Essex Books Presents Shelf Awareness: Independent Bookstore Day

By: Apr. 28, 2017
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If you are reading this piece, you probably know that Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day, a "national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country.... Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different."

IBD is also something else; something that might sound contradictory, and yet is a critical factor in the success of indies. Tomorrow is a day to celebrate being dependent... upon readers like you.

Independence and dependence are dual forces that make our world of books flourish only when they are in harmony, a kind of biblio-centric yin and yang. It's complicated.

For their independent spirit to thrive, bookshops depend upon local communities to value and sustain them; on the loyalty and hard work of staff booksellers (those intelligent, devoted and passionate handsellers who are a bookstore's face and personality to most patrons); on other bookstores, through personal friendships as well as regional and national organizations; on authors and editors, publishers and distributors, publicists and sales reps and more.

Most of all, however, independent bookshops depend upon individual readers like you. I was a bookseller for many years, and I learned early on how important seemingly casual conversations about books with people like you could be. You make time to visit your local bookshop, looking for a great read or to attend an event. Your conscious actions and interactions are the not-so-secret ingredient that makes any bookstore an intrinsic part of its community.

There are many things a bookstore can do to become a destination spot. None of them works without you. Please stop by your favorite indie bookshop tomorrow to enjoy the IBD festivities. It's really your day. Making connections--to books, to readers, to booksellers--is the way of the book world, where we are at once fiercely independent and necessarily interdependent.

Written by Robert Gray, contributing editor, Essex Books Presents Shelf Awareness for Readers