A Look Inside at Ohio Bookstore

It’s Day 157 of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” and today we are featuring the Ohio Bookstore, a very unique used bookstore and book binding center right downtown.

ohio book store

The Ohio Book Store has been in business since 1940.  It is a new and used book store with over 300,000 books and  magazines in stock.  Originally owned by James Hardick, the store’s first home was located at 544 Main Street.  The book store moved into its current location (726 Main) in 1961.  The current owner, James Fallon, started working there in 1956.  He bought the Ohio Book Store in 1971 and has now been there for 54 years!

ohio book store

I was immediately drawn to and fascinated by their selection of Cincinnati history books (on display just as you walk in).  Over the years the Ohio Bookstore has published 30 titles (mostly reprints) on Cincinnati history.

ohio book store

While the Ohio Bookstore is quite a gem all its own, what really makes this place incredibly unique is what they keep in the basement…

ohio book store

Meet Jim and Michael, sons of the owner.  They run the book binding and restoration shop that’s located in the lower level.  Jim and Michael are two of the nicest guys you’ll meet.  Seriously.  When we ventured downstairs to the book binding department they gladly gave us a tour.

ohio book store

I can only imagine that Jim and Michael are two of a dying breed.  They restore old books, mostly by hand.  Above you’ll see some pieces of an old book being pressed under a heavy weight, part of the process of putting this book back together. And below you’ll see an old German family Bible waiting in line for a facelift.

ohio book store

They see all kinds of books come in the door.  When we asked how old the oldest book they’d seen was they told us it dated back to the days of Columbus.  Now that’s history!  How nervous would you be with that book?!

ohio book store

Most of the books that come in for repair are sewn by hand in the shop.  On the more rare occassion of the shop having a number of books that are being made for production they use a book “sewing machine” (my words) to put them together.

ohio book store

I am such a “font junkie”… I could have looked at their lettering case all day long.  They use these to emboss the covers of books using this machine….

ohio book store

The book binding and restoration service is one of the only ones left in the area.  If you have any family heirlooms in need of repair – this is the place to take them.

After taking up way too much of Jim’s and Michael’s morning we headed back out to explore the book store.

ohio book store

They have aisles upon aisles of books spread out over multiple stories in the building.

ohio book store

They also have lots of old magazines as well as comic books.

ohio book store

I’d never been to the Ohio Book Store before my visit for the blog but I will definitely go back.  It would be a great place to spend an afternoon hunting through the stacks. And those Cincinnati history books are still calling my name!

The Ohio Book Store is located downtown at 726 Main Street

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