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Spotlight on an Indie Bookstore: Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

July 28, 2010

Thirty-five years in a job I love…doesn’t get much better than that!

~ Steve Crane, owner of Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

When travelers plan their Rehoboth Beach vacation, stopping into Browseabout Books is a must on their itinerary. 

In 1975, Steve and Barbara Crane opened Browseabout Books on the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Over the past thirty-five years, Browseabout has evolved from a humble single storefront to a healthy 13,000 square feet.  Wander through approximately 15,000 titles, savor a great cup of coffee and you’re in book heaven (who knows, you may just bump into Vice President Biden perusing the shelves!).

Having a great location is crucial for good business, but the passionate and knowledgeable staff entice locals and tourists alike.  This Indie delivers the personal service we all hope and wish for, but nowadays too seldom experience.  For many years, this gem has had the distinct honor of “Best of Delaware” bestowed upon it, with no letup in sight.  Baltimore Magazine has highlighted Browseabout as a must-see during the 2010 summer vacation season. 

Owner Steve Crane takes a unique approach to marketing Browseabout.  It’s all about embracing local community, supporting local businesses and having a bit fun.  His summer promotions often involve the surrounding agricultural community.  Showcasing related books, Steve has been known man the grill for Chicken Day, and hand out juicy chilled slices of watermelon and strawberries at their peak.  Innovation is key for this happy business owner, having broadcast a weekly radio book talk on site featuring guest callers the likes of Steve Berry, Tim Gunn, Harlan Coben and many other popular personalities.  This year Steve took to the water for promoting!  Twice a day, shoreline boats glide by among the whitecaps with information about store hours and upcoming events.

Steve took a few moments (during his busy season) to answer a few questions for me:

Lauren: What do you enjoy most about owning and operating Browseabout Books?

Steve:  Owning and operating Browseabout allows me to be my own boss; directly seeing a correlation between effort expended and success.  35 years in a job I love…doesn’t get much better than that!

Lauren:  In a time when many Indie bookstores are struggling to keep their doors open, what do you think sets Browseabout apart/ is the key to the store’s success?

Steve:  The key to our success is working hard, trying harder and striving always to be the best Browseabout we can be.  We’re knowledgeable, dependable and constantly reinventing our basic concept of retailing to stay fresh and interesting.

Lauren:  What is your most memorable moment at Browseabout?

Steve:  We have a memorable moment each time one of our customers tells us how much s/he enjoys Browseabout.

Lauren:  What is one of your favorite reads this summer?

Steve:  “Think of a Number: A Novel” by John Verdon.

Beloved by the community, what do long-time customers have to say about Browseabout Books?

I’ve been shopping at Browseabout, in it’s many incarnations, for as long as I can remember. Spending most of my summers in Rehoboth and being a veracious summer reader, Browseabout has always had something to feed my eclectic tastes. I kept up my frequent reader membership while living in Manhattan, because I always knew that a visit to the “Avenue” meant a visit to Browseabout.  In fact, my bookcase is currently filled with many titles, wrapping themselves around the infamous ‘free bookmark’ placed inside during their purchase.

Walking into Browesabout is an adventure for me. The diverse selection of books and gifts, along with great staff selection notes, makes it very hard for me to run-in-run-out. I definitely want to spend time there when I visit. The coffee’s good too!

 Early one summer I picked-up a book there and loved it so much, I wanted to read all of the obscure, at least to me, titles to which it was compared. I found and read every one that summer thanks to the great inventory at hand in Browseabout.

~  John Stevens, Baltimore, MD

I’ve been shopping at Browseabout since 1985 or earlier.  I enjoy stopping by to see what best sellers they have selected and their comments, or just finding the book I really want to buy.  I also enjoy walking out the door with a great book…..more likely several to read and to heck with household duties!  I have traveled a lot and I have never found such a unique store as Browseabout, that keeps calling you to their door with great experiences and wonderful memories!

~  Nancy Kimbro, Wyoming, DE

If you’re in the area, it’s well worth your time to stop in and ‘browse’ at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2010 11:16 am

    This is my mom’s favorite bookstore in the world! Plus, they have water bowls outside for the doggies.

  2. July 28, 2010 11:48 am

    I browsed here once-briefly-too briefly but it was fun! I haven’t been back to Rehobath for a few years but reading this makes me want to travel back and browse longer!

  3. July 28, 2010 2:22 pm

    This is my favorite bookstore in the world! Great people and if you want, you can hang out in the overstuffed couches and read. They pick and share their favorite books, plus you can get reduced prices on books by being a member. They also host authors.

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