The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Independent bookstores: roadside attractions

July being National Independent Retailers month and all, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite independent book sellers. So far we’ve talked Powell’s City of books and Weller Book Works’ book drop; next up . . .

The thing with independent bookstores, they might pop up anywhere, making the bookstores themselves something of a spectacle. Roadside attractions, if you will, these small bookstores are housed in the likes of ships, airstreams, and train cars.

Then there’s Happy Tales Bookshop . . .

manure_tankHappy Tales Bookshop began with a love of books. Lloyd Dickmann, a farmer and retired college professor, began collecting books. Before long he and his wife, Leonore, had amassed enough books to open a small bookstore.  So that’s what they did. They opened a bookstore in a building on their farm. When they outgrew that space, they opened another–and another. Then Lloyd did the unthinkable. He emptied out the silo that held the cow manure, turned it into a castle, and filled it with more books.

Seems like there’s a life lesson in there somewhere . . .

But I digress.

Today, Happy Tales Bookshop consists of several buildings on the farm and hundreds of thousands of books. You’ll find no advertising. There’s no website spreading the word; no signs directing the way. That’s by design–the Dickmann’s and their family believe book lovers will find them. And they do.

So if you’re ever out that way (as in Markesan, Wisconsin) on a Saturday, June through August, take a drive down Down County Road K and visit the Happy Tales Bookshop.

We’ll expect pictures.


  1. This looks so cute… and yes I think that a world tour of bookstores does sound quite appropriate. Purely for research right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.