With Independent Bookstore Day just around the corner, booksellers are finalizing their plans for celebrations on April 30. Booksellers in Vermont and New Jersey, in particular, are planning statewide programs to showcase the range of indie bookstores each state has to offer.
Vermont’s independent bookstores have joined together for the Vermont Independent Bookstores Passport, which Jenny Lyons, sales and marketing manager of Vermont Book Shop, said was created to have something to hand out to customers visiting the store on April 30.
The passport highlights 20 independent bookstore locations throughout the state. Customers visiting stores can earn prizes, including an “I love Vermont bookstores” pin, an “I’d rather be reading” bumper sticker, a “Yay! Vermont bookstores!” magnet, or a reusable “I’d rather be reading” shopping bag. Each item carries branding that showcases support for independent bookstores in Vermont.
When customers present the passport, participating stores will stamp or initial their listings. To claim prizes, customers will mail their passports to Vermont Book Shop.
Though the program launches on Independent Bookstore Day, Vermont’s initiative “will be a program with longevity,” noted Lyons. The merchandise, which will be sold in certain stores throughout the year, will allow customers to promote their love for Vermont’s indie bookstores year-round.
Indie bookstores in New Jersey will be showcasing their indie spirit with a special bookmark created for Independent Bookstore Day. The bookmark displays a map of 20 participating bookstore locations, in addition to their addresses, contact information, and websites.
“We are super proud of how the bookmark turned out, and truly touched at how quickly so many New Jersey bookstores agreed to participate. There is serious strength within the New Jersey indie bookstore network, that’s for sure,” said Monica Odom and Margot Sage-El of Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey, which spearheaded the bookmark’s creation.
The bookmark challenges holders to visit all 20 stores highlighted on the map, including Sparta Books in northern New Jersey’s Sparta and Sun Rose Words & Music in southern New Jersey’s Ocean City, and all the stores in between.
The goal of the bookmark is to dispel the notion that there aren’t independent bookstores around anymore, and to invite customers loyal to one indie bookshop to check out the others in the state.
The bookmarks will be given out in the participating stores starting on April 30 and will continue to be distributed beyond that date; a digital version of the map will also be shared on social media. Participating stores will also encourage visitors to snap selfies of themselves with the bookmark at New Jersey bookstores and share online using the hashtag #NJIndies.
As booksellers finalize IBD programming and events, they are encouraged to share their plans on the Independent Bookstore Day spreadsheet.
On April 30, in addition to sharing photos and news on social media using the hashtag #bookstoreday, stores are asked to let Independent Bookstore Day know when they surpass sales from an average Saturday in April by texting (415) 846-6131 or (415) 686-1507. A survey will be sent out following IBD to gather more information.