April 30, 2016 marked the date of the third annual Independent Bookstore Day.
What is Independent Bookstore Day? According to TimeOut Magazine, during this event “participating [bookstores] will offer special perks to customers for one day only, including exclusive limited-edition books and art pieces for both kids and adults.” The purpose of this event? To attract attention to independent bookstores nationwide and promote their importance in local communities, while increasing their sales and helping them grow. This year, several of New York City’s independent bookstores participated in the event, including Book Culture, which hosted an in-store, literary-themed cocktail happy hour. Additionally, as part of the day’s festivities, 20 independent bookstores in Brooklyn joined forces in the first-ever Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl, where participating customers meandered from bookstore to bookstore with a chance of winning prizes and hopefully purchasing some exciting new reads along the way.
In doing a bit of exploring on the background of this event, I was surprised to find that the official Facebook page directly address the digital culture. The page states:
“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.”
I think that the idea of Independent Bookstore Day is a great way to promote local bookstores and attract attention from bibliophiles and non-book-lovers alike. However, for me personally, I found out about this event too late to actually participate in any of the activities. I think bookstores really have an opportunity to leverage social media and use the digital sphere to bring customers back into stores. According to an article on shelf-awareness.com, social media did contribute to expanding the reach of the event to 25,000 people on Facebook and hashtags such as #bookstoreday were trending. That being said, reaching 25,000 people on Facebook is a nice start, but there is definitely room to grow considering the size of the Facebook population. In this instance, the digital world, which often seems so contrary to the world of print, can actually help expand the communities that form around these stores and maybe even create some new book lovers in the process. I’ll end with turning the question to my readers. Any thoughts?
In case any one is interested, here are the links to the articles:
- TimeOut – http://www.timeout.com/newyork/blog/here-are-all-the-nyc-bookstores-participating-in-independent-bookstore-day-042816
- Shelf-awareness – http://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=2766#m32714
Also for those who may want to participate next year:
- Independent Bookstore Day Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/BookstoreDay/timeline
- Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl – http://bkbookstorecrawl.org/index.php
Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/BookstoreDay