Book lovers, rejoice. April 29 is Independent Bookstore Day and I’ve rounded up some Rhody indie gems to celebrate. (Not that I need an extra reason to spend a day in a bookstore. Every day is indie bookstore day if you believe it.)
So let that TBR stack grow, baby. Some spots here are even celebrating with parties.
I’m an audiobook addict, and one way to buy them while also supporting local is via libro.fm. Libro.fm lets you buy from a local indie shop via an app on your phone. I use it constantly. Many of the shops below are on the platform. Bonus: libro.fm is celebrating Indie Bookstore Day with a sale — think titles from names like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Lauren Groff and Stephen Graham Jones for $4.99 that you can purchase from Rhode Island stores. Details here.
Bonus: In celebration of Indie Bookstore Day, new members can score a free audiobook with code BOOKSTOREDAY. You can also win 12 free audiobooks by hunting for a “Golden Ticket” at participating shops. In the Ocean state, those include Ink Fish Books in Warren and Heartleaf Books in PVD. All details here.
BOOKS ON THE SQUARE
A must-stop. The curation is impeccable, their staff picks on-point, they ooze charm, and their kids section is incredible. The pup-friendly shop on PVD’s Wayland Square celebrates Independent Bookstore Day with raffles, giveaways, prizes, games, “Blind Date with a Book” (I’m intrigued), photo booth, trivia, bookstore bingo, YA six-word book reviews (love it), scavenger hunt, a 1 p.m. story time, and a DJ from 5-8 p.m. FYI: they have story time for kids Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m., and they consistently bring local and national authors to PVD. Up next: Providence’s Abraham Josephine Riesman talks about his buzzy “Ringmaster: Vince McMahon and the Unmaking of America” on May 4. 471 Angell St., Providence. Store info. here.
From Tallulah’s Taqueria to Like No Udder, Ives Street has exploded with coolness in recent years, and Twenty Stories is the perfect indie bookshop for the hip neighborhood. Chic and minimal, it almost feels like an art gallery (book gallery?) where every book there is one I’ve either just recently heard raves about, want to read, saw on a bestsellers list, or recently read and loved. The curation is sleek — bangers only — and the vibe is laid-back LA beach vogue. Upcoming events include this must-read: Peggy O’Donnell Heffington talks “Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother,” in conversations with Brown University’s Bathsheba Demuth, May 18. 107 Ives St. Store details here.
Don’t leave PVD without hitting up this down-city staple. They’ve upped their game in recent years. They’ve always had cool used books, vinyl, and gifts, but they’re bringing in on-the-pulse buzzy titles, new releases and bestsellers. The shop is small, but I can still spend hours here. 240 Westminster St. Store info. here.
SAVOY BOOKSHOP & CAFE
Another spot with impeccable curation. And the downstairs kids’ book section is so cozy, I could spend an afternoon tucked away down there, only popping up to refuel at their in-store cafe. They celebrate April 29 with offers, freebies, special activities, and a Tri-River Challenge with their sister bookstores in Connecticut. Get stamped at all three — Bank Square Books in Mystic, Conn., and Title IX: A Bookstore in New London, Conn. — to score a 30 percent off coupon and an “Independent Bookstore Day patch.” #RoadTripIdea.
FYI: Savoy brings in great local and national authors to the store. On May 4, they’ll host Westerly poet Carla Panciera on “Barnflower: A Rhode Island Farm Memoir.” But they also collab with the Ocean House Author Series, hosted by Rhody best-selling author Deborah Goodrich Royce. This Watch Hill series is fantastic — they consistently bring in big names and bestsellers. 10 Canal St., Westerly. Store info. here.
INK FISH BOOKS
Love Ink Fish. A woman-owned indie bookstore in Warren, they do so much for the Rhody reading community — from author talks and signing, to partnering with book fests, or arts nights. Note: you can also bring in your used books for a trade-in program. (Key, for my fellow tower-stackers.) You can also buy e-books and audiobooks. Their staff recommendations for adults and kids are on-point, and [trumpets blare] they celebrate on Saturday with a party.
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. they’ll offer “exclusive items, free books, raffles, and the opportunity to search for the Golden Ticket with the winner receiving a free year of audiobook credits (12 credits) from Libro.fm.”
Party-goers include Rhody novelist Vanessa Lillie and Brown alum/suspense novelist Wendy Walker. Plus sweet and salty snacks from GG’s Pretzels (Yes, please.) Bonus: Purchase any kids book April 29–May 6 and Ink Fish will match your purchase — donations support United Way of Rhode Island’s Children’s Book Drive. 488 Main St., Warren. Store info. here.
Another indie shop that consistently hosts big names — most recently, South Kingston’s bestselling novelist Don Winslow — and boasts solid staff picks and great overall book selection, along with selected toys, sweets, and other wares. They celebrate April 29 with book-loving merch, free books, raffle and a signing with Rhode Island author Elizabeth Splaine for her newest novel, “Steel Butterflies,” and more. Note for caretakers: they have story-time every Thursday at 10 a.m. 184 County Road. Store info. here.
For those of us in the Little Compton, Tiverton, Portsmouth, Middletown area, Island Books is a must-stop. Again, great curation, solid staff picks, plus kids books and selected toys. They also host book discussions, and there’s still time to get in on their next pick: Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan’s lauded “The Candy House” on May 11 in-person and via Zoom. 575 East Main Road, Middletown. Store info. here.
Read on, Rhody.