“Many people might not have a specific book in mind when they come in, but they look through our shelves and when they find ‘it’, they just know.” Cindy Dumas describes one type of experience that customers might expect when they visit an independent bookstore. For Cindy, the owner of Marissa’s Books in Murray, searching for great collections of books and new, unique gift items that customers will love is her favorite part of the job. “Each time someone comes to our store, they can expect to find something original, distinct, and a little different from the previous time they visited.”
Rob Eckman, another local bookseller, explains how independent bookstores support the literary arts and serve as creative centers for our community: “Bookshops are unique and special places. We are not only a place to find and read books but we are gathering places and safe places where ideas can be discussed and shared.” He works at the King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City. Rob and I speak for a few minutes before he excuses himself for another engagement, “It’s Children’s Story Time, and the kids don’t like to be kept waiting.” His official title is Marketing Manager, but Rob is also known as “Genius Storyteller” and “Emperor of the Kids’ Room.”
Rob and Cindy are just two examples of the dedicated staff and owners that make the great bookstores around our state very special places. These two bookstores demonstrate the role that independent stores play in making great books available and helping us to discover them.
This Saturday, April 28th, presents a very special opportunity to visit an independent bookstore and participate in a unique celebration of their role in our neighborhoods. Independent Bookstore Day is a nationwide event that takes place each year on the last Saturday in April. It is a chance to find exclusive items, signed copies of some of your favorite books, and share in fun activities with family and friends. Rob from The King’s English says the event is typically well attended. “We have people lined up before the shop opens to be the first to buy exclusive merchandise that is only available on Independent Bookstore Day. Not only do indie bookshops everywhere have unique events that they are planning, but there are four bookshops in Northern Utah (Booked on 25th in Ogden, Weller Book Works, The King’s English in Salt Lake City and The Printed Garden in Sandy) that have collaborated again on a Bookshop Passport, whereby book lovers can visit each bookshop, receive a passport stamp and be eligible to win a bookshop gift card!”
The 2018 Bookstore Day author ambassador Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere) urges everyone to participate. “My favorite thing about independent bookstores is that they all have their own distinct personalities: each reflects not just the tastes but also the ideals of its community. I love Independent Bookstore Day because it asks readers, writers, and booksellers to join in celebrating all that bookstores represent. It’s a gathering to remind ourselves that the written word can change both us and the world, and of what’s possible when we all come together.”
Aaron Cance with The Printed Garden joins other booksellers around the state in encouraging everyone to visit an indie bookstore to see why they are special places to buy a book. “Locally owned businesses are what make neighborhoods interesting. You can expect a personal experience with staff that really care about what they’re doing. Our store, for example is not a large store, but neither is there any filler on our shelves. If a guest were to walk into our store with a blindfold on, he or she could pull a book off the shelf and it would be a really good book.”
In addition to great books, patrons can expect to find live music, barbecue, local authors, and book signings among the lists of activities for the event. Each store will have their own unique events, so check with your favorite independent bookstore to find out what specific activities they have planned for the day.
Categories: Literary Arts