Year opened: 2002
Locations: 4083 Main St. in Fish Creek and 10580 Country Walk Dr. in Sister Bay
Owner: Peter Sloma
Stocking and maintaining one bookstore seems like a big commitment, but with the kind of stock Peter Sloma keeps at both locations of the Peninsula Bookman, I am always impressed. Books fill the shelves, accompanied by tables full of titles and bookstacks that tower on top of shorter bookcases.
The lived-in-and-loved feeling of the store reminds me of Mo and Meggie Folchart’s home in the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke: “The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There were books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new.”
The Peninsula Bookman offers a wide selection of new and used titles, and I find the display cases of speciality and collectible books at both locations to be particularly interesting. These can include signed copies, first editions, books that are out of print and more. If you’re in the market for some special pieces, check out these cases.
Prior to moving to Door County, Sloma had other experience in the book world. He spent some time in Texas as a teacher, then ended up in Chicago working for a book business company. When he decided to make Door County his permanent home, opening a bookstore seemed like the natural thing to do.
Sloma’s first store was at the Settlement Shops in Fish Creek before moving to his current location in 2006. The Sister Bay location – which had previously housed Book World – followed in 2019.
You could find pretty much anything at either location, but Sloma has a strong stock of history subjects, with special attention paid to regionalia – which includes Door County and Wisconsin, and expands to the West, Southwest and other Americana.
I was also very impressed by the large selection of mystery titles. Both locations have an entire corner of the store dedicated to this genre.
Bookstores and the Community
“For many people, a bookstore is the heart of a community,” Sloma said. “Being in a tourist area is a little bit different, but since we opened our store, we have had our customers telling us about the bookstores they have lost in the places they come from, and how much they are missed.”
Show Some Love
Aside from direct purchases, you can support the Peninsula Bookman by leaving a review and recommending the two stores to others. Because they are primarily sellers of used books, you can also take your used books (in good condition) to receive store credit.
What I Bought
Fish Creek location: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Sister Bay location: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov and Memoirs and Misinformation by Jim Carrey with Dana Vachon