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Rotary Happenings: Macintosh Books owner talks about bookstore’s history

By Staff | Aug 4, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Rebecca Binkowski, owner of Macintosh Books & Paper, was the guest speaker for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club's recent meeting.

For the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s weekly Zoom meeting on July 24, Rebecca Binkowski, the owner of Macintosh Books & Paper of Sanibel, spoke about the future of independent bookstores and touched on being a business owner during these strange times.

Macintosh Books has a very interesting history. It was one of the first 12 businesses on the island and originated in 1960, located in a little A-framed building behind the Seahorse Shops on the east end and known as Bill Macintosh’s Seahorse Bookstore. “Mac” came from Ecuador with his wife and was thought to be an encyclopedia salesman, but he was actually a retired CIA agent who found Sanibel an intriguing place to be. Mac shipped more “books” across the world than he actually sold in the store.

Another fun and interesting fact is the book that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960, “Advise and Consent” written by Allen Drury, hosted a book signing at Macintosh. Talk about connections in high places

The Macintosh Bookstore eventually moved to the end of Bailey Road, and then to the Sanibel Service Station, which had trolly tours. It was more like the old-school chamber of commerce – schedule tours, pick up maps, figure out who was who, and get gas. The bookstore has always been bought by someone who worked at the store and who loved it.

Binkowski is the fifth employee-turned-owner of the beloved hangout. In a community that loves books, she listens to her customers needs and changes with the themes of the times. Recently, literary escape has been a popular theme. Binkowski believes you need to cultivate a space for the community that is politically neutral, non-judgmental, welcoming, friendly and appreciated and that practices active listening. All of which she has certainly accomplished.

In light of COVID-19, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meets on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. via Zoom. To take part, call 239-472-7257. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.