FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Alyza Harris, publicist (617) 630-0945

March 9, 2000

"I Love My Independent Bookstore Because..." CONTEST ANNOUNCED

(BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS) -- In today's world of publishing, with a select number of large, established players who dominate the field, it's often hard for a small independent publisher to make itself known. Once in a while it happens because of a superior title. Sometimes it's luck. And sometimes it's sheer grit. With only one title currently to its credit, (The Infertility Diet: Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage) Peanut Butter and Jelly Press of Newton Massachusetts is going for grit.

This week, the plucky house announced the first ever "Independent Bookstore Contest." In a move designed to attract the attention of independent booksellers across the country, Peanut Butter and Jelly Press is offering a monthly prize (a $50 bookstore gift certificate) for the best answer to the phrase: "I Love My Independent Bookstore Because..." Customers like the contest because of the prize; indies like it because, in addition to providing an easy opportunity to harvest names for a mailing list, it reminds their customers that there are subtle elements that the chains and the web can't provide.

"We feel a strong sense of obligation to give something back to the independent bookstores that handsell our book," says publicist Alyza Harris in discussing the motivation for running the contest. "Although the chains and Amazon are selling a lot of books for us [The Infertility Diet: Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage ranked 2,000 last week on Amazon's bestseller list] we're underdogs, and our hearts are with the underdogs; we want to see the small indies flourish." But the other motivation is "Guerilla marketing is cheaper than advertising. We can't afford to compete by buying advertising. But we can afford faxes."

The small family-owned publishing house has approached book marketing with a quirky, off-the-wall style from the beginning. "We went to the GLBA, and instead of renting a booth, which we really just couldn't afford, we handed out fortune cookies from a basket near the door." The fortune cookies--whose slogan said, "Wise man say, Sell Infertility Diet book and make fortune -- and many baby"--were gobbled up by hundreds of independent booksellers, many of whom then ordered the book. "When you don't have money to do book marketing the traditional way, you need to get creative," said Harris. "The book's been featured in major magazines, it's been reviewed in Library Journal, it's been on Fox Television News. None of that takes money--just time and energy."

And Peanut Butter and Jelly Press has overcome many of the obstacles that usually prevent the small publishers from getting into the bookstores. In business only five months, their books are now carried by Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Borders, Barnes and Noble, New Leaf, BookPeople, Amazon, Quality, Unique, and NutraBooks/Royal. "It's just a game," says Harris. "Mostly it's cracking your head against the wall until you get through. And we all have pretty thick heads."

Independent bookstores that would like to participate in the contest can contact Peanut Butter and Jelly Press at ,, or by faxing (617)630-0945.


Win $50 in Free Books!

Feeling witty? Poignant? Wickedly clever?

Enter the
"I love my Independent Bookstore because..."
contest and win!

"Because the chains all look the same."

"Because you can't leaf through and get a feel for books on Amazon."

"Because my local bookstore lets me curl up and read in peace!"

Tell us why you love your local independent bookstore. (No novels here, please--15 words or fewer. We'll let you start with "because"...) Be clever. Be heartwarming. Be as un-chainlike as possible. Be much funnier than we have. (We weren't trying to win this contest--we own it.)


If you're this month's national winner, you get $50 in books, your choice! (You also get your name and clever quote displayed in participating cozy independent bookstores nationwide, so that friends can point and say, "Don't they have anything better to do than enter silly contests?")


Love, the folks at Peanut Butter and Jelly Press, publishers of The Infertility Diet: Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage, producers of The Publishing Game, a unique conference for writers and small publishers (, and sponsors of this here contest.

(Download printable Microsoft Word97 ".doc" file of this press release, including the contest poster -- 44kb)