If you love indie bookshops as much as I do, then Independent Bookstore Day might as well be your birthday. It’s a gift, after all, to spend the day wandering around your favorite indie bookstores with all the other book nerds out there, browsing and stocking up on new stories to dive into.
Independent Bookstore Day 2020 has been rescheduled from April to August 29 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but if you’re still social distancing, don’t worry: there are plenty of ways to celebrate virtually. In fact, you might even find that shopping from home opens up a world of possibilities for finding, supporting, and interacting with indie bookstores you might never have known about otherwise.
So, grab your laptop and TBR list and get ready for an unforgettable Independent Bookstore Day 2020.
Pick the Indie Bookstores You Want to Support
If you’re celebrating virtually, the bookstore world is your oyster. Of course, you’ll want to support your favorite neighborhood shop that’s been there for you day after day, book after book. But you should also take a little time to research other stores you can support online. Here are some things to consider:
- Are there any indie bookshops you found while you were traveling and want to support again?
- Were you planning to visit a bookstore on an upcoming vacation before the pandemic affected your plans?
- Is there a store that holds a special memory for you (e.g. you met your favorite author there)?
- What shop or shop owner do you especially want to support right now? For example, what about a Black-owned bookstore?
- Does a friend or other personal connection own or work for a bookstore that you’d like to support?
Order Books, Audiobooks, and Gifts Online
Purchasing inventory is, of course, the most impactful way to support independent bookstores. Many indie bookstores are offering their books for purchase online right now—even if they may have to backorder some titles.
If your favorite store doesn’t have its own online selling platform, see if they sell titles through bookshop.org. No matter what, any purchases you make there will contribute funds toward independent bookstores.
And since you’re ordering virtually, this is the perfect time to check out libro.fm and order audiobooks directly through the stores you want to support.
If you’re curious to know about how much your bookstores will benefit from your online purchases, you can see an estimated breakdown here.
Attend Independent Bookstore Day 2020 Events Online
Are any of the stores you’re supporting hosting virtual events just for that day? Zoom and social media are great platforms for readings, interviews, games, giveaways, and more. But don’t worry if your bookstores aren’t hosting events specifically on August 29. Most indie bookstores have held many virtual events over the past few months and Independent Bookstore Day is the perfect time to catch up on any you may have missed.
Spread the Word
Get on social media and start posting about Independent Bookstore Day 2020. First, follow @indiebookstoreday. Then, use #BookstoreDay and individual bookstore hashtags to tell your followers which shops you want to support and which events you’ll be attending. Once you have your purchases in hand, take a photo and show everyone what you snagged. And maybe most importantly, since you can’t see them in person this year, give your favorite stores a personal “thank you” for all they do online.
Get Caught Up On Your Independent Bookstore Day Knowledge
How much do you know about the purpose behind Independent Bookstore Day? Do you know who the ambassador for Independent Bookstore Day 2020 is? Or who designed the logo?
Explore indiebookstoreday.com to get the what and the why straight from the source. You can also find book recommendations from this year’s ambassador (Spoiler alert: it’s author Sean Doolittle) and see quotes from past ambassadors including Tayari Jones, Celeste Ng, Emma Straub, and Lauren Groff. And don’t forget to check out the publishers and artists who made Independent Bookstore Day 2020 possible.
Now that you have some ideas about how to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day 2020 virtually, you may just want to keep this new tradition alive even after the world has reopened—right after you get home from celebrating in person, of course.