Each year at Thanksgiving, my wife and I travel to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, to enjoy the holiday away from the our usual surroundings and distractions. Usually, we rent a house in Avon, for no better reason than it is close to a grocery store so it makes those essential shopping trips a lot easier. Avon is just a few miles North of Buxton, NC, home of the famous Hatteras Island Lighthouse and one of our favorite stops not far from the lighthouse is Buxton Village Books. A small independent bookstore, Buxton Village Books isn’t where you go to get all your books. But they do have a remarkable choice for such a small store.
Like a lot of independent book stores, Buxton Village Books survives by finding a few niches where they can succeed. While you will find best-sellers at Buxton Village Books, but they will be cheaper at Barnes & Noble or Borders. But the books you will find at Buxton Village Books probably aren’t on the shelves at the chain stores. In the front of the store, you’ll find shelves filled with North Carolina books, with a focus on the Outer Banks, including dozens of books about North Carolina fishing, coastal geology, pirates, civil war history, and World War II history. Additionally, the store stocks an assortment of field guides about shells, shorebirds, crustaceans, fish, and other flora and fauna native to the Outer Banks.
As you move to the back of the store, watching your step as you squeeze past other customers between the shelves, you will find non-fiction books on maritime life, surfing, and adventure. There are also books by noted travel authors, as well as a number of Outer Banks travel guides. Step into the back room and you’ll find a stacks of used books, although most of them typical beach reading: romances, mysteries, and thrillers. Buxton Village Books also has a remarkable variety of unusual gifts and cards, and a small but good kids section as well.
Buxton Village Books is not a chain store, so don’t expect to find computer or business books, or deeply discounted remainders. Instead, they offer a small, locally focused selection that will help a visitor learn a little bit more about the Outer Banks. On my visit in November, though I was pleased to pick up a serendipitous find, Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds by Olivia Gentile. The book, and the surprising story of why I bought it, will be the subject of another post, hopefully coming soon.