R. J. Julia Independent Booksellers — Providing "Just the Right Book":
768 Boston Post Rd.
Madison, CT 06443
“Fiercely committed to putting the right book in the right hands”:
As one of the largest independent booksellers in the Northeast, the mission R. J. Julia is “To be a place where words matter, where writer meets reader, where the ambiance and selection and merchandising of books creates an atmosphere that is welcoming and presents the opportunity for discovery.” According to its website—and its loyal customers—the store “has always been a place of inspiration, information, and excitement.”
History of R. J. Julia:
Representing both a labor of love and a major career change for former C.P.A. owner Roxanne Coady, R.J. Julia Booksellers opened its door in April 1990 in the shoreline town of Madison, CT. Coady took advantage of the bookstore’s location between the major cities of New York and Boston to establish the store as a prime destination stop on major author book tours. The inviting space, the knowledgeable staff, and the robust roster of author events quickly made the bookstore a community hub, if not an immediate financial success. But with some corrections to the business side, the bookstore survived and has been committed ever since to both books and the community it serves.
Since its establishment, R.J. Julia has become one of the most venerated independent bookstores in the country and its owner, Coady, one of the most respected booksellers as evidenced by the list of awards to which they lay claim: the Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year Award, the Lucy Pannell award for bookselling excellence, Connecticut Magazine Best Bookstore, Connecticut Retailers Award for Community commitment, Advocate’s Best Bookstore and the New Haven Business Small Business Award.
Selective Staff, Author Events:
R. J. Julia especially prides itself its knowledgeable staff, whose profiles are featured on the store’s website and whose personal passions for books and reading are evident on the handwritten “Staff Suggestions” displayed on white shelf-talkers throughout the store.
The bookstore also prides itself on being a place where writers can meet readers, and hosts over 300 events a year. Among the countless number of authors who have appeared at the store are: Julie Andrews, Amy Bloom, Tom Brokaw, Jimmy Carter, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, Bobby Flay, Jane Fonda, Pete Hamill, Garrison Keillor, Caroline Kennedy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Wally Lamb, Toni Morrison, Anne Rice, Frank Rich, Richard Russo, Alice Seybold, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters, and Toby Wolff.
While a good number of events—like the “Roxanne Recommends Open House”—are free with an RSVP, some events employ a paid ticket system, where the ticket includes the cost of the book.
Local Hero — Champion of Literacy and Authors:
In 1998 Roxanne Coady founded Read to Grow, a Connecticut statewide nonprofit organization that reaches out to new parents while their still in the hospital to help them understand the importance of literacy from the time their children are born. R. J. Julia facilitates book donations from customers through the store and the website. Coady's own passion about the transformative power of books is evidenced in the one she herself co-authored, The Book That Changed My Life, in which 71 writers relate how a specific book impacted them. The proceeds from the book go to Read to Grow.
R. J. Julia dedicates shelf space for supporting local authors, who can apply for consignment space in the store.
R. J. Julia and Bookselling Technologies:
As customers' means of staying connected have evolved, bookseller Coady has recognized the value of technology. With a robust website, a regular "Dear Reader" email newsletter, and a Google e-book partnership, R. J. Julia has embraced technology as a means to connect with customers and provide them the formats they want while passionately advocating for print books.
In 2011, Coady launched "Just the Right Book," an online subscription service via which flesh-and-blood booksellers make highly personalized book gift recommendations, thus providing the best of personalized human bookseller attention to the ease of automatic delivery.