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Community Spotlight: Annette Stillson

January 12, 2016
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Q: Like a good book, let's dive right in. What are your two favorite fiction books and why? Same with non-fiction.

A: "Asking a book lover their favorite author is like asking a parent their favorite child - it changes with the times. My favorite book that got me into reading was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I remember being swept away into the story. My favorite author recently that made me feel the same way is Kate Morton - she transports you to a different time and place. For nonfiction books, I enjoy reading about people growing up in different times and cultures such as "West with the Night" by Beryl Markham. Born in the early 1900s in England she grew up in East Africa, became a bush pilot, and in 1936 became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west."

Q: Can you tell us about how your business, Annette's Book Nook, came about?

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More than 10,000 books fill the shelves of Annette Stillson's store.

A: "The Beach Book Nook has been been in Santini Plaza more than 20 years. Being an avid reader I visited the Book Nook often and got to know the last owner, Phylis Lumley, very well and started helping her out. When she got sick I ran the store for her. She passed away in 2009 and I was able to re-open the store as Annette's Book Nook. Multi generations of locals and snow birds have made this store a destination to visit year after year, so for nostalgia I keep the original name on the outside sign: The Beach Book Nook".?

Q: You have new books and used books, with donors receiving credits. Tell us how this works.

A: "We carry new and used books and take used books in for book credit. Customers bring their books in and I give them 20 percent of the original list price in credit, to use 100 percent toward used books or for half the price of new books. We take in paperbacks mainly and always take back any bought here. If they did not originally come from our store, we take in books based on what we need at the time. New books are list price and used paperbacks are a sliding scale - 60 percent based on original manufactured price."

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Q: What book, or genre, is most requested these days?

A: "Our most popular section is the mysteries, especially James Patterson and our local authors like Randy Wayne White. Close second to that is women's beach fiction, like Kristin Hannah and Elin Hildebrand."

Q: How many used books are in your inventory? And assuming you don't use the Dewey Decimal system, how fast can you find a given title?

A: "We have more than 10,000 books, with fiction, romance, espionage and mystery being the most prevalent. Every one of those categories are in separate sections and alphabetical by author, so they are very easy for everyone to find. If a person only has a title, I can look it up on the Internet, come up with the author, and find the book within minutes."

(Community Spotlight features a resident each week who has an interesting occupation, activity, or story to tell. Please submit subjects you feel are worthy of some recognition to editor John Morton by calling 765-0400, ext. 102, or by email at



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