Independent Bookstore Day Shares Virtual Events and Party Ideas

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Independent Bookstore Day logo

This year’s Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) will take place on Saturday, August 29, and bookstores across the country will be celebrating virtually and, on occasion, in-person.

IBD has created a list of party and event ideas for booksellers to take advantage of, including:


  • Offer a small prize to anyone who posts a picture of themselves in front of your store and tags you and #bookstoreday2020
  • Enter anyone who posts a picture of themselves in front of your store and tags you and #bookstoreday2020 into a drawing for a bigger prize (A private shopping hour for them and five friends? A gift certificate? Three months in your book of the month club? An IBD tote filled with galleys?)
  • Offer a drawing for prizes for people who post photos of books bought on IBD or pose in a special IBD Instagram frame
  • Use your website! Anyone who orders at least $25 worth of books from your site on IBD will automatically be entered into a drawing or receive a secret gift in their package
  • Create an online scavenger hunt (or use the one we created); enter all winners into a drawing
  • Create a visual trivia game using author photos

Socially distanced in-person:

  • Use your outdoor space
  • Use a prize wheel — anyone who buys an IBD exclusive gets to spin for a prize. Have a staff member do the spinning to avoid contact
  • Provide slates or small white boards for customers to write the title of their autobiographies. If they post and tag you, give them a prize
  • Hang butcher paper over your window and have customers write what they love about bookstores on it
  • If you have lines out the door due to limited capacity, have a staff member facilitate a trivia game for people waiting (offer small prizes like stickers or bookstore merch to all correct answers). Bonus: you can reuse the questions throughout the day
  • Offer packaged treats like mini candy bars instead of shared food. Canned wine is better than you might think!
  • Have sign-ups or appointments for special activities, like stencil-based poster making, bookmark making, book collages, mask embroidery, etc.
  • If you are not open at all on IBD, consider offering tickets for private, masked shopping hours. A $50 ticket is $50 toward books. People miss you and will pay to browse a bookstore.

As booksellers schedule events, they’re encouraged to let IBD know for publicity purposes.

An update on orders

Orders are now closed. Orders placed in the winter (for the original date in April) are still valid (it will show as “backordered” on iPage). Items will ship from Tennessee in mid-August. Items can be displayed as soon as they are received and sold in-store starting August 29; they can be sold online beginning August 19.

Virtual events for August 29

Stores can promote the following events in honor of Independent Bookstore Day (links to come):

  • Amor Towles, 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Contributors to Alone Together: Love, Grief and Comfort During the Time of COVID-19 (to benefit the Book Industry Charitable Foundation), 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Plus events with Sean Doolittle, Lauren Groff, Emma Straub, Tayari Jones, Renee Watson, and Lisa Brown

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.