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    Macaluso Books: Embarking on a New Chapter

    In 2019, people may think that physical books and bookstores are out of style, but historic Kennett Square’s Macaluso Rare and Used Books is working to change that. Macaluso Books has existed since 1980, creating a home at 130 South Union Street selling second-hand books and antique prints. The store was named after the founder, Tom Macaluso, who operated the store with his wife Brenda. New owner Stefanie Lynn said, “I can’t speak to his inspiration, but I believe it was from a love of collecting books.” Tom collected books from a young age and was an English professor for 37 years at Monmouth College, Ohio State University, and Delaware County Community College. Unfortunately, Tom passed away in March of 2018.

    Some of the books found in the store are rare and collectible.

    Since April 2019, the store has been owned by John and Stefanie Lynn of Kennett Square. Book lovers John and Stefanie purchased the store as they “have lived in Kennett for many years and wanted to get more involved with the community.” They have found that many customers still opt to buy physical books for themselves or as a special gift, as opposed to online sales or e-readers. 

    In June, the store closed for renovations, including structural repairs and refreshing the paint, floors, and lighting. John and Stefanie noted, “the shop has so much historical character, and we want to preserve that which makes it unique,” so no major changes will take place. The carpet is being replaced with hardwood floors and seating areas will be added to let customers leisurely browse.

    A historic photo from back in the day!

    The books found in the store are high-quality rare and collectible, including some signed copies and first editions. Some books date back to the early 1800s, with genres varying from fiction and poetry to science and local history. “I find something new that amazes me almost every day!” Stefanie said, “We carry some books with the most detailed, and beautiful or unique illustrations.” Along with books, the store sells prints; “Our map collection is another of my favorites; we have a map in the store that is more than 400 years old,” John explained. Macaluso Books primarily sold geographical prints on local townships, but John and Stefanie hope to widen the variety of prints in stock by including modern prints, such as framed Wyeth pieces and botanical prints. Along the line, Macaluso Books would also like to feature some work of local artists. In order to stock the store with a fresh collection of books and prints, John and Stefanie have attended private collections, estate sales, book fairs, and yard sales. They look forward to re-stocking the shelves and adding about 1,000 books to the collection.

    A throwback of the stores interior.

    John and Stefanie are working to create an inventory database to keep track of the books. Stefanie said, “We don’t know for sure the number of books, but our last estimate is more than 5,000 and could be as high as 7,500.” Before reopening, they are repricing the books to suit the current market. Book prices range from $5 to $20, based on rarity, and prints range from $20 to $100. Upon reopening some prints will be sold for $5. Stefanie and John are expanding the store by bringing in a limited selection of brand-new books, including new releases and recent award-winning titles. John added that they “plan to open an online shop to reach more customers that are searching for the special rare and out-of-print books that we have had in the shop.”

    The store is aiming to open again in September. For more updates on the grand opening and store hours, please follow Macaluso Books on Instagram and/or Facebook.