• Stay Connected

R.J. Julia Bookstore Turns 20!

R.J. Julia Bookstore in Madison, Connecticut is celebrating its 20th birthday.

One of the country’s most well known and successful independent bookstores, known for its author events, has a lot to crow about.

In a time of a seismic shift in the way in which people read and get their information, this shop chocked full of books and gifts and even a cafe, is steady as she goes.


By the way, the RJ Cafe has some of the best cupcakes around, paired with a steaming hot cup of coffee, it’s a little slice of heaven.

Does it sound like I have experienced this? You would be correct in that assumption.

At the helm of RJ’S is Roxanne Coady. Roxanne and her team are navigating through rough waters and finding every and all ports in the storm of change and are staying afloat.

One of the ways in which she is riding out the storm is with a new nationwide program she started called “Just The Right Book.” It’s a service that lets you select the right books for the people to whom you want them sent, and RJ’s makes that happen for a fee.

Like all independent bookstores there is constant deep thinking going on about providing intense customer service and extra values on which people are willing to spend their hard earned dollars.

The value of RJ’s is the space that Roxanne has created over the years. It is warm and cozy and keeps you coming back. That is her real secret.

When I interviewed Roxanne for this story, she told me that on 9-11 it was a place where many came to seek refuge from a nightmare of a day, it became a meeting place for conversation and people talked about what to do next.

Twenty years ago Roxanne set out to build a bookstore that she hoped would be a gathering spot a kind of New England town green and that’s what it has come to be.

Located smack dab in the middle of a town of about 18,000 on the Boston Post Road, it is in many respects the heart of the community.

Not only is this a place where people come to meet and have something to eat and shop, but it’s a place sought out by authors of all levels. Whether they are promoting their very first book or are among the most successful on the planet, they all at one time or another have come to R.J. Julia. They know the crowds will come.

This is a store that promotes excellence in all genres and when an author is invited they know they will be well promoted and their introductions will be stellar because the staff is so very well read.

What kind of magic is Roxanne wielding? Here are three short interviews that will tell you what she’s thinking. Admittedly she doesn’t have all the answers, but she’s determined to weather the storm, and somehow I think she and her staff know what they’re doing.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Ann Nyberg


  1. Posted April 22, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Love this place! Seeing the cupcakes makes me realize I must plan a trip soon!

  2. Posted April 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Cupcakes and books… what could be better?

  3. Posted April 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I worked at RJ’s for about six years and I loved every minute of it. Being the voracious reader that I am (Typically reading a book a week), it was so much fun recommending what I read.

    When I was there I also had two other jobs plus school. I didn’t HAVE work at RJ’s. I worked there because I enjoyed the atmosphere. I left around 2004.

    Couldn’t keep up the pace anymore. Still miss the store but now at the library so I still get to recommend my books.

  4. Sue Moretti
    Posted April 26, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks Ann….great pictures, great story, great interview with Roxanne. I believe her when she says she is determined!! I’m so happy to work there!