Saturday, April 16, 2016

Read Between The Lynes - Woodstock, IL

Read Between The Lynes - Woodstock, IL

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I continue to hear good things in the world of independent bookstores.  The majority of owners and stores I visit tell me that things are trending well for the indie movement.  If you need an example look no further than Read Between The Lynes in Woodstock.  Arlene L., the owner, who had no experience in retail, opened a bookstore on the historic downtown square.  So what, right?  Well, she and her staff must be doing something right (or should I say, "write?") Because she was able to change locations six months ago, stay in a great location on the square, and drastically expand her space and business.  The results?  Business is going great and the owner has the beaming smile of success.

Read Between The Lynes is a spacious, one-level, neatly decorated bookstore.  Arlene and her staff put a lot of work in here to get it ready and it shows.  The big difference for this store in its new building is its additional space and the extensive sidelines they were able to add.  Now you can visit and enjoy a coffee or latte while browsing.  If coffee isn't your thing you can have some ice cream or pick out some candy from an incredible variety they have to offer.  You can also browse and shop a selection of gourmet foods.  There are also all the other unique sidelines found in independent bookstores including greeting cards, journals, games, puzzles, and MUCH more.  All of these items now available here in the new location have made a huge difference in the store's growth and success.  And oh yeah, lots of great books and book displays.

The store has been around for 11 years so its established with a good nucleus of local customers.  I met and talked to two of them while there and they volunteered to me (without coercion) that they absolutely love this new location.  Book and author events are frequent in the store and for large events they're able to use the historic opera house right up the street.

You know things are going well when you can increase your staff to 14 people.  It was my good fortune to not only meet Arlene, but three of her staff.  Rachel, Shawn, Dawn, and Arlene were, well, awesome.  These people are one of the BIG reasons I enjoy visiting independent bookstores.  Arlene caught me the minute I walked in and it was like we were long lost friends.  She told me so much about the store and I'm especially appreciative that she got an idea for her store from one of my previous entries about another indie.

Arlene's last name begins with the letter, "L."  I LOVE the clever name of this store, Read Between The Lynes.  No, that isn't a typo.  Figure it out.  This is the type of creativity you find in independent bookstore owners.  Arlene has it all at this indie and if you haven't been here yet, check it out.  You'll have a great bookstore experience and will enjoy the wonderful people who work here.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  The Redbreast, Jo Nesbø.  I've never read anything by this author and decided I should since he has so many things out there.  He writes mystery/thriller fiction and this one featured one of his recurring characters, Harry Hole.  Meh.  Didn't hold my interest and truthfully, I've already forgotten it.  He probably has other novels I would enjoy.

CURRENTLY READING:  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Helen Simonson.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend, Matthew Dicks.  The Dophin, Craig Bennett Hallenstein.

Another exterior view.  Astute readers may recognize the celebrity rushing into the store.  Yes, that's my mom.  

Front window display featuring art work of local pre-schoolers.  All indies should invest in positive community ties like this.  

View looking through the store from the front entrance.  

View looking to the left from the front entrance.  

View looking to the right from the front entrance.  Grab your coffee here before you browse the store.  

Seasonal front table display.  Cubs fans will like this one!

This area might slow you down before you get to the books.  

Some of the variety of gourmet foods available.  

Arlene told me that she saw this display in a picture from another bookstore featured on The Indie Bob Spot.  She called the bookstore and voilá, it works great in her store too!

Jaci's Cookies is another locally owned business in Woodstock.  Get her cookies at the bookstore or her store.

Are you kidding me?  I just had the ice cream and now I have to have candy??!  And books?!!!  Maybe this store should be renamed Xanadu!  

Didn't see any candy you liked in the above picture?  Well, here's the chocolate display case.  

Parents and grandparents can find great stuff for children in this section.  

Find this tree for the children's section and come here for a story time.  Or go get some candy.  

A great place to try out a book and enjoy some candy.  

Check out some of these games and puzzles toward the back of the store.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front entrance.  There is a nice space behind me for book club gatherings.  

These people are some of the rock stars you'll meet at Read Between The Lynes.  From L-R, Arlene, Shawn, Dawn, and Rachel.  And a shout out to Leslie who is a huge part of the operation here and would've been in the picture if not for a family emergency.  Thanks for a great visit.  

With Arlene, the fine owner at Read Between The Lynes.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. Bob, loved your article! Arlene is terrific and so is her staff. I've watched the store grow since the day she opened in Woodstock. At first, I couldn't believe she'd invested in an independent book store up against Borders and B&N. But guess what? In the years that have passed, she'd flourishing and Borders is gone! More power to the indies.
    As a side note, thanks for buying my book. Hope you enjoy THE DOLPHIN

  2. Thanks for the nice comments, Craig! Believe it or not I've seen this power of the indies against the chains in a few other areas. Great customer service and wonderful people win out. But the people of Woodstock already know this! Looking forward to THE DOLPHIN. Greg E. told me I had to go back and get it because I wouldn't know where I might see it again. Thanks again! Bob