About Us

 

Contact Us

189 Main Street

Falmouth, MA 02540

508.548.5548

books@eightcousins.com


Mission Statement
 

To share a love and appreciation of books and reading with the wider Falmouth community and to support the continued innovative, educational, diverse, and artistic creations of authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, and booksellers. 

 

Our New Logo

Carol Chittenden and her mother, Betty Borg, opened the doors of Eight Cousins on July 1, 1986. Established as a children's bookstore, the iconic logo that Carol created reflected this fact and depicted a children's nursery. The store quickly became a favorite stop for Falmouth's children and their parents, and, as word spread, Eight Cousins became a "must-stop" for visitors as well.
 
Over the past 30 years, other Falmouth bookstores have opened and closed. Now Eight Cousins is the sole bookstore in town. Accordingly, the inventory has been expanded to include adult titles, yet children's books continue to be the store's specialty.
 
To reflect this change, we have decided to update and streamline the original logo. Because the building's majestic windows are also the store's trademark, we wanted them captured in the new logo. Windows are symbolic: they let in the light and illuminate; windows also provide a view of the wider, and often unexplored, world-as do books. Books shed light, represented by the "i" in Eight, which serves as a torch.
 
Our new logo is sparse, yet strong. It represents the important role books play in our lives. Eight Cousins has, for the past 30 years, been one of the mainstays of the Falmouth community. We intend to build upon this tradition.
~ Mary Fran
 
The Eight Cousins logo will always be the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the words Eight Cousins. The image that has been on bookmarks and bags for 30 years shows eight people reading together. To celebrate our 2016 anniversary of 30 years as an independent bookstore, we thought it was time to create a new image to reflect who we are today.
 
Our new logo pulls together elements that reflect what we hope our readers think about when they hear Eight Cousins.
 
The front window of our store at 189 Main Street frames the logo. Our decorated windows have become part of what we are known for in Falmouth and beyond. It is always a celebration when our windows change and we share pictures on Facebook and on our website. How will we celebrate the seasons, holidays or a special book event in our window art? Come in and find out!
 
An open book anchors the window and reveals the tagline: Your local family Bookshop. We have grown from a children's bookstore to a bookstore for everyone with wonderful new (and of course the classic) children's books, the latest young adult titles, and a carefully selected, broad range of books for adults. We also have books on gardening, parenting, cookbooks, travel, religion, and more!
 
The word "local" is a cornerstone of our business. It is important to us that the greater Falmouth community embraces Eight Cousins. We operate on razor thin margins and have intense competition. The personal touch we can provide is what makes us unique. Whether you stop by when walking Main Street, or you are browsing on our website, we will help you find exactly what you're looking for and gift wrap it beautifully. It is why we took ownership of Eight Cousins. We love books and how they enhance the lives of our community.
 
I am not at all artistic. I know what I like when I see it, but I would never know where to begin to get there. I was nervous about the process of changing the strong and loved brand of Eight Cousins. However, working with Christine Lemay, Sara, and Mary Fran, I think we've come up with something for the next chapter of Eight Cousins. We hope you'll like it!
~ Eileen
 
 
 
Over the past couple of years there have been lots of changes in children's publishing. It's a thrilling time to be part of the industry. For me, one of the most exciting conversations has centered around diversity in children's books. While the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign focuses on diversity, what the campaign also reminds us is that books, children's books and otherwise, are so important that we need even more of them. All children deserve to see themselves in a book and all children deserve the opportunity to learn about other people in a book. The reference to books as "windows, mirrors, and doors" is common and this association is precisely what I see when I look at our new logo.


First, the arch blossoming out of the book is a reference to our lovely windows. Sometimes it feels like we don't have *quite* enough space in our store, but I know I would never be able to leave those windows. They bring light. They frame the shop. I love the infinite decorative opportunities. The windows are a central physical feature in our store, and they also represent the light, frames, and infinite opportunities that books offer.

To someone who is unfamiliar with our building, however, the logo will look more like an arch than a window. In this case, I think about the numerous archways and doors that infuse children's literature, starting with classic entries to Mary Lennox's garden, Narnia, and Wonderland, and include recent portals and passageways to Terabithia, Hogwarts, and Market Street. Children's books are often about transition, growing up, coming of age, stepping through a door and discovering what's on the other side, whether it's a new land, history, friends, family, or yourself.

