Every book under the sun is at the Family Book Shop

 One of the most fascinating bookstores in the South is the Family Book Shop in DeLand, FL.

The Family Book Shop is a combined new and used store that takes up this entire building on the main highway.

 Never have I seen such a huge gathering of books, especially paperbacks (in which they specialize) under one roof. The store is divided into four large separate rooms, each one housing different subjects, from romance to science fiction to history and on and on. The first room, where the main entrance is, holds the new books. The other rooms are referred to as "the stacks", which you will understand as you see more photos below.

Every romance ever published!

I love this.

"the stacks"

 On and on and on....

and on and on....

Here is Cindy Raible's (the store's owner) story on how it all happened.

The store was founded by (current employee) Savannah's grandmother, Judy Mathys, in 1976.   It has remained in business all these years as a used/trade paperback store. Through the years, we have added new books, magazines, special orders, bookmarks, cards and children's gifts.   However, the used paperback trade is the backbone of the store.

And Cindy's fascinating (and high flying) personal history:

 "I was a customer of Judy's since 1983 (when I moved to Florida). When she indicated her desire to sell, she asked me if I was interested.   At that point, I had been a housewife for 25 years and was bored. I bought the bookstore with absolutely no previous business experience in September of 2009. I can't say it has been easy, but it has been enjoyable for me.  I love learning about the customers - their lives, problems and stories. I feel like I have made a lot more friends in the last four years.  And, of course, I love books. My grandfather taught me to read at age 4 with the original Grimm's Fairy Tales. He was a good German grandfather.   LOL. I met my husband of 31 years in 1980 when I gave a skydiving lesson to myself for my 25th birthday present. Think the movie Fandago and you could accurately see the airport I learned to skydive at!!!   We are still skydiving together 31 years later. However - to me - my biggest accomplishment is being a grandmother!"

 Two bookstore cats protect the premises - this is Smudge...

 ...and this is Ink. Don't cross them. Especially if you happen to be a dog, they will literally chase you out of the store.

 Yes, as you can tell, the store is primarily run by women and their one token man (sorry Scott).

  Here are the three Sirens and Scott, the real brains behind the operation, at work at the front counter. Each one specializes in knowing certain subject categories and where each book in that category is located in the store. They are amazing!
From L to R: Scott Sills, Lori Irwin, Cindy Raible and Savannah Johnson.

Cindy tells this funny story about how she came to hold one of the best author events ever:

"We all have those moments when you deal with the public and also spend your days trying to dredge up a name and title from the most obscure reference.This is one of the most unique situations I have found myself in as a bookseller. 

So... a few months ago, I was reading the Ingram Advance, and I see a book entitled American Warrior - the Story of a Legendary Army Ranger, by Gary O'Neal. I think to myself, "I know a Gary O'Neal from the 1980's as a skydiver with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights." So, I get on Facebook, find this Gary O'Neal, and send him a message letting him know who I am, how I know him (explained below), and if this IS his book, would he do a book signing at my store? 

Here is the story of how I know Gary O'Neal  - In 1986, I am sitting at the drop zone in Raeford, NC and across from me at the picnic table is this incredibly handsome man with a huge smile. I have watched people come up to him for almost an hour and they are close to genuflecting when they speak to him. Finally, we are left all alone at this table and he turns to me with that million megawatt smile. Being the cheeky little thing I am, I promptly ask him if he happens to know about any special dark deep missions in South America which include five tandem parachute rigs that I sold to some very "shady" people.That megawatt smile gets even bigger, and with an incredibly sexy North Carolina drawl, he answers "yes I do darling, but if I tell you, I will have to rip your head off and kill you." Talk about being a bug under a magnifying glass.Thankfully, someone else comes up and starts genuflecting to him and I scurry off faster than you can say boo.

Fast forward to April of 2013. I sent him that Facebook message, and within five minutes, my phone rings and I hear "Hi darling, this is Gary O'Neal."

Yes, it is the legendary ranger, the same man I sat across that picnic bench from. He remembers me and he would love to do a book signing. So, in the early morning hours (3:45 a.m. to be precise) of June 8, 2013, I am sitting on my couch in my pajamas having a beer with the man who once threatened (nicely) to rip my head off and that I have not seen for 17 years!!!!! His book signing at my store was phenomenal - we sold 50 copies of his book. He spent four days visiting and we now talk on the phone at least twice a week. And I am, if it is even possible, in more awe of him today than I was in 1986!!!!"

Here I am with the
genius book virtuosos. It was important to Cindy to be the photographer and to get "Think independently" into the final picture. They certainly do.

Finally, Cindy has an unusual answer to my time travel question that I ask a lot of my bookstore owners:

If you could go back in time...
to any period from before recorded history to yesterday,
be safe from harm, be rich, poor or in-between, if appropriate to your choice,
experience what it was like to live in that time, anywhere on earth,meet anyone, if you desire, speak with them, listen to them, be with them.
When would you go?
Where would you go
Who would you want to meet?
and most importantly………why? 

One of the things I have said since it seems like forever is that I want to know three things before I die - Who really shot JFK?   Who was D.B. Cooper?  Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? Anyone who knows me knows that I feel that way.  So, if I had to go back in time, I would have to go back to three separate occasions.  And I would probably have to be a fly on the wall.  

Why these three questions? I was in the first grade when JFK was shot. I still remember vividly being sent home from school to find my mother and father also home from work - crying!!!   My family never left the house for four days and I can still see each grainy black and white image from our small TV set in the living room. I visit the eternal flame at his grave-site every single time I go to Washington, D.C.  

D.B. Cooper is still a subject skydivers talk about today.  There are several skydiving friends I have across this country who believe they know who D.B. Cooper is (and was).   Depending on who you ask whether he is still alive today.  

As for Jimmy Hoffa - who is not intrigued by a good mob story? Two weeks ago there was a blurb on the news that showed the FBI digging up a field for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa based on a tip and nope, it did not look like Giants Stadium to me!!!   I was so excited that there could be an answer to one of my questions, but alas, no. 

Cindy, I actually know where Jimmy is buried but if I told you, I'd have to rip your head off and kill you.


Jan said…
What a great bookstore!

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