Coming this Saturday: a national holiday celebrating books, readers, and indie bookstores. (It’s about time, right?)
The first National Independent Bookstore Day takes place on Saturday, May 2. (California had its own Bookstore Day last year, modeled on the hugely successful Independent Record Store Day, and the event was such a hit booksellers are taking it nationwide this year.
Local bookstores will be (more) festive and (more) fun for the event, and they’ll be offering a limited selection of unique literary items for one day and one day only, made just for the occasion by writers and artisans.
I love a good independent bookstore: I visit my own regularly, and pop into the local stores when we’re on the road. (We’re heading to NYC next month for the first time in ages, and a major factor in hotel selection was proximity to the Strand.)
In honor of National Independent Bookstore Day, here are three of my favorite indies:
1. Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville
My town’s bookstore has three locations, including Carmichael’s Kids, a bookstore devoted solely to kid lit that just opened last August a block from one of their existing locations. The local stores are located in vibrant parts of town that are a pleasure to visit.
I love Carmichael’s because it’s in my town, of course. But they also know what readers want: generous sections devoted to staff picks, employees who are passionate about reading, hours that are untraditional for retail but convenient for their customers (8:00 a.m. openings!), and easy access to great indie coffee.
(I picked up my blind date book at Carmichael’s.)
Sundog Books, Seaside, Florida
I wonder what I would think of this store if I got to visit it in my everyday life, but alas, I only visit it on vacation. For a vacation bookstore, it’s location can’t be beat: it’s located in the heart of Seaside, just blocks from the Gulf of Mexico in the panhandle. The store itself is beautiful, with plank floors, distressed shelves, and high ceilings.
Sundog caters to vacationers, and its evident in their broad selection: I’ve discovered some favorite literary fiction thanks to their staff picks, but it’s also a great place to pick up a breezy beach read. I love Sundog for its lazy atmosphere, large children’s section, and offbeat categories: it’s the only bookstore I’ve been in where “Scandinavian mystery” got its own section.
Unabridged Books, Chicago
We often stay in the Lakeview East neighborhood when we’re in our Chicago: Unabridged Books, located on a busy strip of Broadway, is our “local” bookstore when we’re in town.
Unabridged Books brags that it’s the only store in Chicago where you can pick up the latest issue of a magazine, a copy of Goodnight Moon, and the latest literary fiction and non-fiction sensation, all in one stop. I love it for its primo location (and close proximity to Intelligentsia Coffee, my favorite), terrific selection, and brilliantly written staff recommendations.
Tell me all about your favorite indie bookstore in comments.