A Vacationer's Guide to Rural New England Bookstores

Your Best Guide to
Destination Bookstores
Your Best Source to Find a Destination Bookstore in rural New England 
It's About the Books

In my book, A Vacationer's Guide to Rural New England Bookstores I provide readers with my best suggestions for finding a bookstore based on my years of visiting book shops throughout the region.

Some of my original visits to these bookstores go back over 40 years. Since then, many shops have opened, while others closed. But, the local, independent book shop has always been a mainstay of New England and this guide will help visitors find one near their vacation destination.

On this website I have listed the bookstores that are mentioned in the Guide. You may use the links to visit the shops with websites to learn more about them and to plan your own visit.
Vacationer Guide Rural New England Bookstores
You May Place Your Order Here

As of Thursday, November 29, 2012, the Guide is now available for you to order. Just visit Vacationer's Guide to order your paperback or eBook version of the Guide.

You may also visit your local bookstore and request that they order it for you. It will be available through the normal distribution channels shortly.

Read My Blog About Bookshops I Visit

I write a blog to share my experiences as I visit the bookshops in rural New England. You can visit my blog: On Saving the Rural New England Bookstore.

If you know of a book shop that I should visit, please write to me at the blog.

Visit "Destination Bookstores" During Your Next Vacation in New England

You Can Read My "5 Best" Selections
In Winter Issue of
Yankee Magazine

The editor of Yankee Magazine asked if I could pick five of my favorite used book shops in New England for its "5 Best" feature. It sounded easy, since I have a lot of favorites and all I had to do was pick five.

Whoops! Imagine someone asking to pick my favorite grandchild? I may have agreed tYankee-Magazine-Sample-Issueoo quickly. But, after some careful consideration I felt I could pick five shops, after being assured that I could pick 10 runners-up. That wasn't a total solution, but it made the challenge more tolerable.

I am showing a copy of the magazine from a previous Winter Issue. This experience caused me to re-read earlier issues of Yankee Magazine where various writers picked 5 Best garden centers, theaters, baseball fields, and vacation cabins. I have a lot more respect for their courage in editing such lists.

It's not easy picking a few favorites from so many, but in the end it may help some readers get going on finding a great local independent bookshop.

Let me know how you think I did with my choices when the current issue is released. It should hit newstands on or about December 31, 2012.

"Bookstore Tourism" Was Launched 10 Years Ago by Larry Portzline

When I first heard about "Bookstore Tourism" I was immediately intrigued. The concept was the brain-child of Larry Portzline and he went on to describe it in his book, Bookstore Tourism.

What was special about this simple concept was that anyone interested in unique bookstores could join similarly obsessed persons on a journey to Greenich Village and in the course of one day see up to 20 different bookstores.

It occured to me that I had been making it a habit of visiting several bookstores in a single day as part of my weekend leisure time. I was not organizing a group to go with me, rather, I was plotting excursions into various rural parts of New England to see what was happening at the local bookstores.

Then, one day, I spotted an invitation on Joe Trenn's website for his book shop, The Book Shed, to go on a One Day Bookshop Tour of Vermont. He described a brief tour that took in other book shops near his book shop. I thought it was wonderful that he respected his customers enough to send them to nearby shops that might have something they needed and he didn't have himself.


My Blog:
On Saving the Rural
New England Bookstore

I write a blog about the bookstores I visit and occasionally about other things that relate to books. As I venture around New England, visiting new and used bookshops, I get a chance to see what it is that keeps the rural New England bookshop going in the face of a changing marketplace.

My sense has always been that those of us in New England had a better chance that independent bookstores could survive and so far it seems to be true. Even though we have had our share of closings, we have also seen shops open during recent years. We hope that trend continues. In fact one shop that opened last year has moved recently to a nearby town into a larger space. That's progress!

If you know of an independent shop, full-service or used/rare, that I haven't mentioned on the blog, on my website, or in my Guide Book, please let me know. I love visiting shops that are new to me. See you on the road.


Local Independent Rural Bookstores
Reflect the Community They Serve

While we still have them, the local, rural New England bookstore is a treat. It's a place to satisfy the need to hold a book in your hand, surprise yourself with a used book at a tremendous bargain, (which you had been meaning to read for years) and a place where you can maintain a bit of community contact, not otherwise likely to happen at Mr. Big Box.

Destination Bookstore
In it's January 9, 2008 edtion, in its Travel section, USA Today selected nine bookstores across the country that it considered worthy as a "tourist destination." Not just a place to visit while doing something else - but, as a reason to get on a plane, train or automobile and seek out the designated bookseller. They asked the question, "When is a bookstore worth a tourist's time"? Their answer was, "When it's more than just a place where you can buy books."

One-Day Bookstore-Tours Provide
for Great Weekend Adventures

Each weekend is an opportunity to roll out among the New England countryside in search of antique shops, quaint bistros, seaside clam shacks - and for me, the unique rural independent and used book shop.

Following in the foosteps of Larry Portzline and his Bookstore Tourism concept, I have been perfecting my own version of the One-Day Bookstore-Tour as a means of visiting a maximum number of shops on weekend day. In my Guide Book I have included some of my favorite recent trips, which I have written about on my blog, On Saving the Rural New England Bookstore.

The One-Day Bookstore-Tours in the Guide include one each for Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire, plus two each for Massachusetts and Vermont. They are not comprehensive in that they are the only tours to take. In fact, they are barely representative of the fun I have making trips all over the place. I have a South Shore Massachusetts trip that took me to Plymouth Rock that I haven't posted yet. And I have lots more that may or may not make the blog.

It's my experience that each trip brings great books, nice people and a lot of new experiences, which encourages me to organize the next trip for this weekend.

The Boston Globe Tells You Where to Put My Guide Book
In her regular column, Word on the Street, Jan Gardner wrote that my guide book was "one to keep in the glove compartment."

That's right! I envisioned writing it so that I could keep it in the glove box and have it handy to look up where the shops were. Only, I couldn't find such a guide, so I elected to write my own.

Lucky for you that I did. Keep it in the glove box as your tour around New England and you will be able to find a good independent new or used book shop nearby.

Reed Books - Harwich Port - Cape Cod
This is one of my favorite bookshops on Cape Cod. You can read about my other favorites in my guide book.

            Are You a Bookseller?

Here is my "Sell Sheet" for my book, A Vacationer's Guide to Rural New England Bookstores. This will give you the information you need to stock the book in your shop. Don't worry; any books that don't sell can be returned. I respect the time and effort you took to offer my Guide to your customers.

                            - Richard Wright

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