I’m not a fan of Black Friday for a lot of reasons. First of all, I usually host on Thanksgiving and by the time my guests are gone, I’m exhausted and the house looks like it was ransacked by ravenous ogres. The last thing I want to do the next day is get up at the crack of dawn and shop. Hell, I try not to get out of my pajamas on Black Friday. For me, the possible savings are not worth the hassle. But, come Saturday, I’ve had a day to recovery from my turkey hang over and I’m ready for my favorite shopping day, Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday was first officially observed in 2010. It was a reaction to Black Friday, which is all about the mega-retailers and Cyber Monday, which is geared towards e-commerce. Small Business Saturday emerged as a way to highlight small and local retailers and encourage patrons to physically visit their locations rather than just purchasing online. Most stores that participate have special sales and promotions. And since the focus is experiencing the brick and mortar shopping experience, there are often other in-store perks such as parties and giveaways.
Small Business Saturday is the perfect excuse to visit your local independent bookstore. Independent books stores can be hard to find in some markets due to the rise of the mega bookstores. Big-box retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Target often dwarf their independently owned counter-parts. Mega bookstores may have volume but there is an intimacy and charm that you cannot replicate with a big-box bookstore. Inkwood Books in Tampa, Florida is one such independent book purveyor I’m lucky enough to have in my area. I know the Inkwood staff, I can stop by and chat about books any time, and because the employees know me, they often recommend books I may not have discovered otherwise. Often times it is the small independent bookstores who make personal connections to young authors, editors and publishers that are the first to highlight new talent. There is no substitute for being able to walk into a bookstore owned and run by people who love books, respect authors and are connected to their community.
Even if you’ve done more than your fair share of shopping on Black Friday, make one last trip to your local bookstore Saturday, November 28th and show your support for Small Business Saturday. In honor of Small Business Saturday, Inkwood Books will be having special guest booksellers and an special appearance by Florida’s poet laureate, Peter Meinke. Rumor has it there will be mimosas (while supplies last) so come early. And don’t forget that local businesses appreciate your support all year round.