Bookstore Spotlight

With Independent Bookstore Day quickly approaching (April 30th!), we wanted to celebrate by introducing you to spectacular shops that you should visit. Today we’re featuring Brazos Bookstore, located in Houston, Texas – continue reading to discover what makes this bookstore and its staff unique, and all the great events they have planned!BB Logo 2-color CMYK
What are some fun facts about your store?

I feel like I should tell you the details–we were founded in 1974, we were nominated for PW’s Bookstore of the Year in 2016–but are these facts fun? The most interesting facts about our store, as far as I’m concerned, are about each of us individually: one of us won a James Patterson Bookseller Bonus this year; one of us is a renowned classics scholar; two of us are on the way to graduate MFA programs; several of us are published authors. We adore literature, and we adore being a part of the writing community, and bestsellers at our store are frequently literature in translation. Does this reflect the space of Houston itself–unruly, full of different people with various ambitions? Maybe. Or, how about this: Robert Durst was an occasional customer. Is that fun?Brazos Outside

Why do you think indie bookstores are essential?
We always joke here: yes, the books are what we sell, but really, WE’RE the product (in the least creepy way possible, of course!). I mean, why the hell go to an independent bookstore–or indie record store, or indie movie theater–these days? You can get the stuff online, with a single click. The trick of the indie bookstore is that it’s half retail space, half cultural hub. You come because you want personal recommendations; you come because you want to feel plugged into a larger artistic community; you come because reading and writing can be, occasionally, a lonely endeavor, and it’s better to be lonely together. In short, you come because you can love Amazon all you want, but Amazon will never love you back.

Can you tell us about the activities you have planned for Independent Bookstore Day?
Emblazoned in neon outside our front door: SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE! At least, I keep trying to convince the rest of the staff to install a sign like that. But for IBD, we want to make sure you can come in the morning and hang around until close and never get bored. Accordingly, we’re partnering with the Houston Zoo to bring animals into the store for a morning story time; we’re throwing a happy hour in the afternoon, and unveiling art on our windows; and in the evening, we welcome a local writer named J. Bradford Hipps to read from his new debut novel, THE ADVENTURIST. Also, I may try to raise the funds to install more neon signs outside our door, including one that says, BRAZOS BOOKSTORE: 1 BILLION SERVED! It’ll be a full-time position to update the sign on a daily basis…

Brazos Inside

Beyond IBD, what exciting events/activities are happening in your store?
Ever looking forward, on IBD, we’ll reveal our major summer program: called Summer of Kubrick, we’re partnering with Houston film institutions to present screenings, parties, and book groups that put cinema and literature in conversation. We also have a fantastic mural on our window: the face of Kubrick himself. One bookseller joked today that it has become the store’s very own T.J. Eckleburg. Wherever we go at Brazos, Kubrick watches us. Let’s hope we can live up to his fastidiousness and originality.

BB Logo 2-color CMYKHouston, Texas
brazosbookstore.com
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To learn more about Independent Bookstore Day you can read our article, and to find a participating bookstore near you by visiting the official IBD website.

*Benjamin Rybeck, Marketing Director of Brazos Bookstore, interviewed by Tarah Theoret

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Bookstore Spotlight

Independent Bookstore Day is quickly approaching (April 30th!), and we wanted to celebrate by introducing you to spectacular shops that you should visit. Today we’re featuring Wild Iris Books, located in Gainesville, Florida – continue reading to discover what makes this bookstore unique, and all the great events they have planned!
Wild_Iris_logoWhat are some fun facts about your store?
Wild Iris Books is Florida’s only feminist bookstore and has provided feminist bookselling space for over 20 years in Gainesville. Our inventory reflects a lens of intersectional feminism – women’s studies, minority studies, trans, queer and LGB studies, and alternative children’s books. We collaborate often with other non-profits in the area including feminists and other social justice activists.

