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KPBS Midday Edition

North Park Book Fair: Holiday Edition to help local bookstores turn the page after pandemic

Patrons browse through books at the summer North Park book fair, July 17, 2021.
North Park Main Street
Patrons browse through books at the summer North Park book fair, July 17, 2021.

North Park Lion's Club, North Park Main Street and Verbatim Books are holding the second North Park Book Fair of the year this weekend, but with a holiday twist.

North Park Book Fair: Holiday Edition will have hundreds of vendors selling new and used books, food vendors, opportunities to get some holiday shopping done, and local authors signing books and meeting their readers.

Organizers of the event say they wanted to create an opportunity to help out local independent bookstores hit hard by the pandemic, after a year of mostly online shopping.

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KPBS Midday Edition spoke with one of the event coordinators, Jennifer Coburn, about event details and how people in the community can support local businesses.

"Small businesses across the country have been really hit hard by the pandemic because when we're told you really can't go out unless you're going to the supermarket or to a doctor's appointment, people start to rely on online retailers more, so buying habits start to change," Coburn said. "That really hits the small business community hard, especially booksellers."

Surveys show that during the pandemic more people have picked up reading as a hobby, she said.

"Book Riot recently surveyed their members, and they found that 58% were reading more during the pandemic," Coburn said. "People are reading more. They're buying more books, they're listening to audiobooks and they are downloading e-books. So, book buying is up, but the way people have purchased books has shifted. They've been relying more on online booksellers, which has led to many booksellers having to get a little more creative."

Coburn said safety protocols are in place for the event, like holding the event outdoors, no food samples from food vendors and more hand-washing stations and bathrooms available.

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The North Park Book Fair: Holiday Edition is Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at North Park Way and 30th Street.