This month, residents can win prizes for visiting independent bookstores located throughout the Piedmont area. The event is sponsored by the Independent Booksellers of Piedmont North Carolina. Flyleaf Books is one of the participating bookstores, said Travis Smith, marketing coordinator for Flyleaf.
“You can drop a chain bookstore anywhere, but an indie bookstore has to be tailored to the community,” Smith said.
The booksellers include The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, Regulator Bookshop and Letters Bookshop in Durham and Scuppernong Books in Greensboro.
The group started working on the event in February and was inspired by a similar outreach coordinated by another region of independent booksellers.
Land Arnold, owner of Letters Bookshop, said owners of independent bookstores often live in or near the community and have more control over what books come into the shop.
“I think the biggest issue independent bookstores have is people not really knowing they’re there and a viable option,” Arnold said. “They’re a good force for people to realize they can get their literature and community from a local place, and indie stores creates that fabric.”
To participate, patrons can visit each of the bookstores around the Piedmont area to earn a stamp in their Bookstore Field Guide pamphlet.
The prize for four stamps is an Independent Booksellers of Piedmont North Carolina button and a mention on their social media accounts. When participants earn eight stamps, they will receive an Independent Booksellers of Piedmont North Carolina journal, a signed book from a North Carolina author and entry into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate.
The month-long event will lead up to Independent Bookstore Day on April 30. Flyleaf Books will feature a talk from author John Shelton Reed about his book “Barbecue,” which will be sponsored by UNC Press. Gina Mahalek, director of publicity for UNC Press, said they support the event because independent bookstores promote both academic and non-academic works.
“Independent bookstores are an important outlet for sales for our books and an important way for authors to meet (the) reading public,” Mahalek said.