HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Galapagos Books in Hastings has been around for 25 years, and in that time, it has become the go-to place for foreign language books and a personal touch not found in larger bookstore chains, its owner says.
“We are small but our strong point is to take individual attention to the customer,” said Amada Abad, owner of the store. “They want to come and feel like they are in a familiar place.”
The store started by selling only foreign language books but has grown to sell children’s books and bestsellers, as well, Abad said. She has owned the store for 15 years, but it was started 25 years ago by Susan Lindsay, who sponsored Abad when she moved to the United States from Ecuador, making the store’s name all the more fitting.
“There was a customer who would come in year after year asking what the name meant,” Abad said. “And one day he came in and said he figured it out. He said it’s because Galapagos are large turtles who live under a hardcover for a long time, like the store.”
Many of Abad’s customers are locals, but the selection of Spanish, Italian, French, German and Japanese books draws people from surrounding towns as far as Katonah, Abad said. The unique offerings and focus on the customer has kept the store afloat for so many years, she said.
“With a small bookstore it’s all about customer service,” said Taresa Caruso, an employee. “It’s like being a part of the neighborhood. We create relationships with the customers, and you’re more invested in each other’s wants and needs and lives.”
Those characteristics are key to the store’s success in the changing world of reading, with Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers becoming more popular.
“There are still people who read the hardcovers,” Abad said. “Children’s books, especially the toddler activity books, aren’t something you can get from a Kindle. There’s still a huge demand from people who want to see the actual books.”
Galapagos Books is located at 22 Main St. in Hastings. For more information about ordering books and a book signing with 25 authors from the Hudson River area Dec. 15, visit the store’s website.