Bookstores in Portland and beyond will celebrate the second Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) on Saturday, April 30, with special events and nifty literary merchandise. The day highlights a growing momentum of support among readers and writers for independent booksellers all over the country. And there’s no bigger fan than Portland writer Ruth Tenzer Feldman, author of Blue Thread, The Ninth Day, and the forthcoming Seven Stitches.

“My favorite thing about indie bookstores is that they are indie,” she said. “Duh! It’s that simple. Each bookstore has its own personality, its own responsiveness to the community it serves. As a participant in the Crazy Eights author tours, I’ve visited an eclectic bunch of indie bookstores across Oregon, some of which I wouldn’t have managed to see on my own. Each was a delight. Unpredictable, quirky, and yet offering the same welcome to readers and writers that is the essence of indie.”

I asked Feldman about the role indie bookstores fill in today’s marketplace. “What comes to mind here is biological diversity,” she said. “An odd analogy, I suppose, but the way I see it, indie bookstores add vigor to the gene pool.” By accommodating local needs, she says, bookstore owners help to “expand the possibilities that a literate and literary community will thrive.”

Bestselling author Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies) would agree. As this year’s Independent Bookstore Day Author Ambassador, she believes IBD “joyously celebrates the literary ecosystem and shows how symbiotic the relationship is between readers, writers, and bookstores, and how essential they all are in sustaining the contemporary written word.”

Participating bookstores in the Portland area—Annie Bloom’s Books, Broadway Books, and Jan’s Paperbacks—will feature these and other items made just for the event:

  • The Care & Feeding of an Independent Bookstore by Ann Patchett, signed by the author
  • Anthony Bourdain’s “Perfect Burger” print, signed by the author
  • Third edition of the Bad Citizen stencil series, with a quote by Fran Lebowitz: “Think before you speak. Read before you think.”
  • Set of two 100 percent cotton literary tea towels
  • Bookstore cats zippered pouch
  • A Neil Gaiman coloring book
  • Raymie Nightingale, signed by Newbery Award-winner Kate DiCamillo
  • Draw Me! with step-by-step instructions on how to draw Mo Willem’s Pigeon, Curious George, and Fly Guy

Find this fascinating stuff and more at these participating bookstores:

Annie Bloom’s Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy., Portland, OR 97219

Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway St., Portland, OR 97232

Jan’s Paperbacks, 18095 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy., Aloha, OR 97003

Sold yet? A final word from Feldman should get you out the door: “Indie bookstores encourage and inspire me. I’m not in this crazy business alone.”

National Independent Bookstore Day is sponsored in part by Penguin Random House, Ingram, and The American Booksellers Association. IBD is produced by Samantha Schoech in partnership with the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA). Click here for more information.

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