New used bookstore opens in DeKalb

By Benjamin Stock

Classic Books owner Charles Sigwart promises to offer books for both pleasure and studying needs at his new used bookstore.

The new bookstore, located at 115 N. First St., officially opened the weekend of Corn Fest and has slowly been gaining patrons. It is located in the smaller building behind the main building at 115 N. First St.

Sigwart, a computer science professor at NIU until 1994, started selling books out of his garage as a retirement hobby. He finally decided it was time to upgrade to his own storefront.

He said having his own store would give him more space and would let him sell books no matter what kind of weather was outside.

Gretchen Van Meer, a former engineering professor who retired last year after 12 years of teaching at NIU, is a happy patron of Classic Books.

“When I was going to school at Northwestern, Evanston had lots of used bookstores,” Van Meer said. “I am excited to see more used bookstores in DeKalb.”

For college students, the store’s main attraction will be its selection of entertainment books.

Sigwart said he has more than 1000 mystery and adventure novels, a similar number of other fiction books in paperback and a moderate collection of literary classics.

“If you want a Shakespeare play, I’ve got it,” Sigwart said. He has 50 to 75 Shakespeare plays, most of which cost between $1 and $2.

“Occasionally I will have an alternate book having to do with something they are studying,” he said.

Sigwart said he can offer a lot of supplemental reading material to students, but he has no ambition to sell current editions of college textbooks. He said it is too high of a risk and would be a much larger operation.

Sigwart is happy to accept used books from people looking to get rid of some, but he will not pay for them.

Sigwart tries to give away books he feels are difficult to sell. He often gives older editions of textbooks to college students who could use them as supplemental material. He also tries to donate books to local hospitals and nursing homes.

The only other used bookstore in DeKalb is Book Muse, 132 E. Lincoln Highway. Mark Hedborn, owner of Book Muse, is not worried about the new store.

“I sort of doubt it will affect my business,” Hedborn said. “There is plenty of room for everyone. I think more used bookstores are a positive thing.”

Hedborn does the majority of his business over the Internet and specializes in hard-to-find and rare used books. He said he sells more of his expensive used books online and the storefront is a discount store.


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Who: Owner, Charles Sigwart

What: Classic Books

Where: 115 N. First St.

Phone: 762-9826

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.