On August 5, Texas Independent Bookstore Day will have its inaugural unveiling. Conceived by managers at Austin's BookPeople and Brazos Bookstore, the event will feature booksellers throughout the state, including those at Blue Willow Books in Houston and those at the recently-opened Interabang Books in Dallas.
“As this is the first year, we kept it low-key and want to ensure we have proof of concept,” Benjamin Rybeck, manager of Brazos and one of the event’s organizers, said. “We have several of the major cities in Texas represented, which should give us a good start. We are all in this for the long haul, but we don’t know what we have until we have it.”
The event is modeled on the nationwide Independent Bookstore Day (which was held this year on April 29), the annual day celebrating independent bookstores. But, unlike the national day, TIBD has left individual stores in control of their own events. "They know their community best and what will work them," said Rybeck. "It’s not meant to be a one-size-fits-all monolithic promotion.”
At Brazos, for example, the focus is on the bookstore's partners in the local community. A DJ from Cactus Music, an independent Houston store, will be spinning, and beer will be supplied by Specs, a Texas liquor store chain. BookPeople in Austin is holding an in-store scavenger hunt, with winners receiving tickets to a local theatrical production of Fun Home. Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston will offer Texas-shaped cookies, and promote a curated selection of books by Texas authors.
Chelsea Green, who runs the online book subscription service MyBookBox with her sister and husband, is using TIBD to raise money for a new bookstore they hope to open next year. The trio is is fundraising for Biblobar, a bookstore planned for the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Plano.
Green, who until this week had worked on book imports at HarperCollins 360 in New York, said that she and her partners will also hit Kickstarter to raise money for the store; they hope to earn $75,000 through the online campaign.
“The concept for the store is based on BookBar in Denver and will offer some 5,000 titles," she said. "We also want it to be family friendly, so mom can have a drink while the kids browse the books.”
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has seen a recent spate of indie bookstores crop up in the past two years, with the opening of Interabang and Deep Vellum Books in Dallas; branches of Kinokuniya Books in Plano and Carrollton; and the The Last Word in Fort Worth (which closed this June after just a year in business).