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‘Indies First’ on Nov. 30 in Brooklyn

Booked in: Authors to sell their own books at borough stores

Brooklyn Daily

A good book is hard to put down — especially when the author is staring you right in the face.

Writers across Brooklyn will don employee badges at their favorite indie bookstores on Nov. 30 as part of “Indies First,” a nationwide movement to support small businesses. As part of their duties, the scribes will sign books and schmooze customers — though they will not have to master the cash register.

“I don’t think any of us are expecting them to be expert booksellers,” said Jenn Worthington, events director at Greenpoint’s Word bookstore, which will host authors such as Emma Straub (“Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures”) and Jami Attenberg (“The Middlesteins”). “It’s a fun thing to have them here.”

Indies First is the brainchild of Washington-based writer Sherman Alexie, who wrote an open letter in September urging writers to hand-sell their own books — and recommend their friends’ books — on “Small Business Saturday.”

“It’s the best part of the bookseller job, the part they are doing,” said Jessica Bagnulo, head of events at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, where Justin Torres (“We The Animals”) and others will be working. “Most authors are also passionate readers, so they love to talk about books. We’re not making them unpack boxes or anything.”

One Brooklyn author who has signed on for a shift said he is not intimidated by the holiday-shopping hordes.

“I faced down al-Qaeda in Iraq,” said fantasy novel author Myke Cole, who served overseas as a mercenary and paramilitary civilian for the Department of Defense. “I think I can handle a pushy customer or two.”

Bergen Street Comics and the Community Bookstore in Park Slope, and powerHouse Arena in Dumbo and South Slope, will join Word and Greenlight in the all-day event.

The authors say they are doing their part — now it is up to shoppers to join them by filling Christmas stockings with locally-penned literature this year.

“This is just my way of giving back for all the young writers who got their start at Word events,” said Brendan Jay Sullivan, who is the author of “Rivington Was Ours,” a memoir chronicling his friendship with Lady Gaga. “Brooklyn has a strong literary community, so what better way to shop than to ask the experts?”

“Indies First” at Bergen Street Comics [470 Bergen St. at Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 230–5600, www.bergenstreetcomics.com]. The Community Bookstore [143 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net]. powerHouse Arena [multiple locations, www.powerhousearena.com]. Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com]. Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton Street at South Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com]. Nov. 30.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.

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