A springtime calm still lingers at Edgartown Books, where spines of paperback and hardcover books are displayed in a winding technicolor maze.

The offseason rhythm is calmer than the summer rush, and store manager Mathew Tombers has time to reflect and to prepare for the season ahead. “In the summer I’m usually hunkered over at one of the tables outside with my laptop, trying to keep up with what’s going out so that I can figure out what needs to come in,” Mr. Tombers said. “It’s been really gratifying to see the number of people, young people, who were picking up books and reading things of substance.”

For nearly four years now, Mr. Tombers has been a steady presence behind the counter — and out on the porch — at Edgartown Books. With wispy white hair and erudite speech, he has also become a fixture of the Island literary scene. The job is a novel one for Mr. Tombers, 74, who had never worked in a retail environment before taking up the register at Edgartown Books.

“I tried retiring once, and I wasn’t very good at it,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful transition in my life, and I feel very lucky to be here doing this....It’s all about the store.”

Though bookselling as a vocation is a new development for Mr. Tombers, he has long been a lover of literature, beginning during his wintry childhood in the upper Midwest.

“Some of my favorite memories of being a kid were snowy days in Minnesota curled up on the couch with the book,” he recalled.

Mr. Tombers’s early love of books propelled him to a master’s degree in dramatic literature from Southern Illinois University and, after he decided to leave academia, to a few years teaching high school English in Minnesota.

“And then one night, it was 73 degrees below zero windchill factor and, so a month later, I was in California,” he said

After heading west, Mr. Tombers went on to a decades-long career as a media executive and producer. It was in that field where he first met Jeffrey and Joyce Sudikoff, future owners of Edgartown books and longtime seasonal residents of the Vineyard.

“They had a house here and they asked me to come over to visit,” he said. “I came here and I just read and sailed with Jeff . . . . It was a beautiful place and it never seemed to rain when I was here.”

The Sudikoffs purchased Edgartown Books from former owners David and Ann LeBreton in 2012. In 2018, Mr. Tombers came to help the couple out with the store, gradually taking on more responsibilities until he became manager in 2020.

“It was never my intention to live on the Vineyard, but now I do,” he said.

And it was in taking over that role as an Island bookmonger that Mr. Tombers first encountered the wealth of literary talent on the Vineyard.

“There are a lot of, not just writers, there are a lot of artists here,” he said. “The per capita is pretty high on the Island.” The store stocks more than 200 titles from Island authors (necessitating the installation of a new bookshelf). Among Mr. Tombers’s favorites, he said, are Geraldine Brooks, Amor Towles and Jean Stone.

In order to keep up with the off-Island literary trends, he said, Mr. Tombers is also constantly poring over newspapers and book reviews. “I used to read books, now I read about books.”

Along with the high number of Vineyard authors, Mr. Tombers has noticed an explosion of new readers in the shop in recent seasons.

“The number of people who have said to me that they are back to reading paper has grown exponentially. Lots of people have said to me ‘I just can’t have another screen in my life,’” he said.

Much of the new readership among younger Islanders has been driven by the “BookTok” trend of literary influencers on the TikTok social media platform, he said. And in that respect, Edgartown Books is well situated to cater to that younger audience, with a staff of experienced summertime workers.

“We have some people who were here all through high school and are still continuing to work through college, and they’re all incredibly big readers, always sharing with us what they think we should buy. Some of them have been here for six, seven years,” he said.

For Mr. Tombers, it is the confluence of all these groups that make Edgartown Books a special place to work — the wealth of Island authors who grace its shelves, the enthusiastic staff and the many vacationers and locals who walk through the doors. Within all that, Mr. Tombers said, he is just one small part.

“I think it’s a really special place and I feel really privileged to be here,” he said.