Beach Books is open seven days a week, owner Karen Emmerling said, because you never know when you might need a book.
“My philosophy is you need a book every day of the week,” she said. “If you’re here on a Tuesday, we’re not going to be closed — because you might need a book. We’re open seven days a week, year-round.”
Emmerling hosted last Wednesday’s Good Morning Seaside, a weekly event hosted by the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, at her location at the northwest corner of Broadway and Holladay.
Emmerling, who studied journalism and worked in advertising and promotion, first imagined owning a bookstore after a drive along the coast. “I saw a bookstore and thought, it would be really fun to open a bookstore when we retire.”
When a space across from the Carousel Mall became available in 2005, Emmerling googled “how to open a bookstore.”
“By October, we were opening the bookstore and looking good,” she said.
Seven years later, Emmerling found the space in the Gilbert Block Building at Broadway and Holladay — about three-and-a-half times the size of the former store, with 2,000 square feet downstairs and an 800-square-foot mezzanine. “When this space opened up, I thought, I can’t afford that. But I talked to the owners and it was affordable. And here we are.”
Beach Books has been in the location since.
The bookstore survived the COVID-19 pandemic in a much stronger position, she said, ramping up social media and shipping books all over the country.
“People recognize that they want community,” she said. “And they know that even though it’s easy to shop online, if they don’t shop at their local stores, or support them online, they’re not going to be there.”
People have come to recognize how important their own community is, she said. “For us, it’s turned out to be a plus. I just want to thank everyone for all the support we got through the pandemic, and in better shape than when we started. ”
The upstairs area, formerly used for author readings and book groups, is now used for shipping. The store offers a Wishing Tree for school libraries, with 20% off on books for students and purchasers.
Staff read and critique books with shipping tags marking favorites.
“We do a lot of reading,” Emmerling said. “Contrary to what people think, in owning a bookstore, you don’t just get to sit and read books. It’s a lot of work and the reading is homework. The tags have been a great advantage because we can sell them when we’re not here.”
Local authors are prominently featured, including Seaside’s Brian Ratty and Honey Perkel. Local artists and card makers are also featured.
“We’re happy to help you find just the right book for anybody of any age,” Emmerling said.