Indie Bookstores of New York City

A blog about Independent Bookstores in NYC and how they are surviving in the digital age

Tag: American Booksellers Association

Independent Bookstore Day 2018

Saturday, April 28th was Independent Bookstore Day. In a prior post on the subject, I explored the event’s background and discussed some of its potential benefits for local bookstores. This year, however, I wanted to experience the event for myself.

2018’s Independent Bookstore Day was marked with the usual promotions designed to entice book-lovers such as exclusive items and one-day-only sales. The Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl, now in its third year, boasted more than 30 participating bookstores across the borough. New for 2018 was an official after party where Bookstore Crawl participants could mingle with local authors and bookstore employees. The entry fee? A receipt dated April 28, 2018 from any independent Brooklyn bookstore allowed admission to the event and granted attendees one grand prize raffle ticket. Additional receipts that met the same criteria also provided participants with raffle tickets. In other words, the more you shopped and supported your local bookstores, the better your chances of winning a gift basket of book-related goodies from “Out of Print.” Social media posts that utilized the #BKBOOKCRAWL hashtag and individual bookstore tags entered participants for a chance to win other prizes from book-related and Brooklyn-based companies including Bed-Vyne Brew, Brooklyn Museum, House of Yes, and Litographs.

In addition to the annual Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl, the Strand Bookstore and eleven other New York City-based independent bookstores collaborated to offer a multi-day, citywide scavenger hunt. Each participating store asked patrons to find items or complete various tasks at each location and post their efforts on social media with the hashtag #IndieBookstoreDayNYC. Participants that used the hashtag to document their scavenger hunt finds would be entered “for a chance to win bookish swag.” Although I was unable to visit all twelve bookstores on the list, I did have a chance to visit three of the participating stores – Book Culture on Columbus, the Strand, and McNally Jackson Soho – which I will discuss in three upcoming posts.

So now two key questions: 1) Did Independent Bookstore Day 2018 achieve its goal of creating “a one-day national party” that celebrates the diverse range of independent bookstores and the communities they inhabit? and 2) Did Independent bookstore day increase both awareness and sales for these local stores? Data from Instagram shows that posts using the #indiebookstoreday2018 hashtag were just over double the number of posts using the hashtag from the prior year, suggesting that awareness of the day, at least, did increase from last year. An article released by Publisher’s Weekly notes that “507 indies in 48 states” had plans to participate in 2018’s Independent Bookstore Day – a 5% increase from the prior year – and The American Booksellers Association published an article quoting their CEO, Oren Teicher who states that, “sales in the indie channel for the week of [Independent Bookstore Day] this year were up 9.54 percent over sales in the comparable week in 2017.”

These figures do suggest that Independent Bookstore Day is not only a growing “holiday,” but also an excellent way to increase store revenues. Special activities, like the scavenger hunt or bookstore crawl, both encourage sales and showcase the uniqueness of or “personality” of each store. The activities provide a means for participant exploration and immersion while also allowing bookstore patrons to experience the sense of community that these stores embody. I am curious to see how stores will choose to participate next year!

Sources:

Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl Logo from: https://www.bkbookcrawl.com

Publishers Weekly: “Independent Bookstore Day 2018: It’s a Holiday”

American Booksellers Association: “Fourth Independent Bookstore Day a Nationwide Hit”

IndieBound

Several of the bookstores I have visited so far, have had references to or advertisements for a website called IndieBound. Having never heard of this site before, I was curious as to how it connected with independent bookstores, and decided to do a bit of research.

IndieBound.org is an online network of independent bookstores across the country that was created by the American Booksellers Association. The purpose of the website is to demonstrate the importance of shopping locally and to provide a place where booklovers can search for independent bookstores in their communities. Although the website only shows the bookstores that are members of the American Booksellers Association, it does provide an extensive list that gives searching readers plenty of options to choose from.

The site also offers a couple other neat features including two lists – the Indie Next List and the Indie Bestsellers list – and a diagram demonstrating “how the growth of Amazon impacts you and your community.” The Indie Next list is published monthly and shows a selection of bookseller recommendations based on favorite books that have been sold in their stores. The Indie Bestseller List is published on a weekly basis and shows what is currently selling well in indie bookstores across the country.

Additionally, IndieBound allows readers to purchase books from the site in a couple of different ways that support the independent bookstore community. Book browsers have the option to search for a title and either purchase directly from the page in which case, “the sale will support the entire network of independent bookstores,” or shoppers have the option to enter a zip code, which allows readers to purchase the book from a local store. The website also provides a list of bookstores that have partnered with the e-reader company Kobo. Each name in the list is linked back to the stores home page where shoppers can sign up for a Kobo account and purchase Kobo e-books through the local bookstore.

Overall, this site is a great resource for both the bookstores and the readers as it creates a national online community. It connects readers to local stores that may have been previously undiscovered, and makes online shopping quick, simple, and supportive of local economies. I would definitely recommend perusing the site and their book lists. Happy shopping!

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Quoted Information from indiebound.org

Gif Source: Giphy.com

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