"We had a record setting August day," said Ben Rybeck, manager of Houston's Brazos Bookstore and one of the founders of Texas Independent Bookstore Day, which was held for the first time on Saturday. The new event is intended to promote the state's independent bookstores and is modeled on the national Independent Bookstore Day held in the spring.
"August slows pretty considerably for us," said Rybeck, "but we had people in the store all day, people from open to close. Our slowest period was our last hour and we had 10 people in store all. Cactus Music [a local independent music store] did a playlist for us. We served coffee, beer came from 11 Below Brewing. Basically, we just threw a party -- we played the music really loud and got people drunk."
Dallas' Interabang Books hosted two authors, E. Dan Klepper and his photography book Why the Raven Calls the Canyon and Dallas local Melissa Lenhardt with her novel, Sawbones. "We had a busy day and people seemed excited to be here in support of indie bookstores," co-owner Jeremy Ellis said.
Books Kinokuniya, despite being part of a bookstore chain, also participated. "There was a great turnout at our Carrollton Store today, and the event was very successful," Shigekazu Watanabe, Texas Carrollton and Texas Plano Store manager at Kinokuniya USA, said. The store hosted Fort Worth author Jim Reeves, who signed his newly revised edition of Dallas Cowboys: The Legends of America's Team, and his local publisher, Barry Shlachter, of Great Texas Line Press. Author Jason Mims also signed copies of his self-published book, Skin Eater.
All participating bookstores "acted independently, as was the plan," Rybeck said. "It's meant to be an event that allows stores to showcase what they do best for their communities."
Reflecting on Saturday's event, he said, "It’ was just nice to see the bookstores celebrated. Now, we'll take some time, talk to our fellow booksellers, and see how to do it even better next year."
Interabang's Ellis said, "We'll absolutely participate next year. I'm excited to work with the other Texas indies to come up with ways to make it bigger and better."