About the Bookstore and Building
Is the shop really haunted?
We're named after The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley.
What are the cats' names?
The short-haired, grey-and-gold cat is Nierme; the long-haired, grey-and-white one is Logan.
How long have you been here?
The Haunted Bookshop opened in 1978 and moved to this location in 2009. The present owner purchased the store in 2004.
Are you hiring?
Thank you for asking, but no, we are not presently hiring. In general, we notify our volunteers first when a position becomes available.
How old is this building?
This building was constructed in 1890, we're told, and yes, it used to have tunnels to the other buildings in Brewery Square, but they're blocked up now.
How much are the books?
Nearly all our books have a price pencilled on the first light-colored page, in the upper right corner. (If you can't find the price, just ask.) Generally, recent, in-print books are half the original price.
Do you sell gift certificates?
Indeed we do. Click here for more information.
Do I need to leave my bag at the counter?
If you have food in your bag or are allergic to cats, we recommend that you leave your things behind the counter; otherwise, please leave bags and backpacks by the card racks in the front room. We will keep an eye on them for you. Thank you.
Can I study / hold my book group meeting / play board or card games here?
We have seating in several rooms; we also have a performance space in the back of the shop. We welcome you to make use of this space. (We do ask that you respect the comfort of our customers. Also, if you have a large or regularly meeting group, please call to schedule your meeting so that we don't promise the space and time to someone else.)
How does store credit work?
When you bring books in to sell, we can issue store credit good toward the purchase of any book in the store. Store credit can also be converted to gift certificates, but we're sorry, it cannot later be converted to cash.
Sections in the Bookstore
Do you have a biography section?
We have separate sections for biographies of literary figures and political figures; a section of diaries, journals and letters; and a separate section for memoirs. Other biographies haunt sections appropriate to the subjects (e.g., Margaret Mead in Anthropology, Frederick Douglass in African American Studies, etc.) If you need help finding someone, ask - we'll show you where to look.
Do you have a romance section?
Our fiction selection (6,000+ titles) includes many books that may be of interest, but we do not have a separate section for romance novels.
Do you carry music?
We carry sheet music. For recordings on vinyl and CD, make sure to visit our friends, Real Records, at their new online home.
How about small press books?
Scarce and collectable small press books are in Weldon's Room (the room beyond the front counter). Some other Iowan small press books are also collected there. If you can't find a section for the press you collect, just ask.
About Our Services
Do you buy books?
We do, and we offer a book trade program, too. For more information, see Sell Your Books. We also gratefully accept donations of books in good condition for our Benefit Sale.
Can I leave my books for sale and have you call me when you're done looking at them?
No. We would have to issue you a receipt for any books left with us, and that takes a lot of time, while an offer for a box of books seldom takes more than ten minutes. We do recommend that you call in advance before bringing large numbers of boxes, or if you are selling books in July or December, to avoid waiting in line. We would be happy to view your books in situ if you are selling a large collection, and special arrangements may be available on request; please call or email us for more information.
Do you search for books?
Yes, and the initial search is always free. A small fee may apply if we do not locate the book on our initial search and you wish us to continue the search through phone calls, letters, etc. A small fee does apply when we place a book order on your behalf, and a deposit may be required if the order is quite valuable or substantial. See Other Services for more information.
Do you keep a list of books people want?
We're sorry, no. We're happy to help you search for the book you want or to refer you to the other bookstores in Iowa City, but we do not keep a list of people to notify if particular titles come in. That said - we do like to know our regulars' tastes, and we have been known to point out new arrivals that our visitors have been seeking.
How much is my book worth?
We do not appraise books, but we know experienced, trustworthy people who do. Ask for their contact information at the front counter. Just curious? We love talking about books, so just ask.
Do you repair or bind books?
We don't, but we know several talented people who do. We do carry archivally safe, clear wrappers for dust jackets and can cover the jacket on your book for you while you wait.
Do you sell bookcases?
Occasionally. Watch for "Bookcase Sale" signs in the window or check near the front door for particular cases on sale.