Your guide to Independent Bookstore Day (Free stuff! Donuts! Neil Gaiman coloring books!)


This Saturday, bookstores all around the Twin Cities are celebrating Independent Bookstore Day with special guests, activities, and sales. Ten of the bookstores around town — including Birchbark Books, Common Good Books, Daybreak Global Press Bookshop, DreamHaven, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Moon Palace Books, Paperback Exchange, Red Balloon Bookshop, SubText, and Wild Rumpus — are participating in a “passport” program where you can collect stamps at each store, take a picture, and tweet it to @Midwestbooks to receive a $10 gift certificate good for any participating store. If you visit five or more, you'll receive a free bookstore poster by Kevin Cannon.

But there are other bookstores besides those in the passport program that are having events. Just go to whichever is your favorite shop, and show that their existence is important to you. Here are a few highlights from some bookstores planning special activities this weekend:

SubText Books

Where: 6 Fifth St. W., St. Paul

When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sustenance: There will be coffee and donuts in the morning, plus other snacks and beverages throughout the day.


Special Guests: Listen to live music from Brian and Sherry Barnes (noon to 2 p.m.). Özge Samanci will read from her graphic novel about her family’s emigration from Turkey (3 p.m.), and later in the day there will be music by poet and musician Lizzie Davis (6 p.m.).

Special Treats: There will be signed Werner Herzog broadsides, and a Neil Gaiman coloring book.

Activities: Children’s story time will be enjoyed from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.


Magers & Quinn Booksellers

Where: 3038 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

When: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sustenance: There will be free Nespresso from Kitchen Window and donuts  from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Special Guests: Stop by at 7 p.m., as former Babes in Toyland bassist Michelle Leon will read from her memoir, I Live Inside.

Special Treats: Winning stories from the Magers & Quinn writing contest will be on display in the store.

Activities: Free temporary tattoos from Lithographs.

Red Balloon Bookshop

Where: 891 Grand Ave., St. Paul

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sustenance: There will be cookies and milk from Whole Foods Market after storytime at 10:30 a.m. Root beer from Northern Brewer will be offered from 3 to 5 p.m. 

Megan Maynor's "Ella and Penguin Stick Together" Storytime and Launch Party

Megan Maynor's "Ella and Penguin Stick Together" Storytime and Launch Party

Special Guests: Listen to Ramsey Middle School Jazz Band on the patio from 1 to 2:30 p.m. 

Special Treats: Balloons!

Activities: There will be a patio party with chalk decorating, temporary tattoos, and games from 10 a.m. to noon. “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” story time is at 10:30 a.m. Poetry and face painting is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m., and there will be a literary character costume contest and reception at 4 p.m. 

Birchbark Books and Native Arts 

Where: 2115 W. 21st St., Minneapolis

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sustenance: Enjoy samples from the cookbook Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest with Heid Erdrich at noon, tasty bites from cookbook author Beth Dooley at 3 p.m., and lemonade and cookies from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 


Special Guests: Birchbark Books owner and author Louise Erdrich will be reading at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., dance from Ramsey’s Braggarts Morris Men at 11 a.m., R.T. Rybak will stop by to read from his autobiography at 1 p.m., and there will be fancy shawl dancing with Isabella and Tom LaBlank at 4 p.m.

Special Treats: Walk home with a book that you made yourself with the help of the folks from Pigs & Pen Publishing from 1 to 2:30 p.m. 

Activities: Craft gardens and story reading with Phyllis Root will occur from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and there will be a bookmaking workshop with the folks from Pigs & Pens Publishing from 1 to 2:30 p.m. 

Also Check out:

Ancestry Books: Twenty percent off all books.

Dead Media: Three dollar deals on all trade paperbacks. 

Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers: There will be a carnival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with games, prizes, face painting, and popcorn, and a Neil Gaiman coloring book will be available while supplies last.

Common Good Books: Unfortunately the Conversation with Kate DiCamillo for young readers from is sold out. But the shop will be open all day, and will host some of the contributors to A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Brett Elizabeth Jenkins at last year's Independent Bookstore Day at Magers & Quinn.

Brett Elizabeth Jenkins at last year's Independent Bookstore Day at Magers & Quinn.

Once Upon a Crime Books: John Sandford will be stopping in for a discussion and to sign copies of his latest book, Extreme Prey, at 7 p.m.

Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore: Score a free Uncles book bag with every $50 purchase.

DayBreak Press Global Bookshop: Irish Music Ensemble TentaTively TeaTime will perform at 6 p.m.