Independent Bookstore Day hits FoCo Saturday

Erica Grasmick

You’ve likely heard of indie music. But, have you heard of indie bookstores? And, did you know we have a large variety of great ones here in Fort Collins?

If not, this Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day and it’s the perfect opportunity to go out and find that perfect story for you, while supporting local business.


In 2014, California Bookstore Day, an event put on by Northern Booksellers Association and American Booksellers Association, brought numerous indie booksellers into the spotlight with special events, author appearances and activities.

“The entire purpose of Bookstore Day is to celebrate our collective success and thank our customers and the community of readers,” said IBD Program Director Samantha Schoech in a press release.

This year, the event has expanded to become a nationwide celebration with 400 independent bookstores in 45 states partaking, one of which is Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins.

“We’ll have free cinnamon rolls in the morning, dollar-off beers in the afternoon, and we’re raffling off a signed Neil Gaiman book along with some other great prizes,” said Kelsey Meyers, the event coordinator at Old Firehouse Books.

Other local bookstores are also joining the festivities.

“We will be giving away free ‘mystery books’ and Indie Bookstore Maps to the first 25 customers,” said Beth Kopp of Wolverine Farm Publishing Co. and Bookstore.

Indie bookstores are as much of a part of our community as your favorite local restaurants or neighborhoods. Each independent bookstore brings a unique experience that helps us feel like it’s more than just a place to buy books.

“Fort Collins is really lucky. We have a handful of indie bookstores that each offer something different to the community,” said Meyers. “A town with at least one indie bookstore is likely to have a stronger intellectual community than a town without.”

So on Saturday, join booklovers across the nation and support some of the awesome independent bookstores we have in our city.

Here are just a few of the many local bookstores to check out:


Old Firehouse Books
Located on Walnut Street in a tall bright red building, this popular local bookstore is a favorite for readers who really love engaging with books. With all of the author signings and book clubs, it’s no wonder this place is a Fort Collins favorite for literary events. The store prides itself on carrying one of the best collections of both new and used books, as well as having a knowledgeable staff of bookworms who are ready to recommend their favorite literature.

Wolverine Farm
Looking for a cup of coffee as you browse the bookshelves on your quest to find that perfect story? Wolverine Farm Bookstore (formally Matter Bookstore) is located inside The Bean Cycle in Old Town.

CSU student Ashley Gerhart browses books from Wolverine Publishing at the Bean Cycle café in downtown Fort Collins. (Photo credit: Hannah Beckwith)
CSU student Ashley Gerhart browses books from Wolverine Publishing at the Bean Cycle café in downtown Fort Collins. (Photo credit: Hannah Beckwith)

Perhaps the most unique thing about this bookstore is its nonprofit and volunteer-run status.

“Volunteers get the opportunity to engage with the community about books and literature,” said Beth Kopp, general manager. “Some volunteers join us looking for some experience in the bookstore or publishing world. Others just want to help out and meet like-minded folks.”

Wolverine Farm Publishing Co. also aims to give back by supporting important, but often overlooked, local outreach programs.

“Most recently we’ve hosted a zine writing workshop for teens, monthly poetry workshops and are about to start therapeutic writing sessions at the Murphy Center for Fort Collins’s homeless population,” Kopp said.

The Eclectic Reader
“Books and cats are my thing.”

This is what Cynthia Manuel, the owner of this used, out-of-print and rare bookstore, will tell you.

Inside this hidden gem of a bookstore is a majestic cat named Monty who not only prides himself on being the friendliest cat in the book business, but also happens to have six toes on each paw.

“I don’t know how he hasn’t been picked up by a talent scout yet,” laughed Manuel, who adopted Monty the polydactyl cat from the Humane Society.

In 2012, The Eclectic Reader began a partnership with the Fort Collins Cat Rescue so that some of the used book donations the store received would go towards this local no-kill cat shelter.

In addition to being animal friendly, this book dealer also hosts a Conversation Café, a stimulating group conversation on open-ended topics ranging from love to contemporary political issues.

Bizarre Bazaar LLC
Possibly the most appealing bookstore to music fans, this “bizarre” store boasts not only a collection of used books, but also vinyl records, CDs, movies, vintage newspapers, comic books and much more.

A must-visit for the hipster in all of us, this book store also buys, sells and repairs record players and turntables.

Collegian A&E Writer Erica Grasmick can be reached at or on Twitter @E_Graz_.