Hoping to remind customers they’re a community staple, independent bookstores are marking April 30 with events, promotions, and other surprises.
Deemed Independent Bookstore Day, the celebration has grown from a California-only 95-store event in 2014 put on by the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, to an annual national extravaganza. The booksellers seek to call attention to their unique benefits to their communities — such as offering book recommendations from an actual person, not an algorithm.
Wonder where to begin? Here are indie bookstore events happening around Greater Boston — but be sure to check your local haunt if they aren’t included below.
All She Wrote Books
At 1 p.m, the Assembly Square bookstore is hosting a Q&A and signing with New England author Amy Klinger to celebrate her new novel, “In Light of Recent Events,” followed by a 3-7 p.m. signing with local lesbian romance authors Nancy Ann Healy, E.A. Kafkalas, TB Markinson, Miranda MacLeod, and Lucy Bexley. At 8 p.m. is the “Stacked Up Comedy Show” featuring several local rising comedians. Additionally, a selection of titles will be marked down 50 percent with profits donated to local nonprofit Connexion Collection, a free library in partnership with All She Wrote Books, focusing on providing diverse and inclusive books to the East Somerville community. 451 Artisan Way, Somerville. 617-440-4623, allshewrotebooks.com
An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe
The Plainville bookstore will offer “blind date” books for sale — meaning you take home a new novel without seeing the title or cover — and free ARCs (advance reader copies) with the purchase of a book. Between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Esteban the Magnificent Pea Green Crayon, a character from the picture book “The Day the Crayons Came Home” by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, will be available for photos, while ukulele band The Unlikely Strummers performs live. (Note: advance registration is required on the store website.)111 South St., Plainville. 508-699-0244, anunlikelystory.com
Take your chances “book fishing” at the Coolidge Corner bookstore — grab a pole and “hook a fish” to win a prize. After making your catch, you can ask a bookseller for your first clue to the store-wide scavenger hunt with prizes. Bookworms who aren’t leaving home can attend an online discussion at noon with Mexican novelist Fernanda Melchor and translator Sophie Hughes to celebrate the release of their new book, “Paradais.” 279 Harvard St., Brookline. 617-566-6660, brooklinebooksmith.com
Harvard Book Store
The Harvard Square store will be selling limited quantities of Independent Bookstore Day-themed merchandise, such as custom black pencils, reading journals, tote bags, Mad Libs, and “I visited an independent bookstore today” stickers. 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-661-1515, harvard.com
Porter Square Books
Whether you go to the original location in Porter Square or the newer one in the Seaport District, you’ll find activities throughout the day, such as a “choose your own adventure” scavenger hunt with prizes like coupons, advance reader copies of new books, and tote bags. Visit both locations to get a Porter Square Passport stamp at each, earning you 20 percent off at the second location. At closing time (6 p.m. at the Boston store and 7 p.m. in Cambridge), you can attend an in-store “silent reading party,” during which guests read for 45 minutes on their own and then share something about their book with other attendees, followed by snacks and socializing; tickets for the reading party cost $5 and can be used as a coupon for the same amount. 25 White St., Cambridge. 617-491-2220; 50 Liberty Drive, Boston. 617-675-9706; portersquarebooks.com
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
For a book recommendation tailored to you, visit Trident’s Ask a Bookseller booth stationed outside the store door. If you’d rather the selection be a surprise, a bookseller will set you up on a “blind date” with a book. Customers that day can also play bingo and enter a raffle to win a Trident gift card. At 7 p.m., the upstairs cafe will host a bookstore-themed trivia night. 338 Newbury St., Boston. 617-267-8688, tridentbookscafe.com
To find more participating bookstores, visit indiebound.org/independent-bookstore-day.
Emily Curtis is a writer based in Boston.