131 Main St # B, Bay St Louis, MS 39520
Bay Books, located on Main Street, is the quintessential small town book store. That is just what owner, Jeremy Burke, wanted to open in Old Town.
Burke and his wife purchased the store in 2011. He recalls, “Whenever we found out it was for sale, we knew we just had to go buy it because we didn’t want our community, or county, without an independent bookstore.”
As opposed to large chain and online bookstores, at Bay Books, there is a real sense of community and personalization present. One of Burke’s favorite parts about owning the shop is “being an asset to the community.” He works to have a relationship with the local schools, and makes sure to carry the books that the students need.
Children’s literacy played a large part in inspiring Burke to open Bay Books. “Literacy is a big thing for us, especially kid’s literacy,” he said. Upon opening, his “first order of business” was expanding the children’s section. There, you will find options for newborns to teenagers.
Another best-seller are the local books. Burke strives to “stock as many local books, as well as local authors, that we can.” You will also find independent and self-published authors here as well. “We want to be able to have something that nobody else has.”
Also available in this charming shop located on “Main Street USA,” are local history books and used books at affordable prices. For the upcoming summer months, you will find required summer reading books for students, as well as “enjoyable light-hearted” summer reads for the beach.
Burke holds a book signing every Second Saturday. For Second Saturday on May 11, come meet author Shelby Harriel, who will be signing copies of her book, Behind the Rifle Women Soldiers in Civil War Mississippi. Enjoy live music sponsored by The People’s Bank, Hancock Whitney Bank, and The First.
Burke’s customer service and dedication to his customers is incredible. Make sure to visit his quaint shop and find your next great read!
Photo and story by Caroline St. Paul