Canio’s Books was founded in 1980 by Canio Pavone, when Sag Harbor was still a “charming fishing village,” as some have described it. Driving through Sag Harbor after reading Joe Pintauro’s novel set there, Canio discovered a shop in an old building with a FOR RENT sign in the window.

CB exterior

His dream of owning a bookstore was realized on October 1, 1980 when the doors of Canio’s Books opened, and the shop’s storied life began. Nelson Algren, a recent arrival to the village, became a regular, sharing coffee and talking books with Canio  Saturday mornings.  Algren inaugurated Canio’s author reading series in May 1981.  Later, the Moby-Dick marathon readings brought crowds to  the bookshop in celebration of this great American novel that mentions Sag Harbor.  Readings, art receptions, concerts,  community events, and more continue year-round.

In 1999, Maryann Calendrille, a writer, and Kathryn Szoka, photographer, took over Canio’s Books developing the tradition and adding their own particular interests and talents. Both teach workshops at the store, and Kathryn focuses on photography and has expanded Canio’s Gallery to highlight local artists. The carefully curated book collection includes new and used literature, fiction and non-fiction, lovely children’s books, art, poetry, and history, plus books on cooking, food, the environment, nature and spirituality. One requirement is that all books are very well written and worth reading.

Kathryn Szoka and Maryann Calendrille, by Bernard Gotfryd BB

In 2009  Maryann & Kathryn created the 501c3 not-for-profit Canio’s Cultural Cafe. The CCC hosts lectures, workshops, seminars and other public forums that include a diversity of artists, writers, educators, independent scholars, students, and community members who might not otherwise be heard. Writing and photography workshops, environmental and spiritual community courses are part of the mix.

In 2015, we re-started and expanded our Moby-Dick Marathon, partnering with other local institutions to spread the reading around the village. More about it and other marathons at Canio’s Cultural Cafe.

2019 marks Maryann & Kathryn’s 20th anniversary at Canio’s. The time flies when you love what you do. Our 20/20 Celebration marks that milestone, plus the 40th anniversary of the bookshop in 2020.  Many events are planned, including a Literary Costume Party (Nov 2, 2019), Essential Emily Marathon (Dec 2019), and a Marathon reading of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye in Spring 2020, marking the publication’s 50th anniversary.  So much to celebrate. Hope you’ll join us!

Canio’s Books
290 Main Street * Sag Harbor, NY  11963 * 631.725.4926

4 Responses to “About Canio’s”


  1. 1 michaelbrandow June 17, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I’m writing to let you know about my new book:

    GONE WALKABOUT: Confessions of a New York City Dog Walker
    (ISBN 978-1093278002)

    This is social criticism, NYC history, dog humor, a personal memoir of a Village dog walker …

    It would be a real honor to see the book at Canio’s.

    So far, I’ve had interviews with BBC Radio London and Psychology Today, and the book made #1 in Amazon “Animal Essays” (US) and “New Essays” (Canada). Reviews and excerpts are scheduled to be published in The Bark (US) and Dogs Monthly (UK).

    I hope you’ll agree this is a lovely little paperback with an almost handmade appearance, and a soft, suede-like cover.

    The book is available through Ingram, though there may be an issue with returns of unsold copies. If you would be willing to do consignment, and I could get any number of copies to you easily.

    My two previous books are New York’s Poop Scoop Law (Purdue University Press, 2008) and A Matter of Breeding (Beacon Press, 2015; Duckworth Overlook, 2016; Hakuyosha, 2019).

    For more about me:
    https://www.michaelbrandow.com/news-and-events

    Any consideration of my latest attempt would be most appreciated.

    Michael Brandow
    https://www.michaelbrandow.com/
    (917) 572-8016
    michbrndw@aol.com
    182 West 4th Street, Apt. 11
    NYC 10014


  1. 1 Sag Harbor, NY: Small-Town Aura - New York Times Trackback on July 12, 2017 at 9:04 am
  2. 2 untitled – Enter Tint Name Trackback on June 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm

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Canio's Books is located at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. You can drop an email to info@caniosbooks.com, or even check out some of our stock online. Thanks for visiting our blog!

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