April 30, 2015

Here’s what’s happening across the country on Indie Bookstore Day


IBD-hi_res_vertYou may have heard about Independent Bookstore Day, the inevitable and fantastic nationwide expansion of the previously Californian celebration of indie bookstores, booksellers, and all they represent. But do you know what’s happening in your region? Or which exclusive items are available for purchase?

If not, good news: here’s a sampling of the many amazing events and sales going on across every region of the country this Saturday, 5/2/15. If you don’t see your local indie here, check their website to see what’s going on.

(Note: if you’re an indie bookseller and your store has some incredible plans for Indie Bookstore Day, email me at [email protected] and we’ll spread the word as far as we can!)

EAST COAST: As usual, our very own New York City has a massive amount of bookstore goings-on; here are a few highlights, with a more comprehensive rundown available here.

WORD, Brooklyn, NY: They’re kicking the day off with their original book group, which meets at noon to discuss Mark Doten’s The Infernal. The lively romance book group meets at 2:45 to discuss Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke. In between, at 1:30 pm, there’s a presentation from Ann Morgan on her book The World Between Two Covers, which details her quest to read one book, fiction or memoir, from every country of the world over the course of a year. (Damn, that’s a good idea.)

And at 5:00 PM, there’s the All Books Book Group and happy hour, where you can grab a glass of wine and talk to fellow readers about whatever you’ve been reading! RSVP encouraged, but not required.

The Strand, New York, NY:  Kate Gavino from Last Night’s Reading will be doing portraits! And for parents, never fear; the Strand is providing kids programming (Elmo is visiting!). And if you don’t already know, there’s a limited time sale on all Americana titles (30% off) through May 3rd. On a personal note: I used to shelve that section, and I can tell you, it’s just gems as far as the eye can see.

Bookstore Jeopardy at Eight Cousins.

Bookstore Jeopardy at Eight Cousins.

Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA: Fun for kids and grownups alike! For the adults, a Bookstore Jeopardy competition featuring categories like  Heroes/Heroines, Seaworthy Books, Classics, and Quotations—win prizes or discounts! And for the kiddos, there’s Garden Storytime, featuring titles by the inimitable Kevin Henkes and Kadir Nelson.

Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, MA: In the evening they will be hosting James Wood, and full list of events is here. However, the centerpiece of their celebration will be a large display of our booksellers’ “Biographies in Books.” 20-something of our staffers each picked three or four books that flesh out a pieces of their bookish biographies. They’ll have hand-written descriptions about why each book was such a piece of our lives, and those will be prnted on bookmarks that will be part of the display. Keep an eye on @HarvardBooks with #bookstore leading up to throughout Saturday.

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA: Follow the #IBDPSB hashtag right now to see what Porter Square has going on; you can also check out their events listing, their exclusive sale items, and possibly most importantly their collection of intimate, in-depth profiles of the hard-working booksellers who will be making all this happen, aka the Libromancers of Independent Bookstore Day.

Politics & Prose/Busboys & Poets, Washington DC: So much going on. SO much! There’s early children’s storytimes, free mimosas and pastries, a local author brunch (it’s DC, so you should expect some heavy hitters), Literary Costume Contest, an open mic, authors moonlighting as booksellers, and a veritable container ship of limited edition titles and merch including a Literary Map of the Seas! And so much more: a detailed itinerary is here, and the Facebook invite is here, and if you live even remotely close to DC you should click either or both of this links.

Kramerbooks, Washington, DC: The intrepid crew at Kramerbooks are offering a raffle, where anyone who spends $25 dollars in the store gets entered to win a Kramerbooks Bag o’ Swag, featuring a t-shirt, pint glass, and other special prizes. They’ll also be running a poll featuring past Kramerbooks t-shirt designs, where you can vote for your favorite. The winner will be reprinted as the next official shirt, and all respondents will be entered to win one of the new/old shirts! (And as an aside, Kramerbooks is easily the store with my favorite promotional temporary tattoos.)

Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC: Cake! Giveaways! Art projects for kids! (10:30 am for 3-5 year olds; 3:30 pm for 6-10 year olds). And of course, in-store drawings for special prizes from 10 am – 8 pm; winners gets to choose prizes from all the gifts available and must be present to choose, so plan your strategy!  Here’s just some of the prizes:

  • A signed broadside of The Yellow Throated Warbler from Wendell Berry
  • 2 Litograph prints : 1 each of the Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice.


Chicago has a dedicated website for all their literary goings-on here, and you can follow them on social media with #CIBD2015.

