BY THE SEA: BOOKMARK BOOKSTORE

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Steps away from the Atlantic Ocean, sparkling in the sunshine, tucked into a corner on a brick-paved sidewalk beneath the palm trees, I found the inviting independent bookstore with its title BookMark on the marquee. The friendly women inside welcomed me to their cozy beach house of books.

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Children’s author Annette Simon, who works at the store, answered all my questions, showed me around the store, and recommended books of every strip. Seemed she knew the whole inventory by heart. She showed me her latest book, Robert Burphead Smarty Pants! The green and purple robots were also featured in her first book Robot Zombie Frankenstein. Love the colors and sounds!

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Owner Rona Brinlee left her desk to talk with me about owning a bookstore and introduced me to a visiting book rep. I felt as if I had landed in the pages of the current bestseller and book club favorite, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. Rona says the best thing about owning a bookstore is “Meeting people who love to read.”

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Another best must be to spend your days in such a magical place. Her graciousness was much appreciated. She bought the store in 1995. I applaud and admire her obvious skills with people, books and business, which enable her to manage so successful and beautiful a place as BookMark. She is a serious woman with a brilliant smile. I wish my photo of her had showed her smile. As she talked with me and others in the store, it seemed obvious she loves the book business.

Come on in and see the many kinds of books available.

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Peruse inviting and informative displays.

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BookMark is located at 220 First Street in Neptune Beach, Florida near Jacksonville. “Your Independent Bookstore by the Sea.” Learn more about the store at their wonderful website www.bookmarkbeach.com

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The list of upcoming events at BookMark is long and interesting. I must tell you about one. BookMark and Jacksonville Area Now will celebrate Women’s History Month in March with “Rona Recommends”. She will present books by and about women at 6:30 p.m. at the store along with wine, light hors d’oeuvres, and discussion. Call 1 800 246-8019 for more information.

Yes, I bought books and there were others I wanted to buy and will most likely not be able to resist on my next visit. I only barely resisted a beautiful book about Florida Birds, Girl In the Train, which I understand is selling well, and Gateway to Freedom, a non-fiction book I’d like to take home, a well as many others.

I urge you to visit this welcoming book sanctuary. I’d be very surprised if they do not have a book you are looking to find and read.

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With sincere thanks to Rona Brinlee and Anita Simon for making my visit so pleasant.

If you like reading about bookstores, check the archives of this blog. We’ve visited Malaprops in Ashville, Parnassus Books, in Nashville, Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Northshire Books in Saratoga, McLean and Eakin in Petoskey and others. Do comment to alert readers/viewers to your favorite Independent Bookstore. What kind of books are you most likely to buy? What makes a bookstore a favorite? Join the conversation.

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