Browsing by Appointment Now Available

The Haunted Bookshop Bookshelves
It's getting blustery out - how about a jigsaw puzzle? We have over 400 different puzzles in stock, ranging from 36 to 2000 pieces! Click to browse PUZZLES!

For the health of our patrons, staff, and 6mo baby, we only allow browsing by appointment (click for details).

The Haunted Bookshop, Iowa City's oldest secondhand bookshop, carries over 50,000 used, rare, out of print and antiquarian titles in over 50 different subject areas, including poetry, fiction, plays, history, religion and philosophy, cultural studies, sciences and languages, art books, children's books, literary nonfiction, Iowa-related books, and more. Looking for a newer title? Now you can order new books from us on!

We continue to offer shipping, curbside pickup, and local home delivery on thousands of books, puzzles, games, and more. Do you have favorite subjects or authors and want to try something new? Try a Surprise Me! bag! Set any budget you like - $10, $50, $76.39, it's your choice - and we'll fill it with books you'll love!

Thank you for your support and caring. We could fill pages with the many generous things you've done to lift our spirits and keep us busy, and we hope we've helped you in return. We miss you!

We are located in the Northside district in the historic Wentz House (1847), its rooms lined with shelves and comfortable chairs, its walls offering toys, games, cards, and more. Our friendly and quirky staff delight in helping visitors to find old book-friends and new, and we pride ourselves on resourcefulness and individual attention to our guests.

We're fond of avid readers, browsers, families, students, teachers, literary reviewers, artists, writers, and other good company; we welcome book groups and community organizations; and we delightedly encourage storytelling, reading aloud, book recommendation, puppet shows (use ours or bring your own), and spontaneous performances by visiting piano players.

A Gift for Our Community

IOWA CITY - For the second year running, a mysterious benefactor has set aside a generous fund for young readers who might not otherwise have enough access to books.

Do you know a family or a child in our area who would love a Haunted Bookshop Surprise Me! bag this holiday season? Drop us an email at or call 319-337-2996 between noon and six, Monday-Saturday.

To prepare a bag, what we need to know is this:
- How old is each reader?
- Are they more avid or more reluctant? (Reading level helps, but so does knowing if the child will be willing to try a more difficult or longer book.)
- If you know what they have read, what are some titles or themes they've enjoyed?
- Other favorites to know? Animals, movies, foods, places, times of year, colors, school subjects?
- Is there anything we should avoid - sensitive topics, a recent loss, etc.?
- If you'd like us to include a game, how many people (and if known, what ages / what languages) might be around to play the game with the recipient? If another toy, are there any guidelines that would help us choose well (e.g., if the child has cat allergies we'll pick a wooden toy or a game instead of a plushie - we're tidy, but there are three cats here! Phobias, cultures of origin, etc. are also useful to know.)
- What would be the best way to get the bag to the recipient? (In the past, we've allowed our favorite bookmobile or school teachers/librarians to take the bag to a child or family, because we understand that need can be a sensitive issue. We also deliver in the IC/Coralville area or can be at the shop for a curbside pick-up.)

We will prioritize children but, if the fund allows, we'd be happy to make up bags for adults facing difficulties, too.
(If you'd like to contribute to the fund, the easiest ways to do so are Venmo @BookshopGhost or this link: We will never use this contact information for marketing purposes (ick) and never reveal the size of contribution or name of contributor unless specifically allowed to do so. We might drop you a message to tell you about some things we picked out with your gift, though we won't connect you with the recipient. Please specify that you're contributing to the Surprise Me! 2021 Gift Fund in the notes box.)

(We also gladly accept donations of well-kept books toward this project and would be especially grateful for books that represent diverse voices and experiences.)

Please share this with your teachers or school librarians, social workers, non-profit orgs, and others who work with or represent those for whom this gift is intended.

Sell Your Books

If you want to sell your books, you can bring them to the shop between 3pm-6pm Fri-Sun, or call us for appointment options.

We strongly advise that you call ahead every time you plan to bring books in order to check wait times.

If you have mobility concerns or a large collection (>10 shelves/boxes), please contact us about scheduling a buying appointment at your home/office.

We are still accepting donations of quality used books, but we are not purchasing additional inventory at this time.