Monday, August 11, 2008

Bookstore Profile: BookHampton

I'm proud to feature a guest post about the BookHampton bookstores in New York. Thanks so much to Rocco Staino for his in-depth post about this group of independent bookstores and the unique personality of each one. I'll have to plan a trip to the Hamptons to check out these terrific stores. Without further ado, here is Rocco's post (accompanied by the wonderful pictures he took).

I would like to thank Wizards Wireless for this opportunity to blog about some of my favorite children departments in independent bookstores. With the advent of the major book chain stores it is becoming more difficult to find those independent bookstores each with their own character. Therefore, when I come upon such a store I can not help myself but to go in.

Each summer I spend sometime in Watermill, New York but most people just call it “the Hamptons.” According to Wikipedia, “the Hamptons are a well known playground for the rich who own summer homes there as well as a seaside resort frequented by the middle class residents of New York City during the summer months for weekend getaways.” I am neither rich nor own a summer house there but I do enjoy the beach and the cultural offerings of the area.

While traveling through the Hamptons, I always make sure I stop in at BookHampton. It is an independent bookstore with four locations: South Hampton, Sag Harbor, East Hampton and Amagansett. I recently made the effort to stop at each location and gave their children’s department a close look. Each store is distinctly different reflecting the community in which it is located.

South Hampton
The South Hampton store has a distinct room at the rear of the store inviting children into KidsHampton.The warm space offers much opportunity to browse the selection which is large and varied. The young adult offerings are also extensive and definitely supplies the latest of all the popular series. I would say of all the stores the children collection is definitely the most extensive.

This, according to BookHampton owner, Charline Spektor, is due to the longtime store manager, Jane Cochran.

Sag Harbor

The Village of Sag Harbor, an old whaling town, has a more New England feel to it. This is carried over into the BookHampton located there.

When I visited on a sunny July afternoon, I found a dad with his son nestled in a warm leather chair reading together. In addition there was a thirteen year old boy checking out the collection. Although the area is not as large as South Hampton the area does have a cozier feel.

East Hampton

The Village of East Hampton is most decidedly the most posh of the Hampton with retailers, such as Tiffany & Company, Ralph Lauren and Gucci lining the Main Street.

Well, I guess, most people are spending most of their time in those stores rather than buying children’s books. Out of the four BookHamptons, East Hampton had the least inviting area and selection for children. This may be because a short drive from East Hampton is the newest and cutest BookHampton located on the green in the Village of Amagansett.


Spektor gushed about the store that “was designed with children in mind. There is a lovely space facing out into the green, filled with windows and natural light, and we've built in wide cushioned window seats, perfect for children and grandparents!”

Each Saturday, there is a puppet show on the green and there is a story time at the store preceding the show.

Spektor added that “Of course it is the selection of children's books that makes a store great, and BookHampton has a wonderful mix of classics and what we believe are soon-to-be-classics.” I found this to be true in all the stores. They have displays of well loved titles along side of such celebrity titles as Bernadette Peters’ new children’s book, Broadway Barks or pop-up books by Robert Sabuda or the new odd shaped and visually appealing interactive book, Pyramids and Mummies, by Anne Bolton.

If you happen to be on the east end of Long Island take a detour from the beach or people watching to checkout any or all of the BookHampton locations.

Thank you, Rocco!

This post is part of the Wizards Wireless series of bookstore and library profiles. If you'd be willing to write a post about a library with a great children's department or a terrific independent bookstore that specializes in children's books, I'd love to feature it on my blog. See this post for more details about my search for guest bloggers.

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