Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 29th

Independent Bookstore Day, is a one-day party taking place Saturday, April 29th at more than 450 bookstores. As a supporter of independent bookstores, you get five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Here are a few of the audiobooks included: Jessica Shattuck’s NYT bestseller, The Women in the Castle, David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and works by David Sedaris (Dentists Without Borders), Emma Straub (Modern Lovers), Nicola Yoon (The Sun is Also a Star), and Hope Jahren (Lab Girl). The only catch (we promise) is you must claim your free audiobooks by Midnight PST on Saturday 4/29. To do this, log in to Libro.fm, add the audiobooks to your cart (no promo code needed) and you’re done!

Get Your Free Audiobooks

And beyond the free audiobooks, we encourage you to visit your local bookstore to join the celebration. While each store is unique and independent (and the parties will reflect that) you’ll likely encounter some combination of authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, and contests. And most importantly, exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on April 29th. Not before. Not after. Find a bookstore near you.

Listen. Support. Share.

Your support makes a difference for local bookstores across the country. Join the party in stores and online by sharing this offer with friends. Even if you’re unable to visit a store this Saturday, you can still take part in this offer and share with others. Simply copy/paste this link and email or share it on social media: https://libro.fm/playlists/bookstore-day


We love connecting with our listeners (and indie supporters!) so follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and tag #BookstoreDay to join the conversation.

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on April 29th and Get Free Audiobooks

In honor of the third annual Independent Bookstore Day, visitors to select independent bookstores this April 29th will have the opportunity to download five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Titles include #1 Indie Next Pick, The Women in the Castle (Harper Audio) by Jessica Shattuck and David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). How do you participate? Easy. Show up at any of our 450 participating independent bookstores nationwide on April 29th, and be sure to create your Libro.fm account now so you can get updates as the event draws closer.

“I rely on local bookstores (at home and on vacation) to provide not only access to books but also community — story hours, fun children’s sections to visit on rainy days, interesting readings and panels to get me, and everyone else who attends, to think about the wider world than the one right under our noses. I feel that independent bookstores are really the purveyors and gardeners of the life of the mind.”
—Jessica Shattuck, author of  The Women in the Castle

Set in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to Germany’s high society, The Women in the Castle is a propulsive, affecting, and ultimately redemptive novel chronicling the lives of three widows whose fates collide in the aftermath of World War II. Listen to a sample below:

 

My all-time favorite David Foster Wallace essay is A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). DFW takes listeners on a 4-hour cruise in the Caribbean that is memorable for its wit and keen observations about the cruising industry. Listen to the sample below:

 

“Independent bookstores are my first stops in any new city, a quick check of the pulse in any literary community. They are ports in the storm, passageways to magical lands, escape hatches out of bad moods. Even when I don’t think I need a book, because the stack beside my bed is teetering toward the ceiling, I always need a bookstore. And then I usually need a book, too.”

—Emma Straub, 2017 Author Ambassador and author of Modern Lovers

We are also excited to give away a Penguin Random House Audio sampler, featuring some of the most popular independent bookstore bestsellers:


Prior to starting Libro.fm, I published Brain Rules by John Medina (Pear Press), a book that covers 12 ways our brains work. Dr. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into the science. Listen to a sample from the first chapter on exercise:

And for the kids in your life 8-12 years old, check out these audiobooks from Scholastic:

Shadow House #1: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki (Scholastic)

 

Tombquest #1: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop (Scholastic)

 

You will also get the Hachette Audio Story Sampler for Bookstore Day 2017, including:

  • Dentists Without Borders written and read by David Sedaris

Plus shorter listens for the whole family:

Welcome to Night Vale: Vinyl Edition

Lastly, an exclusive Bookstore Day offer. Based on the tremendously popular podcast of the same name, Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor explores the mysterious, interconnecting plights of a PTA mom and pawn shop owner in Night Vale, a small town in the American Southwest where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all just a part of everyday life. Beautifully packaged with “flypaper” sleeve, the purple vinyl also includes a full-length digital download of the audiobook performed by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner. Exclusively available on Bookstore Day for $24.95 (audiobook is complimentary).


Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party.

Since every store is unique and independent, every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids’ events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items available only at Indie stores on that day. Join the party: stop by your favorite indie bookstore on April 29th, chat with the booksellers, buy some books, and get your five free audiobooks plus two samplers!

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”
—Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Commonwealth and co-owner of Parnassus Books

The Bookseller Chronicles: Green Apple Books

At Libro, we are proud members of the American Booksellers’ Association, and fierce advocates of independent bookstores. We turn to indie booksellers all the time for advice on everything from marketing to what to read. So when I was in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, I popped in at Green Apple Books, to chat with co-owner Kevin Hunsanger.

It turned out that Kevin was just as interested in how things were going at Libro as I was about Green Apple. So, starting out, he flipped the script on me, asking me a couple of questions. We chatted back and forth about bookselling, National Bookstore Day, and what Green Apple does with the profits from certain political books.

[Kevin Hunsanger]: Audio is a rapidly changing area in the marketplace. How are things going at Libro?

[Judy Oldfield]: It’s going well. We’re doing some really cool stuff. We have a book of the month where we choose one book to really focus on. Since we’re in Seattle, June’s was Where’d You Go Bernadette. Our first month we did Mindset by Carol Dweck, which is a psychology book. And then we chose What If. We are just going all over the place and seeing what sticks.

[KH]: Now is this chosen by personal interest?

