Indies Prepare to Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day Virtually, In-Person

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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.IBD logo

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many stores are currently prioritizing e-commerce sales. Booksellers with IndieCommerce or IndieLite sites can find a webinar on 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.”

The team at Semicolon Bookstore preparing for their #ClearTheShelves event.
The team at Semicolon Bookstore preparing for their #ClearTheShelves event.

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:

Visit the Independent Bookstore Day website to learn more about the annual event.