It's coming! In just a few short days we'll be celebrating one of my favorite days. Independent Bookstore Day! Like any job, sometimes I can lose sight of what's important. Especially as a store manager, it's easy for me to forget that I work in a bookstore at all. Payroll, store maintenance, inventory, vacation requests; sometimes I go days without even touching a book. And as a gift buyer, it often seems I know more about socks and coffee mugs than I do about Jessamyn Ward or Jane Austen. When I start to feel this way, something usually comes along to remind me that I really do work in one of my favorite places on earth. Sometimes it's a conversation with a customer who shares similar reading tastes. Sometimes it's watching a coworker meet a favorite author. This week it's Independent Bookstore Day.
What started a few years ago in California as a celebration of bookstores analogous to Record Store Day has become a nationwide event for all indie bookstores. Exclusive merchandise, author readings, treats, prizes, and more; every store and region celebrates differently. Here in the Seattle area, for the last few years, several indies have banded together to host the Bookstore Day Challenge. Hit your favorite bookstore, grab a passport, and collect stamps at other participating stores for a chance to win great prizes. This year, if you collect three stamps, you'll receive a 30% off coupon for an entire purchase at the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day bookstore of your choice. Collect all 19 stamps and become an Indie Bookstore Day Champion. Champions receive a discount card good for 25% off all purchases at all participating stores for the entire year. And each store will be hosting their own individual festivities. At Third Place Books, we'll be featuring prize wheels, treasure hunts, story times, blind date with a book, photo booths, fundraisers, and an instagram contest. Head over to the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day website for more info, and links to all 19 participating stores.
The Seattle Indie Bookstore Day passport challenge is now in its third year and it's really what makes the day special for us. For those wanting to complete the passport challenge, they must visit all participating bookstores, which means that we invariably see people who have never been in our stores before. And that's the real joy. Seeing all these bibliophiles and local business enthusiasts is like a shot in the arm. Reminding us why we do what we do. It's your enthusiasm that feeds our enthusiasm. So, come celebrate with us.
And until Saturday, I'll leave you with this quote from the National Independent Bookstore Day Website:
"Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.
In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year. And they are at your service."