Martha's Bookstore

A Little History Of Our Space On Balboa Island

The location of Island Tales Book Shop on Balboa Island has a long history of serving the community as an independent book store.  For many years it was Martha’s Bookstore.  Read more about the history of Martha’s Bookstore below:

Originally from:

Years ago Kathy and Stephanie lived in Brea and Fullerton and came to Newport to walk on the beach every weekend.  They loved the water and the sunshine!  Together they decided to open a Bookstore on Balboa Island, but they could not find a location.  Instead they worked with Bob Teller and got a booth at the Orange County Fairgrounds selling books.

Kathy continued her job as a graphic designer and Stephanie worked hers at Delta Airlines. Muralist Holly Wojan occupied the space that was to become Martha’s Bookstore.  Holly decided to take another avenue in her life—leaving the store vacant except for the beautiful murals she had painted on the walls of the store.

Kathy and Stephanie opened Martha’s Bookstore on July 28, 1989.  Using the wire racks they had from the swap meet, their books, some cards and little else.

Named after Kathy and Stephanie’s mother—Martha’s Bookstore was a place like home on Balboa Island. When you walked in the door you are immediately offered wine or tea.  There were always treats to nibble on while you shopped, and book recommendations.  Often the latest ‘book club’ book.  Many a friendship were forged as the result of their book club! Martha’s was always the spot to buy everything from the latest Bestsellers to harder to find inspirational books.  There had been a parade of local authors signing books on weekends.  Everyone from Mark Victor Hansen to T. Jefferson Parker.

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