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Preview: Independent Bookstore Day 

May 11 is the day New Orleans book shops celebrate all things literary and local

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Three local bookstores are celebrating Independent Bookstore Day on May 9 (the national observation was May 2, but they didn't want to compete with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival). Octavia Books (513 Octavia St., 504-899-7323; www.octaviabooks.com), Garden District Book Shop (2727 Prytania St., 504-895-2266; www.gardenistrictbookshop.com) and Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop (631 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-598-5536; www.tubbyandcoos.com) host author signings, a scavenger hunt between bookstores and a writing event.

  All shops will offer a selection of Independent Bookstore Day items such as a literary map of the seas, special edition books, prints, literary-themed tea towels and more. The stores also will give away a limited number of Blackbird Letterpress notebooks with a map and "New Orleans" printed on the cover. Additional events unique to each store are listed on the shops' respective websites.

  "Because we're independent, we're doing our own things but we're doing some things together," says Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books (pictured). "We're all offering some of these exclusive literary and art items."

  The inaugural National Independent Bookstore Day was last year, and 400 bookstores nationwide are participating this year. The American Booksellers Association, Penguin Random House and regional associations are supporting the event.

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