Independent Bookstore Day Postponed but Celebrating Virtually This Month

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Independent Bookstore Day logoDue to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), Independent Bookstore Day (IBD), the national celebration of independent bookstores, will now take place on Saturday, August 29, 2020. The new date remains tentative as IBD and the American Booksellers Association monitor the situation.

While Bookstore Day is now planned for August, booksellers are invited to celebrate virtually during the week of April 19–25 using the hashtag #VirtualBookstoreParty.

To amplify your store’s online presence and attract customers, here are some ideas:

  • ´╗┐Post on each social media platform every day, and multiple times a day on Twitter.

  • Ready your website

    • Optimize it now for online sales.
    • Feature a large banner on your landing page that tells customers how to order. Make sure to let them know about shipping or delivery rates, when they can expect books, etc.
    • Include information on how to subscribe to your newsletter and how to keep up with the store via social channels. Make this information front and center and easy to find.
    • Don’t have the time or resources for a website right now? Direct customers (through social media, your newsletter, or through a sign in your store’s window) to shop through Bookshop.org to support indies.
  • Participate in the April 21 indie-only release of IBD exclusive Renee Watson’s Ways to Make Sunshine.

    • Booksellers are allowed to sell this title regardless of whether or not you ordered it for IBD. All orders will ship to customers directly from Ingram.
    • Make sure it’s on your site (it’s in Ingram’s feed and on Edelweiss).
    • Ready-to-go social media graphics are available here.
    • Versions you can edit for your store are here.
    • Use the hashtag #makesunshine.
    • Bloomsbury will also have a video from Renee to share.
    • Create interaction with prompts like, “How are you making sunshine right now?” Invite customers to post positivity.
  • Plan your #VirtualBookstoreParty

    • Think about unique games and events that can be conducted virtually.
    • Invite people to submit themed reading lists of 8-10 titles. Pick your three favorites and post them (or all of them) on Saturday. Offer prizes.
    • Announce a Twitter game. Challenge people to come up with 10 novels with titles that start with W (or whatever). First person to post a correct response wins a prize. Do different ones throughout the day.
    • Do a follower giveaway. Rules: follow your page and tag two people in the comments (Voila! It gets passed around). Pick a random winner (prize should be a relatively big one).
    • Plan online events via Zoom or Instagram

      • Can a local author volunteer to read or do story hour through a Zoom?
      • Can a teacher or writer lead a writing workshop online? 
      • Hold an online book club.
      • Do a “readers introduce” event where everyone who shows up gets one minute to talk about a favorite book. Pick a winning pitch and send the winner a prize.
    • Share a scavenger hunt, book bingo, or other game that kids and/or grown-ups can do from home.
    • Do drawings for tote bags.
    • Post activities or game cards on your Facebook page and encourage customers to share answers via your social channels. 
    • Offer a one-day only incentive for web orders (free shipping, 15 percent off, etc.)
    • Adapt some common bookstore themes for shelter-in-place 
    • Bookstore cats can now be home-library cats (ask customers to post their home-library cat on your Facebook page)
    • Challenge your customers to post a #bookshelfie and tag your store in the post
    • Post a photo of a customer’s short book review with the book’s cover
    • Let your imagination run wild!

Here are some other important updates:

  • Booksellers can amend or cancel their orders of IBD exclusives before May 1. Note that all exclusives have already been printed and produced according to booksellers’ original orders. This applies only to the exclusive items coming from Ingram and does not include totes, T-shirts, or bookmarks.
  • Booksellers can check their IBD order on iPage (it will show as backordered) and email Independent Bookstore Day with changes. Include your Ingram number, store name, the ISBN for each changed item, and the new total. If you originally ordered 10 of something and want to change it to 5, just put 5 next to the title and ISBN.
  • Booksellers who missed the original order deadline and still want to place an order of the exclusives for the August 29 celebration can use the order form (also on indiebookstoreday.com); accommodations will be made as best as possible. See the 2020 catalog here.
  • No IBD orders will ship from Ingram until the beginning of August and booksellers will not be billed until it ships. Note: Shea Serrano’s basketball book has been postponed and Renee Watson’s Ways to Make Sunshine goes on sale for indies only on April 21, a week before its official pub date; IBD will be able to direct ship this title via Ingram and/or Bookshop. Bookmarks and tote bags are no longer available.
  • Updated hoodies and T-shirts are available for order; the design by 3Fish Studios is remaining but the date has changed to simply read 2020.

Visit the Independent Bookstore Day website to learn more about the annual event; the “For the Trade” section includes a handy month-by-month planning guide, bookseller info and FAQs, and more. Watch Bookselling This Week in the coming weeks for more information about Independent Bookstore Day, or sign up for the IBD newsletter.