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St. Louis bookstores collaborate for Independent Bookstore Day

Host Don Marsh talked to (from L to R) Kris Kleindienst, Emily Hall and Holland Saltsman.
Alex Heuer
St. Louis Public Radio

Mark your calendars, bookworms, because Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, May 2 and various independently owned bookstores in the St. Louis area will host a day of fun, crafts, and yes—books!

Independent Bookstore Day was founded in 2014 in California and is modeled after the music world’s “Record Store Day.” Some of the participating bookstores in the St. Louis area are Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Main Street Books in St. Charles, and The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves.

According to Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books, independent bookstores reach beyond just being a neighborhood staple. When compared to the “big box” stores, independent bookstores don’t have to worry about producing large returns to stockholders, she said.

Holland Saltsman, who opened The Novel Neighbor last September, started with the intent of having a bookstore that provided a more intimate interaction between the reader and seller.

“In Webster Groves, there was not an independent bookstore that I thought was serving what we wanted to do which was new books, as well as local art and a community space where people could come together in our neighborhood,” Saltsman said.

Emily Hall, co-owner of Main Street Books, said that despite the growing trend of digital reading tablets targeting younger age groups, many of her customers are of that demographic.

“Parents with young children and teenagers are some of our biggest customers at Main Street Books,” Hall explained.  “We have a lot of teenagers that come in by themselves and the very first thing they do is go to our second floor, and they sort of hide away in our young adult room… Young adult literature is as strong as it’s ever been.”

“Studies have shown that kids actually prefer reading books to reading digital devices,” Kleindienst added. “So just because they’re plugged in the rest of their lives, when they get ready to read they unplug.”

Independent bookstore owners in St. Louis joined together to create The St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance. Despite competition, alliance members partner to make events like Independent Bookstore Day a success.

“Books are rare magical objects because they contain the world and all the possibilities therein,” Kleindienst said.

Independent Bookstore Day Events:

Left Bank Books

  • Saturday, May 2, 2015 - 10:00 a.m.
  • 399 N. Euclid Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108

More information

Main Street Books

  • Saturday, May 2, 2015 – 9:00 a.m.
  • 307 S. Main Street, St. Charles, MO 63301

More Information

The Novel Neighbor

  • Saturday, May 2, 2015 – 9:00 a.m.
  • 7905 Big Bend Blvd. Webster Groves MO 63119

More Information

St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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