Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day Thursday, April 29th


Aubrey Roemmich

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Aubrey Roemmich, Reporter

Every year on the last Saturday of April, independent bookstores across the nation celebrate Indie Bookstore Day. This year will mark the 10th annual celebration and bookstores across the nation are getting excited for their annual festivities.  

Independent bookstores have a long history in America, but with the rise of retail chains and online giants like Amazon, brick-and-mortar bookstores have suffered greatly. Indie bookstores (or booksellers as they are sometimes known) are characterized by the store being independently owned versus owned by a retail chain or larger parent company. Many of these stores are centers of community and have been at the forefront of fighting against the overwhelming amount of book banning legislation that is currently sweeping the country.  

While deeply beloved, these stores struggle every day to keep up with the likes of Amazon, who sell their books at a loss in order to choke out other businesses. Independent bookstores have been centers of culture, social change, and activism, but many stores are still struggling to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are three main reasons independent bookstores are so important. Coined the three C’s by Harvard Professor Ryan Raffaelli, community, curation, and convening are what set independent bookstores apart from their chain competitors.  

These bookstores help bring together local communities and keep money in local economies. Local businesses are more likely to keep their profits invested in their community while also employing local people and frequenting other local businesses. With corporations continually taking over America, many indie bookstores have been at the forefront of the shop local movements that are focused on keeping community money in local economies.  

Curation is what makes a bookstore memorable. Every Barnes and Noble looks the same, but each indie bookstore is a unique oasis. Since these stores are typically smaller, they tend to have specific genres, trends, and authors always in stock. From specializing in used books to science fiction or even feminist literature, indie bookstores have the ability to curate their product in ways larger bookstores cannot. What companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble thrive on is the customer belief that they will always have what the customer is looking for, but in the attempt to have everything all the time, they often miss the mark in understanding community interest. Smaller stores based in local communities have a better chance of understanding community needs and keeping stock of books that will keep the community engaged and reading.  

The final C, convening, is all about how indie bookstores are the place to be for book communities. Many stores hold book clubs and story times for varying ages. They also often host author signings or meet and greets. Indie stores are always a great place for young authors to start selling books. Many indie stores even have sections specifically dedicated to local authors.  

The importance of independent bookstores is undeniable, so what can you do to support them? The biggest thing you can do is to walk into their stores and buy books. If you are unable to physically go to their locations, many stores have websites from which you can order. If your favorite indie does not have a website or the easy browsing and fast shipping of Amazon is too much of a temptation, try shopping on bookshop.org. It is an online book retailer that gives 25% commission to partnered indie bookstores.  

Some other great resources for discovering independent bookstores and how to support them are indiebound.org and the American Booksellers Association (ABA). Indie Bound is the company that started and promotes nationwide indie bookstore day events with the help of the ABA. North Dakota is home to four independent bookstores: Main Street Books in Minot; Ferguson Books & More in Grand Forks, West Fargo, and Bismarck; Zandbroz Variety in Fargo; Books on Broadway in Williston. All four are members of Indie Bound and participate in the festivities.  

This year, Ferguson’s in Grand Forks will be having deals and events all day on April 29th including local author signings and indie bound merch giveaways. If you’re looking for a fun Saturday activity, consider supporting your local bookstore on April 29th to help celebrate Independent Bookstore Day. 


Source: https://www.tckpublishing.com/what-are-independent-bookstores/  


Aubrey Roemmich is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]