If you’re a book enthusiast, you’re in for two consecutive Saturdays filled with treats; first is today’s Independent Bookstore Day, followed by the annual spring Free Comic Book Day on May 6. Both of these days were designed to encourage a love of reading, and comic book stores and independent booksellers provide a festive atmosphere with lots of freebies and other special events.
What Can People Expect from Independent Bookstore Day?
One of the most intriguing parts of Independent Bookstore Day is that all participating stores are able to enhance their independent vibe by creating their own itinerary. Unlike other events of this type, there are no rules that govern how the stores should celebrate the day, aside from ensuring that book lovers will have a good time.
In some areas, the idea of visiting every participating local store is a big part of the fun. For example, the Seattle Times reported that 120 Seattle residents completed the 2016 Independent Bookstore Day Challenge by taking in events at all of the city’s 19 applicable bookstores. This year, an even larger number of people is expected to participate in a daylong trek filled with literature, door prizes and special limited edition books that are only available today.
In Cleveland, participants are given an Independent Bookstore Day passport. Everyone who visits at least six bookstores and gets their passport stamped at each location will receive special rewards and discounts. According to Cleveland.com, the average one-day sales boost from Independent Bookstore Day is a whopping 200 percent.
Clearly, the events, media attention, and discounts are able to attract a large group of readers who are happy to spend their day buying books. Some stores add the extra incentive of author book signings and readings. To find out if there are any Independent Bookstore Day events in your area, you can visit the official website’s Find a Bookstore tool.
Next Up: Free Comic Book Day
Whether you’re a comic book collector or want to get your kids more interested in reading, Free Comic Book Day is a good way to check out a large collection of new titles. This annual event is held on the first Saturday of every May, and there’s also typically another Free Comic Book Day in the fall.
Much like Independent Bookstore Day, comic shops can utilize May 6 as a way to get people through the door and generate extra revenue. Many stores attract large lines of people, and it’s common for fans to come dressed as their favorite comic book characters.
Another nice perk of Free Comic Book Day is that comic artists tend to make appearances at their local store. Because comic book shops are typically independent, they also have the same level of autonomy that is offered during Independent Bookstore Day.
The only rule is that these stores have to offer at least one of the special limited edition free comic books to each patron. Other features of Free Comic Book Day often include face painting, desktop games and card game tournaments, appearances by costumed superheroes and discounted merchandise.
Unfortunately, not all areas are welcoming to this annual event. Residents of Sanford, Florida, will have to go elsewhere to get their free comics because the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts is prohibiting the local comic shop from participating. This showcases the disdain that some in the art community still have for what is now widely regarded as a legitimate art form.
Whether you hit one store or several, there are plenty of deals and free events throughout the country today and next Saturday. Make a game plan and start visiting stores now because Independent Bookstore Day only happens once a year, and you only have two chances annually to enjoy Free Comic Book Day.