Store: Book King Books
Location: Rutland, VT
Recommendation: The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison
Book King in Rutland isn’t just the only bookstore in the city of 15,000 plus.
It’s the sole shop in Rutland County, one of the most populated counties in the state and almost 1000 square miles.
I don’t know why a state with so many bookstores per capita has one county with such a dearth, but it a rather sad state of affairs.
Luckily, there is Book King.
My first thought walking into the store was, “this place is huge!”
It turns out the store isn’t as big as the space makes you think. The store has high ceilings and a kind of wrap around second floor, but there are no books upstairs.
(I believe Susan, the bookseller, told me that the second story couldn’t take the weight of all the shelves and books, but I may be misremembering.)
Even though it’s not as big as it appears, Book King still has a nice layout.
There’s plenty of space between displays and shelves, a small kids section, comfortable reading nooks located in various places around the store and (my personal favorite) a free community meeting room in the back.
I wish I could have the performing arts center board meetings in a bookstore.
One side of the store has a self-serve Kuerig coffee pot, in lieu of a full-fledged coffee bar.
Book King also has some fun and unique displays.
They feature a “book of the day,” which in essence is a sale but only on that one book.
I also found a section of books that had been made into movies and a whole case of new releases that had been “gently read” by the staff and then discounted.
(I love this idea, by the way. It not only encourages staff to read the books coming into the store but gives customers a cheaper way to purchase the latest books. If a store near me did this, I would visit every week to see what was new.)
My only complaint was the fiction section. Other than the best seller displays, there seemed to be only four cases of novels and many of the books appeared to be Christian literature.
I found the Left Behind series, the Redemption series, a set of Amish romance novels and the like.
Maybe I was in the Christian section and didn’t realize it, but I don’t think so.
After exploring the store, I introduced myself to Susan and did my Vermont Bookstore Adventure spiel.
She was more than interested in the project. We chatted about other stores, about Book King and the lack of bookshops in the county.
We also talked books and Susan recommended The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison. She said that this was the author’s first novel and she died before it was launched.
That story alone made me want to read the book.
But then Susan gave me a synopsis of the plot and her enthusiasm convinced me even further.
When I checked out, I asked if I could have a bookmark from the store, something I’ve been collecting on my travels.
It turns out the Susan makes the store’s bookmarks by printing their info on her leftover scrapbook paper.
You’ve got to love that combination of thrifty and crafty! And it was certainly the first homemade bookmark of the adventure.
I enjoyed my visit to Book King and chatting with Susan.
And when I got home, I discovered a lovely email from her saying how much she liked reading my blog and that she hoped they were selling my novel some day. (Another first!)
If there’s one conciliation to having a single bookstore in a big county, it’s that the one store is Book King!