Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is back this year — with a twist



Seattle Times art critic

Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is back - but like so many things in this transitional period of the pandemic, things will be a little different. Five years before the pandemic, SIBD (part of an national independent bookstore celebration that usually takes place on the last Saturday in April) was a delightfully crowded, literary version of “The Amazing Race”: you’d get up early and hurry all day to bookstores

, 21 of them in total, to get the title of Master Bookstore and the irresistible price of a one year discount in all stores. (As a three-time bookstore champion, I know what I’m talking about.) There would be long lines outside the stores.early ferries would be full of avid book lovers; and there was a festive party atmosphere all day celebrating the joy of buying books at a neighborhood store. The event started in 2015 and got bigger every year - and then had to be canceled entirely in 2020. Now there is no less reason to celebrate - how lucky are we that almost every business that participated in 2019 is still in business with another, Paper Boat Booksellers 10-10-10 Challenge in West Seattle? (Only the traveler on Bainbridge Island who sold travel gear and books has closed his doors.) But it’s too early to encourage the crowd, so the SIBD committee came up with a new, pandemic-friendly concept: the

in the customers have 10 days (24.April - May 3) Time to visit 10 of the 21 participating bookstores in person or online and make 10 purchases. The winners will receive a limited 2021 SIBD shopping bag upon receipt of receipts. The following local bookstores participate:, Arundel Books, Book Larder, BookTree(Kirkland), Brick & Mortar Books(Redmond), Ada’s technical books (Bainbridge Island), Edmonds Bookshop, Elliott Bay Book Co., Eagle Harbor Book Co., Island Books(Mercer Island), Liberty Bay Books (Poulsbo), Fantagraphics bookstore, Neverending Bookshop(Edmonds), Magnolias bookstore, Open books: A Poetry Emporium, Page 2 Books(Burien), Phinney Books/Madison Books, Queen Anne Book Co., Secret Garden Books, Third Place Books Paper boat bookseller University Bookstore.

(Lake Forest Park, Ravenna, Seward Park),, or Hummingbird zu Some obvious questions about the 10-10-10 challenge: Yes, you need to shop at each of the 10 stores (in person or online) but there is no minimum amount. Any purchase is enough. (Note,Some of the stores included sell inexpensive used books, greeting cards and other items.) Yes, items purchased through the platforms count as long as you specify a participating partner bookstore when purchasing. Yes, it is a passport; you can collect one at a participating store or print it out at

. And no, you don’t have to leave your house if you don’t want to; The entire challenge can be done online.

Erin Ball, third place book manager at Lake Forest Park and a member of the SIBD steering committee, said the committee initially considered something simpler - “maybe a coupon, just a flat discount” -but the stores wanted to be a little closer. What would SIBD be in a normal year? The 10-10-10 Challenge grew out of “whirling around ideas on how to expand it - to invite people but give them enough time so that we don’t invite everyone on the same day, but rather take into account that some stores sell online and some customers only shop online.

It’s been When asked if bookstores were concerned about crowds, Ball pointed out that, like all businesses these days, bookstores are currently running out of capacity. When these are reached, customers have to wait for them to be approved. “I hope the 10 days encourage people to spread it,” she said. “But they love Bookstore Day!” a tough year for local bookstore

:Stores had to close their doors for a few months last spring and relied on online sales (which not every small store could offer) for revenue. Many were able to reopen in late spring and summer to work on the side of the road and / or shop at the limited capacity store, but none have been able to resume in-store authoring events, which is usually a significant portion of income due to the volume a bookstore accounts for copies of books sold.

And everyone missed SIBD last year, which was initially postponed to August and then canceled, although some stores had very small festivities. It’s a day that isn’t just one of the biggest financial days of any bookstore year,It’s also a great marketing opportunity: people who want to fill out their 21 store passport will visit places they’ve never been - and may have another less busy day.

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books, estimated that SIBD typically has one of its stores three to four times as much as it does on a regular Saturday. “It gets people talking and thinking about independent bookstores, it sheds light on the wide variety of stores in the greater Seattle area, and it creates a bit of a level playing field,” he said. “Through the passport system, this allows all businesses to have the same voice, which we all like. “