The Straight Poop: The quest for dog-friendly businesses in North Idaho

The Corner Bookstore

By Drake the Dog
Reader Pet Columnist

Where am I taking my humans today?

The Missus reminded me that our family is having a “stay-ca” and we need some reading material. Since the Mister is a car magazine guy, the Missus and I are sniffing around Sandpoint for a dog friendly bookstore.

Owner Jim Orbaugh stands with Drake outside The Corner Bookstore.

Owner Jim Orbaugh stands with Drake outside The Corner Bookstore.

Like a dog with two tails, I spot a sign with an adorable pug ­The Corner Bookstore, located at 106 Main St. in Sandpoint. That pug is sweet Molly Malone; a full- bodied Chinese Pug, who spent 9.5 years sitting in the doorway greeting customers. She would keep an eye on her owner, Jim Orbaugh, at all times. Folks came in to see Molly, talk with Jim, and once in a while they bought a book. When she died of health complications, customers brought Jim pug-related gifts. Over the years, he has given them to well-behaved children that love to read.  Paws up!

Early on, Jim specialized in collecting books by noted authors, and everything (finished and unfinished), that Stephen King wrote, including a refrigerator note to his wife. Molly saw the store’s wealth of opportunity through her canine-eye view, and encouraged Jim to expand his catalogue and book collection business of into a gem of a downtown bookstore, that rivals Kindle and iPad reading.

While Jim’s deceptively large shop is packed to the ceiling with an inventory of about 25,000 new and used books, his specialty is a substantial collection of mysteries, thrillers, horror and science fiction. Many of the signed books, hardcovers and first editions are works of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Edward Lee and Ray Garton.

When the Missus asked how Jim came up with the name for the store, he replied, “The store was on the corner, so that seemed like a good name. If we ever move the store to the middle of a block, the new name would be ‘The Corner Bookstore In The Middle of the Block.’”

The store has been in the same location since 1997.

Jim loves to tell stories about customers that come in to buy books for their family reading hour. Years later, their kids come back from college barking up a storm, thus creating his huge extended family. The atmosphere of the store is casual and fun, with many memorable stories. Book collectors and travelers love this place!

A few years ago, Jim closed the store for a well-earned two-week vacation, as he wanted to get the yard ready for spring after a harsh winter. Hot diggity-dog! The chores were completed in a few days, and he was bored with the couch potato life. Hence, the vacation ended, he went back to work, as he missed the store, his loyal customers and his nose in the books.

Jim told us that he used to read 2-3 books a week when he was younger. Now since he owns a bookstore, loves to landscape and has a raining-cats-and-dogs list a mile long, he only reads 1-2 books a year. Though the store no longer buys books, it still sells and trades new and used ones. Special orders are welcome, and Jim offers a complimentary book search service.

If hardcovers, first editions and paperbacks are not your doggie bag, stop in for a doggone good selection of children’s books, literature, fiction and local history. Paws a bit—Orbaugh has a sharp eye for unusual and intriguing titles, and there are treasures waiting in the stacks for patient bowsers and browsers.

My picks for Young Pups:

• “Walter the Farting Dog”

• “Go, Dog. Go!”

• “The Poky Little Puppy”

Chew on these for Scruffy readers:

• “Where the Red Fern Grows”

• “The Call of the Wild”

• “Old Yeller”

And Puppy Love for Old Dog Tales:

• “The Art of Racing in the Rain”

• “Cujo”

• “A Dog’s Purpose”

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.

Corner Bookstore Rules:

•Well-mannered K9 book lovers welcome.

•No chewing or lifting a leg on the books.

•Curb your enthusiasm while reading the humorous emails on the Great Door O-Myth.

Check out The Corner Bookstore at 106 Main Street in Sandpoint. Have a dog-friendly business you’d like Drake to check out? Write to [email protected] and he’ll paw on over.

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