For just the second year ever, the Square Books family of stores will be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, April 30.
Founded in 2014 by a partnership between San Francisco booksellers and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, Independent Bookstore Day looks to build off the successful model of Record Store Day: drawing locals out to independent shops in search of limited-run items from major publishers and authors.
“The whole purpose is that we want to raise people’s awareness about independent bookstores,” explains Alissa Lilly, marketing assistant at Square Books. “It’s going to be a festive, fun day.”
Among the items available this year are a $6 story from Ann Patchett, a burger-recipe print from Anthony Bourdain, and a zippered pouch featuring notable bookstore cats from Out of Print. Some selections for kids include a Curious George plush doll, a Neil Gaiman coloring book, and a special signed and numbered edition of a new novel from Newberry Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo. None of these items will be available for purchase in national chains or online.
Stores like Square Books will also bring individual, local touches to the national event.
“We’re having this really fun thing called Ask-An-Author Booth,” says Lilly. “We’re going to have about eight local authors come and sit in a booth [and] they will answer any question that you have. It could be about their books, your book, ‘should I keep dating this guy?’ or, ‘tell me what you think about the ozone layer.’”
“We will be having refreshments throughout the day,” she adds. “At some point in the afternoon we’ll bring out a special beverage.”
Square Books will also be carrying a limited-edition t-shirt, based on the “All Are Welcome” posters on display in all three stores in response to Mississippi House Bill 1523. Other events include mark-downs on new and used books at Off-Square Books, as well as freebies and giveaways at all the stores.
“It’s a way for the regulars to come celebrate with us,” says Lilly, “but it’s also a way to raise awareness with the general population, and maybe entice some new customers.”