Today’s one of my favorite days of the year. It’s a day we get to celebrate some of the greatest places in our communities… the bookshops! Happy Independent Bookstore Day!
Over the past several years, I have made it a practice to try and visit an independent bookstore in every city I visit. Between work trips a few times a year, trips to visit friends, and a vacation here and there, I’ve managed to visit quite a few amazing indie bookshops.
I think with each new store I step into, my love for the independent bookshop grows. Each one is a home for books and book-lovers alike, but they’re vastly different from place to place. Some of them are full of brand-new and pristine books, curated right off the bestseller lists. Others are floor to ceiling stacks of classics or books you’ve never heard of… but the place just smells like books and you know you’ll have to spend hours getting lost there. Some have bookstore cats or dogs (or maybe even bookstore chameleons) to keep you company while you browse.
Others have cafes or bars attached and are a place to gather with friends and family. I’ve met friends in bookstores (sometimes internet friends I’m meeting for the very first time), and I’ve also wandered the stacks and browsed for my next favorite book by myself.
Bookshops are communities. As I say often on my Bookstagram, book people are the best people. The same is true for bookshop people. They’re so often kind and thoughtful (it’s a proven fact that reading fiction makes you more empathetic), and bookstores (particularly local ones) are hubs and spaces for book-lovers to gather. Independent bookstores are spots for author readings and signings, poetry readings, art shows, live music performances, book clubs, writing events, and so much more. I’m always impressed at the lists of events happening when I visit a new space and I wish I had more time to spend in that city, if only so I could attend the happenings at the bookshop.
There are probably some bookstores I’ve visited not featured in this post… This is by no means a comprehensive list. But I hope it illustrates my love for independent bookshops and also shows how different and unique and truly amazing they can be. In those last few photos alone, there’s a bookstore that hosts book clubs and writing nights on a regular basis, a bookstore owned by a literary coalition nonprofit, and a bookshop that is part of a larger literary nonprofit center that featured a “poetry gumball machine” that benefits an inmate writing program for a local prison and was also attached to an independent press. Independent bookstores are communities and they’re also doing amazing things for our communities.
So if you’re a bookseller or an independent bookstore owner — THANK YOU. Thank you for all you do for our bookish community.
Let’s celebrate and support Independent Bookstores today!
List of bookshops featured in this post with links to websites: