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Book lovers find stacks at The Bookseller

4/14/2011 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Frank Klein, who owns The Bookseller with his daughter Andrea Klein, is the son of the bookstore’s founder, Clarence Klein. The store, which specializes in used and rare books, has been in business more than 60 years.
Photo: Kathleen Folkerth
WALLHAVEN — Tucked away in Wallhaven is a haven for those who love books.

The Bookseller, which has been in business in the Akron area for more than 60 years, specializes in used and rare books on a variety of topics.

Andrea Klein, of South Akron, operates the shop with her father, Frank Klein, of Highland Square. Clarence Klein, Frank’s father, opened the store in 1948 in a Cuyahoga Falls basement.

“He was pretty much a strictly used-book guy,” Andrea Klein said. “He wasn’t into rare books at all.”

The store eventually moved to the Five Points neighborhood in West Akron. Frank Klein took over the store in 1970 and began incorporating rare books into the store’s inventory, Andrea Klein said.

A fire in 1994 forced a move to the area near Akron Children’s Hospital, she said. About 10 years ago, The Bookseller set up shop in Westgate Plaza in Wallhaven at 39 Westgate Circle.

Klein said the location has worked out well, as most of the store’s customers are from the west side of town. The store also attracts customers from throughout Northeast Ohio and elsewhere.

“We get people occasionally who are passing through, book collectors who hit stores as they’re traveling,” she said.

The Bookseller features an inventory of thousands of books on just about any topic. One of its specialties is Ohio and Akron history.

“We carry a lot of local history, so we do have current new books in that area,” she said.

Another specialty is military aviation, a topic of interest to Frank Klein, who is a retired military aviator.

In addition, Klein said The Bookseller also carries maps and an array of ephemera, such as antique postcards from around the world. She said the store plans to put more of these items out in the next few months.

“That’s a growing field people are interested in,” she said.

Klein said the book business has changed, especially with the popularity of the Internet. But The Bookseller also has joined in with its own website, www.thebooksellerinc.com. The store also sells books through other online book dealers, Klein said, and she estimated about 30 percent of the store’s sales now come in that way.

But there’s no substitute for the feel of a bookstore, she said.

“We’re actually a pretty well-organized bookstore, but we might look a little cluttered,” she said. “We usually have a resident cat hanging out. And we always have great people working for us.”

She added one of the staff recently helped get a book club started at the store that will meet on the last Sunday of the month at 1 p.m.

Klein said she and her father are involved locally with the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society. They will be among the vendors participating in the upcoming Akron Antiquarian Book Fair April 22 from 3 to 8:30 p.m. and April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the John S. Knight Center, 22 Mill St. in Downtown Akron.

“It’s like an antique show for books,” she said. “What makes it fun for people who like books is each dealer brings what they specialize in. You never know what you’ll see.”

The Bookseller is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 330-865-5831.

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