In addition to corporate booksellers in the area, students can visit several locally owned bookstores in Yellow Springs and Fairborn. There, you’ll find comics, new and used books, and even collectibles.
Dark Star Books
Dark Star Books is a used book store that’s been around Yellow Springs since the ’70s. At Dark Star, you’ll find used books and back-issue comics of all kinds.
This unique bookstore began with a large comic collection. As manager Kate Mooneyham said, it started when her son left for college, leaving his extensive comic book collection behind. Mooneyham’s mother, Mary-Alice Wilson, began to sell that collection.
Wilson’s little business was so successful that she decided to start a business in the used books and comic industry.
To this day, Wilson still owns the shop.
Since its beginning, Dark Star has been specializing in used books, specifically those pertaining to sci-fi.
“We love all used books,” Mooneyham said, “and we try to keep great selections of everything, but sci-fi and metaphysics are what people tend to come here for.”
Store clerk and comic book expert Frank Marcozzi chooses the comics to be sold at Dark Star and added that back-issue comics are also a popular purchase.
Besides having the variety that it does, Dark Star also creates what customer Pam Siegal described as a welcoming, casual and comfortable atmosphere.
However, Dark Star does more than just create a comforting atmosphere to reach out to the community. Monthly sales, book signings, author readings and contests are among the many events that Dark Star creates for its community.
“We give away free books to kids on the weekends,” Mooneyham said.
Dark Star will be having a drawing contest soon for the best drawing of the store cat, Mr. Eko. In fact, Marcozzi said that one of the store’s best features is Mr. Eko — “one of the most famous cats in the world.”
Sam & Eddie’s Open Books
Sam & Eddie’s Open Books is one of the many small, privately owned businesses in Yellow Springs. This bookstore has a very specific niche, but it also caters to a general audience, store manager Miriam Eckenrode said.
“We like to call ourselves a gallery store for readers and writers, so we’re a general bookstore,” she said, “but we focus on thoughtfully chosen titles (books) and a lot of other things that tend to people’s creative and artistic spirit.”
Many of Sam & Eddie’s books come directly from Yellow Springs authors.
“We carry quite a bit of local literature,” Eckenrode said.
Sam & Eddie’s began with Eckenrode’s father, Eddie Eckenrode. Eckenrode said that after working in another local bookstore in the early ’70s, Eddie set out to make his own business in the world of books. What resulted was a very local bookstore, Eckenrode said.
Though local books are Sam & Eddie’s specialty, it sells more than just books. Eckenrode said to fuel creativity, the store carries all sorts of inventory to match the atmosphere that’s created.
Eddie, in addition to being a book dealer, is an artist, and he displays his art in the store. Inspirational music, which the store also carries, is a staple of the Sam & Eddie’s experience.
Sam & Eddie’s also sells various calendars and planners. To top it all off, the store sells plenty of incense, which doubles as the store’s air fresheners.
Eckenrode said though Sam & Eddie’s is a very local store, it invites customers from out of town to come and experience a store that embodies the Yellow Springs aura.
Epic Book Shop
Epic Book Shop is another one of Yellow Springs’ bookstores. Gail Lichtenfels’ drive toward independent business and her love for books led her to open Epic Book Shop as a used book store. Epic Book shop opened in December 2013, but Lichtenfels has been in the book business since 1973.
Lichtenfels said she’s had three different locations in Yellow Springs over the years. She even had an online business along the way.
In the beginning stages of her business she sold new books, but it wasn’t the lane that she stayed in.
“I found to my chagrin that it was no longer possible to do a small, independent new book business,” Lichtenfels said. “However, I had high hopes for the small and independent used book business.”
Though she said she knew it was a risky endeavor, she was driven by what she describes as a “love for books and a little bit of a love for business – love for independent work.”
Her books broach all topics, but she has found a niche.
“I’m trying to broaden my base,” Lichtenfels said, “but my specialty through the years – and still remains in terms of what I have the best sections of – is religion, philosophy, psychology, mysticism – that kind of stuff.”
Lichtenfels promotes her stock in a variety of ways. She does several community events, such as writing groups and art openings, and she even offers Wi-Fi.
Lichtenfels’ Epic Book Shop is filled with books that you might not see elsewhere. She uses a business strategy that is beneficial to both the community and individual customers.
