VIDEO, PICTURES

Obama and daughters go big on books on Small Business Saturday

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, center partially hidden, and Malia, pays for his purchase the the local bookstore Politics and Prose in northwest Washington, on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, center partially hidden, and Malia, pays for his purchase the the local bookstore Politics and Prose in northwest Washington, on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
US President Barack Obama and daughter Malia (right) and Sasha (left) leave the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington on Nov 30, 2013, after buying books as part of Small Business Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP
US President Barack Obama and daughter Malia (right) and Sasha (left) leave the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington on Nov 30, 2013, after buying books as part of Small Business Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP
US President Barack Obama shops with daughters Sasha and Malia at Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Washington on Nov 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US President Barack Obama shops with daughters Sasha and Malia at Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Washington on Nov 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US President Barack Obama shops with his daughter Malia at Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Washington Nov 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US President Barack Obama shops with his daughter Malia at Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Washington Nov 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US President Barack Obama and daughters Malia (right) and Sasha (left) leave the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington on Nov 30, 2013 after buying books as part of Small Business Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP 
US President Barack Obama and daughters Malia (right) and Sasha (left) leave the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington on Nov 30, 2013 after buying books as part of Small Business Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP 
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha (centre) and Malia, pays for his purchase the the local bookstore Politics and Prose in northwest Washington, on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013. Mr Obama and his daughters, went on what has become an annual book s
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha (centre) and Malia, pays for his purchase the the local bookstore Politics and Prose in northwest Washington, on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013. Mr Obama and his daughters, went on what has become an annual book shopping spree on Saturday, stopping at a bookstore to promote an event called Small Business Saturday. -- PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, went on what has become an annual book shopping spree on Saturday, stopping at a bookstore to promote an event called Small Business Saturday.

The First Family, in casual dress, stopped traffic in Politics and Prose, a tiny locally-owned store in Northwest Washington. They took time to mingle with camera-phone wielding shoppers before heading to the checkout.

They purchased about two dozen books, including The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: Other stories by Carson McCullers, Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

"It's a long list," Mr Obama said while paying, his daughters, aged 12 and 15, standing behind him. "I've got books for every age group, from 5 to 52."

Part of the American Thanksgiving tradition is shopping for holiday gifts. Big box stores have Black Friday, online retailers have Cyber Monday, and more recently, mom-and-pop stores have Small Business Saturday.

Created in 2010 by credit card company American Express , the day aims to encourage Americans to spend their holiday shopping money at locally owned businesses, which have been particularly hit hard by the economic downturn.

Last year, Americans spent approximately US$5.5 billion (S$6.9 billion) on Small Business Saturday, according American Express.

Earlier in the morning, taking a break from a game of basketball, Obama said on Twitter: "When our small businesses do well, our communities do well. Join me and visit a small business near you today to celebrate #SmallBizSat," signing with "-bo" to indicate he had authored the tweet.