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Local bookstores offer special events for Independent Bookstore Day

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Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews sits on Franklin Street on Feb. 23, 2023.

On Saturday, independent bookstores in Chapel Hill and Carrboro opened their doors for Independent Bookstore Day, a holiday celebrated by the American Booksellers Association.

For the past 11 years, participating bookstores nationwide have been honoring store customers, staff and community on the last Saturday of April.

In order to participate in the holiday, bookstores must be members of the ABA and are in turn sent promotional material through partnerships with authors, which includes certain books only available to independent bookstores.

Throughout the day, bookstores offer exclusive books, contests, prizes and events to encourage support for their small businesses. 

Bookstores in the area began their festivities as early as 9:30 a.m. and were busy the whole day. 

Golden Fig Books in Carrboro, whose inventory focuses on used books, greeted customers with a large, brightly colored sticker on their door that read "Independent Bookstore Day."

Even with people filtering in and out, the store was full of energy and constant movement, with couples, friends and families browsing the shelves in hope of finding their next read or summer booklist. 

Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books started the day with a “spin the wheel” giveaway, followed by trivia and tie-dye.

“[Independent Bookstore Day] is a huge deal in the bookstore world,” Flyleaf bookseller Alex Reinhart said. “It’s pretty much one of the biggest events in the spring for our store.”

Flyleaf also hosted a Golden Ticket promotion, offering a 12 credit audiobook bundle with their partner, Libro.fm, to anyone who found the Golden Ticket hidden in the store.

“We want it to be really fun for everybody,” Reinhart said

On Franklin Street, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews found their own way to celebrate the day.

A book bingo card was offered to customers — which will be an event continuing into the early summer — as well as discounts on hardcovers and a free orange honey latte to anyone who bought $25 worth of books.

This Saturday was bookseller Sydney Mason's second Independent Bookstore Day.

As a bookstore that doubles as a coffee shop and a frequented study spot, Mason said that it is not often that people come in for the books, but on Saturday, the store really felt like a bookstore again.

“It’s usually busy, but this is another level,” Mason said. “It’s also people who are very excited about buying books and who are really just here for the books.”

Mason said that as a bookseller, it can be hard to get to a strong level of excitement and appreciation for books, but having people come in genuinely excited to read and receive recommendations in celebration of the independent business is very special.

In honor of the holiday, Golden Fig Books offered an unreleased collection of Terry Pratchett short stories and free prints from Rupi Kaur, celebrating 10 years of her poetry book “milk and honey.”

Allie Cecil, the manager of Golden Fig Books’ Carrboro location, said that the store's regulars make an effort to visit at least one independent bookstore on the holiday. She said that there are people who wait all year for this day, not only for the exclusive deals, but just to be a part of the impact on book sales. 

“It also shows us how much our community cares about us, which is really lovely,” Cecil said.

@dthlifestyle | lifestyle@dailytarheel.com

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