Why We Love Independent Bookstores - Firefly Books Blog

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Why We Love Independent Bookstores

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Why We Love Independent Bookstores


Today across Canada and the United States, book lovers will be heading to their local bookshop for Independent Bookstore Day, a one-day celebration of the unique community spaces where curious minds can engage with books, art, culture, food, education, music, family fun, and more.

Though there are so many places and reasons to buy books these days (who doesn’t love free shipping from Amazon?), for many bookworms indie bookstores are still the place to be.

The official website for the US event explains our love of these local treasures perfectly: “Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.”

If that weren’t enough to convince you to head straight to your local bookstore, we’ve pulled together a list of eight more reasons why we love independent bookstores.

Reason 1: They love to have fun

You may not get the same polish of a major chain at an indie, but what you will get is unique display themes — remember the infamous “I don’t remember the title but it’s blue” display? — and playful social media posts. This #Bookface post comes from The Book Keeper in Sarnia, Ontario and features Rover: Wagmore Edition (plus two adorable dogs and a cat!).

Reason 2: They get young readers involved

Learning to read is an important part of childhood development, and indies know how to make reading fun for kids with themed story times and engaging events. This letter-O-themed story time, which included the beautifully illustrated Once Upon a Jungle, took place at Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Reason 3: Their recommendations are always spot on

Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift for a friend or just exhausted by the thought of sifting through piles of generic bestsellers, an indie bookseller is always happy to help you find the right book, no matter how obscure your interests. Elm Street Books in New Canaan, Connecticut recommends A History of Children’s Books in 100 Books, and Bookmark in Charlottetown, PEI recommends The Raftsmen

Reason 4: They have great cafés

Who doesn’t love delving into a new book with a hot cup of coffee and a tasty treat? Indie bookstores understand that sometimes you just can’t wait until you get home, and they cater appropriately (and deliciously). Guests at a recent Grow What You Love event ate like kings in the restaurant at Arcadia Books in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Reason 5: They host awesome events

Great food aside, events at independent bookstores are always interesting, informative, and entertaining. Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore in Montreal, Quebec went all out for The Raftsmen, giving readers a chance to meet both the author and illustrator of the true adventure story as well as the captain of the raft that sailed across the Atlantic.

Reason 6: They support local authors

Independent bookstores are champions for unique voices worldwide, but especially for local authors attempting to make their mark on the world stage. Mosaic Books in Kelowna, British Columbia recently gave this shout out to local author — and former staff member — Christina Smyth who co-wrote 100 Nature Hot Spots in British Columbia.

Reason 7: You’ll always find a hidden gem

While larger bookstores often stock mainly mainstream titles, indies can create their own niche, specializing in travel books, translations, cookbooks, or graphic novels. This means they are usually chockfull of interesting and unique titles — and booksellers who love to make personal recommendations, such as Jeremy from Arcane Comics in Seattle, who recommended The Attack.

Reason 8: They understand that books are a lifestyle

Indie bookstores are places where kindred spirits unite. Whether you’re reading books, discussing books, or carrying them around in a literary-themed tote, indie booksellers understand what it means to invest in the book lifestyle. Wellesley Books in Wellesley, Massachusetts gets it: they’re even finding ways for you to read what you love and wear what you love (not to mention Grow What You Love…)

Ready to visit your local indie? Find participating bookstores in the US and Canada.


Get the books:

 Rover: Wagmore Edition

 Once Upon a Jungle

 A History of Children’s Books in 100 Books

 The Raftsmen

 Grow What You Love

 100 Nature Hot Spots in British Columbia

 The Attack

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