Why do you think indie bookstores are essential?
Indie bookstores are essential because books can be magical and sacred things and few people love books as much as indie booksellers. Indies also help to build up local authors, supporting the storytellers in our community. And shopping at Indies keeps more of our money at home, going to people living and working and loving in our own neighborhoods. Feminist bookselling is so vital to us because with the bookstore we can encourage and support a space for ideas, activist work, and critical analysis of systems of oppression in our society.

Can you tell us about the activities you have planned for Independent Bookstore Day?Wild Iris Books
This year Wild Iris Books and our neighbors – The Civic Media Center, SAW, and the Citizens Co-op – are teaming up to create a block party for Independent Bookstore Day. The celebrations from 10am-4pm ET on South Main will include authors, UF student readings, live painting, music, community art projects, and more.

Local authors will be taking shifts during the day as guest booksellers at Wild Iris – talking about the books that changed their lives and helping people find their next great read. Lauren Groff, local author of Fates and Furies, was selected as the IBD Author Ambassador for 2016 and she can be seen in her IBD YouTube video encouraging local community members to, “buy dozens of books!” when they visit their favorite indie on Saturday, April 30th. Lauren will be guest bookselling all day with Wild Iris and is crafting gift bags for the first 20 customers of the day.

Guest Booksellers will include: Lauren Groff, Joe Haldeman, Tom Hart, Leela Corman, Sandra Lambert, William Hatfield, Write Handed Poet A. Denèe, and Leanne Lawrence.

Community Guests and Activities: WellFlorida Council, Inc. live painting with the Art of Carrie Martinez, Alachua County Humane Society, music with Mama Trish, African dance performances with larry d rosalez-lewis, poetry by Mellow Soul Tuesdays, Alachua County Library, Girls Rock Camp, Gainesville Area NOW, Trans Affairs, readings with UF MFA students, and more!

Beyond IBD, what exciting events/activities are happening in your store?
One of the events we are most proud of is our monthly Free Store. We collect donations from the community of just about anything – clothes, shoes, housewares, kids items and then hold a huge Free Store where people can come and take anything they may need. We’ve been hosting this for over a year and each Free Store we have an average of  3 truckloads of donations. Being blocks from a homeless shelter – lots of people have come to depend on Free Store to supplement what they need. We have volunteers who purchase hygiene products, diapers and pads/tampons that we distribute as well. We’ll continue to do this monthly. Free Store Facebook Page

Wild_Iris_logo
Visit Wild Iris Books!
Gainesville, Florida
wildirisbooks.com
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To learn more about Independent Bookstore Day you can read our article, and to find a participating bookstore near you by visiting the official IBD website.

*Erica Merrell, Co-owner of Wild Iris Books, interviewed by Tarah Theoret

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Independent Bookstore Day – Join the Party!

We at NetGalley are huge fans of independent bookstores. We know that when we walk into an indie bookstore we’re going to be greeted by true book lovers, who take great care in choosing the books they carry and which one they are going to recommend just for you. It’s that personal touch that excites us – knowing that we’re going to meet someone who loves books as much (or maybe even slightly more) as we do, and they’re going to put our next favorite read in our hands. This is why it’s our sincere pleasure to help promote this year’s Independent Bookstore Day!

Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) is a national event that focuses on celebrating books, booksellers, bookstores, and authors. On April 30th, over 400 independently owned bookstores will be a flurry of activity – this includes special events, guest booksellers/authors, exclusive merchandise, giveaways and prizes, and a chance to connect with your community.

Did you know. . .

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMIndependent Bookstore Day originated from California Bookstore Day, and this is the second year that IBD has been nationally celebrated.

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMThe majority of participating bookstores see significant increases in sales and foot traffic on this day, all thanks to loyal book-lovers like you!

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMCanada is getting in on the fun with Canadian Authors for Indies Day!

4-25-2016 1-30-30 PMPlus, April 30th is a great day to visit your local indie and pick out a Mother’s Day gift…

For more information about Independent Bookstore Day and to find a participating bookstore near you: indiebookstoreday.com #BookstoreDay on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

“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 and co-owner of Parnassus Books

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