Independent Bookstore Day
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Independent Bookstore Day - April 25, 2020

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Booksellers will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) on April 25, and to help booksellers plan displays, special events, and publicity leading up to the event, 

You have to act this week for Independent Bookstore Day

The deadline to order merchandise for Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) is Monday, Feb. 3. Merchandise form & list will be available Jan. 15.

We want to see every member of NAIBA as an IBD store.  The more bookstores involved, the more the country will see the value of our independent bookstores. You can go crazy with events and activities, or you can do low-key promotions, as long as you are involved and have your name on the growing list of independent bookstores in the country.

To be an official IBD store and be on the nationally promoted list, you only have to purchase a minimum of 15 units (just a mere 15 pieces of merchandise).  You also must be a member of ABA. (We’ll get to that later. Now, just focus on the merchandise order.)

Additionally, NAIBA supports projects (such as independent bookstore tour guides to stores, gift cards for scavenger hunts, etc) developed by a cooperative of regional bookstores for IBD. Programs must include multiple stores. Creativity and ingenuity is encouraged! Fund is limited to $100 per group of stores. Reimbursement request must be made in writing to Eileen with details of the program and copies of bills for expenses incurred. Please also send photos, details, and anecdotes that we can share!

To review the terms of participation please go to BOOKSTORE INFO & FAQS. 

Over 400 Bookstores.  Click Here for the map of official IBD participating stores across the country.

Get ready for Bookstore Day

Saturday April 25, 2020

Once you’ve placed your order, there are 3 main facets of Bookstore Day to plan for:

1.    Your party

2.    Your publicity

3.    Your displays and merchandising

There are printable press releases, logos, item images, and printable shelf-talkers at

What to do in JANUARY:

•  PLACE your order for at least 15 exclusive items. ORDER DEADLINE: FEB. 3, 2020. Tip: Get orders and feedback from your staff.

•  Order IBD tote bags by Feb. 3, 2020 (wholesale orders can be placed through our website.)

•  Follow @bookstoreday on Twitter, and Facebook. @indiebookstoreday on Instagram

•  Make sure you are signed up to receive our newsletter. This is how we communicate all important information to participating stores! Sign up on the website.

What to do in FEBRUARY:

•  Order the Marketing-in-a-Mailer from IBD to help you promote the day.

•  Line up authors, illustrators, and other guests (Face painters? Musicians? SPCA?)

•  Plan your party games & events (there are lots of good ideas on our website)

 • Plan your displays and merchandising

 •  Plan your food & drink (consider partnering with a local restaurant and/or bar)

•  Connect with other bookstores in your area to see how you can work together

•  Make sure your staff is informed and on board (many can be helpful for ordering)

•  Create an IBD teaser in your February newsletter

What to do in MARCH:

•  Mention IBD in your March newsletter

•  Start using images of items and other teasers on your website and on social media. Tag with #bookstoreday

•  Make sure you list your special IBD events in your events calendar

•  Send out a press release to local calendar listings (downloadable releases are on our site)

•  Arrange for media sponsorship in your area if possible—radio, newspapers, websites

•  Order companion titles for IBD items (some special discounts apply, see catalog)

•  Look for your FREE IBD bookmarks in the ABA’s March RED BOX.

What to do in APRIL:

•  Start handing out your FREE IBD bookmarks and mentioning the event to customers

•  Highlight IBD in your April newsletter

•  Follow up on press releases sent to local media

•  Create your spectacular IBD window display and enter the contest to win $300!

  Create teaser displays with IBD items and shelf-talkers, signs and other collateral from the marketing kit.

  Tweet and Facebook daily. Use images from the website. Don’t forget to retweet!

  Make sure your store is well staffed for Bookstore Day

Why participate
Independent Bookstore Day is an excellent way to get new customers into your store, increase sales, and celebrate indie bookselling.

Participating stores reported increased sales, anywhere from 20%-275% over the same day the previous year.

Tip: Booksellers report IBD is a great way to merchandise and sell backlist associated with the special items.

Social Media Tip Sheet

Increasing your social media influence directly impacts the number of people who see you and can make a huge difference for your store on Independent Bookstore Day and beyond. And it’s free!

• Consider joining Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, if you are not already active on any social media sites.

