Baby, it’s cold outside. What better way to stay warm and walk off all those Thanksgiving calories than going to the mall? OK, now scratch out “mall” and replace it with “local indie bookstore” because this weekend it’s Small Business Saturday AND Indies First. (Insert squeal of joy!)

You’re not squealing with me? Let me explain why you should…

Goodbye Black Friday, Hello Small Business Saturday

I’ll confess. I’ve been to the mall on Black Friday. And I will never do it again. Crushing crowds, labyrinthian lines, a dizzying melange of noises and smells. It’s too much for my senses (and I used to walk through Times Square every day.)

So what’s a girl (or boy) to do to quench that post-Thanksgiving need to holiday shop? Well, thankfully, there’s Small Business Saturday, a day made all the better by coinciding with Indies First. (Side note: Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are not mutually exclusive. You can do both. I give you permission. It’s OK.)

If in your head right now you’re thinking, “huh?,” let me explain, briefly.

Small Business Saturday: The day after Black Friday, small businesses offer their holiday shopping deals and encourage people to patronize the local businesses that help communities thrive.

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Indies First: Annual bookstore-celebrating event bringing together authors, readers and publishers in support of independent bookstores. Authors and local celebrities volunteer at events across the country, and publishers offer special terms on books and exclusives.

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This year Indies First and Small Business Saturday are being held this year on Saturday, November 25, 2017. (Also my husband’s birthday. Isn’t he lucky? What a great day! I may be projecting just a little bit.)

Small Business Saturday + Indies First = Bookish Awesomeness

20170506_165343.jpgSure you could brave the malls on Black Friday to get the best deals. But on Saturday, when you feel like shopping somewhere a little more personal, a place where after you leave you don’t feel as though you’ve been bruised by the massive crowds, head to your local indie bookstore.

On Small Business Saturday as part of the Indies First initiative, these stores welcome authors and patrons through their doors. People can share their love of books while mingling, chatting and maybe even nibbling on some baked goods.

I’ll be one of those authors! At my favorite local bookstore, Scrawl Books, in Reston, VA, on Saturday starting at 11 am, I’ll be signing copies of my book, The Travelers, and hanging out with customers. I can’t wait! (If you live nearby, come visit!)

Scrawl Books is one of many indie bookstores hosting giveaways, raffles, food and games and offering deals on your favorite books and book-related items (pens, notebooks, reading lights, mugs with literary quotes).

More than Books

Although it may seem like it, Indies First is not just for the book-obsessed.

Your local indie bookstores are changing and fast. They aren’t your traditional bookstores anymore. Many have embraced the idea that to have a successful bookstore, it has to have more to offer than just books. (I know, they should be enough! But, alas, the world is complicated.)

That’s why many bookstores have diversified by incorporating cafes into their reading nooks. Others add additional retail items, many of which make great stocking stuffers.

Bards allyWhere I live, outside DC, has several local bookstores that provide great examples of how indie bookstores are expanding beyond books. Scrawl Books often sells goods from other small businesses that can’t afford the expensive retail space. I can stop by to browse the book selection and also pick up a set of mittens, small toys, candles, a soft blanket or jewelry. Bard’s Alley in Vienna, VA, is a bookstore and wine bar combined, a sip and read! It’s wonderful. One More Page Books, another local store in Falls Church, VA, has a fantastic selection of wines and cute tchotchkes that would make excellent stocking stuffers.

If you have a local indie bookstore near you, I encourage you to check them out on Saturday. You might be surprised by all the fun and excitement you find there. Worse case scenario, you go home with a bag full of books. Isn’t that better than getting elbowed by a woman at the mall while she’s trying to grab the last robot-unicorn-video game-talking animal?

Happy shopping!

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