“Now if you want something, you go onto the Amazon site and you find it immediately, and I understand that,” Lichtenfels said. “I’m trying to create this business in a way that fully understands the habits of the people, in terms of the Internet sales. (It) does not resist or resent that, but is trying to augment that (Internet sales).”
Faith Christian Bookstore
Tucked into East Main Street in Fairborn, there is a little bookstore that’s been providing Christian-themed literature, gifts and music for 41 years. Since Faith Christian Bookstore opened in 1974, the store has evolved in many ways, employee Jim Browning said.
Faith Christian Bookstore has been located in its current building for 33 years. Recently, the previous owners sold the business to a young couple that lives in Fairborn.
Tod and Carla Anderson – the store’s newest owners – have made many changes in the short year that they have operated the small store.
“They did a little bit of reinvention,” Browning said.
He said that the new owners have started reaching out to the community and informing people of the store’s presence through local concerts and book signings.
The store includes all kinds of materials, including Bible study materials, motivational literature, Christian non-fiction, music, Bibles and greeting cards.
“The purpose of this store is to provide materials for churches and individuals,” Browning said. “The two best-selling areas are the gifts and the Bibles.”
Customer Fred Pumroy said he comes to the store for “religious remembrances” for occasions such as baptisms.
“(Faith Christian Bookstore is) one of the few places to go to get religious type of supplies,” Pumroy said. “I think it’s needed in this town.”
Super-Fly Comics & Games
Super-Fly Comics & Games, located next to the Spirited Goat in Yellow Springs, has been around since 2007, as the “new” comic book retailer in Yellow Springs.
It began with Anthony Barrey, then an employee at Dark Star Books. He talked to the owner of Dark Star about starting his own comic business.
“We really wanted to do more with comics,” Barrey said.
Since then, Barrey has put his time into what he said is not an easy industry. Barrey said this is because the population of comic enthusiasts has dwindled with the introduction of technological alternatives.
Barrey said it takes everything you have to run his business.
“This is a business that requires 110 percent,” he said.
Barrey said physical comic books are a niche market because more are available online.
However, he also mentioned some strengths to this market and said his business depends on playing to those strengths.
“The strength is it’s a dedicated fan base,” Barrey said. “It’s a multifaceted front of finding those people, enticing them and trying to expand the market.”
On top of running a store in the usual comic book market, Barrey said he tries to specialize in the community of comic book fans.
Freshman Cedarville student and Super-Fly customer Christian Ellis said the store has a friendly atmosphere.
“They seem to be totally cool with people coming in just to hang out,” Ellis said. “The people there seem really friendly and helpful. I’m a fan. I think it’s super fly.”
Super-Fly also specializes in what Barrey referred to as “indie books,” comics that are sold by less popular corporations.
“We stand out in this area as the place that has the books other stores aren’t willing to take a chance on,” Barrey said.
Who would have known that the little-known Ohio town of Fairborn houses one of the largest comic shops in the United States?
Bookery Fantasy is a multi-building house of comics, games, used books and other collectibles.
“We’re one of the biggest comic-gaming shops in the U.S.,” employee John Kinsella said. “Until about two years ago we were the largest, but a guy in Denver opened a bigger one on us.”
The store opened in Fairborn in 1984. Store owner Tim Cottrill built up the now-successful comic shop from his parents’ old, rare bookstore company. After they retired, his parents sold their rare books and gave what was left to their son.
“I took over the science-fiction and comics,” Cottrill said.
Bookery Fantasy sells new and old comics. It also has a dollar clearance section with 50,000 comics for a dollar each, Kinsella said. The store also sells various table-top games, movie posters, pulps (small fictional booklets from the late 1800s) and all kinds of valuable collectibles in its Golden Age/Silver Age room.
Cottrilll said the Golden Age/Silver Age room houses many items, making Bookery Fantasy the biggest dealer in the state for vintage items.
The store also offers a great experience for the community. It has a game room for table-top gaming enthusiasts to come in and enjoy themselves. Various comic book sales also draw people in. As an older comic store, most people already know of them.
“We’ve been here for 31 years, so that helps,” Cottrill said.
At Bookery Fantasy, you can catch up on some back-issues, buy the latest comics, play games or even shop for some collectibles.
Michael Shawn Carbaugh II is a freshman music composition major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He likes to write music in nearly every genre and enjoys listening to new genres as well.