Written by Linda Carr
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” — Mortimer J. Adler
Nothing is more fulfilling than a good book. And nothing says “home” to book lovers like a good bookstore. Book lovers of all ages and abilities will find something to love at The Book Mark’et & Antique Mezzanine located in downtown Oakland. Owner Judy Devlin is celebrating 40 years in business, making it the longest continually owned woman’s small business in Garrett County and the only independent bookseller in the area.
The Book Mark’et, much like Judy herself, is charming, well organized and full of personality. Every nook and cranny contain a treasure…you can spend hours exploring this eclectic shop and still not see everything Judy has to offer.
Judy’s dream started much like any others. “I know it sounds hokie but I was watching a Phil Donahue show where he talked about finding your passion in life,” she explains. She and her husband Dick had just moved to the county and with two growing children, Judy was looking for something to fill her time. The family had a favorite little book store in Nags Head where they visited often and she began talking to the owner about the intricacies of opening a book store. “He offered to be my mentor and showed me the ropes, and The Book Mark’et was born.”
The shop’s first location was on Alder Street but when Mr. Rudy offered to lease her more space in a more visible location on Second Street a few years later she jumped on the opportunity. Her husband Dick, owner of Devlin Construction, built out the space to her specifications, adding levels and lots of shelves which are filled with all genres of books imaginable.
The Book Mark’et has packed a large selection in their 1200 sq. foot space. You’ll find the best in fiction and non-fiction, including those on historical and political topics, a self – help selection and more. The inspirational books are very popular and Judy always has the latest offerings dealing with societal issues, health and well-being. Judy offers a wonderful selection of cookbooks and all Kid’s and Young Adult books are designated by age and many have useful information attached about the content inside. If you know a child that is not too keen on reading…check out their selection of graphic novels, which are perfect selections for those reluctant readers.
Although you’ll always find the latest best sellers on the shelves here, the funnest thing about shopping at The Book Mark’et are those rare little finds…one that Judy and her staff have marked with a post-it note with some intriguing detail on a book that might otherwise get overlooked. Yes, she and her staff read regularly and can always offer a helpful suggestion if you’re looking for something new.
Children will love the shop’s very special Kid’s Section. In addition to great books for every level and age of reader, there are toys and stuffed animals peaking out from every shelf. Don’t forget to look UP…you never know what surprises you may find in the rafters. One of the shop’s biggest seller are the Melisa and Doug interactive toys. ”We have toys to appeal to many age groups and they really hold up over the years,” says Judy.
Judy is especially passionate about getting children to love books at an early age which is why it is such a fun and interactive space. “Studies are showing that children who spend a lot of time on a device as opposed to a book simply don’t have the language skills of their peers. Reading is more important than ever,” says Judy.
Be sure to check out the Antique Mezzanine, the cozy loft area containing some of Judy’s favorite finds. From oversized baskets to recycled aluminum signs and containers, you’ll find sweet little accents for your home or office.
What’s the key to The Book Mark’et’s longevity?? Service, pure and simple. With up to 3 shipments arriving weekly, the stock changes regularly so there is always something new to love. They offer free gift wrapping and special order any book you may be looking for. Not only has Judy built up relationships with her clients, she has also worked with many of the same suppliers over the years and she keeps a close eye on new books that are coming in and gaining popularity.
Have a Harry Potter fan in the family? The Book Mark’et has a wonderful selection of new Harry Potter Pop-Up illustrated books. There is a great selection of biographies, political and historical books. “We have a lot of World War II books in stock,” says Judy. “It’s a very big topic right now.” If you’re not sure what type of book to purchase for a friend or loved one, a Book Mark’et Gift Card is the perfect gift.
Says Judy: “I still have a passion for this business. I love it. We get a nice mix of regulars and visitors from out of town and we go out of our way to make sure that anybody who walks through our doors feels welcome. We love getting to know our customers. Books are a very personal business and we maintain our client’s utmost confidence in all matters.” Which is why the Book Mark’et is as relevant now as it was 40 years ago.
The Book Mark’et is open Monday – Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM; Saturday from 9:30 to 5 PM and Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM. Stop by soon to pick out your new favorite book, get some great gift ideas and to interact with one of the friendliest and most knowledgeable staffs in the area.