On Feb. 2, a shiny 1977 Airstream appeared in a vacant lot at the heart of the ViBe Creative District. The bulbous trailer isn’t another food truck, however, rather a quirky bookstore brimming with over 1,000 titles hand-selected by owner Kristin Hildum.
Read Books is both a testament to Hildum’s 30 years in the Virginia Beach school system and a culmination of the former librarian’s lifelong dream of running her own bookshop. Hildum scoured the city for brick-and-mortar locations, but struggled to find a spot that aligned with her vision. Friend and home editor Emily Gentry suggested a trailer shop as a temporary solution. The two, along with Hildum’s business partner and husband, Scott, rehabilitated the retro Airstream into the cozy beachfront book nook. “Literature is art, so we thought Read Books would make a great addition to the ViBe,” says Hildum.
Inside, the Hildums fashioned dark bookshelves against the trailer’s round walls and pinned vintage book pages to the ceiling. The intimate space is outfitted with a children’s section at the rear of the trailer and a makeshift swag shop and register anchoring the other. In between, shelves are chock-full of titles ranging from fantasy, historical fiction and philosophy to mystery and thrillers, classic literature and an ever-changing selection of Reader’s Choice.
Clipped to several of the paperback and hardcover reads are reviews and synopses written by Hildum herself. Others are coupled with reviews by Read Books patrons that praise titles for their riveting plots, colorful characters and exceptional language.
In addition to the retail space, Read Books offers a host of services to local book lovers. Book clubs can register with Read Books and receive 10% off the list price of their month’s selection when ordered through Hildum. She also offers a book styling service and complimentary gift wrapping for special occasions. Hildum is an avid gardener as well and hopes to partner with local landscapers to entertain gardening clubs at the trailer.
Come March, Read Books will host its own Reading Club in various venues throughout the ViBe. Reading Club themes include Classic Women, Creativity and Edjacent (education adjacent).
Read Books is located at 530 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, and is open Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. To learn more about Read Books, register your book club or sign up for one of Hildum’s Reading Clubs, visit ReadVB.com.