In 2012, Downtown Books opened in Manteo at 105 Sir Walter Raleigh Street, one block from the historic waterfront. Many people remember our location as the site of Manteo Booksellers, a long time downtown fixture that in 2011 succumbed to the devastating storm surge of Hurricane Irene. The book buyer for Duck's Cottage, Jamie Anderson, saw an opportunity in its loss and despite the risks returned a local, independent bookstore to Roanoke Island. While every precaution has been taken to be storm ready in Manteo, and books have been 'moved up' in preparation for several storms, the bookstore lies in the lowest part of the Downtown area and marks by the front door show the most recent floods- from a few inches in Matthew (2016) to a full two feet in October '18 when Tropical Storm Michael rolled through. Jamie is bound and determined to stick with her location and with the Manteo community, though, despite these soggy setbacks. Jamie's attitude is always glass half full and she often jokes that the store should be named 'Highwater Books'.
Manteo has a bit more space for a lot more books- all still chosen specifically by Jamie. Genres include fiction and non-fiction, children's and young adult, graphic novels, cookbooks and an expansive collection of Outer Banks titles- from history to memoirs to photograph books to locally set fiction. You'll also find a little nook of used ficton- perfect for beach reading! We carry a large variety of unique greeting cards, boxed notes, journals, calendars, pens and other gift items you won't find anywhere else.
Downtown Books goal is to put the right book in the right hands at the right time. We strive to help make our community a better place and are dedicated to being a strong supporter of Dare County Schools. We offer authors the opportunity to engage with readers and readers the opportunity to interact with writers. We do not judge, discriminate or practice intolerance toward any reader or their preferred reading material.
As a strong supporter of Dare County schools, we have produced local book fairs for six of our local schools; have brought authors like Alan Gratz, Audrey Penn and Joyce Moyer Hostetter into Dare County for extensive school visits and contribute regularly to individual school fund-raisers and needs. We are very proud to say that many children have met 'a real author' because of our efforts and have shopped our book fairs which feature a wide range of reading levels, genres and prices all compiled in close collaboration with school media coordinators.
We host many authors for events that range from small signings at the store to ticketed teas at the Elizabethan Gardens, author talks at Waverider's Coffee & Deli, lectures at the Dare County Arts Council and more. Last year we hosted NYT best-sellers Mary Kay Andrews and Lisa Wingate, Audrey Penn, Radney Foster, Vivian Howard, Andrew Lawler, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Susan Boyer and scores of local and regional authors. Our bathroom wall is full of the signatures of authors who have made a stop at Downtown Books. There's always something on the schedule- from First Fridays (April - December), to specialty classes, Authorpalooza on Small Business Saturday.. you never know what you'll find coming up! Partnerships with other local organizations like the Dare County Arts Council, the Bryan Cultural Series, OBX Tribe and the Nature Conservancy also allow us to bring good things to the Outer Banks and make things happen.
In 2020, Downtown Books relocated two doors down to 103 Sir Walter Raleigh Street. Same great books, same great staff, but a more intimate and beautiful setting. From the East, take the 158 Bypass to Whalebone Junction and bear right following the signs for Manteo/Roanoke Island. After the BIG bridge, go to the second traffic light (a four way intersection) and turn right. Go approximately 1.3 miles to the second stoplight and turn right onto Sir Walter Raleigh Street. In two and half blocks, we will be on the left just past Ortega'z Restaurant at 105 Sir Walter Raleigh. From the West, follow 64/264 across the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge onto the island. At the first stoplight- Midway intersection- turn left and follow the directions above.
In both locations, we strive to provide Duck's Cottage patrons with the best service around. We are here to help make your vacation experience... your reading pleasure.. or just your day!.. the best it can possibly be. Thank you for shopping with us here online and for supporting an independent bookstore!