Because Florida is for (book) lovers — Florida Bookstore Day is Nov. 15

Florida Bookstore Day celebrates a first with bookshops, performances and more at local indie booksellers.

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Florida Bookstore Day
Events at Haslam’s, Oxford Exchange Inkwood Books and more.
Statewide schedule at

As the Information Age becomes more digitized and commerce becomes more impersonal, an analog backlash has seen more discerning consumers gravitating to shops with familiar faces and personalized service.

“Buy local” is everywhere, and on Nov. 15 scribes, literati and retailers will celebrate Florida Bookstore Day, an official holiday founded by local writer/CL contributor/Wordier Than Thou host Tiffany Razzano.

The official date, according to a city of St. Petersburg proclamation, is Nov. 14, but Florida Bookstore Day will be celebrated annually the second Saturday of November. (Tampa recently gave the holiday a proclamation too.)

The idea came to Razzano when she was shopping on Central Avenue. “One afternoon in March, I was running errands in downtown St. Pete and passed Daddy Kool Records,” Razzano recalls. “I made a mental note to look up the date for Record Store Day when I got home. A few minutes later, I passed Wilson’s Book World and it just clicked: Why was there no Bookstore Day?”

Razzano adds Florida Bookstore Day to a staggering list of responsibilities. Her typing finger stay busy with a full-time job at Tampa Bay Newspapers, a contributing gig with CL and as coordinator/founder of Wordier Than Thou, a local storytelling open mic that’s grown into a Tampa Bay literary resource.

Florida Bookstore Day furthers Wordier Than Thou’s mission, funded by a grant from Awesome Tampa Bay. The day will celebrate and promoting indie bookstores and used book shops throughout Florida while bringing together the literary community.

Each store will host a literary event — a book signing with local writers, workshops, open mics and other literary fun stuff. “In our area, we have Haslam’s, Inkwood, Back in the Day, Mojo Books & Records, Wilson’s, Old Tampa Book Company and more,” Razzano says.

Locally, Book Swap in Carrollwood has Tim Dorsey coming in and a representative from the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society. Inkwood Books has a full day that ends with a happy hour with Jeff Klinkenberg. Mojo has performances by local writers/rockers, including CL’s own Managing/Online Editor Scott Harrell.

Razzano has enlisted the help of visual artists, too. She commissioned illustrators to design posters inspired by five famous Florida books and well-known books by Florida authors — Tim Dorsey’s Florida Roadkill (Jake Troyli), Karen Russell’s Swamplandia (Ruth George), Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling (Coralette Damme) and Patrick D. Smith’s A Land Remembered (Juliana Torres). The limited-edition prints will be available for purchase at the bookstores on Nov. 15.

After the shops close, a Florida Bookstore Day After Party will bring the day to a proper finale with local authors selling their work and other vendors, an open mic, a Lucha Libro exhibition match, Great Literature Mad Libs, prizes, raffles and more. Beer from Barley Mow Brewing Company will be available for sale. Authors, small presses, organizations and other vendors have rented spaces for a $10 donation. (7-11:30 p.m. The Venture Compound, 2621 Fairfield Ave. S., St. Petersburg. 516-906-2140; event page on Facebook.)

“It’s been an incredibly experience to see this all come together,” Razzano shares. “Every day I think to myself, ‘Wow, I might just pull this off.’ And it’s exciting to see people embracing it.”

With all first-time events, not all goes as planned. Some of the Gainesville stores had an idea to collaborate on a scavenger hunt, but that fell through. “I need to follow up with them on that,” Razzano says, “and I’m totally stealing it for Tampa Bay next year.”

Other stores have been more gung ho about the events they organized. Bookmark It in Orlando and the Vero Beach Book Center have a full day of events.

“Miami’s Books & Books has an author signing/reading, too, and as far as Florida bookstores go, they’re probably the most well known,” Razzano says. “Tampa Bay definitely has the best showing of stores involved.”

What does our Florida Bookstore Day founder hope for the event next year? “I’d love more sponsors, special releases, a board, and to reach out to even more stores, Razzano ”

Razzano also hopes to do more with Wordier Than Thou — "I want to do team up with bookstores to promote literacy and reading. I have an idea for a statewide adult spelling bee competition that would raise money for local literacy nonprofits."

Tampa Bay Bookstore Day Events

Back in the Day Books:
Indoor sidewalk sale and 20 percent off antiquarian and used books. 716 Broadway, Dunedin.

Book Bank:
Signings by local authors, including Robin Savage (12:30 p.m.) and Peter Salomon (2:30 p.m.). 13002 Seminole Blvd., Largo.

The Book Booth:
Author signing with Joanna Michaels, noon -4 p.m.; poetry open mic. 3115 Beach Blvd S., Gulfport, 727-637-4331.

Book Swap of Carrollwood:
Meet Tim Dorsey, 2:30 p.m.; Ellen Giallonardo, trustee for the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society, 1 p.m. 13144 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa.

Books at Park Place:
Psychic 1-6 p.m. 3619 49th St N., St. Petersburg, 727-388-9093.

 10 percent off all books, including antiques and collectibles; free coffee mug with every purchase over $100.

Inkwood Books:
Children’s story time, 10:30 a.m.; Andy Plattner, book signing, 2 to 4 p.m.; Happy Hour with Jeff Klinkenberg, 5:30 p.m., with food and a special Florida cocktail. 216 S. Armenia Ave., Tampa.

Lighthouse Books:
Annual sidewalk sale. 1735 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg.

Mojo Books and Records:
See Joran Oppelt at noon; Jeremy Gloff, 12:20; Scott Harrell, 12:40; Shae Krispinsky, 1 p.m. 2540 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa.

Old Tampa Book Company:
Open mic night, 7-10 p.m.; kick-off of the annual, weeklong 50 percent off holiday sale. 507 N. Tampa St., Tampa.

Oxford Exchange:
Anna Bond book signing, 3-5 p.m. 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

Wilson’s Book World:
Readings by local authors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 2394 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg.

Wings Bookstore:
 10 percent off; free tastings of Mother Kombucha. 4500 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg.

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