Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bethany Beach Bookstore

Bethany Beach Bookstore sells new books just steps from the sand on the beautiful Delaware seashore. Waves crash nearby. Gulls swoop. And readers stop by.

They have a very nice inventory. Some of it is oriented toward the fast-read/light-read vacationers, because after all, when you're on vacation at least part of your reading consciousness is distracted by the surf. There are plenty of good books for kids.

I like to think of children taking a break from frolicking on the sand to do a bit of reading.
Perhaps because this area is so close to Washington D.C., there is a very solid political science section.

In the summertime the bookstore is surrounded by the bright gaiety of beach merchandise spilling out onto the sidewalks from the many boardwalk shops. In February those stores are closed.

"How do you stay open all year?" I asked the pleasant woman behind the counter. "Well, there's plenty to do to get ready for the big crush of summer readers. And we keep like to keep up to date with the NY Times best sellers. There are active readers living in the area - a lot of retirees. And two book clubs meet in the store. And we mail out telephone orders to loyal summer customers."

Several customers came into the store while I was there, looking through the appealing shelves. Above the shelves there are about 40 framed pictures of different authors giving readings at the store. It's gratifying to know that summer resort customers and reading locals can keep a serious bookstore open year around.

The pleasant sales lady told me that Bethany Beach Bookstore belongs to the Independent Booksellers Association and also carries their recommended books. I like to put in a plug for independent book dealers. Although frankly, I also like to put in a plug for Amazon and for gigantic chains as well as my own beloved favorites - the used bookstores of the world.

Here's what I think: wherever you are buying a book, you are doing a good thing.

New York Times Bestsellers
Independent Bookseller site
ABA American Booksellers Association

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