Seattle Bookstore Day is in its 5th year running, and we couldn’t be more excited! Island Books plans on celebrating all of April 27th with a schedule of activities (listed below). If you don’t know much about this wonderful holiday, Independent Bookstore Day was started in Northern California by independent booksellers and their communities in 2014. The next year, most of the independent bookstores in America joined in on the fun. Stores across the nation have parties, celebrating the people that keep independent bookstores thriving and the books that we love. There are exclusive t-shirts, stickers, totes, and other fun merchandise. The day is ultimately one big party.
We open at 8:00am and start off a day of activities with free coffee, donut holes, and mimosas for our 21+ crowd. Nancy Stewart is in at 10:00am to sing with any kids and parents that want to join us that day.
At 11:30am local authors Elise Hooper, of Learning to See and The Other Alcott, and Mark Holtzen, of Ticket to the Pennant and The Pig War, sit in our advice booth to dispense sage wisdom on all subjects.
Garth Stein, of The Art of Racing in the Rain, is joining us at 3:00pm as our celebrity guest bookseller. We’ll bring in happy hour beer and pizza with custom-made Island Books cookies at 4:00pm and live music to begin around 5:00pm.
All day we open up use of our famous typewriters, have an Instagram photo booth, and create at our kids’ coloring table. There are awesome Seattle Bookstore Day temporary tattoos and other great merchandise available this day only. We are open until 8:00pm.
Some of our special offers include a Blind Date with a Book for purchases over $29.99, $2.00 greeting cards, and a 20% discount on our collection of books about books!
Because of the amount of bookstores in the Seattle area, we banded together for Seattle Bookstore Day, as opposed to Independent Bookstore Day on the national scale, which includes the Passport Challenge. The Challenge asks patrons to visit every bookstore within the area for a Grand Champion card. This card allows for 25% off at all participating bookstores all year. Patrons that visit three bookstores get a one-time-use 30% off coupon.
People that decide to attempt the Challenge have to plan ahead to hit all twenty-one stores. One regular customer debated where to start the journey, whether from the furthest south or the furthest west. Her husband ended up writing her an algorithm that would find the most efficient route with stops included, plus possible parking locations. She recruited her mom to join her and plans on packing the car chock-full of snacks and water so they don’t have to stop to eat. I can’t reveal her secret plan, but she plans on spending the night somewhere else to get an early start so she can try to finish at Island Books to bang the gong!
Caitlin, our new book buyer, is a Seattle Bookstore Day veteran. After many years of experience, she recommends 1) bring snacks and 2) enjoy yourself. Many participants run in and out of stores, grabbing a stamp as quickly as they can. “Remember, it’s not a competition. You’re not competing against anyone but yourself. It’s a celebration of the stores and the communities. Pick up a card or a sticker. Linger if you don’t want to buy anything,” she says. No matter the type of participant, we know you are here because you love bookstores — soak in the moment and appreciate a community of others who love them as well.
There’s no doubt that Seattlites take their books seriously and their book discounts even more seriously, but whatever you decide to do, please stay safe! If the Challenge isn’t your style, feel free to swing by Island Books for a great party with lots of fun. Join us Saturday, April 27th for a celebration of independent bookstores.
Island Books is located at 3014 78th Ave. SE, Mercer Island WA.