Let’s boekie together was the slogan that I saw around a lot for this first Bookstore Day here in the Netherlands. Boekie is a play on boogey. Boek is the Dutch word for book. Clearly we were meant to drop down to the book beat on April 29th.
Independent Bookstore Day Netherlands is organized by Libris, a chain of bookstores and focused on the independent bookstores. To celebrate our bookstores. I think we as readers sometimes need to celebrate our bookstores more. I’ll be the first to admit that I order a lot online. It is just easy and honestly, sometimes cheaper if we are talking about books in English.
Regardless I understand the importance of bookstores, and when I can I like to support the bookstores near me. In most cases this ends up being Westerhof and Waanders in de Broeren in Zwolle. Bookstores and, even more importantly, bookstore sellers can really inspire and advise us to find that book that fits us or to find that perfect book gift. Let’s be honest here. Internet buying is a bit unpersonal. You can’t ask for advice. You can’t see the book. You can’t touch the book. You can’t smell the book. And you can’t check the book to see if it is the height that fits with your other editions. Just an example here…
So for this first celebration a lot of bookstores decided to create a full day of events. In different stores around the country authors like Jen Minkman, Marieke Nijkamp, Thomas Olde Heuvelt and so on would be there to talk about their books and sign them.
But that was not all. There were also specials. Thomas Olde Heuvelt had a bundle of 5 short stories out that you could only purchase on that day. There were also signed copies of his book Hex as there were of other books as well. Dutch publisher Blossom Books gave out a very limited print of Levana if you bought a Lunar Chronicles book in Dutch (that I missed). There were also special discounts just for that day. Certainly enough to draw the readers to the bookstores.
Of course Independent Bookstore Day is not an idea that orginated here but has been happening in America on the last Saturday of April since 2015. To specifically celebrate those indie bookstores.
For this day I decided to visit Bookstore Westerhof in Zwolle that I often go to. In the morning they would have Marieke Nijkamp, author of This is Where it Ends, to talk about her book and that was the only thing near me that appealed to me. As my husband had to work I had to take Merijn with me which was quite the event all on its own to be honest. But he held himself admirably and did not once complain while we spend an hour and a half in the bookstore. Clearly I’m making a bookworm out him. Of sorts.
Marieke’s talk started around 11.00 am and was rather lowkey. There was a small group of us with her in a corner of the bookstore. And I think that made it easier to make contact with her. She was very open and friendly. Not for me who is all kinds of awkward and forgets any questions she might have had, but for the others in any case.
She read a small bit of her book This is Where it Ends in Dutch. After that the floor was open to us to ask her any questions and to chat with her about anything.
It was interesting to hear how she had international friends and that was the reason she started writing in English and how her book ended up being published in English before Dutch. In the past I wrote stories/fan fictions and that was the reason I wrote in English as well. And even a reason to start this blog in Enlgish. Good to hear I am not the only one. Later on she also mentioned how weird it was that someone else was translating her book to Dutch but that it was really well done. She was very happy with the Dutch version of her book.
Marieke actually used to write mostly fantasy so it is special that the first book she published is a contemporary and about a school shooting in America no less. But when she visited America it was just after a school shooting and hearing the stories and emotions she knew she had to write that story.
She also talked about her next book Before I Let Go that comes out in January 2018 and what inspired her to write about a small town in Alaska. We even got a sneak peek at the cover! And I can tell you, it looks really good. It is another contemporary though.
But what really caught my attention is when she talked about a book that she has been working on. It is set in or inspired by Amsterdam, in a historical fantasy setting and I honestly can’t wait for that. I hope it will be her third book. I’m a fantasy reader so I’m all for Dutch authors writing more fantasy set or inspired by our own country.
I did forget to take my book with me to get it signed but Marieke was great enough to take a photo with Merijn and me.
Of course I could not leave empty handed. It was bookstore day so I felt that meant I had to buy something. No, I am not justifying my book purchasing…
The only thing special to Bookstore Day that I got Saturday was the bundle by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I am very curious about the five stories in Om Nooit Te Vergeten. The small animal book is of course for Merijn who behaved so admirably on that day. Libris has a book magazine that you can take with you for free so when I left I got that pushed into my hands by Odette who works at Westerhof. And lastly I bought the Bookstagram Cards from Blossom Books that I had previously mentioned already because they looked so cute.