Don’t you just LOVE the smell of used books?

Last weekend I spent a few days in Cincy to see some old college friends. On Saturday my friend Phil and I passed this building on the way to lunch. “Wow, five floors of books! We HAVE to go there!” I said.

So, after lunch we entered into quite possibly the greatest bookstore known to man: The Ohio Book Store. Cincinnati’s oldest, since 1941.

According to owner Jim Fallon, it carried over 300,000 items. And it looked like a warehouse probably because it WAS a warehouse. Not to mention, it reeked of that authentic, unmistakable used bookstore smell.

(Inhale…) AHHHHHHH…!

That’s nice.

We strolled around all five floors, checking out some of the most random, unusual and out of print titles one could imagine:

  • The Who’s Who of Cincinnati, 1947
  • A Complete History of Aerobics
  • Guide to Minor Hand Injuries

    On the third floor we noticed a wall of magazines that spanned at least 100 feet. When we realized every single issue had a yellow binding, there was no doubt which publication it was: National Geographic. From 1920-1986.


    Did you know they didn’t start including pictures on the covers until the mid 60’s?

    On the fourth floor Phil noticed a high shelf with dozens of whiskey boxes full of books. We wondered if they were for sale, storage, or possibly titles that never “made the cut” onto the racks. At the checkout, Jim gave us the back story on the books: “Yeah, those books were ordered by some guy from P & G about 30 years ago. I guess he never came to pick them up!”

    When I asked how much the order was for, Jim said, “Well, some books are sold for a buck; while others go for 50,000! So it’s hard to tell. But it’s no big deal; after all, this place is a labor of love!”

    * * * *

    The Ohio Book Store doesn’t do much advertising. It’s not exactly the cleanest place around, nor is it located in the best part of town. But Phil and I spent 2 hours there. It was the best part about my vacation. I bought $60 worth of used books and postcards. And you can bet that every time I come back in town, I’m going there! And why? Because it was an experience. Because it was cool. Because I am a huge fan.


    What’s the one store you just LOVE to go back to? Why?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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