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NOVEMBER 28, 2011 4:56PM

The Book Mart in Perry, FL

Rate: 8 Flag
My favorite independent bookstore is located approximately halfway between Tallahassee and Gainesville in the small town of Perry, Florida.  According to the sign on the door, it has been in business since 1979.  

My first visit to the Book Mart was while on a trip from Tallahassee to Tampa.  I saw the sign (it’s huge!) off Hwy. 19 and on a whim, decided to stop.  Since this was a rural area I was not expecting much more than a dusty romance graveyard.  I was wrong.

As I entered the store, I was captivated by the “feel” of the place.  It was like I had stepped back into the 1960s.  I later learned the building was a former motel built in the 50s and the bookstore space was once the owner’s home.  The floors were the original terrazzo waxed to a sparkling shine.  Filtered light filled the lodge-like room that was home to the new book displays.  A fireplace and sitting area invited me to stay a while.  

The first living being I saw was a huge black cat.  He opened one eye when I came in the door, then yawned, stretched and arose to greet me.  A welcoming voice came from the stacks and the owner appeared, barefoot and holding a double stack of paperbacks.  After a short tour, I was soon lost in literary heaven.

For a small store (less than 2,000 square feet), the Book Mart has the best selection of books about Florida I have ever seen.  There was also a section of books categorized as “Simple Living.”  I bought copies of “Tan Your Hide” and “Possum Living.”  It was definitely not your standard chain bookstore fare. Used books numbered over 25,000 and were organized by someone who clearly loves order.  No dust here, only good reads and a memorable experience.  BookMart06

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Comments

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It's sometimes amazing what we find when we least expect it, isn't it? Good article and thanks for the reminder that it's important to get off the road and check out the stuff that sounds like it might be cool!
Your narration of this cosy place is very vivid. A perfect picture of a quiet, literary heaven. What more can you ask for?
Perry, FL, who knew???? I used to live in Liberty County (East of Tally) and would travel through Perry often. Damn, I missed it!
God. I love the midcentury modern furniture in the store! Looks so comfy and inviting.
Doing that in 2,000 square feet is amazing. Thanks for this!
SandyMarie, I have never come across a bookstore with the '50s/'60s look The Book Mart possesses. What a great place and thanks for sharing your story about it!
There's something quaint about a brick-n-mortar business that sells new and gently used good reads.

The overall experience shopping one like you've described is alluring and keeps me coming back.
Over 25,000 books and you end up with "Possum Living"?

Oy!