Saturday, October 11, 2014


Kathleen Dixon, left, will soon turn the keys to her store over to new
owner Deb Wayman.
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

When Island Time Books closes on October 15, Kathleen Dixon will retire from the business she started 11 years ago.  The shop's new owner will be Deb Wayman, who was on hand in the closing days of the 2014 season to meet customers and learn about the business in preparation for next year, when she'll reopen the store Memorial Weekend.

Her customers would liken Dixon's personality to that of a speed reader:  rapid, engaging conversation, seldom dropping in velocity, filled with information; a scanning of authors, books, and events; the trending of reader habits and the book industry - all within a short visit.  But, because of her love of what she does, Kathleen's been a great resource, and for those same reasons, her customer base, both regular and the drop-in visitor, has grown over the years.

Retiring after 30 years as an emergency trauma nurse - much of that time as a member of an ambulance crew - Dixon started a new pursuit as the owner of Island Time Books.  For two years it was located on Main Road across from Karly's, and then for the past nine years in its present location, nestled between the Red Cup and the Island Post Office.  As anyone visits with her knows, her mind is rapid-fire, enthusiastically promoting authors, books, her store, and the Island.

She's always loved books.  "We were readers.  My sisters and I used to walk to the libraries," Dixon remembered, noting the many neighborhood branches of the Chicago Public Library in the city where she grew up.

"Day trippers and others are thrilled to see an independent bookstore, with good coffee next door," she said, "great for browsing on rainy days.  They like the Independent Bookstore list that comes out monthly, with its many new recommendations."

Dixon prides herself in the fact she could recommend books to readers who least expected to find such a wide range of titles in so small a shop - on an island, no less.   She would often special-order books requested by visitors who stayed only a week or two, receiving their requests within two days via UPS.  Many loyal customers, she noted, buy books at the close of the season to read during winter.  Physical books, as opposed to e-books, she noted, are still very much a part of the public's reading habits.

Dixon kept current on new titles and authors, in part, by attending the annual Key West Literary Festival, where many of the nation's leading authors would gather each January.  (Key West was her former winter home, but she's now moved to the Naples area.)  At the Key West Festival, Dixon volunteered for several years at their book sales table, in addition to being a registered participant.  She's a member of the Island Literary Festival committee, involved since its inception.

This winter Dixon and Wayman plan to travel to the American Booksellers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, where Dixon will introduce Wayman to her industry friends and contacts.

Dixon still plans to visit the island in summer.  "I'll be back," she said.

New owner Deb Wayman and husband Bob, an engineer and production manager, own a summer place along the eastern shore of Washington Island, on Wickman Road.  However, their year around home will continue to be York Center, Illinois.  Their two children, Alan, 23, and Shelby, 20, are enrolled in college.  

-  Dick Purinton

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