It’s a game of musical chairs at Second Story Books

xSecond Story Books-Allan StypeckAllan Stypeck of Second Story Books. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

In their own version of musical chairs, those gathered on the ground floor of Second Story Books in Rockville on the last Saturday of each month continually move to the next chair. They reach their goal when it’s finally their turn to meet with the used bookstore’s president, Allan Stypeck.

Stypeck, who has spent 40 years appraising books and other documents, carefully handles all books, checks their conditions, scans the pages and pulls from his memory a wealth of history and recollections. Often that is enough to say what the book is worth. If not, he knows the right internet sites to determine the book’s value.

On a recent appraisal day, Stypeck examined a first edition of “Cujo” by Stephen King and immediately knew when it was published. He also reviewed a book that had an authentic signature of a few of this country’s founding fathers and another one written in German that was mandatory reading for those joining the Nazi ranks.

There can be as many as 200 people who show up to the monthly event, which has occurred at the Rockville bookstore for the past three years. Stypeck also has a used bookstore in Dupont Circle.


Former Silver Spring Library has new life as used bookstore


DSC 0218The former Silver Spring Library now serves as a used bookstore for the Friends of the Library Montgomery County. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  

Ryan Carmody knows with a few clicks, he can find any book he needs, order it and have it delivered to his Silver Spring home within a few days.

Still, "a few times each month," he visits one of the county's two used bookstores that are operated by the Friends of the Library Montgomery County (FOLMC). 

"There is sort of an aspect of surprise for what you are going to find," he said as he browsed through the books at the used bookstore that opened June 20 in the former Silver Spring library on Colesville Road.

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