Every year, Seattle-area bookstores team up to celebrate a very special local edition of the national holiday known as Independent Bookstore Day. While bookstores around the country are celebrating IBD with special events, limited-edition books and merchandise, and snacks, Seattle tends to get a little...extra.
Seattle Independent Bookstore Day features a competition of sorts: if you pick up a passport stamp at every single participating bookstore in the Seattle area — that's 26 bookstores, though you only have to visit one location for local chains like Third Place Books and University Book Store, so it's actually more like 21 stores — in one day, you'll get 25 percent off at all the bookstores for the whole next year. Last year, some 500 foolhardy people completed that challenge, and organizers are expecting more this year.
This Saturday, a pair of new stores are joining Seattle Independent Bookstore Day. First of all, Pioneer Square's beautiful Arundel Books is finally jumping into the fray. They're one of the finest used bookstores in town, and they also partner with a local press that publishes a few titles. And second of all, Madison Books, the sister store to Phinney Books, is officially opening for business on Saturday. (I interviewed Madison Books manager James Crossley late last year during the store's soft opening.)
Each of the stores has their own individual programming, so check with their individual websites for more information. Third Place Books is offering appearances from a slate of authors including Laurie Frankel, Angela Garbes, Eli Sanders, Jill Lightner, Martha Brockenbrough, and more. Ada's Technical Books is presenting maybe the best lineup of the day with a reading from Sarah Galvin, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Emmett Montgomery, and Sierra Nelson.
Whether you visit all 26 bookstores or even just one, it's important to go show up for Seattle Independent Bookstore Day. At a time when corporations are swallowing everything and the perception of infinite choice hides an ever-increasing homogenization of culture, we need these local outposts more than ever. This Independent Bookstore Day, tell the world you care about your neighbors, and your city.