Reston's Used Book Shop Celebrates 35 Years

Store at Lake Anne Plaza will celebrate its longevity with party on Sunday.

In an era when books and the stores that sell them are rapidly changing, Reston's Used Book Shop has endured.

The store - which opened in January 1978 - will celebrate its 35th anniversary this weekend.

The store has been located at Lake Anne Plaza for two generations. For the Reston community, it has become more than a place to buy a book. Reston's Used Book Shop is home to book clubs and discussion groups and live music performances. It's also the place to go when you want to rent a boat to take out on Lake Anne.

"We hope to be here 35 more years," says store co-owner Susan Burwell.  The store was founded by Restonians Sue Schram and Sue Wensell in 1978. Both of "the Sues" still live nearby.

"They are still very much a part of the shop," says Susan Burwell. "They have their own rocking chairs in the store."

Burwell says she has mixed emotions about the recent announcement that Barnes & Noble will be closing at The Spectrum in late February. That leaves Reston's Used Book Store as the only bookstore in Reston.

"I like to say 'big box stores are where our books are born,' " Burwell said. "They get read, and then come to us."

There has been a groundswell of support for Reston's Used Book Shop in the wake of the Barnes & Noble news. On Reston Patch, people have lauded the Burwells for running a community gathering place, a successful locally owned store and a quality place to get books.

Burwell says she and her husband have put some thought into expanding into new books at the store. If that comes to be, Burwell said it will not happen for a while as she still works a fulltime job while her husband, a retired Fairfax County Public Schools employee, runs the book shop.

The anniversary celebration is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. As a thank you to loyal customers, guests will receive 35 percent off any book purchase during the event, says Burwell. There will also be refreshments and live music. 

Have some anniversary wishes for the shop or good memories to share? Tell us in the comments.


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Laura Ramon January 03, 2013 at 02:39 PM
My mother had a cookbook that she received as a wedding present (many, many years ago) that became her "go to" book for everything. At the time of her death it was worn and battered and someone tossed it out during the clean up; I was devastated. I recently found a (less worn) copy at Reston's Used Book Shop. It brought tears to my eyes. It was one of the best purchases I've ever made.
Julie Uno January 03, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I so grateful that this store is still around. When I was a little girl my mother worked at the Reston Times which was housed across the way. In the summers I would have free run of the plaza. I took gymnastics classes, fed the ducks, ate lunch at the drug store all by myself and spent hours at the used book store. Sue Schram was a lovely woman. When I moved back to the area it was one of the first places I brought my sons. Now that my oldest is in college it is one of first places he wants to go when he comes home to visit. Congratulations and thank you.
Dorry Kee January 03, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Congratulations and continued success! Dorry
Jacquelyn McCord January 04, 2013 at 01:20 PM
YaY!! Congrats on your success! I love this book store, it's so charming & cozy. I will see you Sunday!
Susan Burwell January 05, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Your story brought tears to our eyes as well - thanks for your story - Susan and Bud Burwell


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