Editor’s Note: We spoke with Aimee Odette, one of the owners of The Island Bookshop with her partner Michael Rank. The address is 206 Miami Ave. W. on Venice Island. Call 941-416-5511. Learn more at TheIslandBookshop.com. The Island Bookshop received our Venice Spirit Award for 2023.
Aimee, please introduce The Island Bookshop?
Our bookshop at the corner of Miami Ave. and Nokomis Ave. is an extension of home. We carry a variety of books in most genres for all ages. The majority are new; however, we do have a small previously loved section. If we don’t have the book you’re looking for, we can usually place an order and have it available in short order. We’re also proud to display and sell the work of local and regional artists. We also host events featuring talented authors to include NYT best-selling authors.
What’s the backstory of launching your store?
Our biggest motivation was our love of books and the joy of reading. Venice, and the larger region, hasn’t had a local bookshop in many years. Michael and I are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and visitors since the day we opened.
What’s your process for selecting books?
We keep our eyes on best sellers’ lists and we also value feedback from our customers. Locals and visitors from around the world have so many helpful insights about books and favorite authors. We also have our favorites as long-time readers. Our goal is to have a selection of enjoyable and meaningful books that appeal to everyone of all ages.
What would you like to share about the artist and photographers you display?
I’m in awe of their creativity. Each artist and their art form, from photography to pottery, painting with watercolor, acrylic, and oils; it’s all beautiful. We have recently purchased Collectors Gallery & Framery located at 114 Nokomis Ave. S., also on Venice Island. This has allowed us to expand our art offers considerably.
What are a few of your favorite authors or books and why?
Michael’s a fan of mystery and non-fiction although he reads a variety of genres. I’m all over the place in terms of what I read, and I read a lot. I usually find myself in historical fiction. I love a strong female lead character. I also appreciate studying history, so historical fiction usually hits the mark. I also love a good read while relaxing on the beach or at home. A thoughtful or fun book is like a mini vacation for my mind. I push myself to read across genres since it’s great exercise for the brain.