By Melissa Chandler 

Book nerds: ever been jealous of your music nerd friends with their annual Record Store Day? This Saturday May 3rd, the tables turn in your favor with the first annual California Bookstore Day. Geek out to your heart's content with author appearances, food, booze, and access to books and lit-related merchandise you can’t get anywhere else (or any other time).

Initially dreamed up by Green Apple Books co-owner Pete Mulvihill, California Bookstore Day will be celebrated at nearly 100 independent bookstores statewide. Get to one early to snatch up rare offerings like copies of George Saunders’ Congratulations By The Way, each one signed and doodled on by George himself, a limited edition tote bag featuring the cover of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a Punk Rock Writers Journal from Wendy McNaughton, with her watercolors of famous writers and illustrations of punk authors (see above). Aaand lots more! As far as the merchandise, in Green Apple’s words: “California Bookstore Day will be your one and only chance to buy the unique books and art pieces below. They are ONLY on sale on May 3 and only available at Californa indie bookstores like Green Apple. Never online, never at Barnes and Noble, never in Texas. It's strictly first-come, first-served, and quantities will be limited.”

Why is this a can’t-miss event? Because Dave Eggers is doling out relationship advice at Green Apple at noon. Because they’re having Drag Queen Grown-Up Story Time at Books Inc. in the Castro. Because they’re serving Mac n’ Cheese and locally brewed beer at Diesel in Oakland. But it’s more than a day of parties. It’s a chance for us to show up and celebrate our beloved indie bookshops. These are the places that shape our sense of community and remind us that some of the best things happening in our cities are still happening offline, and they’re not going anywhere.

I suggest a book-crawl, because every lineup is different. Here's another partial list of what's been confirmed so far, with dates and times too. 

(Image above of Wendy McNaughton's Punk Rock Writers Journal)