Open Bookstore, Chicago, IL: Book giveaways throughout the day, and at 1PM there’s a cheesecake tasting and book signing (The New Chicago Diner Cookbook) with Jo A. Kaucher and Micky Hornick from The Chicago Diner. Stick around to meet authors Ross Ritchell, Sara Connell, and Leslie Parry, who will be greeting people and making book recommendations in the store.

Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago, IL: Oh, get ready. It’s Not just the limited edition Chicago Independent Bookstore Day chapbook that they’re collaborating with the rest of the CIBD bookseller gang on. There’s also tons of raffles, giveaways and special discounts throughout the store.  One particular raffle bundle to go for is a collection of the staff’s current favorite novels (including The Ghost Network!).  Because this year also marks Unabridged Bookstore’s 35th birthday, they’re offering 10% off on Ed Devereux’s 100 favorite books from 35 years of bookselling.  They’ve also created a special display of the staff’s favorite Chicago novels (including, of course, The Ghost Network) for the day, and those will also  be 10% off.

And there’s more, and it’s delicious; signings and samples from the Hoosier Mama Pie Company, plus homemade cookies!  Aleksandar Hemon will be stopping by to sign early release copies of his new novel. Chicago, I envy you.

The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL: Basically, it’s going to be a huge party. All day long guest authors will be on hand to discuss their work and recommend their favorite writers. The store will feature raffle prizes, giveaways, refreshments, and special books, artwork, and other limited-edition items only offered at independent bookstores on this day.

In addition, the Children’s Department will also feature guest authors, giveaways and a brand new edition of the Teen Reviewer Newsletter. They’re also hosting a food truck outside the store all day in case you get hungry.

The Twin Cities is filled with great indies, and they're all here in one handy map.

The Twin Cities is filled with great indies, and they’re all here in one handy map.

Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN: Get up early. Download this map of Twin Cities bookstores (made by Moon Palace Books). Show up at Common Good and grab one of the two pairs of free passes for Nice Ride, the city’s bike sharing program. Fuel up on free coffee and donuts and get started, because there’s a lot of ground to cover – but don’t miss the walking tour of the city’s Little Free Libraries! A comprehensive write-up of the Twin Cities Indie Bookstore Day citywide extravaganza, via the Star-Tribune, can be found here.

Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX: We’ve got something happening every two hours on Saturday. Our Drunk Coloring Party will be the highlight (I expect). We’ll be selling copies of HEMINGWASTED, their original coloring book, and serving free beer and wine from Saint Arnold Brewery and Beviamo wine merchant. The party starts at 2pm and they’ll be tagging pictures on Twitter with #hemingwasted.

Murder By The Book, Houston, TX: Come by at 4:30 for an event featuring two local authors, Joy Preble and Meredith Moore, and stay for the discounts; it’s 20% off all items in the store if you’re a Murder By The Book Irregular (i.e. their frequent buyer program.)

Tattered Cover, Denver, CO: Denver has a lot going for it as a city, so consider Tattered Cover’s existence as an example of lily-gilding; Saturday’s festivities are sure to cement it as the city you wish you were in right now. Check their website for author events, storytimes, unique activities and games, and exclusive products, and know this: all Tattered Cover logo gear will be 25% off for the day, and guests will receive a FREE Tattered Cover reusable shopping bag with every purchase of $50.00 or more.


Alaska: You’re in luck, Alaska, because IBD is happening all over your fair state. Whether you’re at Fireside Books in Palmer, Hearthside Books in  Juneau, or Parnassus Books in Ketckikan, you’ll be able to hear live music, attend author panels and readings, and partake in delicious food and very strong coffee.

Available from many participants, including Logos Books & Records.

Available from many participants, including Logos Books & Records.

Logos Books & Records, Santa Cruz, CA: Logos is selling two of the gorgeous signed limited edition print from Chris Ware’s Building Stories, among other goodies. Don’t drag your feet getting there, they’ll go fast!

Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR: Come by for hourly drawings, scavenger hunts for kids and adults, snacks and beverages, and more! Along with limited edition Independent Bookstore books and merchandise they’ve also partnered with their next-door neighbors The Craft Factory, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday, they’ll be offering book-themed craft sessions and story times.


Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA: There’s a lot of in-store events, of course, but guess what: John Waters have given Green Apple, and Green Apple alone, a free print of to give away at both of their stores on Saturday! It’s got that thing he said about books written on it. You know the thing I’m talking about.

John Waters loves you and you love him - available for purchase at Green Apple Books.

John Waters loves you and you love him – available for purchase at Green Apple Books.


Liam O'Brien is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.