Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is the local home of the national Independent Bookstore Day, a one-day celebration on the last Saturday of April, hosted by independent booksellers for our readers and customers.
What Is Independent Bookstore Day?
Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April. Every store is unique and independent and hosts its own party. And in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Not online.
What Is Seattle Independent Bookstore Day?
When Independent Bookstore Day went national in 2015 (after its founding in 2014 by booksellers in Northern California was a rousing success), Seattle's indie bookstores collaborated to showcase what we do best: build human connections through physical books, in a daylong celebration of the work we do and the readers and customers who make it possible. We offered many of the same events and exclusive items as our colleagues across the country, but we also introduced the Passport Challenge, encouraging readers to get their passports stamped at as many participating stores as possible on Bookstore Day. Those who get their passports stamped at every participating store that day are crowned Grand Champions, with a crown, a party, and best of all, a 25% discount at all participating stores for the following year. We admit we have been stunned by the response: in our first year, we weren't sure if anyone would complete the full Passport Challenge, but we crowned 42 Grand Champions. In 2017, our third year, the number of Grand Champions, all of whom visited 19 stores from Poulsbo to Kirkland to Queen Anne to Georgetown in a single day, exploded to 320, and in 2018 our total number of Champions increased yet again, to nearly 500. We're hoping for even more in 2019!
Why Are We Celebrating Independent Bookstores?
Independent bookstores in the Pacific Northwest aren’t just brick and mortar storefronts. We’re part of a thriving literary scene made up of writers, readers, librarians, and publishers (which was declared by UNESCO in 2017 an official "City of Literature"). We’re local literary destinations for our communities and staffed by passionate, well-read booksellers. We’re entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. We’re lively performance spaces and quiet places where “just that right book” can be discovered.
Bookstores are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and develop each year. In a world of tweets, algorithms, and digital downloads customers find it reassuring to walk into a bookstore, smell the books, talk with a bookseller, and hold the books in their hands. This won’t change. And we’re here to stay.
How Does the Passport Challenge Work?
On Independent Bookstore Day, official Passport Maps are available at every participating Seattle-area store. (The stores are listed below.) On one side is a map (designed by Stephen Crowe at Third Place Books), and on the other is a list of every participating store, with address and contact information. When you visit each store on April 27, make sure to get your passport stamped by a store employee, and when you visit your last store for the day, turn in your passport. If you've visited three or more stores, in return you'll get a 30% coupon, good for a one-time use at any participating store. If your passport has stamps from all 21 stores*, we'll invite you to our Grand Champions party and get you your Grand Champion Card, good for a 25% discount all participating stores for the following year. (*For those stores with more than one location on the map—Liberty Bay Books, Madison Books/Phinney Books, Third Place Books, and the University Book Store—you only need to get a stamp at one location for each store.)
When Does It Happen?
Seattle Independent Bookstore Day takes place on the last Saturday in April of every year, and in 2019, that Saturday falls on April 27. Individual stores choose their own operating hours, which are shown below.