It’s been a rough year for New York’s independent bookstores—the beloved St. Marks Bookshop shut its doors in February, Dumbo’s P.S. Bookshop will sell its last rare and used books by the end of May, and the beautifully messy Community Bookstore will also close next month after more than 30 years in Cobble Hill.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to support your local book sellers. And there’s no better time to do so than this Saturday, which happens to be the third annual Independent Bookstore Day. Much like Record Store Day (which served as the inspiration for this event), participating shops will offer special perks to customers for one day only, including exclusive limited-edition books and art pieces for both kids and adults. This year’s items include a set of three essays by Ann Patchett, a illustrated print signed by Anthony Bourdain with instructions for how to create the perfect burger, and a canvas pouch featuring portraits of real bookstore cats.
Many bookstores also offer their own freebies and events. At Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, visitors can eat free mini-doughnuts from Doughnut Plant, take photos with visiting authors and enjoy a wine reception in the evening. The Community Bookstore in Park Slope (not to be confused with the soon-to-close Cobble Hill shop by the same name) will give out free beer in the afternoon and hose a reading featuring writers Bill Corbett, Paul Auster and Felix Harr. And the Upper West Side’s Book Culture will host a happy hour from 4–7pm with book-inspired cocktails.
Twenty-two Kings County bookstores are also organizing the first annual Brooklyn Bookstore Crawl to celebrate the event. If you visit five or more of the shops, complete a task at each one and post it to social media using #bkbookstorecrawl, you’ll be entered to win gift certificates and free books. (The full list of stores is available on the BK Bookstore Crawl's website.)
Independent Bookstore Day, which is produced by writer and former bookseller Samantha Schoech in partnership with the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, has been extremely successful so far. Last year, participating bookstores saw an average sales increase of 70 percent. So go out and buy a book! As John Waters said, “If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”
Here’s the full list of official participating bookstores in NYC:
Book Culture (536 W 112th St)
Books of Wonder (18 W 18th St)
Strand Book Store (828 Broadway)
The Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st St, Astoria)
WORD Bookstores (126 Franklin St, Greenpoint)
POWERHOUSE Arena (37 Main St, Dumbo)
Greenlight Bookstore (686 Fulton St, Fort Greene)
Community Bookstore (143 7th Ave, Park Slope)
Terrace Books (242 Prospect Park West, South Slope)