About The Learned Owl Book Shop
The Learnéd Owl is an independent community bookstore located in Hudson, Ohio, about halfway between Cleveland and Akron. We have three floors of books for all ages and interests, from classic picture books to travel guides to the latest New York Times bestsellers. If we don't have a certain book in stock, we can usually order it; we also offer an out-of-print search service.
We have partnered with Kobo to provide our customers with access to over three million downloadable eBooks.
Stop by to browse and enjoy our old-fashioned atmosphere, up-to-the-minute book selection, and unparalleled service! And visit Destination Hudson to learn more about what Hudson has to offer.
A brief illustrated history
In 1968, Hudson resident Jean Isabel and her husband Bob founded the shop, along with a partner. At the time, The Learned Owl was only in what is now the "Children's Room", where kids' books and paperback fiction live today. During the early 1970s, the store was owned by Joan McCook. (That's Joan's daughter in the 1974 photo.) When Hudson resident Rosemary Burner Jones purchased the store in the mid-70s, she expanded the bookstore into both sides of the main floor, more than doubling its size.
On October 15, 1983, Liz Murphy and Elaine Ober purchased the shop from the Burners, and Murphy became sole proprietor in 1990. In the past 28 years, the shop has grown from 1500 square feet at street level with one phone, a cash register, two employees, open six days a week, to 2300 square feet (on three floors), five networked computers, four phone lines, a web page, email, a fax, 21 staff members, open seven days a week and six evenings.
Over the past 28 years, The Learned Owl has hosted hundreds of book and author events. Some of the most memorable include Jan Brett, Brian Jacques, Lady Soames (Winston Churchill's daughter), Eric Carle, and former Cleveland Indian Bob Feller. Children have been enchanted by dozens of book character appearances over the years, including the Cat in the Hat, Clifford, Curious George and the Berenstain Bears.
By changing with the times, and thanks to many very loyal customers, The Learned Owl has beaten the odds and remains a thriving business. In 1983 when Murphy bought the store, there were 35 independent bookstores in Northeast Ohio. Today fewer than five remain. When asked the secret of her success, Liz replied that you have to get involved. Liz is past president of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, and currently a member; past president of the Aurora chapter of the American Business Women's Association; and past president and a current member of the Great Lakes Booksellers Association. Liz was on the steering committee of Hudson's Downtown Development effort, and is currently on the board of the Merchants of Hudson.
In 1996 the Learned Owl won the Chamber of Commerce's Business Development Award. Liz was awarded the Hudson Business & Professional Women's Woman of the Year award in 2001, and in February 2004 received a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award from SMEI (The Sales & Marketing Executive Institute of Akron).
Liz grew up in College Park, Maryland, where her father was an English professor and her mother a librarian, both at the University of Maryland. The family did not get a TV until Liz was in college, so books played a major role in her life. Despite this, the idea of owning a bookstore didn't occur to her until the opportunity presented itself 25 years ago... but now she can't imagine doing anything else.