May 24, 2017
A Louisville independent bookstore breaks its yearly sales record — in one day
by Ryan Harrington
Booksellers being the best kind of humans, this must be the best kind of human interest story:
Last week, Shea Serrano—staffer at The Ringer, mega-bestseller, and scores-of-twitter-followers-haver—whipped the collective might of his online fans into a book-buying frenzy. He did so by challenging his followers to place 1,000 orders with the Louisville independent bookstore Carmichael’s.
According to Jeffrey Lee Puckett’s recap in USA Today, “It took less than five hours, and Carmichael’s is still scrambling to keep up. More than 1,100 orders were placed by 5 p.m. Wednesday, exceeding the roughly 1,000 Web orders that Carmichael’s normally gets in a year.”
Serrano is part of the FOH Army, a diffuse group of online do-gooders with a diverse portfolio of charitable projects. Last week’s “1k in a Day” tweet marked the first of what may be many FOH Indie Bookstore Appreciation drives. FOH stands for “Fuck Outta Here,” for some reason.
Something else that might need explaining is why a Houston-based author would lead the charge in promoting a Louisville bookstore. This I might have a better grasp on. An employee of Carmichael’s had written Serrano, wondering why the author had only linked to banana chauvinist / retail bully Amazon in an earlier, unrelated tweet. Coming, as it did from a bookseller, the message was polite and well-reasoned, and so Serrano felt inspired to mobilize the Army to support Carmichael’s. [A note to authors: we do everything you tell us to, so link elsewhere every chance you get.]
As a bonus, the bookstore beneficiary of FOH’s largesse will be shipping all of those orders out free of charge… however long that takes.
Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.