Bookstores don’t ordinarily accept library cards as a legitimate form of payment. But the controversy that pitted Toronto Councillor Doug Ford against Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood earlier this week -- and thrust possible cuts to the city’s libraries into the spotlight -- has prompted one major bookseller to do just that.
From July 27 to 31, Indigo Books & Music Inc. is offering library card-carrying customers a 30 per cent discount on Margaret Atwood titles.
Janet Eger, Indigo’s vice-president of public relations, says the Canada-wide promotion was a bid to capitalize on headline news. “We saw this being a very unique opportunity for Indigo to celebrate our grassroots customers [and] express our support for libraries.” (Full disclosure: Indigo CEO Heather Reisman is an editor-at-large at The Huffington Post Canada.)
The politically charged discount, which is being promoted through the Indigo Events Twitter account, plays off of the outrage that was sparked when Ford dismissed Atwood’s lobbying efforts to save public libraries--as well as the author herself.
“Good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don’t even know her,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “She could walk right by me, and I wouldn’t have a clue who she is.”
Indigo’s tweet includes a link to a CBC story with a photo of Atwood, and reads: “Know this woman? Indigo loves libraries! Thru Jul.31 show your library card in-store for 30% off.”
According to Eger, the response from consumers has so far been “outstanding.”
“We have had hundreds of retweets,” she says. “Margaret Atwood’s books are flying off the shelves.”
Despite the political overtones, Eger says the campaign is merely “an extension of what we do on a regular basis” in terms of “supporting literacy initiatives in Canada.”
And if the company boosts sales in the meantime, well, that’s not such a bad thing either.