Indies at the Airport: Ink by Hudson and its Promises

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Every time I fly, I’m amazed at how many people are reading. I probably see more books on planes and in terminals than anywhere else outside of a library.



It’s not just books, either. People read print magazines and newspapers too. It doesn’t really make sense, if you think about it—who wants to add weight to their carry-on bag? Digital reading material only takes up as much space as your Kindle, but travelers are happy to stuff their bags with books and magazines to read during their flights.



Whatever the reason, print is alive and well at the airport. And so booksellers are alive and well there, too. Newsstands have vanished from the sidewalks of American cities, and the future of brick-and-mortar bookstores is always in question, but Hudson Newsstands and Hudson Booksellers continue to open in airports all over the world.



For such a large corporation, Hudson is surprisingly Indie-friendly. They promote Indie bestsellers on their website. Their purchasing options link to Indie Bound, not Amazon. They carry books by small and Indie presses. They style themselves as a corporate anti-Amazon, with “no impersonal algorithms.”



It’s strange to see an enormous, international franchise with over 450 bookstores espouse Indie values. Barnes and Noble was never so welcoming.



Now, Hudson is taking things a step further with their new bookstore chain, Ink by Hudson. These Indie-style airport bookstores will stock books by regional publishers and showcase local authors. So far, there are only two Ink storefronts, in Dallas and the Tucson Airport. Next year, one will open in our very own RDU.



What will this mean for local writers and small presses like us?



Indie authors still struggle to gain mainstream recognition. Their books often have to reach a minimum sales threshold for brick-and-mortar stores to even consider them. Self-published authors have a harder time, and even some Indie bookstores won’t stock their books.



While it’s nice to see large corporations like Hudson embracing Indie ideals, it remains to be seen how much us little guys will really be included.



Will we really see small-press and self-published books on airport shelves next to mainstream bestsellers? I certainly hope so.



What do you think of Ink by Hudson and its promises? How effective do you think their Indie-outreach will be?


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