Now in its 30th year, The Book Loft is the legacy of my husband, the late Bill Nelson. A former business executive from Ohio, lending a hand to a bookstore there, discovered a whole new lifestyle for himself. My name is Sue and this is the beginning of our adventure in Amelia Island.
Bill created an "old-fashioned" bookstore where people can browse and enjoy a beautiful collection of books. Our customers become nostalgic when they approach the store slowly, stand and stare at what they have missed. After Bill's death in 2011, I jumped in with both feet to sustain the operation despite the economic downturn and bleak outlook for indie bookstores. I haven't looked back! Our customers are loyal, the Amelia Island visitors are generous, and we have flourished as the island's oldest independent bookstore.
Leveraging partnerships with the community lends to our success. We frequently support and collaborate with the Fernandina Public Library and the Amelia Island Book Festival.
But the biggest asset to an independent bookstore is its people. I attribute our success to our team who has a deep knowledge of the inventory and a commitment to serving the reader thus inviting us to expand their world
– one book at a time.
My favorite authors include:
Alan Furst and Amor Towles
Pearl Buck and Ernest Hemingway
Lois Lenski and Mo Willems
In addition to award-winning fiction, nonfiction, classics, cooking, and inspirational titles, we have a broad selection of books on Amelia Island and its pirate history, as well as the history of Florida, and the Civil War plus many autographed first editions. In the loft upstairs, we'll introduce you to a selection of older hardback fiction at half-price and our resident ghost, Catherine.
We are a frequent host of indie and first-time authors and special events with best-selling authors as well as French classes, a children's story hour, book clubs, and a knitting group. We celebrate the beauty of Amelia Island by showcasing the artwork of renowned watercolor artist William Maurer.
The store appeals to everyone - tourists, locals, historians, and children to name a few. Many celebrity authors have visited the store to share their books including John Grisham, Karen White, Dean Koontz, Dorothea Benton Frank, Steve Berry, Cassandra King, Jacques Pepin, Jimmy Buffett, Charles Martin, and the late Pat Conroy.
Like the yesteryear of Macy's, our window displays are award-winning and our collection of antiques alone makes for an interesting stroll through the store.
We are grateful to our customers and the community of Fernandina Beach, and are proud to hold the title of
"the oldest independent bookstore"
- 30 years and counting".
Vague recollection of the title, the plot? There is a good chance Rita can help you. Trained in Switzerland and a bookseller for more than 40 years, Rita has served readers on two continents and two coasts. She manages the majority of our inventory and is keen to keep up with the demand for hot titles as well as old favorites.
Rita's favorites include:
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
by Alexandra Fuller
Into Thin Air
by Jon Krakauer
I Am Pilgrim
by Terry Hayes
For more than 15 years, Cathy has served The Book Loft and its community of readers. "C" is for Cathy and Children - she is our resident expert on children's books and young adult fiction. Rainy day? Great time to browse a bookstore. Scorcher? Just as great to take a break from the heat. Funny, Cathy notices her taste in reading corresponds with the weather too!
Cathy's favorites and comments include:
The Water is Wide, A Memoir
by Pat Conroy
Readers may remember the movie "Conrack" starring Jon Voight but, of course, the book is always better! Cathy also likes just about any Cormac McCarthy book - they are all dark with characters facing their lowest of lows with no hope in sight!
Phyllis has worked with The Book Loft for so many years, we've lost count! She's done just about everything but mostly enjoys helping our readers find the perfect book. She loves a good beach read or thriller and recommends taking a break in between with a challenging, world-famous Ravensburger puzzle.
Phyllis' favorites include:
Worth Dying For
by Lee Child
Palindrome, A Cumberland Island Suspense Novel
by Stuart Woods
Loving Frank, the Life of Frank Lloyd Wright
by Nancy Horan
Dan is an avid reader and book collector and shares his expertise with our customers everyday. In fact, some of our unique first editions are "finds" from Dan. He is in the store most evenings - stop by and
he'll show you the collection!
Dan's favorites include:
Angle of Repose and The Spectator Bird
by Wallace Stegner