So this post isn’t about our 2019 Reading Challenge, but rather a different upcoming book-related challenge that is similarly demanding, delightful, and rewarding. I am, of course, talking about Independent Bookstore Day—the best day of the year!
This year, the five-year anniversary of IBD will fall on Saturday, April 27th—the last Saturday in April, as always. Indie Bookstore Day is a United States national celebration of independent booksellers and all they do to keep us connected as a literary community in a way that massive bookstore chains and online sellers cannot. Bookstores across the nation join the party with special IBD merchandise, scavenger hunts, raffles, trivia quizzes, food and drinks, giveaways, author appearances, contests, and more!
You can find out which indie booksellers are joining in the fun near you by consulting the Independent Bookstore Day website and checking out their map of participating stores. Many bookstores’ websites will also list what kind of activities they have planned and their schedules, so you’ll know when to swing by.
If you live in the Seattle area, however, our Independent Bookstore Day reaches unparalleled heights of book-obsessed fanaticism. For the past three years, the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day has challenged book lovers from all around the Puget Sound area to visit all of the participating bookstores in one day, filling their passport to its maximum capacity with stamps, and thereby being crowned Grand Champions, with a 25% discount at all participating stores for the following year.
Colleen and I have participated in Seattle’s IBD for two years so far, with this year being our third. For both our previous runs, we had 19 bookstores we needed to visit—including three destinations on the opposite side of Puget Sound, requiring an early morning ferry ride to kick things off. This year, there are 21, because apparently spending 12 hours racing through 19 bookstores wasn’t challenging enough!
Seattle IBD is a wonderful chance for us to discover and explore new bookstores, many of which I’d never heard of before our first year, and to find all kinds of new additions to our To Be Read shelves on Goodreads. Despite this year’s added difficulties, we are determined to become champions once more. To secure our victory, we will have:
- A Toyota Prius, with excellent gas mileage and compact parallel parking capabilities
- Chai tea lattes and bagels with cream cheese for our 7 am breakfast while we sail across Puget Sound
- Heartfelt and earnest prayers that none of the ferry ticket booths will have technical glitches like they did last year, which caused us to lose nearly an hour of precious time
- A backseat full of snacks that can easily be eaten on the go, even by the person driving
- A color-coded schedule, with 10 minutes allotted for every store and 3.5 hrs of built-in extra time for quizzes, scavenger hunts, and delightful book-related contests of all kinds
- Well-charged phones with Google Maps at the ready
- Our favorite book-themed shirts from Out of Print, discussed ahead of time so as to avoid being mildly creepy doppelgängers who love both American Gods and asymmetrical haircuts
If you live in the Seattle area, I encourage you and your book-loving friends to join in the fun! Not everyone is up for taking on the full passport, but visiting just three booksellers will still get you a 30% coupon, good for a one-time use at any of the participating stores. Or you can just head over to your own local indie store and join the festivities there! Fortunately, no matter what level of challenge you want to take on, the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day website has an amazingly helpful addition this year showing all the participating bookstores, their special hours for the day, their addresses, and links to their website so you can check out what special events each store is offering.
Seattle isn’t the only city to offer a bookstore crawl—Chicago has the #ChiLoveBooks Challenge, San Diego has the San Diego Book Crawl, Boston has the Metro Boston Bookstore Trolley Tour, New York City has the Brooklyn Book Crawl, the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association has both the Twin Cities Independent Bookstore Day Passport and the Midwest Indie Bookstore Roadmap, and Central Oregon has the Book Quest Passport.
So whether you want to take on a real challenge or just have a good time celebrating your favorite local book emporium, I hope your Indie Bookstore Day is a success! Happy reading!