At Francie & Finch, just south of O Street on 13th, they're running out of bookmarks.
“People have been coming in with them for us to punch and we’ve been sending them out, too,” bookshop owner Leslie Huerta said Monday.
It’s a good problem to have 12 days into the Nebraska Book Festival’s inaugural bookwalk.
The way it works is simple: Visit participating locations this month and ask for a bookmark. Then ask for a punch on the bookmark.
On Sept. 6, readers can show their completed bookmarks off at Zipline brewery — which has its own lending library — and receive happy hour prices, participate in a literary quiz and win book-related prizes.
The night at the brewery, 2100 Magnum Circle, is a kickoff for the 26th annual Nebraska Book Festival on Sept. 7, said Anna Weir, a publicist at the University of Nebraska Press.
And the beer-and-books twist?
“We really wanted to try and get booksellers more involved in the festival this year.”
Zipline’s PUB Library is one of nine stops on the bookmark. The brewery’s three locations opened small lending libraries this spring.
“I’m excited to be on the bookmark,” said Heather Lundine, “curator” of the Zipline libraries. “I just got mine today.”
Book lover Lundine is married to one of Zipline’s founders, Tom Wilmoth, and was a longtime employee of University Press.
So when Zipline’s three libraries opened, she reached out to both the press and fellow festival sponsor Humanities Nebraska to offer support.
“The spirit of the book festival is really in keeping with the spirit of the library,” Lundine said. “We really like to celebrate Nebraska authors and the literary history of the state.”
Local bookshops have been doing their part, too, sharing and posting on social media. They will be on hand during the festival with booths and book tables.
“This year, they’ve expanded it and are really doing some fun things,” Huerta said. “It’s a fun day.”
This year’s festival speakers include Kassandra Montag, Kwame Dawes, Ted Genoways, Nicole Baart, Tosca Lee, Kimberly Stuart and Carson Vaughan.
The Nebraska Children’s Book Party kicks off at 10 a.m. at Eiseley Branch Library and includes hands-on activities for children K-3.
Award-winning children’s author Janice Harrington will talk about storytelling and writing.
And the bookwalk is part of the lead-up to a day that celebrates literature and Nebraska authors, Weir said.
“Obviously, we love books every day of the year.”
Trade-A-Tape Comics owner John Doan has had nearly a dozen bookmark-toting participants walk in looking for punches and checking out his store.
“It lets people know that we’re here,” Doan said. “And any exposure is good exposure.”
Many of the participating bookstores are downtown.
Bluestem Books is next door to the comic store on Ninth Street. Indigo Bridge is a few blocks west. Francie & Finch and A Novel Idea are to the east.
And all of the shops are stocked with bookmarks and posters promoting the walk.
“A lot of people are aware of this,” Doan said Monday. “And a lot of people ask me where Badger’s Bookstore is and I tell them I don’t know.”
Answer: 4730 Cooper Ave.