Curling up with a good book evokes winter and rainy days, yet for booksellers, especially independent bookstores spring and books are a time to celebrate. That’s why tomorrow on Saturday April 30 independent bookstores will be participating in Independent Bookstore Day.
“The national one-day party celebrating independent bookstores, which is back in-person, since the onset of the Coronavirus is commemorated across the whole country for the first time since 2019,” said Anna Zanetti, who is working with the organizers of IBD. She helped get word out about the unique celebratory event.
She and her staff were eager to help in a variety of ways. Especially, to get word out before the spring holidays that “over 870 bookstores are set to take part, she said and New York Times #1 bestselling author Angie Thomas is this year’s official ambassador.”
One of the sponsors of this year’s celebration is bookshop.org. “It’s mission, mentioned Zanetti is to financially support local, independent bookstores. During the celebration bookshop.org will be offering free shipping throughout the weekend as it will host hundreds of book lists lovingly curated by booksellers, she said, as well as an exclusive list from Angie Thomas selling brand new merchandise.”
Among the participating 870 independent bookstores is Sonoma’s Readers’ Books at the center of town, near the historic plaza. Sometimes quiet and sleepy as it was when it was an old Mission town in the days of Early California, Sonoma gets busy during tourist season.
Spring is when tourists flock most to the area to experience wine country in bloom. Readers’ Books owner Andy Weinberger is prepared as he noted. “We look forward to the last Saturday of April every year as an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all of our loyal customers who have kept us in business for the past 30 years.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the community in March of 2020, Readers’ Books was a rallying spot, even as strict protocols were observed. For many, many people in the Somoma Valley Readers’ was a lifeline.
That’s not to say other bookstores were not a help to their communities during such an unprecedented crisis, they were. And very much so! Yet it’s because in a small town like Sonoma the sense of isolation can become intensified, unlike cities such as San Francisco, which even though only an hour’s drive away it is a distance.
“This is a day to celebrate, said Weinberger, and we have big plans to make April 30 a special day. We’ll start the morning with a bake sale. All the proceeds will be going to World Central Kitchen to help them feed the refugees and people of the Ukraine.”
One of the important aspects to being an independent bookstore owner is the fact that no matter how small or specialized your bookstore may be, your bookstore is bridge to the world.
Well before the pandemic and even before the wildfires, Weinberger and his staff were inviting and bringing writers and speakers to the community from everywhere. For a town like Sonoma this is crucial. Because, for all it’s world famous wine country living, it can be a bit sequestered.
Weinberger’s weekly e-newsletter has kept the community in touch with the outside world. Yet most of all it is eagerness to keep the community engaged be it through obtaining a specific book or having authors speak and do readings.
“I don’t know whether other retailers engage in special holidays like this, said Weinberger. Do Dress shops & boutiques do this? Pharmacies? Laundromats?”
The opportunity to engage the community is on-going and at so many levels as one local SF Bay Area writer said. “I had two books published during the pandemic, said culinary travel author Carole Bumpus.
She is pleased that Weinberger has persevered. Because as she pointed out, “I could only get one event during the whole time because the book stores were only open for virtual-Zoom events.”
In her area and with the bookstores she was dealing with during the onset of COVID-19, she explained. “They also were forced to only reach out to well-known authors and the rest of us suffered.”
Despite the setbacks, Bumpus is proud to say she’s still writing and promoting her books, thanks in part to owners like Weinberger. “As for the independent bookstores, said Bumpus, I’m a strong proponent of them. They have had such a rough shake with the pandemic and don’t I know that by heart.”
Excited about all the festivities he has planned for Saturday, Weinberger said. “We independent bookstore owners are a very clearly a breed apart. Not only do we stay open, we celebrate our continued existence with discounts, prizes, and more.”
“We Think April 30 as our own personal Bastille Day. Our Fourth of July, if you will,” he said. For more information about the one-day-event celebration, visit or contact your local independent bookstore.