Record Store Day and Free Comic Book Day have become boons to participating independent specialty retailers nationwide and now bookstores are angling for a similar holiday of their own.
Bookstores nationwide, including several in Metro Detroit, will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday. Modeled after the popular record store and comic book store events, participating retailers will offer in-store festivities and special-edition items Saturday only. The specialty items include a chapbook by essayist Roxane Gay, a limited-edition signed print by graphic novelist Chris Ware and a children’s joke book.
The special offerings are being coordinated nationwide by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, which pioneered the Independent Bookstore Day concept with last year’s California Bookstore Day. Nine regional independent booksellers’ organizations, including the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, collaborated with the California group to take the event nationwide this year.
Hilary Gustafson, owner of Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, says she was enthused by the strong response to the 93-bookstore California event last year. “Those who wanted to participate could join up and we jumped at the chance,” Gustafson says. “It’s just a really beautiful way to celebrate small businesses and bookstores and what we do.”
In addition to selling Independent Bookstore Day specialty items, Literati will also mark the occasion with a book trivia game at 7 p.m. Volunteer booksellers from Eastern Michigan University’s children’s literature program will be on hand throughout the day, promoting their favorite kids’ books for early summer reading.
The atmosphere will be particularly energetic at Pages Bookshop in Detroit, which will also mark its grand opening on Saturday. The shop will offer free mimosas to customers who arrive during its first hour of business, between 10 and 11 a.m., and book raffles will follow. Readings by local authors will include children’s writer Renee Prewitt, adult fiction author Lynn Crawford and poet Michael Lauchlan. Live blues music by Luther “Badman” Keith will close out the night.
“It’s just to show people that independent bookstores are a lot of fun, you can find interesting things there and they’re centers of the community,” say Deb Leonard, executive director of the Great Lakes organization. “It’s just a big party day.”
Patrick Dunn is an Ann Arbor-based freelance writer.
19560 Grand River, Detroit
Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
124 E. Washington, Ann Arbor
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26010 Greenfield, Oak Park
4240 Cass, Detroit
Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room
114 S. Main, Ann Arbor