Tuesday, September 06, 2011

You Had Me at No James Patterson, Mr. Toews

Rock Toews
Man, I hope this bookstore manages to survive.  It's only been open since March, so it's too early to predict its future - but this sounds exactly like the kind of bookstore that book lovers everywhere would hope to have in the neighborhood.

I have to admit that the store had me hooked as soon as I saw the introduction to this article:
You won't find any Danielle Steele, James Patterson...novels at Back Creek Books. And not because owner Rock Toews is sold out.
Mr. Toews is a lot more politically correct than me; he says he doesn't stock that kind of thing because it is so readily available everywhere else.  I, on the other hand, applaud him for having the courage to give up the revenue he would probably generate from selling that kind of crap and focusing instead on the high quality, unique items that make Back Creek Books such a special place.

A quick glance of the tables and shelves reveals a reprint of Davy Crockett's almanac, a treatise on Atlantic salmon fishing, a collection of Willa Cather's works, a concise history of the Marine Corps, a 1930 biography of Benedict Arnold, and a large volume on artist Leroy Neiman.

Toews also has a pamphlet on the Annapolis budget from 1885, a letter from a solider convalescing at the hospital established at the Navel Academy during the Civil War, and even sheet music and lyrics to "Maryland, My Maryland" from 1862.
All of the items are used, save a few recent publications on local history, such as "Annapolis, City on the Severn: A History" by McWilliams. Used books are priced from $3 up to $3,000 (for a book featuring a scandalous attack on Thomas Jefferson written the year he died).
"I want there to be stuff you don't see everywhere else," said Toews, who lives near Back Creek in Eastport and is a married father of two children, 11 and 12.

(This Theresa Winslow article was originally published in The Capital of Annapolis but I found it reprinted in the 9-6-11 edition of the Houston Chronicle.)

Rock Toews also has an interesting website for Back Creek Books that is worth checking out.  Do take a look.


  1. This reminds me of the conceit behind The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse. This is inspiring to see - I hope his store makes it!

  2. I just picked up a copy of that one last week and placed it in my TBR stack...looking forward to it because I generally enjoy books about bookstores very much. What did you think of it?

  3. I also love books about books, so this was right up my alley. In my opinion, it was great. It kept me up well past my bedtime the night I finished it - I couldn't bear to put it down and wait until the next day. Oh yeah, my list of books to read grew by more than 50, so be ready for that!

  4. Just what I need, Pages, another 50 books in the TBR stack...that thing is already at a dangerous height and weight.

  5. Dang, that's practically just around the corner from me. I will check these guys out. Thanks for posting!

  6. Small world, Brad...did you make a visit to the store? What did you think of it?