Author selfies are the new author signings.
May 2 is Independent Bookstore Day, and Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore is celebrating by setting up a photobooth where lit lovers can pose with their favorite local author. The concept is a snapshot of what makes the neighborhood’s literary scene so unique, said the store’s owner.
“We know that every bookstore is highlighting what’s special about their store and their community, and here in Fort Greene we’re lucky that what we have in abundance is great local authors!” said Greenlight co-owner Jessica Bagnulo. “Rather than having a formal reading or talk, which slows down the party atmosphere, we wanted to have an informal way for customers to encounter these great authors, and for everyone to have fun.”
The bookstore has confirmed eight authors for half-hour slots in the booth, including Lev Grossman, author of “The Magicians,” and BuzzFeed literary editor Saeed Jones. There will also be a kid’s version in the morning, with children’s illustrators doing portraits of kids. Betsy Lewin, illustrator of “Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type,” will draw youngsters as animals, while Elisha Cooper, author of “Dance!,” will do kiddie caricatures, Bagnulo said.
In addition to the photobooth, the store will also be selling some special products that will only be available at indie bookstores on May 2, including prints, tea-towels, socks, and box sets. And in the evening, it will throw a cocktail party, featuring Michael July — author of “Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair” — as disc jockey.
Bagnulo said Independent Bookstore Day, which started in California and is expanding nationwide this year, is a chance for neighborhoods and cities to celebrate locally-owned literary emporiums, which are continuing to flourish despite the rise of e-books.
“It’s a great moment for independent bookstores,” she said. “The number of stores has grown by 20 percent in the last five years, as people are returning to those places where they can have a human-scale experience — a meeting with a beloved author, a conversation with a fellow reader, an encounter with a neighbor, a story time or a book club or just a beautiful place to spend an hour or two.”
One author who will be doing a stint in the booth said writers appreciate stores like Greenlight just as much as the customers.
“It’s a good Brooklyn thing to have your cool, independent bookstore,” said Brendan Jay Sullivan, a 10-year Fort Greene resident and author of “Rivington Was Ours,” a memoir about his time living with friend and fellow artist Lady Gaga before she was famous. “It’s not Williamsburg, it’s not in kidville somewhere in Park Slope. To have our own Fort Greene bookstore means a lot to me.”
Independent Bookstore Day at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. at South Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.green