Saturday: 'Indies First Day' at Kepler's Books


Looking for the perfect holiday gift for your bookwormy loved ones? Kepler's Books in Menlo Park is inviting holiday shoppers to drop by the store at 1010 El Camino Real on "Small Business Saturday," Nov. 28, when it will host an "Indies First Day" celebration from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Indies First Day is a movement started by bestselling author Sherman Alexie in 2013.

It's been envisioned as a day when local authors come out to support independent bookstores, according to the 2015 campaign's spokesperson, author Cheryl Strayed ("Wild").

"There are so many ways that a rich and vibrant network of independent booksellers contribute to the betterment of book culture in America," she wrote. "But perhaps the most important one is the support they give to authors and illustrators by hand-selling their books."

Hand-sold books? That's the term Ms. Strayed uses to describe the personalized recommendations and shopping experience that independent bookstores such as Kepler's are best known for.

According to Kepler's store manager Amanda Hall, past "Indies First" events have focused on authors acting as booksellers, but this year, the staff will be in the spotlight. Beginning at 11 a.m., staff members will give personal takes and recommendations on children's books, and at 11:30 the recommendations will shift to adult books.

From 5 to 7 p.m., the bookstore will host an "open mic" for NaNoWriMo authors, which will be hosted by Meg Waite Clayton, most recently the author of "The Race for Paris." NaNoWriMo, an abbreviation of "National Novel Writing Month" is an annual challenge to participants to write 50,000 words during the month of November.

Throughout the day, Kepler's will also host a kiosk for GiftLit, selling the store's monthly book subscription service, with selections customized by theme and topic.

Ms. Hall says her holiday bestseller predictions are "Fates and Furies" by Lauren Groff and "Fortune Smiles" by Adam Johnson, a story collection that won the National Book Award for fiction on Nov. 18.

But regardless of which books make the shop's bestseller list, she said, "We hope everyone will walk through these doors and find that perfect book."

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