• If you are already active, your goal is to add 50+ Facebook friends, follow 50+ relevant people on Twitter, follow 50+ on Instagram.

• Follow @bookstoreday and Facebook/bookstoreday and share our posts! Follow other bookstores, authors and publishers. Follow @greenapplebooks, @greenlightbklyn, @vromans‪, and @Politics_Prose. They all do a very good job with Twitter

• Consider buying social tools to increase community: FB ads, Twitter post promoting, Instagress

• Use Followerwonk to find Twitter social influencers by searching for key words pertaining to books, bookselling, publishing, the shop local movement, cultural community, etc.

• Engage with social influencers by starting conversations, commenting on post and sharing content - 5X per day

• Social Posting Schedulers: Using a social scheduler will make your life much simpler. You can plan out all of your posts for the day in the morning and it will free up time to work on other campaign needs. Consider using: Hootsuite or Buffer

How to Make Bookstore Day a Smashing Success

 Independent Bookstore Day is not just about the limited-edition books and items we will be selling that day.  It’s about the culture of books, reading and indie bookselling.  It is a celebration of everything we do right!

While the special items are a major draw (and certainly deserve a creative display and lots of attention), we don’t want to customers to simply pop in, grab what they came for, and leave.

This is a chance to surprise and delight loyal and new customers alike.  It is a chance to show off our value beyond the merchandise we sell, and welcome customers into a chummy, close relationship with our stores.  The key to a great IBD is throwing a great party.   

Event Ideas

These will not all work for every store, but we hope they will get you thinking about creative and new ways to provide a fun, welcoming, insider experience for the people who enter your store on May 2.

Author Events:

• Invite authors to read, but invite them to shop, sell, or sing karaoke too

 • Author events should NOT be limited to the authors involved in IBD.

• Ask a favorite author to make a list of the ten books that have changed their lives and then create a display.

• Set up a “Psychology 5¢” booth with a funny author.

• Ask a cookbook author to do passed hors d’oeuvres, or a famous libertine to mix cocktails.

• Get a children’s author to do a mini seminar on how to create a children’s book. Or draw a character.

• Create a quiz show where authors have to answer questions about something far outside their expertise (see: NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me).

• Create a "get your portrait drawn" station but have it run by an awesome illustrator. Think about the Joke Book contributors -- buy the book, get a one-minute portrait? 

Events without authors:

• Have a book club led by a staff member or customer to discuss the newest book by one of the IBD authors.  Their fans are going to be there anyway, offer them some community and a lively discussion.

• Have someone lead a simple craft or art project for kids. Maybe “Drawing Your Favorite Characters.” Maybe “Collages from your favorite books.”

• Have a literary quiz show for customers with prizes and bragging rights.

• Set up a mic. and a large collection of poetry books and invite customers to read their (one) favorite. This could be ongoing all day.

• Get local actors to dress up as characters from books and wander around interacting with people in the store (Dickens Fair style)• Hold a different event for every hour you’re open. This can be as simple as “free donut hour” from 10-11. Mimosas from 11-12, and so on.

• Have a small jazz trio play browsing music during “cocktail hour”


Bring customers in beyond the IBD display. We hope you will create a big and beautiful display of the IBD items and books, but we hope that May 2 is a record day for you storewide.  Last year, while CBD items sold very well, most stores saw their major sales increases in regular inventory.

 • Plant simple prizes, coupons or treasures throughout the store and sections. This doesn’t have to be monetary. It could be a handwritten note from an author recommending their favorite books. It could be some simple positive reinforcement—notes that say things like, “You are smart and beautiful. We’ve noticed.”

• Re-curate sections so that regular customers don’t just see the same old fiction, non-fiction, cooking, and kids sections. Instead they might see sections called “A cure for melancholia” or “Loveable criminals” or “Books that will make you sexy” over a clever display of books from across all sections and genres.

• And don’t forget to decorate! Balloons and streamers. Displays. Life size drawings of the IBD or CBD logo! 

Feed the people:

 • Have a taco or burger or ice cream truck in front of the store

• Offer the first 25 or 100 customers a mimosa in the morning

• Invite literary and/or educational non-profits to hold a bake sale in front of the store that day.