Back in 2011, when I published my first major book, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, I was given some very good advice from a few authors I looked to as mentors. Bob Welch, one of Oregon’s most well-known authors, was one of them. He said I should check out Mari’s Books in Yachats. I did. It was love at first sight. They liked my book and I liked them and their cozy bookstore.
Them was Mari Irvin and Mary Wiltse, who were sisters and co-owners along with Jeannine Jansen. Either Mari or Mary were always on duty whenever I came in and we became friends. They also sold more of my books than any other bookstores that carry my books. Every time I published a new book, they tried it out.
They even got to know my spiel for my books almost as well as I did. One day, I happened to be there delivering some books. While I was filling out the invoice, I heard Mary telling folks about The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans. Then she said, “How’d I do, Judy?” That’s the kind of close, friendly relationship I had with Mary and Mari. I often spent 15 or 20 minutes having delightful conversations with Mari after our book transaction was completed.
For the past six years, I’ve been a part of the Yachats Farmers Market. So on Sundays, Mari or Mary would tell folks interested in my books, that if they wanted to buy the book directly from the author, to walk over to the Market only a block away. One cold, foggy Sunday, while I was freezing at my booth, Mary stopped by and handed me a hot, steaming Cappuccino and a chocolate croissant. I don’t think I ever enjoyed anything as much as that.
When doing sales trips up or down the coast, I always call ahead to see what is needed and schedule a time to stop by. But with Mari’s Books, they didn’t mind if I just popped in. A few years ago, Mary went back to the Midwest to be with family, but the wonderful relationship with Mari’s books continued on through this past January.
Then last February, I received a call from Mari that she had sold the bookstore, but the good news was that she had sold it to local folks and that it would continue on basically the same. I was both saddened and relieved. I will miss seeing Mari but was so glad the bookstore would still be there.
In my latest book, The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED, of the 26 places covered, two are in Yachats and one nearby at Cape Perpetua. So the book sells well in Yachats. One of the places covered within Yachats is the Little Log Church. And one of the new owners is Mary Crook, who is the officiant at the Log Church. As you might expect, she is particularly fond of that book. And when folks seem interested in it, she will often point out pages 34 and 35. She was totally thrilled one day when someone came in and bought the book and asked her to sign one of those pages.
So the bookstore continues on, but their timing wasn’t so good. They opened March 1 and had to close shortly afterwards due to the pandemic.
Now, under Phase 2, they have reopened. I could tell because I received a call from Mary Crook saying she wanted six copies of the UNEXPECTED. So I delivered them and got to meet her co-owner, Yvonne Erickson, who was on duty that day. She also owns the shop next door called Just Local.
When I walked into the bookstore, the only difference I saw were some framed photographs on the walls by locals. Besides books, Mari’s, during its 14-year run, always had local stuff such as notecards and felt products. Now there will be even more. The new name is Books and More: Something old, something new, something local. There have always been gently used books as well as new books from locals, meaning as far away as Eugene, and that won’t change.
It wasn’t even a week later that I received another call from Mary and she wanted six more of the UNEXPECTED. So I made another trip to Yachats. This time it was Mary on duty. The shop is open with masks on the proprietor and requested of the public. And social distancing, while difficult in such a small bookstore, is attempted.
So next time you’re at the coast and near Yachats, check out Books and More. It’s still a wonderful, cozy bookstore––and more.
Note: Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Located in C&K Market plaza in downtown Yachats.