Oblong Books and Music
Suzanna Hermanns of Oblong Books & Music – she and her father Dick Hermanns own two stores, one in Millerton and one in Rhinebeck – says, “I couldn’t have asked for a better family business to be brought up in. I’m passionate about books and helping someone find their next favorite author.” The Rhinebeck store hosts most of the author events and workshops, even though the Millerton store was the flagship of the two, started in 1975.
“We really do curate our selection; we’re cognizant of what our customers want,” she says. Oblong offers every genre, with a deep fiction section and huge cookbook and children’s sections. The store underwent an expansion recently – another indication of a healthy business. (It should be noted that the new American Booksellers’ Association “Kobo” e-readers are now offered and supported at both Oblong and Golden Notebook.)
Oblong Books & Music, 26 Main Street, Millerton, (518) 789-3797; Montgomery Row, Rhinebeck, (845) 876-0500; https://oblongbooks.com.
Industry associations outline the various ways in which independent bookstores can maintain and increase their customer base, such as creating websites with online purchasing options, blog posts and events calendars; hosting poetry readings, writing workshops and specialty book groups; keeping staff selections interesting and current; creating customer membership/frequent buyer programs; and working with print-on-demand companies and self-published authors. To encourage reading among young people, independent booksellers often coordinate book fairs and fundraisers with schools and libraries: the sort of activity that keeps money circulating through the community. The full-service independent bookstores in our region participate in these outreach programs to promote literacy and give their customers better pricing.