|"Jack knew I always wanted to own a bookstore," said Pat Wendleton about her husband. So when the opportunity came along he told her, "You need to do this."
June 15, 2005 was opening day at Buy the Book, Hermann's only bookstore. About 80 to 90 percent of the shop's collection feature used and lower-priced books. Many of the new books relate to local history. Of all the books at the shop, the Katy Trail Guidebook is the best seller. According to Pat, Buy the Book is the only place in town that sells it.
Buy the Book is strictly a family-run operation. Long-time family friend Christopher Benson designed the bookstore and handles its day-to-day operations. Pat's son Daniel helps out when he's not working at the local newspaper office. He handles the finances. Pat is in charge of advertising and public relations. Jack, a retired civil engineer from the National Park Service and an award-winning landscape photographer, displays his photos, which also are for sale.
Christopher and Daniel, who moved to Hermann from Colorado, were co-workers at one of Denver's premier bookstores, The Tattered Cover. Christopher also worked for B. Dalton. Pat credits him with having the expertise to run the bookstore. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Christopher is available to anyone who has books they would like to sell to the shop, either on a cash or store credit basis. The family is always on the lookout for new books in an attempt to maintain an eclectic and diverse selection. Many are acquired at estate sales.
Buy the Book sells quality books of all sorts. They carry poetry, mythology, philosophy, and history books, as well as fiction. Gardening books are popular on a seasonal basis and there is a good selection of cookbooks. One section is devoted to good quality children's books that are reasonably priced so kids can buy their own. There are German-language books and occasionally books written in Spanish. A rack with new magazines is being expanded, and if people want a particular magazine they can order a single copy. Buy the Book does a lot of on-line ordering.
But bookstore customers should not feel pressured to make a purchase every time they visit. "We invite browsers," said Pat. "Christopher insisted that this is a place to come and hang out. You don't have to buy." The shop has comfortable seating so guests can thumb through a book while sipping a cup of coffee they are welcome to bring in-as long as it's got a lid. But no food, please. There's an outdoor courtyard that guests can use when weather permits.
Buy the Book is located at 303 Schiller St. Hours are 11-7 Tuesday through Thursday and 11-8 Friday and Saturday. The store is closed Sunday and Monday. For information call 573-486-2722.