Oakland Bookstore stocks unique options for students, readers

In multimedia on December 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm

As graduation loomed closer for John Schulman, the job offers started to come in. It was also around that time that he discovered that what he had studied wasn’t really what he wanted to do.

“I was putting myself through grad school selling used books out of my house.

So I thought, why not just move all of these books out of these dusty shelves in this apartment into a bookstore and see if I can make a go of it,” Schulman said.

Co-founded with his wife Emily Hetzel, the Caliban Book Shop continues to grow. Located on South Craig Street in Oakland, Pa, the store boasts rows that together hold close to 40,000 books reminiscent of a time before mainstream book shops.

“Our books come from anywhere and everywhere you can imagine,” said Mark Mangini, employee of Caliban Book Shop, and graduate student at Point Park University.

With an upstairs of first edition copies, rarities, leather bound editions, and other such fine arts books and a downstairs caring primarily paperback fiction, the un-cataloged book store offers a variety of keepsakes.

“We have a real range, anything from 50-cent paperbacks outside to, multi-thousand dollar books in the case,” said Schulman.

The store takes it’s name from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, engraining the culture of literature even more into the shop.

“Caliban is a really interesting figure, it’s an anagram for Cannibal and he is an earthy creature, said Schulman, “Prospero is exiled to the island and he brings his book collection with him.”

Located on the edge of the University of Pittsburgh’s campus near Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museum of Art, the shop provides a resource of rare and scholarly books for the public, but also the college audience.

“I went to undergrad at Pitt [University of Pittsburgh] and became a frequenter of the shop,” said Mangini, “I just started working on The New Yinzer, which is an online literary magazine, and some of the guys that were working for that are still employed here.”

Consciously, the store does not carry text books, but a number of literary titles can be found and purchased by students for enjoyment or required reading for classes.

Although space in the store is limited, there are a number of shelves dedicated to books on travel and books in foreign languages including Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

“You are probably not going to find the exact book that you are looking for,” said Magini, “but you are probably going to find three or four other things that are similar and possibly cooler or more unique.”

T-shirts and an online stock of books can be found at Mail-order business is also done out of a warehouse in Wilkinsburg and Caliban Book Shop  is listed as a seller on the major book sites such as Amazon.

The store is open 11am-5:30p.m. Monday-Saturday as well as 1p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays.

What book shopping habits do you have? How do you feel about book shopping in 2011? Take the poll below.

Find Caliban Books on the map.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: