One of the best bookstores in the 50 states!!!

BookRiot named us on of the best bookstores in the country-wow, just wow!


  • Byrd’s Books, Bethel: A sense of community is what gives this small shop its heart. I feel like Norm from Cheers (did I just date myself with that reference?) when I walk through the doors. They come to really know their patrons and their literary tastes. (Elizabeth Allen)


Nominees for 2017 WNBA Pannell Awards Announced- and Byrd’s Books is on the list!

Byrd’s Books was named one of 18 general bookstores nominated for the WNBA Pannell Award.

Eighteen general bookstores and 19 children’s specialty bookstores have been nominated for the Women’s National Book Association’s 2017 WNBA Pannell Awards, which honor bookstores that enhance their communities by using exceptional creativity to foster a love of reading among their young patrons. Each year since 1983, the WNBA, which celebrates its centennial anniversary this year, has bestowed the award for children’s bookselling upon one general bookstore and one children’s specialty bookstore.

The jurors will make their decision in early May, and one winner in each category will be notified. The two winning stores will each receive a $1,000 check and a framed, signed original piece of art by a children’s illustrator.

The awards will be presented on Friday, June 2, at the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast at BookExpo at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. The Pannell Award winners will also be honored during WNBA’s centennial festivities in October.

The WNBA Pannell Award is co-sponsored by Penguin Young Readers Group.

We are one of Connecticut’s 10 Best Bookstores!

We made the list! Connecticut magazine has named us one of the 10 best bookstores in Connecticut!

Read the full article HERE.


Byrd’s Books


A relative newcomer on the list, Bethel’s Byrd’s Books opened in 2011 in a 450-square-foot space above the Molten Java coffee shop on Greenwood Avenue, and has since moved to its current 1,300-square-foot location. Owner Alice Hutchinson — her middle name is Byrd — is passionate about highlighting local authors, and about the role bookstores play in local communities. Asked what a local, independent bookstore means for the community, Hutchinson’s answer is simple: “It means survival.”

126 Greenwood Ave., 203-730-2973,

Bethel Business of the Year 2015

bookmark_sky_2We have been awarded Business of the Year 2015 from the Bethel Chamber of Commerce. What an honor, thank you so much! Bethel is the best town to live in and have a  business!

“Local residents understand the uniqueness of our downtown and how important it is to preserve it,” said Alice Hutchinson, the owner of Byrds Books – a business now in its third year. “The downtown has always been a special destination, and now that people are starting to focus again on its development, we can make a real difference. I feel very strongly that we have something we can contribute to the town as a retailer” ~ The link to the full Danbury News Times article.

National press from Shelf Awareness.

Celebrating National Poetry Month with my first published piece in Publisher’s Weekly:

On a personal note, I am fortunate to have a piece I wrote about my mother & poetry published in Publisher’s Weekly April 8th edition.

PW logo

A bookseller remembers her mother and a legacy of poetry

How Do I Love Thee?

By Alice Hutchinson | Apr 05, 2013

To say that my mother loved poetry does not do her justice. She believed in it, and in what it can do to strengthen the soul. My mother’s manifestation of that love was such a seamless part of our upbringing that it never occurred to me how unusual it was until I got to my teenage years. By then we were well indoctrinated.

So many of our household quotes came from the poems of my childhood. For at least two summers, my sister, brother, and I earned our allowance by memorizing poetry. We were rewarded with a penny a line. After we discovered every lucrative haiku in the house, we had to move on to more substantive material.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow…

I was broke one particular week and memorized the entire “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Lengthy discussions inevitably followed: content, authors, words, rhyming, rhythm, and how it made us feel. We were resistant at first, but later found satisfaction and felt a sense of achievement after memorizing a new poem. We memorized and discussed poetry by many of the greats of literature at a time when memorization still held value.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
Over harbor and city
On silent haunches
And then moves on.

It was clear to me from a very young age that my mother believed in the transformative nature of the written word. She was convinced that if we could understand poetry’s value, both to deepen our cultural literacy and to enrich our very souls, our lives would change for the better. She knew poetry was the vocabulary that expressed precisely to each of us what we could not say to ourselves, or each other.

When Mom took over Pymander Bookshop in Westport, Conn., in 1975, the store became an expression of her passion for what great writing can do to, and for, a person. For 30 years, her question to customers was inevitably, “What is it you are looking for?” This was not the inquiry of a person trying to find a good read for someone else, but a question that sought to find the “right” book for that person—one that would open doors to new thoughts or answer his unspoken yearning.

Mom and I shared the experience of divorce. There was a period of time when I called her in the middle of the night. We spoke of the pain, the healing, and the ability to move forward whole. She often quoted poetry as comfort, to help ease my broken heart.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Mom knew that we were just looking for a way to heal our hearts and carry inspiration with us. She provided to us a language of expression. What I realized over time was that poetry spoke for Mom, to us and to others. Poetry was the deeper language of our hearts.

If I should die and leave you here awhile,
Be not like others, sore undone, who keep
Long vigil by the silent dust and weep.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
That which will comfort other souls than thine;
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine,
And I, perchance, may therein comfort you.

Maybe the poetry of A.A. Milne, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Kahlil Gibran, Emily Dickinson, or Mary Lee Hall was exactly what we were looking for.

