By Charly SHELTON
Just as comic book fans have Free Comic Book Day the first Saturday in May to encourage shopping at local comic shops, and cheesecake fans have National Cheesecake Day on July 30 to encourage the eating of cheesecake, now literary fans have a day to call their own. For the first time, National Independent Bookstore Day will be celebrated this Saturday, April 30.
“It was created in 2015 locally – it was just California bookstore day – and it went so well last year that the people who started it decided to make it national,” said Gail Mishkin with Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse in La Cañada.
Across the country, 400 bookstores have already signed up to take part in Indie
Bookstore Day. In addition to their existing merchandise the bookstores involved will have the option of selling any of the 16 exclusive books and art prints made for the event and available only through participating bookstores on April 30. Some of these items are already being met with much excitement and anticipation and although most stores are not taking preorders there will be eager crowds showing up to buy these limited items.
“We are very excited. We have some exclusive items that we’ve had a lot of interest in, primarily the Neil Gaiman coloring book,” said Maureen Palacios of Once Upon a Time Children’s Bookstore in Montrose. “I wish I had more, I don’t have very many of them. People are already going to be lining up – I already know that. But what we’re really excited about is the ‘Draw Me’ book that is made by prominent children’s illustrators like Mo Willems, Jenny Holm and none other than Frans Vischer, who did ‘Fuddles’ and is from Glendale. Frans is here from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and anyone who buys any book will receive a caricature from him. He’s a Disney animator, so he’s pretty darn good.”
Bookstores are inviting authors and special guests, such as Vischer, to sign books and share in the revelry of the day. At Flintridge Books, author Anne Perry will be in attendance to sign a selection of the more than 75 titles she has written over the last few decades. This is one of several store events being held throughout the day.
“We have a ton of things scheduled for the day, specifically because of Indie Bookstore Day but also in conjunction with National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. We’re combining some of the activities. We have several authors coming who have written children’s books, we have a woman who is a pet CPR [specialist],” said Mishkin. “We think it will be a very family-friendly day, there will be a lot of activities for children as well as a book signing that adults will enjoy. We’re hoping to see a lot of people from the community here.”
Both shops will have several story times for children throughout the day, other signings and events, games and great books.
In a world of apps and e-books, physical paper books are thought to be less relevant and prevalent today, especially from smaller bookstores. But as Independent Bookstore Day will show, that is not the case.
“At first, people used to think ‘The way of the book is going to go away because of the e-books,’” Palacios said. “Things sort of have taken a change, that’s no longer the case. People still want a physical book. Borders is closed, Barnes & Noble is not doing all that well, so the independents, if they have a good pulse on the community, hopefully they’ll stay in business. Certainly I’m very thankful for all of the years, the 50 years of support that the community has given us. It’s a testament to the community that they really like to read and they want to continue with our offerings.”
For a full list of events for Independent Bookstore Day and into the coming weeks, visit flintridgebooks.com and shoponceuponatime.com.