On May 3, 2014, 93 bookstores participated in the first California Bookstore Day. Created to encourage local shopping at independent bookstores, there were 13 original limited edition items produced specifically for the day. The items included new editions of old or previously unpublished works, art inspired by books and created by authors, a recipe box, a tote bag, and my personal favorite, a wooden stencil with a literary quote.
Many San Francisco bookstores participated and it was down to my two of my favorites, Green Apple and the Booksmith. The latter offered a party from 3:30-4:30 in the backyard of Sparrow on Haight. I was worried they would run out of items so I got to the the bookstore around noon. Booksmith always has an incredibly cheery front table but yesterday’s spread was especially fun.
I bought one of the three Don DeLillo wooden stencils left and two of the special edition Neil Gaiman books. I also received a ticket that was good for one free drink during the bookstore happy hour.
The cashier gave me a free tote bag! Eek, I love it so much!
I then attended the party at Sparrow Bar, which is next to the Booksmith.
I had a free glass of champagne. I went alone so I sat down at a table by myself. Another girl alone asked to sit with me. She moved here from Hawaii last year so I gave her some booknerd tips: where to see authors read and which thrift stores have the best books.
Bookstores have to compete with online sellers and electronic reading devices. I have only purchased a handful of books online and those were because I needed obscure books while researching my masters thesis. Even though I can buy books cheaper online, I prefer not to. Entering a brick and mortar store allows you to interact with like minded people. They will give you suggestions, tell you about events, and make you feel like part of a community. Reading is already a solitary practice, so why make it even more solitary? Plus, books are being printed with different paper stock now, and sometimes the way a book feels will encourage me to buy it. Bookstores are communities; they house books and welcome readers. They offer a brief respite in this digital age. Yes, I am typing on my laptop-I am not anti-technology, just too in love with books and the personality that emanates from each copy to let them go.
Here are my wonderful scores from yesterday:
a wooden stencil featuring a quote from Don DeLillo’s White Noise:
Two copies of Neil Gaiman’s short story especially published for California Bookstore Day. One is for me, the other for my friend Tzuen who recently moved out of state. Don’t worry, you will not see this extra copy on eBay.
And here are the bookmarks created for California Bookstore Day.
I overheard the woman running the event tell someone that they had a state wide contest to design the logo and a girl at the Green Apple won the contest. I’d also like to point out that two different people from the Booksmith thanked me for coming to the event. They thanked everyone which again, created a sense of community that I will never get from buying a book online.