While the Buckmaster’s dogs may be tailless, their new bookstore is full of them.
Last Saturday, the highly anticipated Taleless Dog Booksellers held a grand opening for the community with author book signings and readings from Hasan Davis and Melissa Newman.
According to owners Clark and Susan Buckmaster, The Taleless Dog Booksellers vision has lasted for years.
“We talked about opening a bookstore for 25 years,” Clark Buckmaster said.
The husband and wife owned a small cafe in Louisville for many years and dreamed of selling books in addition to their cups of Joe.
“Next to our store was a vacant space, and we would just hang out in the cafe and dream of putting a hole in the wall and having a bookstore next to it,” Susan Buckmaster recalls. “We never had time to do that, until now.”
While the much-envisioned bookstore was never built in Louisville, The Taleless Dog Booksellers house is one with a lot of history.
Berea’s newest bookstore is located at 204 Estill Street behind the Berea College Log House Craft Gallery in the historic Sunshine Ballard Cottage.
The Buckmasters renovated the small space which now sports purple walls and shelves of new books and authors from popular, regional and local.
The Taleless Dog Booksellers also sells books for children and young adults.
“They’re new to us, but we quickly realized how much fun they are. They’re great children’s books.” Clark Buckmaster spoke about the store’s selection of books aimed at younger audiences. A particular owner favorite is Scott Rothman’s “Return of the Underwear Dragon”.
Opening a bookstore was a natural fit for Buckmasters, who are voracious readers.
“We love books, that’s how we spend our free time,” said Susan Buckmaster.
However, the couple admitted that their personal preferences when it comes to reading are very different.
“For me, I read fiction. I don’t read life. I live real life. I want to escape and take a trip and I don’t want to fly to do it. Plus I learn .I take all of these pointless facts… it’s learning, but not in the traditional sense. Susan is the exact opposite,” Clark Buckmaster explained.
Susan Buckmaster leans towards non-fiction.
“I’m not a fiction reader. I read to learn. Every book I read, I want to learn something. My books are dog-eared and I’ve highlighted in them and write in the margins. Clark thinks that’s sacrilege she laughed.
“Yes,” admitted her husband.
The Buckmasters said opening day was busy with people from across the region coming through the doors of the bookstore.
“People are really excited that we’re open,” Susan Buckmaster said. “We had people from Lexington, Louisville, Mt. Vernon, Richmond and even out of state today. We’ve been really busy.”
The couple said they hope their local bookstore will create a sense of community and center for those who love to read.
“There’s something about a small bookstore. You know the people who come in and they know you. Owners of small bookstores know their customers and if you see a book they might like or know a second book is on the point of coming out in the series, read to you, they can tell you about it. It’s important for usage to have that type of relationship with this city. A — Berea needs it; and B — it’s the right environment for it,” Clark Buckmaster said.
The Buckmasters also plan to highlight regional, Appalachian, and local authors in their store.
“They don’t usually have the big publishing houses behind them. We really want to be an outlet for local and regional authors; give them a forum and a dedicated space. They get lost in the big bookstores,” Clark said. Buckmaster.
On their grand opening day, the couple said they had around 1,300 books on the shelves – with plans to expand their collection – but not in overwhelming numbers.
“It’s so overwhelming for customers trying to find what they’re looking for among the jam-packed shelves of big bookstores. Here you can walk around and see everything quite easily. We’re going to continue on this path,” said said Clark Buckmaster.
Susan Buckmaster said there’s no need to overcrowd the shelves when the owner can easily order books for her customers.
“And we get them in pretty quickly. We can even have them delivered to their doorstep. We already have a list of books that people have asked us to order for them,” she explained.
In addition to books, The Taleless Dog Booksellers also offers branded coffee mugs and custom t-shirts for sale.
The couple said they plan to work with local artists over the next few months to design a line of limited-edition t-shirts that customers can collect.
The store’s current t-shirt features the couple’s many tailless dogs over the years, which also inspired their company’s name.
“We brainstormed for a few days. We wanted a word game and started trying to come up with different words related to reading books. Conte appeared and we looked down and all our dogs we noticed n “Had no tails. All the dogs we’ve had were dogs without tails. We love dogs and having a theme party here is fitting,” Susan Buckmaster explained.
The bookstore even has a special bowl in front of its door for thirsty canine customers – tailless and tailed.
“We don’t discriminate,” Clark Buckmaster said with a laugh. “All customers and dogs are welcome.”
Support for The Taleless Dog Booksellers has been overwhelming, the Buckmasters said. The couple received a card from the Carmichael Bookstore in Louisville and flowers from the Robies in recognition of their grand opening. Robie Books was Berea’s local bookstore until it closed for good in 2021.
“It means a lot to us,” Susan Buckmaster said of the support. “We’re so grateful to have the community embrace us. People are so excited to have a local bookstore again. We’ve heard a hundred times today, ‘Thank you for being here.'”
The Taleless Dog is currently open seven days a week.
More information about The Taleless Dog Booksellers can be found on their website at thetalelessdog.com and their Facebook page @thetalelessdog.