Independent Bookstore Day is celebrated on the last Saturday of April, every year, and this year it will be celebrated on April 29. The day pays particular attention to all the independent bookstores around the U.S. and their unique contribution to the fabric of society. Over the past few decades, books — once thought of as the foundation of civilization and the source of most of man’s knowledge — have undergone a significant transformation. Nonetheless, the importance and value of books, while on the decline, are still a priority for most individuals around the world, and it is with that spirit that we celebrate this day,
History of Independent Bookstore Day
The rise of libraries across the ancient world led to a need, and desire to become private book collectors, around the known world, book dealers set up a flourishing trade, where they traveled to various locations both far and wide to secure rarely, and coveted tomes for their collectors.
In Rome, particularly, the elite in society took great pride in their ability to horde a prestigious collection of titles. So, the commercial book trade began, over 2,000 years ago, and today, every citizen around the world, has access to a bookstore, with titles available in almost every dialect. Since only the most powerful members of society historically had access to books and their contents due to historically low literacy rates, bookstores have evolved over the millennia in a variety of shapes and forms. However, at their core, they have always been places where the literate and wealthy live. While the idea of a library has been around for thousands of years, a bookstore as we know it today is much more recent.
Portugal is home to the oldest bookshop that is still operational and has been around for almost 300 years. Although bookstores have come and gone throughout history all over the world, this one is thought to be the oldest one still in operation. Despite this, bookstores are now found in many communities and important social hubs. Since they offer a direct line to people, they play a significant role in the social fabric of their communities.
Independent Bookstore Day timeline
The Gutenberg press, invented by Johannes Gutenberg makes the commercial printing of paper viable and gives millions worldwide access to the written word.
The first bookstore in the U.S., Moravian opens its doors in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The Dewey Decimal Classification, commonly known as the ‘Dewey Decimal System’ is enacted in libraries around the world.
Sales in independent bookstores rise to 13.2%, a phenomenal growth in a sector that many have discounted and believe to be “on its way out”.
Independent Bookstore Day FAQs
Are all bookstores independent?
No, independent bookstores are stand-alone franchises, they don’t offer chains and can only be found in one location, generally.
Why should I support an independent bookstore?
Typically, independent bookstores have much higher customer satisfaction rates, due to their ability to cater to a wide variety of needs and demographics, they’re happy to take orders and keep in touch.
Is an independent bookstore a good business?
Generally speaking, yes, but they depend on our support. They provide a fantastic service to local communities, but with the rise of ebooks, and international shipping, their competition is fierce.
How to Observe Independent Bookstore Day
Visit an independent bookstore
Just knowing where they are, and what they have to offer is important. Visit your local independent bookstores and let them know that you know they’re there.
Buy a book
Whether it's for you or someone else, support your local independent bookstore. Make a purchase or two and refer a friend.
Share on Social Media
Help raise awareness about your local independent bookstore. Spread their message and details on your social media platforms.
5 Fascinating Facts About Bookstores
The world’s oldest bookstore
The Bertrands bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal, is the world's oldest surviving bookstore, founded in 1732.
Books as a trade
We can thank libraries for promoting books and their commercial value because as the number of libraries grew in 300 BC, so did access to and demand for books throughout the ancient world.
Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble is the biggest bookstore in America, with 154,250 square feet of retail space and over 12.87 miles of shelving.
You may be forgiven for thinking that Amazon books are only available online, but Amazon recognized the need for a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and they have one, and you can visit it in Seattle.
Millions of books in the world
According to Google, there are approximately 130 million books around the world.
Why Independent Bookstore Day is Important
It's about the written word
We love to support any endeavor that involves books. The written word is a heritage that will outlast us all.
It helps the little guy
Independent bookstores are up against major businesses with a global reach. We support them to help them survive in a very competitive industry.
We love books
Independent bookstores provide a public service. Any space that provides books, across genres and categories is always a great idea.
Independent Bookstore Day dates