Local booksellers to celebrate 2nd Indie Bookstore Day

Delores Flynn
Special to The Detroit News

When Karen A. Lloyd picks up a book she gets lost in the world created within its pages. Over the years she has greatly enjoyed sharing her passion for children’s book with her offspring and granddaughter.

One of the 74-year-old Northville resident’s fondest memories is curling up with her three children and sharing a book before bed.

“I remember my son telling me how neat it was to be able to create images in his mind from the words on the page,” said Lloyd, who took them to The Book Beat in Oak Park. “I just love books. It’s the most important way to learn and increase your vocabulary.”

So Lloyd is not going to miss the second Independent Bookstore Day being observed April 30. Several Metro Detroit area booksellers are among the 420 stores throughout the United States that will be hosting unique literary parties. The events will feature readings by local authors, raffles, scavenger hunts, story times, music, food trucks, literary trivia and more.

“It’s an awesome way to let the community know bookstores are healthy, that we love books and we are still here,” said Deborah Leonard, executive director of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.

The idea of bookstore day started three years ago in California and spread when stores reported a 20 percent jump in sales over the previous year. Last year, more booksellers signed on to the event sponsored by Penguin Random House, Ingram and the American Booksellers Association.

Since Borders, the international book and music sellers group, closed in 2011, independent stores have been flourishing, Leonard said. “If people don’t support their local stores they will go away too.”

There are roughly 100 independent booksellers in Michigan and about 20 in Metro Detroit, according to the booksellers association.

Book sales at U.S. independent stores grew almost 8 percent in 2012. And in 2015, sales were up a little more than 10 percent, according to the ABA.

“If we don’t promote ourselves and the art of the written word, we are going to be a nation of Walmart’s offering a bland selection of material,” said Cary Loren, who co-owns The Book Beat, which specializes in children’s books, with his wife. He is a longtime advocate of bookstore day after seeing people line up around the block for local record and comic book days.

His store is participating for the second year and will have local children and adult author book signings.

Mike Gustafson, owner of Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, said his store will participate in its second observance of the day. Traffic last year was “amazing,” he said, noting the store doubled its sales for the day. This year, guests will be treated to free café drinks, photo booths and Literati swag, he added.

“Hopefully, this can be a day to not only introduce ourselves to new customers, but establish a long-lasting relationship,” Gustafson said.

To be an official site for Bookstore Day, retailers are being asked to feature exclusive items such as a coloring book by author Neil Gaiman, a special signed copy of two-time Newbery Award winner Kate DiCamillos book, limited editions of other publications and more.

The bookstore day is geared mostly for new booksellers and some well-known local retailers such as John K. King Used and Rare Books in Detroit and Paperback Trade-Inn in Clawson will not be participating. Leonard, however, said nothing bars those stores from joining in on the day’s festivities.

“This is a great excuse to have a party and spread the words about amazing books,” she said.

Delores Flynn is a Royal Oak-based freelance writer.

Independent Bookstore Day

Here are the local booksellers hosting parties starting at 10 a.m. April 30:

The Book Beat

26010 Greenfield, Oak Park

(248) 968-1190

Literati Bookstore

124 E. Washington, Ann Arbor

(734) 585-5567

Pages Bookshop

19560 Grand River, Detroit

(313) 473-7342

For more information: indiebookstoreday.com