Saturday, March 12, 2016

Independent Bookstore Day 2016

My very favorite holiday is Halloween. The only other celebration that comes close to that in my heart is fast approaching this year: Independent Bookstore Day. Every year, indie bookstores across the country partner with publishers, authors, and other entities to bring their supporters exclusive book-related products and exciting events that can't be found anywhere else, but that's just the surface of what Independent Bookstore Day is about.

Brick-and-mortar bookstores survive in a digital age not just because of the products they sell, but because of the community that they provide. Independent bookstores are centers not just of literary thought, but of new ideas, connections to people and resources, and the proliferation of a livelong love of books. At independent bookstores you can talk to a real person, with a real love for and knowledge of books, to find exactly what you're looking for even before you necessarily know what that is. It's one of the things that made me want to be a bookseller in the first place, walking into my neighborhood bookstore and talking with someone for a few minutes, to be handed the exact volume that I needed in my heart. That's an experience that you can't get by browsing through "People who bought this...." lists online, or by limiting yourself to the carefully curated shelves of chain bookstores that have their selections so closely dictated by politics and popularity.

Independent bookstores area community treasures, meccas of learning and exploration, places for children to learn and grow and for everyone to find something that calls to their hearts and minds. And the spirit of that isn't just in the books on the shelves; it's in the people who work there and act as catalysts for that magical experience of finding *just the right book.* Independent Bookstore Day celebrates that and encourages us to stop by our favorite bookstores for exclusive products and opportunities for special books and gifts that are not available anywhere else. Innumerable authors, beginning with Sherman Alexie (who helped found Indies First), will be appearing at their favorite local bookstores for readings, signings, and to promote not just their own books but their favorite books from other authors.

No lie, I look forward to Independent Bookstore Day every year. It does my little bibliophile heart so much good to be reminded that books are not dying; they're flourishing, thanks to independent bookstores and the people who support them. Call or visit your favorite local independent bookstore to see if they're one of the over 400 brick-and-mortar shops nationwide that will be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day this year with fabulous book products and events. And if you love the event, let others know! Word of mouth is part of the wonder of the community that can only be found in independent bookstores.

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