[JO]: Yeah. Mark Pearson (our co-founder) chose Mindset because he runs Pear Press, which publishes Brain Rules and Zero to Five (a parenting book). Tracy Cutchlow, who wrote Zero to Five, wrote a HuffPost article about Mindset and it went viral. So that’s what gave Mark the idea to check Mindset out. And it’s a really cool book for the team to have read as this fledgling company. It’s all about how hard work and things will pay off eventually.

[KH]: We deal with a lot of that in the used book market, or bookstores in general. You know it’s a labor of love. I think most booksellers could work anywhere else, but we just choose not to. It’s so rewarding in so many different ways but then if you get a little financial reward too or at least a little successful you can live on what you love and that’s great—a real blessing.

[JO]: And you get to share your passion with people every day. Tell me about your history with the store.

[KH]: The store itself was started in 1967. It was owned and operated by one man named Rich Savoy for about 30 years. He was my mentor in the used- and rare book-world. And then Kevin Ryan and Pete Mulvihill came and we also worked together. We had about 40 years combined experience here when Rich approached us and said, “I’d like to sell the store and I think the three of you would make the right team.”

[JO]: When was that?

[KH]: Oh about 15-16 years ago. Right about 2000 I guess, maybe a little earlier. It was a gradual buyout over ten years because we split equity and dispersed profits.

[JO]: That must have been really scary towards the end of those ten years with the economy looking grim.

[KH]: We couldn’t have done it at a worse time. It was the best time for Rich. Independent bookselling in ’99 was probably at a high water mark. Now it’s higher because it’s come back around. But in 1999 there was no real threat from Amazon; the Internet was just something you did with email. But as soon as we signed on the dotted line . . . we were just getting punched all over the place.

[JO]: But like you said it is coming back now. Why do you think that is?

[KH]: I’d like to think that people are finally realizing that if you don’t support and shop in your neighborhood, these places are going to go away and we’re not going to have neighborhoods left. We are very fortunate that San Francisco is very neighborhood-centric so areas in San Francisco have an independent feel, have a neighborhood feel, and people really live and work and shop and play and eat and love in their neighborhood.

You hear the horror stories. My mom lives on the big island of Hawaii and Borders came in there, knocked off all the little bookstores, and then they themselves went out of business. Now there’s not a bookstore on the island. The only thing they can do is shop at some online retailers and unfortunately most people assume that the only one is Amazon. You’re losing these things that build community, losing communities, and creating what is essentially a monopoly.

[JO]: What is something that Green Apple has done that you are especially proud of?

[KH]: Our ties to the community. The high volume of used booksellers that come through here is a really unique aspect of the store. I’d say that 65% of our stock is used books. So it’s a place that’s actually being built by our customers every day. It keeps people coming back on a regular basis. Our shelves just change so fast. So I think our greatest accomplishment is keeping up with the flow of books coming in and adjusting to customer and community needs.

Also, we’re very involved in local politics. There’s a ballot on the measure now for legacy designation for buildings. The city is going to try to establish, say, a number of 30-year-old, or 50-year-old locations in neighborhoods and work with the landlords of these areas. We don’t own either of the buildings that we’re in. If things change with the landlords that might just erase any of the margin that we need to survive. Pete is very active in small business associations and regularly meets with the mayor to discuss these kinds of issues.

And we won Bookstore of the Year last year which is just an extraordinary accomplishment.

[JO]: And you started Independent Bookstore Day.

[KH]: Pete also got that notion after seeing the success of Record Store Day and wanted one for us too. He really championed it the first year as California Bookstore Day only, and now it has crossed over into the national market. It was a great success for everyone and we really look forward to continuing it. There again are stronger ties to the community.

[JO]: You talked about how booksellers are definitely in it because they’re passionate about books, so what keeps you going? What keeps you in the store day to day?

[KH]: The fact that honestly from day to day I have no idea what’s going to cross my path. In a buy yesterday I got a Nightmare Before Christmas board game. It was in no great shape and while I like playing board games periodically, I’d never seen it before. And all of the sudden there it is. Or I could get a signed first edition of some historical context. Again just having no idea who I’m going to talk to, what books I’m going to see, what fun stuff happens here. It changes all the time. I’ve been here 24 years in September and seriously every day is different. That’s what I love—the variety.

[JO]: Do you ever get into situations where somebody’s buying books and you’re saying to yourself, “Please don’t ask me my opinion on this book”? Or you’re selling a book that you don’t personally care for?

[KH]: We’re booksellers, not censors. We sell books of all types to all people as long as our customer base buys them. We’ve not profited on things we personally object to. The most recent example was Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue. We donated any proceeds from that to the Alaskan Wildlife Foundation. For Michael Savage (the ultra-right wing radio guy) we did the same thing. We donated the proceeds to Freedom of Expression. So we’ll sell the books because we want our customers to buy the books from us, but we won’t profit from them. It’s an interesting way of doing that.

And I’m happy to give my personal opinion about books; if I don’t like something and someone asks my opinion, you know, it’s my opinion. That’s not to say that you’re not going to like it, but I’ll happily tell someone how I feel about something. I don’t just blow smoke to make a sale. That’s not sustainable and that customer won’t come back again. You have to have that level of trust with your bookseller and I think customers expect honesty. So I do sell books that I don’t like or I don’t agree with. That’s ok.


What’s your go-to brick-and-mortar independent bookstore? Let us know in the comments.