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Meet Nicole Magistro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Magistro.

Hi Nicole, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My life revolves around books and nature! I studied to be a writer (Northwestern University), moved to the mountains (Eagle County), owned an independent bookstore (The Bookworm of Edwards), had a family (husband Zach, son Silas, and our dog and cat), and eventually became a publisher and author (Read Island).

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We only grow when we fail, and there have been lots of challenges along the way. I have learned so much about myself by managing hundreds of employees, expanding multiple times, and weathering the sale of my previous business through the storm of Covid.

I embarked on my current business plan as a bookseller who wanted to learn – learn about the business of publishing, try my skills at small-scale manufacturing, and get a taste of the writing life. I wanted to experiment and try new things, which meant setting myself up to fail a lot!

What I love about being an entrepreneur is that my life and work are a constant set of experiments. Struggling leads me to a new and creative answer.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Books can take you anywhere – they certainly have helped guide me as a professional. Here is a list of books that have inspired different stages of my career so far.

On Writing by Stephen King (2000): One year from graduating with a journalism degree at Northwestern University, I realized being a good writer could be more than a job.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005): Three years into my bookselling career at The Bookworm, I felt empowered to endorse books wholeheartedly for the first time. There is a transcendent power between readers when they connect over a book, and The Book Thief helped teach me this guiding principle.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (2012): Obligated to read this debut novel by the Colorado writer known for his rugged nature memoirs just months after my son was born, I was unexpectedly transported into a new dimension. I knew The Dog Stars was truly special, and upon its release Heller single-handedly amplified the collective western voice, propelling our region’s status from fly-over country to prominence in the literary world.

How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul (2019): In this compendium of classic and contemporary books for children, I felt an opening, a place from where I could peek into the future and see myself as a contributor. This book demanded I look more closely at all of those bedtime stories I’d read and memorized. Long after I’d finished How to Raise a Reader, I continued to investigate by ability to write books for children. I credit it for planting the seed that became Read Island.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk (2014): This is a book I finally read in 2020, deep in the pandemic and after I sold the bookstore. Relieved from the daily pressure to read in advance of the public, I acknowledged the long-held but elusive truth that sometimes a book comes to you at exactly the right moment.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Open heart and mind.

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