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Second Annual Independent Bookstore Day This Saturday

Independent Bookstore Day is coming to a bookseller near you this Saturday, May 2.

The event launched just last year as California Bookstore Day, but due to its massive success, it has expanded to include 400 independent booksellers across the country. The idea originally sprung from independent record stores’ annual Record Store Day, which began in 2008 and has led to record-breaking sales for indie record stores across the country. With California bookstores similarly seeing a one-day sales increase of more than $150,000, all nine regional bookseller associations decided to come together to make Independent Bookstore Day a nationwide event.

The day-long festivities will include author meet-and-greets, book readings, signings, storytime sessions, and more events for adults and children alike. Some shops will offer free food and drinks, giveaways, and special limited edition merchandise, including prints by David McCandless, Chris Ware, and Allie Brosh; signed chapbooks by Roxane Gay; tea towels; and more.

Many stores, we’ve noticed, are thinking outside the box. Community Bookstore in Brooklyn will be hosting a Mad Scientist Party with Jon Scieszka, San Francisco’s Green Apple Books on the Park will transform into a pop-up pirate shop, the Doylestown Bookshop in Pennsylvania will offer a teen writing class with YA author Rachel Tafoya, and twelve Chicago bookstores are teaming up and offering an exclusive Stuart Dybek story illustrated by Dmitry Samarov. Each store will have one part of the story, so shoppers will have to visit all twelve stores to collect the entire story (don’t worry, readers, you’ll have until June 3 to collect them all).

Other bookstores, such as Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, CO, are partnering with their local community businesses. In addition to a more traditional signed book giveaway, the store will have face painting for kids courtesy of RJ’s Amazing Entertainment in neighboring Loveland, CO.

Though the digital age has bred uncertainty for indies, these days there’s more and more to celebrate. Longtime pop-up store, Pages Bookshop in Detroit, will be hosting its grand opening at its new permanent home, while A Room of One’s Own in Madison, WI will be marking its 40th anniversary.

After last year’s success in California, the hope is that the event will encourage readers to visit and support their local indies, not just on Independent Bookstore Day, but every day.