Saturday April 27th was national Independent Bookstore Day. Locally owned Symposium Books in Providence celebrated the event by presenting exclusive book offerings, a book signing, and live music.
The day’s festivities featured wonderful performances by local musical artists Anthony “Ant” Savino, Aaron Alves, Mitchell Lafrance, as well as a book signing by author Molly Dektar.
Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at more than 450 indie bookstores nationwide on the last Saturday in April. IBD is produced by The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association with support from the American Booksellers Association, Ingram, and Penguin Random House.
For one day, and one day only, a number of very limited, unique, word-based items and books are available exclusively at independent stores across the country. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill signed first editions—these are literature-based art projects, unique books, and collector’s items created for this event only. You can’t get them before. You can’t get them after. And you can’t get them online.
Symposium Books began its journey 16 years ago when owner Scott McCullough grew tired of working for a large book retailer in New York. Wanting to break out on his own, he decided to research several metropolitan areas to launch his own store. Upon reviewing the likes of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, he arrived at the decision that Providence had “the bones” to fulfill his dream.
Symposium opened its doors 15 years ago, offering a wide array of new and used books. In an era of large retailers, online ordering, and e-books, this haven has remained as a staple for bibliophiles in the downtown Providence shopping district. In fact, McCullough stated that this influx of completion “hasn’t affected his business one bit.” He even recently launched his own art gallery in the store.
When one enters the store, there is an immediate sense of community in the air. The staff is cordial and knowledgeable, with McCullough leading the way behind the counter. Crediting its aura and unique offerings, the store has many regulars who frequently visit this tiny slice of book heaven. A daily customer, Everett Brown, even played accordion and violin as an unscheduled guest opener for the musical lineup.
Overall, the day was a tremendous success. The store was constantly bristling with foot traffic and activity. McCullough noted that his sales for the day experienced a respectable 30% spike in sales.
If you haven’t yet visited this quintessential gem, it’s a must when shopping downtown Providence. What’s Up Rhode Island was there to cover the event’s activities. See the slideshow below for photos.