In memory of Nancy Kenna Ivison

April 25, 1920–August 26, 2012

Surprise visit by author Sean Pidgeon on Saturday March 9th at 5:30!

Byrd’s Books is thrilled to host author Sean Pidgeon in a SURPRISE visit to our store on Saturday March 9th at 5:30! Please join us to meet the author, discuss his wonderful book, “Finding Camlann” and get a signed copy.  Finding Camlann

About the book:

“This is a new and gripping look at the history and landscape of Britain and the legend of King Arthur. A linguist and an archeologist search for the truth behind the myth, as they climb foggy hills and glean new meanings from a mysterious poem. We follow them in the throes of love and dread, through long-lost battles and modern feuds, as they look with fascination at the secrets and natural beauty of an ancient land that lives anew. Finding Camlann will please both scholars and poets and will intrigue historians and lovers of romance.” —Daniel Butler, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

About the author:

Sean Pidgeon was born in Reading, England, and studied physics and astrophysics at the University of Manchester. He subsequently began a career in science publishing as a book editor, working at Oxford University Press and Macmillan. He moved to the United States in 1990 and is currently vice-president and publisher at John Wiley & Sons in Hoboken, New Jersey. He lives in New Jersey with his family. Visit him online at or on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter @pidgeonwriter.

Grand Opening Weekend!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Byrd’s Books and Molten Java will celebrate their grand opening the weekend of March 24–26!

The festivities will begin with Molten Java’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 24th, followed by a luau in Molten Java and several free book drawings upstairs in Byrd’s Books.

Byrd’s Books is also excited to announce that we will host two Bethel author events this weekend! Since space is limited, registration is required for the author talks. You can register to attend by calling (203) 730-2973, or by email at

Please remember that registration is required for both of these book events! If you cannot attend, and would liked a signed copy, please use the link at the top right of the page and we will save one for you.

On Sunday, March 25th, at 1:00 p.m., Byrd’s Books is thrilled to host Bethel author Thomas Craughwell as he discusses his book, The Greatest Brigade. The discussion will be followed by Tom signing two of his titles, The Greatest Brigade and Stealing Lincoln’s Body, in the Upstairs Gallery at Molten Java.



On Monday, March 26th at 7:00 p.m., Byrd’s Books will host Joseph Farris as he discuses his book A Soldier’s Sketchbook in Molten Java’s main room, with a book signing upstairs in the Upstairs Gallery to follow.

Please remember that registration is required for both of these book events!

We at Byrd’s Books are very excited about our long-awaited grand opening weekend! We hope to see you there!

Byrd’s Books to Have Soft Launch Saturday

Byrd’s Books will open as a new business Saturday, Dec. 10. Located on the second floor of a newly renovated Victorian that anchors the Dolan Plaza, it is accessible through Molten Java coffee shop’s new location.

Byrd’s Books is a general bookstore that carries only new titles, with a special focus on Bethel authors, Connecticut authors, poets, publishers and illustrators. It also carries greeting cards and gifts- with a selection of mugs (remember- there is a coffee shop downstairs). The bookstore will take special orders and will have gift cards.

Both Molten Java and Byrd’s Books will have a combined Grand Opening Celebration, with a ribbon cutting, after the first of the year. Right now the bookstore will “soft open”- open the doors for business and allow Molten Java to finish getting ready downstairs.

Hutchinson is the daughter of Nancy Ivison, who owned Pymander Bookshop in Westport for 30 years. Ms. Hutchinson served as its manager and buyer over the years. She also worked at Barnes & Noble when it first opened in Danbury. Her Master’s of Art degree is in Teaching (MAT) with an emphasis on Young Adult literature.

Hutchinson has been actively involved in Bethel’s culture for many years- serving on the Planning and Zoning commission for 16 years and serving as First Selectman for one term. She has two adult children: Sarah, who lives in Bethel; and Stephen, who lives in Manchester, NH.


Bethel’s new bookstore promises service and tradition

Alice Hutchinson has opened a bookstore called Byrd’s Books in Bethel. It’s located above the space which will become the new home of Molten Java at 213 Greenwood Ave. in the Dolan Plaza. Photo taken Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Photo: Carol Kaliff / The News-Times

Eileen FitzGerald, Staff Writer Published 11:15 p.m., Friday, January 6, 2012

There’s a new bookstore in Bethel — Byrd’s Books. It allows owner Alice Hutchinsonto follow her passion for books and tap knowledge gained working in her mother’s independent bookstore and at Barnes and Noble.

Byrd’s Books fills two rooms and 450-square-feet of space. It’s on the second floor of the renovated Victorian housethat anchors Dolan Plaza at 213 Greenwood Ave.

“I’m interested in the culture of books,” said Hutchinson, whose middle name is Byrd. “People who love books are looking for a discovery. I love it. I just love it.”

Read more:

Filling the Void Left by Borders

Published: September 27, 2011

It is tempting to view the demise of the Borders Group as a dark cloud over the future of bookselling, and certainly the disappearance of hundreds of bookstores leaves a lot of vacancies where readers once browsed the aisles.

In July, the company made plans to liquidate after 40 years in operation and will close nearly 400 remaining stores by this fall. Yet in a few choice locations those spaces have been replaced by other booksellers, including Books-a-Million, the Hudson Group and a university bookstore. In other communities, the loss of a Borders may open up the retail landscape for independent or niche booksellers. Read more >