In this age of e-books, online bookstores and the Amazon juggernaut, independent bookstores in the Greater Lehigh Valley will join nearly 500 indie book shops across the country Saturday to celebrate their niche in the marketplace.
Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Let’s Play Books in Emmaus and Firefly Bookstore in Kutztown will be among the brick-and-mortar stores to celebrate the third annual National Independent Bookstore Day, which is sponsored in part by the American Booksellers Association, a nonprofit trade group. The day is marked by parties, special discounts and author book signings and readings.
Bookstores that participated in National Independent Bookstore Day in 2016 saw a 200 percent average increase in sales that day.
Americans apparently still value their community bookstore. The number of independent bookstores has increased by 27 percent since 2009, according to the booksellers group. Retail sales have been promising, with sales up nearly 10 percent last year.
“In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism,” the American Booksellers Association wrote on its website. “They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand.”
That growth has been seen in the region. Firefly Bookstore, which opened in 2012 in downtown Kutztown, has become a community hub of sorts and recently moved to a larger store on Main Street.
They will have special products available, including a purple vinyl LP copy of a podcast called “Welcome to Night Vale,” and lots of one-day sales.
Local authors David Lubar and Kate Racculia will sign books at Let’s Play Books, where merchandise provided by local businesses will be offered as prizes and raffles.
Moravian Book Shop will host a literary soiree called INDIE After Dark where guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite literary character. Colony Meadery of Allentown will be among the businesses providing food and beverages in the “speakeasy” that will be set up in the store.