Late to the Party: Independent Bookstore Day

In the United States, the last Saturday of April is Independent Bookstore Day—a nationwide party for book lovers. (Here in Chicago, the independent bookstores host a bookstore crawl, which is far more dangerous than a pub crawl as far as I’m concerned.)

For the past few years, I’ve run a blog post the day the event before reminding book lovers (which I assume includes most of you) not only of the event, but of the importance of supporting independent bookstores. This year I missed it—in both meanings of that word. It slipped past my radar, so I didn’t run my annual love letter to independent bookstores. I had a conflicting event that meant I couldn’t even make it to my neighborhood bookstore, let along running around downtown to as many other bookstores as I could manage. And once I realized that I was going to miss it in the physical sense, I missed it in the emotional (spiritual?) sense.

That said, it’s never too late to support bookstores.

I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of my two of my favorite stores: the very academic Seminary Coop Bookstore and its more commercial sibling, 57th Street Books. Once there, I browse. I chat about books with booksellers. I check to see if my own books are on the shelves. I check to see if my friends’ books are on the shelves. I attend an occasional reading when the stars are in alignment. I resist the temptation to buy books I don’t need, because at this point I already own several hundred thousand books I have not yet read. And I give in to the temptation to buy more books because with bookstores it’s a case of use them or lose them.

If you’re lucky enough to have an independent bookstore near you, stop by and show them some love. If not, you can adopt an independent bookstore somewhere else*—most of them ship. Or you can buy your books through, an online bookseller that supports independent bookstores.

*I am happy to recommend the Seminary Coop, where you can preorder signed copies of The Dragon From Chicago**and most any other books your heart desires.

**I’ve said it enough times here that by now you know what to do:

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