WESTERLY — Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly and Bank Square Books in Mystic are taking part in "Boxed Out," a campaign launched by the American Booksellers Association to "draw attention to the high stakes indie bookstores face this holiday season in the age of Amazon and COVID-19," according to Anastasia Soroko, the events and marketing manager for both bookstores, "and to encourage customers to #ShopIndie."

"When you buy a book from Savoy or Bank Square Books it does not come in a box; it comes with care and a love of reading, often personally curated and chosen for you by one of our impassioned booksellers," said Annie Philbrick, owner of the bookshops. "We do not use algorithms in our store. We use our minds to curate our selection of titles for you to discover."

Bank Square Books has created window displays featuring “Boxed Out” display posters and signage with the goal of drawing awareness to the campaign in the hopes that it will spark a conversation about shopping local at all businesses within the community, Soroko said.

According to the booksellers association, 20 percent of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing.

"People may not realize the cost and consequences of 'convenience' shopping until it's too late," association CEO Allison K. Hill said in a statement. "More than one indie bookstore a week has closed since the COVID-19 crisis began." 

“Boxed Out” was designed by DCX Growth Accelerator, the agency behind the “Palessi” prank for Payless shoes, which was one of the biggest activations of 2019 and won it the Silver Agency of the Year award from AdAge. This campaign’s signature “Boxed Out” installations are located in New York at McNally Jackson in Manhattan; Café con Libros, Community Bookstore and Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn; Book Soup in West Hollywood; and Solid State in Washington, D.C.

"A Small Business Majority survey in August indicated that without additional funding, 26 percent of small business owners will not survive past the next three months, and nearly one in five say they won’t make it longer than four to six more months," the statement said.

Choosing a locally owned business generates three times as much economic benefit for the local region as shopping at a chain, according to a study by the American Independent Business Alliance. The 2019 Civic Economics “Prime Numbers” study reported that approximately 28 percent of all revenue of indie bookstores immediately recirculates in the local economy. 

In a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed, Hill said, "The same way our votes in the upcoming election will shape our country’s future, where we spend our money this holiday season will determine the communities we find ourselves in come 2021."

Founded in 1900, the American Booksellers Association is a national not-for-profit trade organization that works to help independently owned bookstores grow and succeed.

"Our 1,750 bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods," Hill said.

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