Sunday, May 21, 2017

Such a Card!

Remember back three weeks ago, when I wrote on this page about my favorite niece and I driving all over the Seattle area on Independent Bookstore Day, trying to visit at least 19 of 23 participating booksellers during a single (very long) Saturday? Well, all of the people who won that “Champion Challenge” were invited this afternoon to stop by Island Books, on Mercer Island (east of downtown Seattle), and pick up their 25-percent discount cards, valid at every one of the 23 stores. Needless to say, my niece and I didn’t pass up this opportunity.

While we were at Island Books, I asked how many people had completed the 2017 challenge. Turns out, there were 340 winners—up from 120 last year, the first time I’d undertaken the race. Now, it's true that there seemed to be more publicity about Independent Bookstore Day this time around than there had been in 2016, the second year of the IBD “Champion Challenge.” But still, 340 winners seems like a huge jump, and may result in the organizers thinking about ways to limit the number of 25-percent discount cards they hand out in 2018.

By the way, I noticed one change in the cards awarded this year. On the back of my 2016 discount card, it said my 25-percent reduction was “valid through Independent Bookstore Day 2017.” The new card, however, proclaims it is “valid until Independent Bookstore Day 2018.” That’s a significant change, because I’ll bet there were plenty of people bearing 2016 cards who employed them on race day last month, deriving one final benefit from their work of the year before. (I know I did.) In 2018, we’ll all have to pay full price for what we buy over the course of the challenge. That might incline some folks to make fewer purchases on what’s become a huge sales day for participating bookshops.


J F Norris said...

I don't think Chicago has as many independent bookstores left in the entire city. I can only think of four indie retail stores devoted solely to new books and nine used bookstores. There are probably several used bookstores that I never visit still operating, but I'm doubtful of any indie retail stores beyond those four I know of. Having 23 stores in Seattle is amazing, IMO. Are all 23 selling new books? Even more amazing.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

More than half of them are selling only new books. There are also several stores among those 23 that sell a mix of new AND used books.