This year, independent bookstores around the country are planning to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, August 29. In addition to promoting a range of virtual events, some bookstores will also be holding socially distant celebrations in-person.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many stores are currently prioritizing e-commerce sales. Booksellers with IndieCommerce or IndieLite sites can find a webinar on BookWeb.org that looks at adding Bookstore Day products to store sites, creating booklists, creating custom products, and more.
Regardless of how and where the day is being spent, many indies are looking forward to participating in the nationwide celebration. DL Mullen, PhD, owner of Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois, told Bookselling This Week that this year, her store will be hosting a special event.
“Our store will be celebrating by hosting our #ClearTheShelves initiative and getting literature into the hands of students who need it the most,” said Mullen. “We’re choosing to celebrate because we’re still afloat and THAT deserves a party!”
Old Town Books in Alexandria, Virginia, is also excited to celebrate with the store’s local community, said Program & Partnerships Coordinator Amanda Robinson. “Especially in these times, we are acutely aware of the power of getting lost in a book, both to escape reality and gain new perspectives,” Robinson noted. “Independent Bookstore Day gives us a chance to continue to reconnect in person with our fellow bookworms and share our gratitude that we continue to be here throughout this pandemic.”
Old Town Books will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET to four customers at a time and will have plenty of merchandise and balloons for all.
Jennifer Massotti, general manager at Barrington Books in Barrington, Rhode Island, told BTW that Independent Bookstore Day is her store’s most favorite day of the year.
“Despite the many challenges and obstacles impacting small businesses, we try to celebrate the four C’s in all that we do. IBD is yet another way to celebrate our commitment to community and earn the trust of our loyal customers.”
In addition to selling exclusive IBD merchandise and other in-store festivities, Barrington Books will be celebrating virtually as well. They will be asking customers to send shelf talkers, which will allow the store to showcase customer recommendations long after IBD. Additionally, all online orders placed on August 29 will be entered into a drawing for cool Barrington Books gear.
“It’s a special time to be a locally owned, independent bookstore,” Massotti said. “We look forward to sharing the spotlight with the communities we serve.”
Many stores have taken to social media to share their plans for the upcoming weekend. Here are just some of the ways indie bookstores are planning to mark the day:
- Charis Books & More in Decatur, Georgia, will be celebrating on the store’s front porch with Bookstore Day merch, staff picks, bumper stickers, and lapel pins.
- An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Massachusetts, will be offering customers a blind date with a book. The store will also host author Allison Crotzer Kimmel and illustrator Joanie Stone to launch their book Unbeatable Betty.
- Duende District in Washington, D.C., and Mil Mundos Bookstore in Bushwick, New York, are partnering to present “A Summer of Latinx Romance,” which will include a panel featuring Priscilla Oliveras, Mia Sosa, Alexis Daria, Adriana Herrera, and Sabrina Sol. The event will be hosted by Mariana Huerta of Latinas Leyendo.
- Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, is unpacking new releases and other titles to prepare for their celebration.
- Split Rock Books in Cold Spring, New York, will be giving away books to customers who order $50 or more of in-stock items.
- Hartfield Book Co. in Monticello, Illinois, will be celebrating with merchandise, giveaways, prizes, activities, and more.
- Cellar Door Books in Riverside, California, is asking customers to share memories, order unboxings, book club happenings, and story time pictures with the store on social media.
- Bookworks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will be selling exclusive merchandise on its e-commerce website.
- Third House Books in Gainesville, Florida, will be hosting poet Ashley Iguanta for a reading of her chapbook, The Island, The Mountain, & The Nightblooming Field.
Visit the Independent Bookstore Day website to learn more about the annual event.