Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Sara Dust
The Book Nook lives up to its name.
It has books. Plenty and plenty of books.
On shelves. On top of shelves.
Rows upon rows of books greet customers to the shop Diana Sullivan owns at 1821 Broadway Ave., in downtown Mattoon.
The war of paper against electronic has affected Sullivan’s store.
Sullivan is anti-electronic.
“Ninety percent of the reason I read is to relax,” she said.
Reading via electronic devices simply doesn’t allow the same relaxation.
She admits she has lost some business to the online world, but she has gained some readers who like the feel of having a book in their hands since she is one of the non-electronic sources of books in the area.
Sullivan, who opened the business in 1989, has maintained a solid customer base throughout the years. She has girls who started coming to the store when they were children who now take their children to the Book Nook.
The store has a wide variety of books from classical to science fiction. Books range from the 19th century, long before International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was in place, to recent releases.
A reader would have a difficult time not finding books there for them, especially with the guidance of Sullivan.
Sullivan has read since a young age. As a young child, she would check out seven books, the maximum number allowed at the local library, and have them finished by the middle of the week.
She reached a point where she had read every book she could and was not allowed to go up to the teen section yet. The librarians eventually had to cave and let her explore the unchartered area.
Her favorite book is Jane Hamilton’s “The Guardian.”
Sullivan started her own business, Brown’s Home Supply Store, in 1980. She had a small nook for books in the store, which sold furniture and appliances, so she kept the name Book Nook when she focused the business just on books.
The Book Nook contains a collection of nearly a million books “give or take a few,” Sullivan said, and all are used books.
Sullivan has tried to dive into the world of selling new books before, but was not seeing the profit and decided the extra work was not worth her while.