Duttenhofer’s Books

By: Gabe Costello ~Staff Writer~

If you are looking for a place to buy gently used books, a cozy atmosphere to dive into hundreds of stories or even just a new store to explore, Duttenhofer’s is the place to go.

Whether its art history, biology or literary theory, here at Xavier there is no shortage of reading material. Sometimes it all feels rather daunting. The good news is that there are many books one can read for fun. Of course then the question arises: where should you buy a book around here? Look no further than Duttenhofer’s Books in Clifton. The shop is a short drive from campus.

Duttenhofer’s opened in 1978 by a retired UC geography professor. Ever since then, the one-of-a-kind shop has served the UC community and Cincinnati in general with its eclectic collection of books.

It has its own unique character, with the lack of space between shelves giving it an undeniably cozy charm. Of course, that is not all the shop has to offer. It has a plethora of books ranging from 18th -century Bibles to modernist novels for a only a few dollars.

Whatever your literary taste may be, Duttenhofer’s can meet your needs The real appeal of Duttenhoffer’s lies in the experience of finding the right book. The process of consideration, and the search for something unknown, is a less common concept in the modern world of reading. This is an experience that cannot be duplicated on Amazon or an E-Reader. There is a freedom that is lacking from this generation’s common experience.

In a world in which we are constantly being lumped into one target demographic or another, there is freedom in selecting one’s own book that cannot be duplicated. Duttenhoffers, appears to be about thought, not commerce. Thought is something that is impossible to place an appropriate value on.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the current owner of the shop, Kim Steiziek, about not only the state of her shop, but the state of print media in general. During our conversation, it became clear that Ms. Steiziek has a passion for what she does.

“The best thing is giving a book new life,” Steiziek said. “It is sad to see some books go, but it’s nice to know they are going to bring someone else joy.” For instance, she recently sold an abolishment pamphlet. However, she also told me that her greatest joy is to give someone else the joy of discovering something new in a book.

Steiziek readily admitted that owning a bookshop is not what it used to be, but in the same breath she expressed her belief that while overall printing of books may be down, the cream of the crop still remains. In short, as print media becomes scarcer, the quality is arguably getting better.

“There have been studies that show comprehension comes from sitting down with a physical book,” Steiziek said. “I think there is a lasting appeal there.”

Now more than ever it is important for us to stop, put down our iPhones and try to concentrate on a good book. It is important to be able to enjoy silence, to take a moment for ourselves. There may not be a better way to do this than to buy a good book from Duttenhoffer’s. Duttenhoffer’s is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. You can find it online at http://www.duttenhoffers.com.