Bookworm’s Paradise

Chincoteague Island’s Sundial Books charms with its small town appeal.

“When we opened in 2007, there were three other bookstores in Chincoteague,” says coowner Jane Richstein of Sundial Books, “now it’s just us.” But even through the past two years, says Richstein’s husband and co-owner, Jonathan, “the community as a whole stepped up to support us.” The boom in online book sales has helped, too. “We’ve had to pay much more attention to our online presence, but it’s going well.”

Located just off the water—perfect for the back porch music jams Sundial once hosted—the shop stands across from the Chincoteague Island Theatre on Main Street. The storefront’s big glass windows are perfect for eye-catching displays of must-read titles. “Most are seasonal or when new books come out, especially if they’re local,” says Jane. They have a variety of local artists displayed there as well. “We want folks to see it and encourage them to come in and look at more,” Jane adds.

With two floors of used and new books by regional and national authors, it’s a bookworm’s paradise. “Misty of Chincoteague and other pony books are always bestsellers,” Jonathan notes. But if you’re in the market for something else, the owners are more than happy to help you find your literary soulmate from their vast collection of fiction, tourist guides, art books, and much more.

Though Sundial’s winter hours were reduced, warm weather signals expanded hours. And events are making their way back onto their schedule. “Book signings have been something we’ve done from the beginning,” says Jonathan. And they hope to do a few poetry readings in the future. So far, the Richsteins show no signs of slowing down. “We enjoy what we do, though. We love our customers; some are like family. It’s gonna take a combination of things to get us to stop.” SundialBooks.net

Konstantin Rega
A graduate of East Anglia’s renowned Creative Writing MA, Konstantin’s been published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Poetry Salzburg Review, www.jonimitchell.com, the Republic of Consciousness Prize (etc.). He contributes to Publisher Weekly and Treblezine.
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