the movement is truly geared towards books.  While Indie Bound does list shops from clothes to bikes and nearly everything niche market in-between, Indie Bound appears to have a sweet spot for books.

I then found what is called Indie Next … a list of best selling Indie Books.


I was really juiced up over this for all the obvious reasons.  That was, until I started playing around on the site …

While Indie Bound is still all about small Ma & Pa shops, the books they have on their “Indie Next” list are … um … anything but Indie.  Here is the list:

WILD (published by Knopf)

THE COVE: A NOVEL (published by Ecco)

THE BOOK OF JONAS (published by Blue Rider Press)

SACRE BLEU (published by William Morrow)

ANGELMAKER (published by Knopf)

THE GODS OF GOTHEM (published by Putnam)

Are you catching a reoccurring theme happening here?  None of these novels … not a single one … is the work of an Indie Author.

These books, touted as Best Selling works of Indies are actually just another best selling list from publishers.  Bah!

When I took this to the Kindleboards, I was told by another writer that “Indie was once how “small publishers” referred to themselves” … and I suppose, maybe if this was 10 years ago, I could agree.

But is that was Indie is anymore?  I don’t necessarily agree.

In my mind, Indie means “DYI” … it means you’re the one who does the work, makes 70% of your sales and there is no publisher giving you an advance or sharing in your royalties.  To me, big 6 or small press, you’re trade published.

My question is … do you agree?




3 thoughts on “We’re Indie Bound … Or Are We?

  1. From what I gather browsing definitions online, “Indie” started out referring to musicians that had not signed with any major labels. In the literary realm, I could see that reasonably translating as books distributed sans a major publisher, meaning a small press might count as “Indie”.

    Technicalities aside, “Indie author” in the vernacular I most often come across seems used pretty much synonymously with “self-published author”, with no publishing house involvement at all.

    So if the presses you listed are considered small enough by whatever measure divides “small” or “Independent” from “major”, you could say it’s legitimately “Indie” on that level. It may just prove confusing, and perhaps frustrating, for those who connote “Indie” with “self-published”.

    • I agree. I think while a small publisher could be considered Indie … if it’s owned by one person and not a corp then yes, by definition it’s “indie” … however, the authors of that imprint are NOT indie. They aren’t self employed or published without the benefit of an imprint. Does that make sense?

      • I see what you’re saying: An author can be Indie, or a small publisher can be Indie, but when the publisher’s the Indie, the author they published is no longer considered such. So it’s all a question of which party gets to claim the Indie rights in the scenario.

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