|Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT|
|Una, Book Guardian|
March Village Story Peddlers:
Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
Here's the story...
Books on the Common was established in 1984 by Bob and Sally Silbernagel in a tiny 450 sq. ft. space. Bob and Sally ran the store together, putting in long hours, with help from only one part-time employee. Just a few years later, they boldly doubled that space and expanded into the adjacent store, for a total of nearly 2,100 square feet - above average size for an independent bookstore.
With the additional shelf space, Bob and Sally were able to expand their inventory and increase the number of titles in stock. Over the years, their three children helped out at the store, and more staff was hired. Books on the Common offered outstanding customer service, wonderful conversation, and great book recommendations - all critical to the survival of independents. Sadly, on May 16, 1991, Bob lost a long battle with cancer and passed away at the age of 49, and Sally was left to run the store on her own. She hired additional staff and kept it going, despite the increasing competitive pressures to come.
The 1990s brought the "killer B's" to bookselling business - the chain stores Barnes & Noble and Borders expanded rapidly throughout the U.S., and both opened locations in Danbury. Encore Books opened (and closed) in nearby Copps Hill Common during that decade, and Books on the Green came (and went) on Main Street. And then there was Amazon - internet bookselling started with the dot-com explosion in the '90s and continues to challenge all "bricks & mortar" independent booksellers nationwide.
Through it all, Books on the Common thrived, thanks to the loyal support of our customers. The residents of Ridgefield, Redding, North & South Salem and other surrounding towns have patronized the store all these years.
After 20 years in business, Sally decided it was time to retire, and the store is now owned by Ellen Burns and Darwin Ellis – two long-time Ridgefielders and avid readers. Ellen and Darwin maintained the friendly, comfortable atmosphere of the store while bringing it up-to-date by computerizing the store operations. After 5 more years in Copps Hill, it was decided that a better, more visible location was needed. Fortunately, a wonderful space on Ridgefield's historic Main Street became available in early 2009. Following many months of planning and negotiating, Books on the Common was reborn in its new space at 404 Main Street – known to old-time Ridgefielders as Bedient's – the hardware store that operated from the building for 100 years. Although our location has changed, the most important things have not – our passion for books, our willingness to make great book recommendations, and our ability to provide outstanding service to our customers – our fellow book lovers.
Books on the Common
404 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Phone: (203) 431-9100
Fax: (203) 431-3233
Location and hours
Here's what the staff has to say...
|Ilene, Little House on the Prairie|
Ilene: My favorite book to chat about would be the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These books have become part of my family’s culture, and we frequently refer to characters or events in them. Recently two of my adult children took a trip to South Dakota and Minnesota just to visit the sites of The House on Plum Creek and The Little House on the Prairie. Many people think of the TV show when they hear “Little House” but these books are a special treat.
Brooklyn: My favorite book to talk about is Harry Potter. While it might not be the most unique choice, I could talk about Harry Potter for hours. Because I grew up as the books were being published I feel like I grew up with the characters. I have so many memories of anxiously anticipating each new book and reading them feverishly through the night. Because the books hold so many memories for me I love to re-read them and discuss them with other avid Harry Potter readers.
|Brooklyn, Harry Potter|
If you could jump into any scene from any story, what would it be?
Melissa: Hmmm, scenes- well those are harder to conjure… I do think it would be magical to spend the night in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Mixed Up Files...) maybe The Hundred Acre Wood? The attic of the March girls? A Jane Austen ball or tea?
Zoe: If I could jump into any scene, it would be the scene in Inkheart by Cornelia Funke where Meggie's father, Mo, first reads to Capricorn and his men. When Mo reads out loud, his voice enchants his audience and the images in the book become enchantingly vivid in each listener's mind. I think it would be cool to see a book come to life.
|Melissa, The Silver Chair|
Who is your absolute, favorite character from a book?
Maggie: Puddleglum, from The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis was always one of my favorite characters. He was so funny and a surprisingly good travel companion. He was able to grow a lot over the course of the book. It would be so cool to have a conversation with Puddleglum.
Matt: My favorite character from a book is Hans Hubermann from The Book Thief. Hans is gentle yet incredibly strong in the face of adversity. He is a character that everyone can look up to.
|Matt, The Book Thief|