End nears for Book Nook

Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Dorothy Samford is nearing the end of a 44-year career as a bookseller in downtown Iola.

Dorothy Samford’s Book Nook at 115 W. Madison the past 44 years is a bookworm’s paradise. Shelves overflow into stacks of book that narrow aisles.
That’s about to change.
Samford is in the midst of an inventory reduction sale and will lock the front door for the last time at the end of December.
Roberta Johnson hopes she can reopen the book store sometime after the first of the year, but she and husband Charlie have no definite plans just yet.
“I think Iola needs a book store, and we’d like to keep it open for that,” Johnson said, “but we’ll have to take a look and decide exactly what we want to do.”
In March the Johnsons, who own Home Detail, purchased the building housing the Book Nook.
If they keep it open as a book store, it could be a good fit. Samford, beyond the proliferation of mostly paperback romances that flood the store, has a good stock of Bibles and Christian books. Roberta Johnson is a much-involved member of First Baptist Church and would like to have a place where Iola-area shoppers can find Bibles and Christian literature.
Her inventory has dwindled some, Samford allows, but there still is a huge selection.
Samford is a confirmed lover of books and has been since well before she and husband Lindon, who died 11 years ago, moved to the Iola area when they purchased a farm in the early 1960s.
Before that, they lived in Wichita and Samford was a frequent visitor to used book stores there. After a traffic accident put her on the mend for whiplash, Samford’s husband had to chauffeur her to and from the stores. That’s when he suggested that maybe she should have her own store.
“When we moved to Iola, we found this building, bought it, and I’ve had the book store every since,” Samford said.
Asked how many books she has sold, Samford says, “I don’t have a clue, but I know it’s been thousands and thousands and thousands.” Samford also has a stock answer for those curious about how many books she has left: “I have no idea, but you’re welcome to count them if you wish.”
In addition to permitting Samford to deal in a field she never has grown weary of, the book store also made her scores of friends. She recalls customers who come in young, move from Iola and, when they return, find time to stop by for a chat and to see if there’s a book or two that they can’t live without.