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How New Dominion Bookshop, Virginia’s oldest bookstore, Stays Relevant

How New Dominion Bookshop, Virginia’s oldest bookstore, Stays Relevant

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At Almost 100 Years Old, New Dominion Bookshop Proves Literature’s True Shelf Life

New Dominion Bookshop in Chartlosttesville, Virginia is standing the test of time. Among bookstores in 2020 that’s a tall order.

Established in 1924, the New Dominion Bookshop in downtown Charlottesville is the oldest independent bookseller in Virginia.

One might wonder, in the age of amazon, digital trends, hashtags, and e-books, how has this bookshop has not only survived but thrived for so long? It all comes down to the community’s love and passion for reading and literature.

New Dominion Bookshop – the early years

C.C. Wells bought New Dominion Bookshop in 1926 and moved it to Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. He ran the shop until 1987.

Then, Carol Troxell, a longtime employee of the bookshop, purchased and took over the business. Under her leadership, the store flourished to its present glory.

Generations of readers have praised the mom-and-pop shop’s personal service. Some regulars have even claimed to get tired trying to choose from the smartly curated collection of seemingly never-ending books that were up for grabs.

New Dominion Bookshop Virgina
Ninety-six years after it opened, the New Dominion Bookshop is still quenching Charlottesville’s thirst for great literature. [Courtesy of New Dominion Bookshop]

Celebrating the past, staying relevant in the present

The store was ultimately purchased by Julia Kudravetz in October 2017 and she has not only preserved the spirit of the bookstore but also found a way to bring it to today’s youth.

The bookshop has made it a point to keep up with the trends, with a happening online presence where a younger audience share their experience on Instagram—the old-world charm of the bookshop meets the digital reach of today’s generation.

The New Dominion Bookshop emphasizes personal connection through the services that it provides, right from personalized signed copies of various books to the ability to curate a personalized home library collection. The New Dominion Bookshop regularly proves its vigor to keep readers connected to the literary art in today’s day and age.

For example, this spring, it’s playing a key role in the 2020 Virginia Festival of the Book by hosting several events, such as poetry readings and pop-up bookclubs.

It’s a recurring challenge to stay relevant since its inception, but it has managed to do just that. People of all ages find solace in the smell of fresh books and the old aesthetics of the store.

New Dominion Bookshop
A glimpse at New Dominion Bookshop’s recent Instagram posts. Follow it at @new_dominion_bookshop.

Right at home in Charlottesville

The New Dominion Bookshop is an integral part of the literary community in Charlottesville.

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It is a testament to the rich literary culture of the city. Charlottesville draws thousands of visitors a year who make it a point to tour Monticello, the former home of Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Plus today, Charlottesville is home to many noted authors and writers who find inspiration in the bookstore.

The shop hosts frequent book signings, thus giving readers and authors a chance to interact with each other, setting a strong example of the community spirit upheld by the bookstore. 

Lovers of literature can order their favorite books from the New Dominion Bookshop. They deliver nationwide. In addition, the bookstore is open 7 days a week. It also hosts events featuring renowned authors and local writers to give customers a reason to keep coming back.

There’s a lot that can be said about the New Dominion Bookshop. However, you can only truly get a sense of what makes it special by visiting. Step into the iconic shop to see the true value of the establishment and how it has proven to be an institution for the community in Charlottesville.

For all reading enthusiasts out there, the new year brings an opportunity to dive into some spectacular books. Not sure where to begin? Check out this list of recommended reads from Read it Forward: Books we Can’t Wait to Read.

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