Thursday, July 13, 2017

Island Books - Middletown, RI

Island Books, Middletown, RI
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These bookstores I'm visiting in Ron Rice's, My Bookstore, there's a reason why they're featured.  Quite simply, they're great.  And here at Island Books there's nothing not to like.  Great people, great customers, a fantastic location with very convenient and free parking, a dog, and a perfectly charming store.  And everything else you would expect at a nationally recognized bookstore.

Island Books has been around for 25 years, a great run of success for any bookstore.  When I asked Judy C. the owner, what her secret was she told me, "to have flexible expectations and a supportive husband."  It also helps that she has a cooperative landlord and a reasonable lease.  It will come as no surprise to other successful indies that Judy also mentioned the importance of her outstanding booksellers on staff.  I couldn't agree more.  The store has been in the same location with the same owner the entire time.  The only change was an expansion to the store's space some time ago.

The bookstore offers all new books in a one-level, small-medium sized space.  There are a good variety of sidelines interspersed throughout the store and the greeting cards do especially well.  Like other indies, Judy said it is a continual challenge to pick out the right sidelines to offer.  The store has the flexibility to host smaller events on-site or at the nearby Newport Winery for larger crowds where you can enjoy some wine at the event, something that I wish all bookstores could offer.  The inside of the store is all very neatly arranged and has a very comfortable atmosphere for their strong group of local customers as well as a steady stream of tourists, especially during the summer months.

I'm such a sucker for bookstore dogs.  Pay a visit to Lizzie B., at Island Books.  
This great atmosphere doesn't happen by accident.  Judy and Mimi, one of the booksellers, are just the best.  I also had a great time chatting with two of their regular customers, Brook and Barbara, who coincidently are quite familiar with Prairie Lights and the Writer's Workshop in Iowa City.  And regular readers know that I'm a softie for bookstore dogs and this store has a very polite and gentle one, Lizzie B., to help welcome the customers.

If you're in the Middletown, RI area, make sure you check this place out.  If not, you need to make plans to visit a beautiful part of the country with an outstanding independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Pugilist At Rest, Thom Jones.  One of the best books I've read out of my last several.  I don't normally read books that are collections of stories, but that's what this one is and I thought it was outstanding.  Some of the stories touch on the Viet Nam war, a school custodian who is smarter than any of the teachers, and the story of a woman living out the end of her life.  I thought the short stories on the Viet Nam war were some of the best I've read on the subject.  Highly recommended.

CURRENTLY READING:  Small Mercies, Eddie Joyce.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Before The Fall, Noah Hawley.  Not purchased, but complimentary, Morningstar, Ann Hood.  Thanks Judy.  

Another exterior view.  

This beautiful courtyard area is right outside the store.  

One of the display windows.  

This entrance had a screen door, something I haven't noticed at many other indies.  I think it gives it that island feel!  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  

If you're on a budget look for this rack.  Just a few of the bargain books you'll find.  

Island Books has an incredible selection of greeting cards and these are just a few located near the front entrance.  

A wonderful staff picks display and since I've read a few of these, I agree with the recommendations.  

An overview from the left side of the store.   Sagacious readers will undoubtedly recognize the celebrity seated in the chair.  Yes, that's my mom.   

Some very stylish and attractive scarves available here.  

If you see a pair of socks in an independent bookstore that you like, get them.  I rarely see them elsewhere. 

A portion of the children's section.  

A great place to sit and sample a book.  

View looking from the back of the store toward the front entrance.  

A few of the items of local interest and local authors. 

With Judy on the left and Mimi on the right, two of the fine people you'll meet at Island Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. I agree 100%! The only time I bought anything in a chain bookstore since Island Books began was a map of Honduras, which Island Books was fresh out of :-)

    This is a wonderful bookstore, with great booksellers!


  2. You hit the nail on the head, Roland. Great place with great people!