Small Town Book Store Thriving

“They have lots of hidden treasures,” commented Bonnie Kabow about The Book Break in Maple Lake, Minnesota. Bonnie is a regular customer who came into the store to buy books while I was there. “People should come and look,” she added as she picked up a book by Christine Husom from the Local Authors section.

Marilyn Goth, owner of The Book Break, is a great supporter of local authors and has carried my books for several years. She is also one of the sponsors for the new KRWC Radio Book Club that meets via the radio station on 1360 AM at 10:10 a.m. on the third Thursday of every month.

Marilyn estimates that she has about 10,000 new and used books, but also offers a large selection of sheet music, movies, greeting cards, cookbooks, T-shirts, and maps. Definitely lots of treasures!

The majority of Marilyn’s business comes from customers who use her Trade-In method of purchasing books. They bring in used books for credit and purchase other used books at a great discount, using the credits they receive for the books they bring in.

Because of Covid 19 Marilyn lets the books that come in “rest” for a period of time before she unpacks them, sanitizes them, and only then shelves them for resale. She also practices all the safety precautions like plexiglass at the counter, requiring everyone to wear masks, providing hand sanitizers and she washes her hands many times a day. She also stresses that while her shop is small, customers usually trickle in all day without having a large number of customers in the store at any one time. Instead of being harmed by the pandemic, Marilyn feels her business has done better, probably because people need books now more than ever.

When Marilyn has an event such as a book signing, open house, or when the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held, she has friends who come in to help her out, but otherwise she does not have employees. She enjoys the independence of operating her business alone and finds it rewarding. “I don’t believe print books will ever become obsolete,” she said.

The Book Break has been offering new and used books at this hundred-year-old building in Maple Lake since 2015 but Marilyn has been a book seller for more than 30 years. She started a book trading business from her basement when her four children were young so she could stay home with them while operating a business. In 1985 she opened shop in town part-time. In 1989 she opened shop in Buffalo and was open full time. Now, The Book Break in downtown Maple Lake at 63 Birch Avenue South is open from Wednesday 9-6 through Saturday 9-4.

You can reach Marilyn at 320-963-1918 or email her at

Come and see if you can find some hidden treasures!

Author, Connie Lounsbury

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