Here’s What’s Planned for the First-Ever Philly Bookstore Crawl

The inaugural event on August 26th includes giveaways, book signings and more across over 20 indie book shops around town.

philly bookstore crawl harriett's bookshop

Harriett’s Bookshop is reopening for the Philly Bookstore Crawl on August 26th. / Photograph by R. Rabena for Visit Philadelphia

Philly’s independent bookstore scene is more vibrant than ever, with exciting new shops and literary events popping up to highlight new voices and neighborhoods. This summer, artist Henry Crane even released a gorgeous Philly Bookstore Map celebrating our literary culture. If you’ve been meaning to check out somewhere new, or just revisit a favorite bookseller, you’ve got a new excuse: the upcoming Philly Bookstore Crawl.

Organized by author and literary agent Eric Smith, the event will take place on Saturday, August 26th this year. Smith plans for this to be an annual event going forward.

There’s no set route, though there is a useful interactive map of participating bookstores. All you need to do is stop by, and you’ll be treated to giveaways, author readings and signings, special deals and more.

In addition to all the goodies, the crawl will also coincide with the reopening of Harriett’s Bookshop (they were closed this summer for a Paris pop-up!) and the grand opening of Healing While Black.

Here’s some highlights you’ll want to catch on the inaugural Philly Bookstore Crawl — one we hope is the first of many.

Author Visits and More at A Novel Idea
All afternoon, this East Passyunk store will host author readings and signings with local authors Jiordan Castle, Alison Lubar, Kyle Lukoff, Nick Perilli, Alina Pleskova and Christina Rosso. They’re also featuring a pop-up shop with Books & Blooms, who will create literary-themed flower arrangements based on the day’s featured readings.
Noon-4 p.m., 1726 East Passyunk Avenue.

 Grand Opening of Healing While Black
Mental health advocate Josh Odam is opening this West Philly bookshop highlighting Black literature, history as a place “dedicated to the health and wellness of Black queer, trans, and noncomforming people.” It opens the weekend of the Philly Bookstore Crawl, so it’s a great time to stop in and support this new business (and maybe even sign up for their Noname Book Club!).
4111 Lancaster Avenue.

“Read With Pride” Tote Bag Giveaway at Giovanni’s Room
The first 100 people to visit the historic Gayborhood bookstore on the Philly Bookstore Crawl will receive a free tote courtesy of Inkyard Press.
11 a.m., 345 South 12th Street.

 “Kid-Lit Geeks” Book Signings and Giveaways at the Head & the Hand
YA authors Brittney Morris, Deeba Zargarpur, Faraz Naz Rishi and Eric Smith will be signing books and doing giveaways in the afternoon at this community-focused Kensington bookshop.
2-4 p.m., 2230 Frankford Avenue.

Kids’ Book Giveaways at Uncle Bobbie’s
Another freebie opportunity for Philly kids: The first 36 kids will get a children’s book from Germantown’s Uncle Bobbie’s while supplies last.
8 a.m.-7 p.m., 5445 Germantown Avenue.

Uncle Bobbie's is a stop on the Philly Bookstore Crawl.

Uncle Bobbie’s is a stop on the Philly Bookstore Crawl. / Photograph by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Python Turtle Coding Workshop at Iffy Books
Callowhill bookshop Iffy Books “focused on hacking, free culture, gardening and zines,” so they’re setting up a computer lab for a workshop called “Draw With Code: Python Turtle for Beginners.” The workshop is free, and appropriate for both kids and adults. They’ll also be giving out how-to zines and stickers.
Noon-8 p.m., 319 North 11th Street, # 2I.

Harriett’s Bookshop Reopening
Back from Josephine’s Bookshop, its summertime pop-up in Paris, Harriett’s Bookshop is celebrating its reopening with — what else? — a Paris-inspired reopening party for the Philly Bookstore Crawl. Our political writer at large Ernest Owens tells us he will also be there signing his book, The Case for Cancel Culture.
258 East Girard Avenue.

Author Events at Big Blue Marble Bookstore
This delightful Mount Airy bookstore is giving away children’s books to the first 36 kids to visit on the Philly Bookstore Crawl. Also for kids, there will be a reading at 11 a.m. by Abby Pete and Leslie Pontz, the author and illustrator of Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin: A Story of Non-Binary Friends. Later in the day — this one’s for adults — meet two local authors as they talk about their first novels. Autumn Konopka (Pheidippides Didn’t Die) and Elizabeth Lukács Chesla (You Cannot Forbid the Flower) will be there at 3 p.m.
11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 551 Carpenter Lane.

Authors, Illustrators and Giveaways at Children’s Book World
Out on the Main Line, Haverford’s haven for young readers is hosting multiple authors and illustrators for talks, games, and more. At 11 a.m., illustrators David Wiesner, Gene Baretta, Matt Phelan and Amy Ignatow will be on site for drawing games and talks. Then at 2 p.m., four YA authors will be there for games and snacks in the “YA Food Court”: Charles A. Bush, Isaac Blum, Diana Rodriguez Wallach and Alex London. Children’s Book World is also giving free books to the first 36 kids who visit the store on the Philly Bookstore Crawl.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. (visits at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), 17 Haverford Station Road, Haverford.

After Party at Main Point Books
The Philly Bookstore Crawl wraps up with a party at Wayne’s Main Point Books with lots of books, authors (including the authors of The Liars Club), booksellers, refreshments and more.
6-8 p.m., 116 North Wayne Avenue.