Indie Booksellers Showcase Festive, Bustling Stores This Holiday Season

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Booksellers around the country got into the festive holiday spirit this year as they dashed through a busy month for retailers. Take a look at how indie stores worked their magic on social media this holiday season, from promoting sales and special events to offering helpful hints for last-minute shoppers:

Titcomb Bookshop in East Sandwich, Massachusetts, was decorated like a gingerbread house.

Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich, Massachusetts, decked out as a gingerbread house.

Customers at Octavia Books in New Orleans.

Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana, was packed with customers the weekend before Christmas. The store posted to Instagram: “Another wonderful day for the books — and for those who love (giving) them!! Come join the fun. And, also open 9am Sunday and Monday (Christmas Eve).”

A special Kwanzaa giveaway at MahoganyBooks.

MahoganyBooks in Washington, D.C., hosted a giveaway in celebration of Kwanzaa. The store posted to Facebook: “KIDS KWANZAA FUN! Only a few more days! Grab your kids and get them to MahoganyBooks this Saturday to receive copies of Misty Copeland’s children’s books in celebration of Kwanzaa. All books courtesy of the efforts of Havana aka @thetinydiplomat & Mari! There is something so powerful and affirming about kids seeing little brown faces that look like theirs in books celebrating #blackgirlballerinamagic. Limited quantities. Thank you to Havana (@thetinydiplomat) and @biracialbookworms and for @mistyonpointe for sharing your stories. See you Dec. 29th!!!”

Bookstore dog Fitz at the Ripped Bodice.

Bookstore dog Fitz joined in to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah at the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, California. The store also held an eight-day donation drive for menstrual products.

Books from Santa at Old Firehouse Books

Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colorado, offered customers free books from Santa. The store posted to Instagram: “Santa came early and dropped off some FREE BOOKS for you! We’re collecting donations for @projectselfsufficiency and in return you can grab a mystery present from Santa’s pile!”

Unabridged Books sign

As 2018 drew to a close, Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois, thanked its customers on Instagram, posting a photo of the store’s sandwich board with the words, “Thank you for making 2018 Unabridged Bookstore’s best year ever! Happy New Year!” The picture was accompanied by a positive New Year’s message: “We have the best customers in the world! Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts. Have a safe and happy New Year! #unabooksboardthoughts #happynewyear.”

Mr. Dickens at The Book Loft.

Mr. and Mrs. Dickens stopped by The Book Loft in Fernandina Beach, Florida, to sign and wrap books.

A customer shopping at A Classic Tale.

A happy customer kept her holiday shopping local at A Classic Tale in Ramona, California.

Storytime with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Jack and Allie's in Connecticut.

Jack and Allie’s Bookstore in Vernon, Connecticut, hosted a storytime with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Booksellers at Book Cellar wore matching outfits on Christmas Eve.

Booksellers at the Book Cellar in Chicago, Illinois, wore matching outfits on Christmas Eve.

Holiday Sweater Day at RJ Julia's.

Booksellers at R.J. Julia in Madison, Connecticut, hosted a Holiday Sweater Day. The store posted to Facebook: “Happy Holiday Sweater Day from RJ Julia and Rj Cafe & Bistro! Wear your festive holiday sweater to the store today and receive a complimentary cup of coffee or hot cocoa!”

The great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens performing at Doylestown Bookshop.

The great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens stopped by Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Cider at The Writer's Block Bookstore and Café

On Christmas Eve, the Writer’s Block Bookstore & Café hosted all kinds of festive activities. The store posted to Facebook: “We’re open till 7 for you last minute shoppers and merry makers! We’ve got lattes, mulled and cheered wine, journals and books, note cards and gifts, tees and coffee — plus a pop-up store and wrapping station!!”

A quintet performing at the Book Loft.

A quintet performed at Bookbug in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The closing staff at Books Are Magic on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Eve closers at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, New York, celebrated the end of a busy holiday season. The store posted to Instagram: “Here are our amazing Xmas eve closers (from left to right, @sheer_awe, @michaelmandible, @hakumele_, Hannah, @heather_m_wood, and @iikwo) celebrating the end of an insane holiday season. Shouts to them and all our incredible booksellers (@livrstrat@itzaritz @margaretgracemyers @queershoulders @abmasterpro @celerybeans and Danni) who worked this weekend to get all those books in your hands. It was so much fun. See you tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10am!”

BookBar in Denver, Colorado hosted an Introvert's New Year's Eve.

BookBar in Denver, Colorado, hosted its inaugural Introvert’s New Year’s Eve with different stations for guests to enjoy throughout the night. Festivities included coloring, board games, and silent reading. 

Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina, took to Twitter to promote its annual New Year’s Day sale, writing, “New year, new books! As we see 2018 come to an end, we wanted to thank you all by helping you start 2019 right. Tomorrow is our annual 25% off sale, and our hours will be 12p to 5p.”

BrocheAroe Fabian, owner of River Dog Book Company.

BrocheAroe Fabian of River Dog Book Company explored the idea of materiality and Christmas in a thoughtful post to Instagram: “Whatever memories you have, whatever memories you’re making, don’t be ashamed of the ‘things’ they’re tied to. I’m proud to have a part in helping people make new memories around books and everything else my store will offer. I can’t wait to share them all with you in 2019.”