The last Saturday in April has been declared Independent Bookstore Day, I assume by the American Booksellers Association, although I can’t find anything to confirm that. Regardless, April 28, 2018, is the day to give a cheer for independent bookstores, those locations owned and operated by humans rather than huge corporations. (Another caveat—sponsors are giants like Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, and Ingram, which, granted, aren’t bookstores but are big guys as opposed to little guys bookstores.)
I have some favorites here in Denver. The one that springs to mind is West Side Books, owned by a friend of mine, with an eclectic mixture of used, new and collectibles. Owner Lois Harvey and her friendly staff help you find nearly any book you desire plus some you never thought of but decide spur-of-the-moment you can’t live without. Lois, indeed, does all the activities mentioned in the p.r. materials about the commemoration. She sponsors readings, art shows, special events, exhibits. You can drop by for five minutes or linger five hours.
West Side is just one of hundreds of indie bookstores across the country. Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party. Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.
In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year. And they are at your service.