Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, and two days before Cyber Monday, is a relatively new national campaign to drive business to stores once known as Mom & Pop Shops. While we think of Black Friday as the day to shop department store deals and Cyber Monday as a day to shop online deals, Small Business Saturday is a day to shop local and support non-franchised stores. Independent bookstores have their own name for this day: Indies First Day.
On Indies First Day this year, like many authors across the country, I had the wonderful pleasure of being a guest bookseller at two independent bookstores in New Jersey. I spent the morning at The Town Book Store in Westfield, NJ and the afternoon at [words] Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ. It was a fabulous experience to talk to customers and get an idea of what they like to read, how they like to read and why they shop local. It felt very much like I was on an episode of Cheers. Loyal customers walked into these shops and were greeted by name, conversations about Thanksgiving and kids and, well, books, felt really personal. There was a clear sense of community in these shops. I could immediately see the pull. In a world that seems increasingly impersonal, the local independent bookstore is anything but. A sampling of what I heard that day: continue reading