The biggest day of the year for Austin’s many independent bookstores is Saturday, April 29. Independent Bookstore Day is a nationwide celebration of indie bookstores that takes place on the last Saturday of the month, and 2023 marks its 10th anniversary as a national holiday for book lovers across America. While there are US-wide festivities like passports and a Golden ticket a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Austin’s bookstores have their own special observances of this bookish day that’ll be fun for the whole family.
Book People | 603 N. Lamar, Austin
Book People will be hosting an all-day event with gift card prizes and a cart of free books. Many Independent Bookstore Day exclusive titles will be available in store, along with advance review copies of forthcoming releases. Story time with children’s book authors from the Austin author community starts at 10:30 AM in the BookKids amphitheater, and bookstore trivia begins at 2 PM.
Lark & Owl Booksellers | 205 W 6th St Suite 101, Georgetown
Independent Bookstore Day comes as a hangover after Lark and Owl in Georgetown’s 4th birthday celebration (sadly, you already missed retro prom night). To mark the occasion, Lark and Owl’s newly-opened Alouette bistro will be working overtime to provide book lovers with drinks and snacks, while a slate of local authors signs books and booksellers host a special story time, as well as a scavenger hunt for both kids and adults. There will be coloring activities, sidewalk chalk, and lawn games for the kids, and Bloom Flower Stand will have a pop-up selling fresh flowers from 10-1. Stop in for the big day, and wish owners Jane, Rachel, and Misty a happy birthday while you’re there.
Vintage Bookstore & Wine Bar | 1101 E 11th St, Austin
Besides being able to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day with a glass of wine from Texas vintners, Vintage Bookstore & Wine Bar will be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day with activities throughout the store, including live music from local bands and a book & wine lover raffle. Come visit East Austin’s newest independent bookstore and see why it’s a coveted location for Austin’s book clubs.
Reverie Books | 5330 Menchaca Rd Ste D, Austin
For IBD at Reverie Books in South Austin, you can come spin a prize wheel, enter a lottery for a $100 store gift card, fill out your passport and continue your hunt for the fabled Golden Ticket, good for a year’s worth of free audiobooks courtesy of Libro.fm. Reverie staff will be hosting giveaways all day, so don’t miss the fun in the Quackenbush complex!
Bookwoman | 5501 N Lamar Blvd #A-105, Austin
Bookwoman has stocked many Independent Bookstore Day exclusives, including this amazing tote bags we can’t wait to get our hands on. Oh, and this one, too. Booksellers will be secretly curating IBD mystery bundles and offering free books with $40 purchases. Bookwoman is partnering with Lark & Owl Booksellers to host a Georgetown-to-Austin book crawl with the IBD passports. Busy moms need not stress – all book lovers have 6 weeks to complete the tour and redeem prizes.
Black Pearl Books | 7112 Burnet Rd, Austin
Black Pearl Books will be hosting an all-day celebration for Independent Bookstore Day, culminating in the release of its 2023 winning t-shirt design from its annual contest of Austin artists (a limited supply will be available – get them before they’re gone!). Local adult and children’s authors will be dropping in to greet book lovers and sign books, and book lovers can sign up for the Redacted Reads book club.
Independent Bookstore Day is not only one of my favorite holidays, it’s also one of the few occasions I’ll break my cardinal rule for life (whatever you do, wherever you go, always bring baby wipes and a book), because you’re guaranteed to stock up on more books while you’re out!