This is torture for a book-lover. You are on a tight schedule and discover a really cool bookstore and just don’t have the time to really explore it. The other day I happened upon Caliban Books on the way to a meeting while visiting Pittsburgh. I just didn’t have time for more than a few minutes to give the store a quick once over, grab a business card, and snap a couple pictures. But I thought I would pass along the word to any fellow book-lovers who live in or will be visiting Pittsburgh.
Caliban Books is located in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh in a modest sized shop at 410 South Craig Street, off of Forbes Avenue, in a trendy location of boutiques and eateries situated between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University campuses and near the Carnegie Museums.
The store stocks roughly 40,000 books, covering just about any category, on floor to ceiling shelves radiating from the checkout counter near the entrance to the store. You will find additional books stacked on the floor at the ends of shelves. They also sell original prints, maps, and art.
They are also a store within a store. Near the front counter, you will find the racks of LPs and CDs that make up Desolation Row Records, self-described as “a small, independent record shop (located inside Caliban Book Shop) specializing in Indie Rock, Sixties Pop, Punk, Americana, Folk, Blues, and Jazz owned and operated by Kristofer Collins.” Vinyl and books all in one place–why couldn’t I have had a free hour or two? Perhaps it is God’s way of saving the family budget and delivering me from temptation!
I also learned from their website that Caliban Books is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. John Schulman, the co-owner, spent several years appraising books for Antiques Road Show and can appraise for estate, legal, tax, and insurance purposes. The store will consider purchases from individual books to whole libraries in the Pittsburgh area.
So where do they put all those books? Some are at the S. Craig St. store but many are kept in their warehouse located in nearby Wilkinsburg where they house approximately 150,000 items. The warehouse may be visited by appointment Monday through Friday.
Hours and contact information (from the website):
410 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
HOURS (Caliban Book Shop and Desolation Row)
*open most Thursdays until 8pm
Wilkinsburg, PA. Open by appointment.
HOURS: For phone inquiries, please call Monday-Friday between 10am and 5pm. If we don’t answer please leave a message — we will get back to you within 1 business day.
I only had a few minutes but I’ve mentally bookmarked this store for a return visit when I get back to Pittsburgh.