Sun. May 26th, 2024

Image: SecondReading1.jpeg

As an English major, I love a good used bookstore. While the small town I grew up in only had used books at the thrift store, West Chester has an abundance of stores dedicated to previously-owned novels. Baldwin’s Book Barn is a cult favorite among many WCU readers, and don’t get me wrong, I like perusing the shelves there even as the floors creak under my feet. My personal favorite, however, is Second Reading II, which is located in the Parkway Shopping Center on High Street.

There is, as you might be wondering, a Second Reading I, which is located on 32 North Church Street. This store is great too, but Second Reading II has a bigger selection and is located in the same plaza as one of my favorite breakfast spots, Country Bagel Bakery. And what’s better than bagels and books? 

Both Second Reading I and II donate all their profits to the West Chester Area Senior Center on East Union Street, taking book donations from the community to resell them. Books that they can’t sell because of damage or writing on the inside are given to local veterans and other organizations. Second Reading II used to be an England’s Men’s Store before the owner  retired, according to volunteer Barbara Spellman. When he retired, the shopping center offered the space to the Senior Center to start another used bookstore, as Second Reading I had been making great profit in town for around 15 years at the time. 

Second Reading II has been thriving ever since. Just last year, they were voted a 2023 Neighborhood Fave in Nextdoor’s annual celebration of West Chester businesses.

“I think there’s a percentage of people that aren’t going to pick up a book anymore. They’re definitely going to use their tablets,” said store manager Ann Marie Fletcher-Moore, when asked if she thought physical books were going out of style. “But I would say that the pendulum is kind of swinging back. I have a lot of people who buy books for their children and their grandchildren. People want to read a book, and they want to hold it in their hands, and they actually want to actually read rather than listen to it or put it on some type of electronic device.” 

Fletcher-Moore doesn’t think physical books will ever go away, and I can’t help but agree. There’s nothing like relaxing on a comfy chair with a blanket or even in a lawn chair on the beach with a real book. 

With memorial day coming up, Second Reading II will have a whole section of beach reads, which Fletcher-Moore says tends to draw many people. Customers are also attracted to the bag sales the store does, where you can fill different sized bags with books for $15, $20 or $32. 

The shop is run by 25 different volunteers who run the cash register, sort and shelve books and keep the place looking nice. Mary Ann Butler, a regular volunteer at the store who sorts and shelves books, recommends calling to double check if the store is open before stopping by, as they aren’t open if no one is available to run the store. 

“It’s a nice place to volunteer. You get to meet a lot of different people who come in,” said Butler after mentioning that the store needs more volunteers. 

Spellman shared the same sentiment. “They’re all people who like books and have a certain level of common interest,” she said of enjoying working with the other volunteers at the store. 

I asked both ladies what made them want to volunteer at Second Reading ll in the first place. They looked at one another before Barbara shrugged and said, “I like books!” and laughed.

Second Reading II is open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can call them at 610-431-2117. 


Emma Hogan is a fourth-year English major with a minor in Journalism.

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