Second Story Books: First Stop for All Books—
Whether Old, New, Borrowed or Blue

Located conveniently on P Street in Dupont Circle, and Parklawn Drive in Rockville, MD, Second Story Books is an afternoon’s delight for book lovers everywhere. Started by Allan Stypeck in 1973, Second Story Books is stocked cheek-to-cheek with a vast selection of books covering every genre, and specializes in out-of-print, used and rare books, as well as paperbacks, and has become one of the most well-known used book stores in the world. With two locations, a vast (and addicting!) warehouse in Rockville, and a newly re-designed location in Dupont, Second Story Books is the retail equivalent of a perfect vanilla ice cream sundae with sprinkles – everything you want, and nothing you don’t.

The next time you find yourself in need of a gift, or simply have a few (OK, several) hours to browse, put Second Story on the top of your list. Arranged in sections by genre (fiction, non-fiction and etc.), the selection at Second Story Books is nothing short of amazing. From rare, first-editions (the website features a robust list of featured books, many of which are often signed, or first-editions), to the latest paperback bestsellers, to non-fiction options that will keep you learning about everything from medieval history to caulking your bathtub to making the perfect croissant, there is something here for everyone – even those who don’t consider themselves bookish.

Categories include, among others: Arts, Asian Studies, Biographies and auto-biographies, Drama, Economics, Education, Fiction, Great Britain/Ireland, Health & Medicine, Literary Criticism, Military, Nature, Philosophy, Photography, Poetry, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science & Tech, Sociology and History. Prices, ranging from the higher end for rarities to the lower end for paperbacks, are reasonable. Always on the lookout for interesting cookbooks, my selection now includes interesting books on making bread and candy, Scottish cookery (not a joke – great Scottish food does exist!), and the Rockville location always seems to have a healthy selection of White House Cookbooks spanning a range of years. Although there are some books I prefer to purchase new – certain hardback novels I intend to keep – I really enjoy buying cookbooks used. I love the idea that someone else, some other cook, was inspired by the same recipes, not to mention the quirky food lore of older cookbooks: who ever would’ve thought to make Turtle and Alligator Aspic?? Someone apparently, but it won’t be me!

In addition to books, Second Story also sells vintage posters, ephemera, maps, prints, paintings, and even vinyl records and CDs, and the shop can help with the liquidation of books from estate sales. And, if you are a book collector and have a manuscript or old book knocking about your house you’ve always wanted to know the value of, your search may be over. Allan Stypeck is an accredited Senior Member of the American Society of Appraisers, is on hand at Second Story, and he has over 30 years of experience appraising printed matter, fine art, antiquities, Oriental art and objects d’art for individuals and corporations, government and private institutions, as well as colleges and universities throughout North America.

Just about one of the best ways to spend an afternoon if you are a bibliophile, Second Story Books is one of the area’s most treasured resources. If you haven’t visited, there’s no time like the present. Jump in your Zipcar and head up to Rockville or catch the Red Line to Dupont Circle and hoof it over to P Street. But whatever you do, definitely bring a backpack or tote bag because it’s unlikely you will be able to leave empty-handed. And if you can’t get out to the store, no worries. Second Story also has a shop on eBay, and offers over 100,000 books online. For more information, visit their website at:, or call: 301-770-0477 (MD) or 202-659-8884 (DC).