Finally, it is my hope that Eight Cousins is a mirror for all of you. I hope that you find yourselves reflected in our books and our store. Eight Cousins is your family bookshop. The tagline is our promise. We strive every day to ensure that you all find a place here. It's also a challenge. Please continue to shape this store, by giving us your suggestions and ideas about what thecommunity needs from your local bookshop. 

Now we are 30. We have compiled a list of our 30 favorites and will be sharing them with you over the next 30 days on social media and in store as part of the countdown to our birthday on July 1, 2016. We may be growing up, but we couldn't possibly outgrow our passion and enthusiasm for children's books, because books expand and develop with us. For our birthday, I have one request. Re-read your favorite childhood books. I feel confident that you will see something you never noticed before. You will finally get a joke, lesson, or message that will make you wonder how you could have possibly thought that this children's book was for kids! Enjoy!

Thank you for sharing this journey with us. We're looking forward to continuing the adventure. 

 

~ Sara

We would like to thank Christine Lemay at Morningstar Design in Falmouth for working with us on this logo. We appreciate that Christine took the time to talk with us about our vision for Eight Cousins and we are delighted at how perfectly she captured the elements we think are most important. She worked with us during the entire design process and incorporated our suggestions in the logo, bag, stickers, bookmarks. We hope you enjoy the new designs as much as we do! Thank you, Christine!   


Our Story

In the 1970's and 1980's when Betty Borg’s grandchildren arrived, she lived near The Cheshire Cat, one of America’s first children’s bookstores. A book woman from her toes to the top of her head (a distance of only 5'2", but utterly dedicated), she began shopping at Cheshire Cat and discovering the golden age of children’s literature that was blossoming at that time. When she moved to Falmouth in 1983 she began dreaming dreams, and when her daughter Carol Borg Chittenden, came to town at the beginning of 1986, they put their heads together. Between those two heads they shared the love of books, art, and the value of children, but they had exactly zero knowledge of business. Resourceful from the outset, they located SCORE -- the Service Corps of Retired Executives -- where there was ample and supportive guidance in starting a business.

Six months later, at 630 Main Street, Eight Cousins opened for business. The first day three books sold. But two years later things had picked up to the point that Mr. Alfred Borg, recently retired, joined the little enterprise, and other employees were gradually added after that. In 1992 the store moved to its present quarters, at 189 Main Street, and in 1996, SCORE named Eight Cousins the Cape Cod Small Business of the Year. In 1997, Mr. and Mrs. Borg sold their interest to their daughter, and retired. In 2002, Eight Cousins won the Lucille Micheels Pannell Award, given to one children’s bookstore each year by the Women’s National Book Association. Harry Potter release parties created fun and revelry in 2003, 2005, and 2007, each one larger and more elaborate than the last. In 2003, the town awarded Eight Cousins its Sense of Place Award for the Alphabet Chair. And in 2009, the editors of Yankee Magazine recognized Eight Cousins as “Best Children’s Bookstore in New England.” July 1, 2011 marked the store's 25th anniversary, and also its emergence as the only bookstore in Falmouth. The adult collection expanded in response, as did the staff. The walls, alas, have not.

Now, a generation after we began, we have learned a bit more about business, and we have come to love this occupation more than we ever dreamed. What comes next? We’re curious as can be to find out, and we hope you’re along for the discovery.


Our Alphabet Throne

In November 2000, we began thinking about ways to mark our 15th birthday on July 1, 2001. We had an idea, and on July 1, 2003, we unveiled it: an original bronze sculpture by Falmouth artist Sarah Peters. The sculpture is a chair formed of letters of the alphabet, and marvelous as that is, no photograph does justice to the detail that Peters gave it. The surface of each letter has texture of some object that starts with that letter: 'b' is buttons, 'h' is honeycomb, 'p' is pineapple, and so forth.

The chair is next to our front door, and we invite you to come and sit in it, admire its elegant form, touch all the letters, and see if you can guess each of those surfaces.

Sarah Peters is a wonderful sculptor and artist. To find out how the Alphabet Throne was developed and to see some of her other work check out her website www.sarahpeterssculpture.com.