Open for Business! Apostle Islands Booksellers, Bayfield, Wisconsin

Apostle Islands Booksellers is now open!

Our due diligence into the locally-owned, independent bookstore business revealed the following:

  • Generally, book readership is down;
  • Big Box stores can stock more books and sell them for less;
  • Your behemoth on-line retailer stock almost everything and send it out for almost nothing;
  • E-Readership is growing;
  • The economy lingers in the doldrums.

In the face of those five strikes against us, today we opened the Apostle Islands Booksellers in the heart of historic downtown Bayfield, Wisconsin. The sun is shining, there is a light breeze, the quiet rumble of the Madeline Island Ferry softens the silence, and the islands stretch out into the horizon.

Our shelves are stocked with a heavy emphasis toward the Apostle Islands, the Chequamegon Region, Lake Superior, the Great Lakes, Ojibwe Country and the Northwoods. We also carry a substantial stock of general titles – both fiction and non-fiction – geared to the interests of our friends and neighbors in Bayfield, Washburn and Ashland and to the many visitors who journey to this special place throughout the year. We have daily and weekly periodicals ranging from the Bayfield County Journal to the New York Times as well as a variety of gifts, games, puzzles, maps, charts and other accessories.

So, back to those five strikes. A wag once said that the second book to come off of the Gutenberg printing press was a book on the demise of the book business! We worry about the choice of product title for the Kindle. We all know what kindling is for – to start fires!  Was it a not-so-subtle challenge to the existence of the book itself? Ray Bradbury anticipated that with Fahrenheit 451 in 1953. We remember how the readers in his story responded!

And so we respond in kind and against all odds our doors open today and welcome readers of all ages, interests and tastes. We believe that books are here to stay!


So happy to see the store open today after waiting all winter! It's a great addition to Bayfield and there is something in the store for everyone. Regional stuff of course but a very thoughtful selection in all genres. Just what my favorite town needed!

Belated thanks for your note!  Just learning the business and coping (happily!) with summer crowds have kept us running at full steam.  We'll be open all winter (not quite summer hours, though) and look forward to having you visit.  Thanks again. 

Congrats on your opening day from a fellow independent bookseller in Zebulon, Georgia. May you prosper in many, priceless ways and be a wonderful, inspiring part of your community. Loved your opening comment and the "view" of your special place through words.

Belated thanks for your congratulatory note on our opening!  You can probably relate to why this task has lingered on my to-do list for most of the summer.  Opening a bookstore, as you know, is not for sissies and learning the businesss as we go has left little time for other than simply lengthening the to-do list.  Thanks for your thoughts.  They are great encouragement.  Theron O'Connor  

Bravo for your courage in proceeding despite those five strikes. My friend and I, both carrying Kindles, happened in your wonderful establishment about a week ago. What a pleasure! We walked off with a hundred bucks worth of reading, titles I would never have happened upon at Amazon. There is nothing like wandering freely among the wonders of a beautifully arranged bookstore to uplift the spirit. Thanks for your pioneering spirit! I look forward to dropping in again when I visit Madeline Island, perhaps next year.

Belated thanks for your positive comment to our website!  I've been so busy that the Island Notes have lingered on the to-do list.  Your thoughts are precisely in line with the spirit with which we embarked on this adventure.  As we anticipated, it has been a great pleasure and a reasonable success on the bottom line.  We'll surely be here next year and look forward to welcoming you again!  Thank you!  Theron O'Connor