Skip to content

The Writing Life: Independent Bookstore Day

2016 April 26

The Writing LifeIBD logoChances are, if you’re reading this blog, you love books. Heck, I might even go as far as to say you’ll probably agree with me that independent bookstores are an essential resource for said books. If all of the above is true, then take note: Saturday, April 30th is Independent Bookstore Day (IBD). It’s a nationwide day, and the Twin Cities is celebrating for you locals, too.

Since this will be my first Independent Bookstore Day as a participant, I sat down with Robert Martin from Midwest Booksellers. He is a big local supporter, and helped with the passport for this year’s Twin Cities edition of Indie Bookstore Day (more on that passport later). He gave me some background context on this relatively new national day.

“It’s based on record store day,” Martin told me. “One day per year event, bookstores make limited edition items available and you can only buy it that day at participating stores.”

It started in northern California, and did so well that the campaign went national last year. The Twin Cities participated then, too, and activities have increased this year.

The limited edition items available on IBD are pretty enticing to a literary nerd like myself. You can find the full list on the Indie Bookstore page (scroll down on the home page), but a few highlights: Neil Gaiman Coloring Book, Anthony Bourdain’s Perfect Burger Print, an exclusive numbered signed version of Kate DiCamillo’s newest book Raymie Nightingale…and the list goes on. Locally, there will be a few extra limited editions treats available, such as a letterpress broadside from Coffee House Press. These are things you can only purchase in person, at these bookstores, on this one specific day.

“I think of it as a way to reward people who already shop at independent bookstore, people who love books, people who love specific authors, and like getting into the collecting side of things,” said Martin.

But more than the prizes, each participating bookstore will be having their own little party to celebrate. Martin told me that “The items are the main draw, but really it’s just a day, if you like books if you like having bookstores in your town, then go to a bookstore that day […] it lets them know you support them. The more people show up to these things, the more fun it is.”

Why in Minneapolis? It’s the “first time stores have really worked together to showcase how huge bookselling is in our cities, and it’s a huge part of our cultural identity that I hope a lot of people recognize,” said Martin.

Ok, so now you know how awesome this day will be; but what about the logistics of the thing? It’s easy: you can find participating bookstores in your city here. If you’re in the Twin Cities, go to one of the participating bookstores, and you’ll get a couple Minnesota-specific items: a IBD passport (produced by the participating bookstores), and a Twin Cities indie bookstore map (produced by Moon Palace Books). The passport images are by artist Kevin Cannon, and make the passport itself something to treasure. With those items in hand, you can plan your route. If you go to all 10 participating stores and get your passport stamped at each, you’ll get gift cards to each and every store. PRETTY AMAZING, right?

For Twin Citians, participating bookstores are: Birchbark BooksCommon Good BooksDaybreak Global Press BookshopDreamHavenMagers & Quinn BooksellersMoon Palace BooksPaperback ExchangeRed Balloon BookshopSubtext Books, and Wild Rumpus.

For more information on what each Twin Cities bookstore will be doing, visit their Facebook pages or websites; but also, here are two great round-up articles from the Star Tribune here and MPR here (which also talks about participating bookstores in greater Minnesota).

Bottom line: go to your favorite bookstore and see what they’re up to. Chances are, you’ll get to join in a literary love-fest, nab some exclusive items, and support your local indie bookstore community. Twin Cities folks, I’ll see you out there!


Comments are closed.