This year, bookstores around the country took to social media to celebrate Indies First on Small Business Saturday, November 28. While COVID-19 restrictions changed the way many stores celebrated the occasion, bookstores still found ways to spread the “shop local” message.
The American Booksellers Association found that IndieCommerce and IndieLite stores experienced the highest sales for the year between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These stores saw a 174.46 percent increase in customers that completed an online purchase, and online customer traffic increased by 194.08 percent.
Additionally, the quantity of merchandise purchased online increased by 1,049.08 percent, and the average order value increased by 17.24 percent. Online sales revenue of the four-day period increased by 943.50 percent.
On Saturday, author, journalist, and former national evening news anchor Dan Rather, the 2020 spokesperson for Indies First, showed his support on social media. “Folks, indie bookstores are invaluable pillars of local communities. Many are struggling. Please support them during this crucial holiday shopping season. Today, #SmallBusinessSaturday, is a great day to do it,” Rather posted to Twitter.
Rather will also be hosting a national event in support of indie bookstores on Wednesday, December 2, at 7:00 p.m. ET. Register here.
Here are some of the ways stores around the country promoted the annual event on social media:
- The Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, showcased some of the ways small businesses have supported their communities during this difficult year.
- Charis Books and More in Decatur, Georgia, posted to Twitter: “Indies First is the Small Business Saturday celebration for Indie Bookstores! We hope to see you TODAY at our Porch Pop-Up at our Store and/or on Decatur Square, 11AM. Thank you for supporting our queer-owned feminist bookstore!”
- Rakestraw Books in Danville, California, reminded customers of all the ways they could support the store for Small Business Saturday, which included shopping online, placing pre-orders, buying gift certificates, and more.
- Fitger’s Bookstore in Duluth, Minnesota, urged customers to shop local for Small Business Saturday. The store posted to Twitter: “We may not have the book you want in stock, but we can always place orders and let you know when we get them! All of the books here are just waiting for their new owners to come and pick them up.”
- Bluestockings Bookstore in New York City posted to Twitter: “Happy #SmallBusinessSatuday friends! We would kindly ask that you NOT buy from Amazon today! We'll be here at 116 Suffolk for all your activist, feminist, anticapitalist needs until 6 PM today and tomorrow, hope to see you there!”
- Browseabout Books, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, told customers, “This year, it’s more important than ever to #shopsmall this holiday season!”
- Russo’s Books in Bakersfield, California, posted to Twitter: “THANK YOU for your support throughout #COVID19. In a year of record-breaking online sales, your Small Business Saturday purchases have made November 2020 our best month EVER for online sales (FYI: our first website was in 1998).”
- MahoganyBooks in Washington, D.C., posted to Instagram: “So thankful for each of you who intentionally choose to shop small, Black-owned businesses. There are sooo many to choose from who continue to live out their dreams and provide unique experiences even as they struggle with supplies and shipping delays during a pandemic. As you shop this weekend, we encourage you to shop small.”
- BookPeople in Austin, Texas, celebrated the success of Small Business Saturday with a giveaway.
- The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, Washington, dropped its holiday gift guide just in time for Small Business Saturday.