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Duttenhofer's Books closing after nearly 50 years

A green store front with red signs in the window and a faded red awning.
Zack Carreon
The bookstore on West McMillan has been a favorite for UC students and faculty for years.

Duttenhofer's Books in Clifton Heights is closing its doors after 47 years in business.

The store's owner Kim Steinsiek made the announcement on Facebook Tuesday morning citing a change in the building ownership and her own upcoming retirement as the reasons.

As Duttenhofer's prepares to close its final chapter, the store will be offering discounts on its books and fixtures until it clears its inventory. The store will close for good in December or sooner if everything is sold.

Right now, the store is selling its books at a 25% discount, but items will sell for even less as it gets closer to the end of the year.

Steinsiek has owned Duttenhofer's Books for 12 years but has worked in the store for close to 33 years. She says the store has been a favorite spot among book lovers in Cincinnati for decades, offering them an experience you can rarely find these days.

"It's just a delightful little oasis for them where they're surrounded by old books, away from the noise and the hubbub of today's medium and stepping back into this quieter more thoughtful place in our culture," Steinsiek said. "If you love it. You love it."

Zack Carreon
A customer stops in to grab a few books as Duttenhofer's prepares to close in the coming months.

Duttenhofer's has a deep connection to the Clifton Heights neighborhood and the neighboring University of Cincinnati. It was first opened in 1976 by its original owner, Stan Duttenhofer who was a retired UC professor.

Since the beginning, it's attracted UC students and faculty alike who frequent the store for its wide selection of used books and warm atmosphere. Its reputation has made the store something of a local icon and has become a destination for people across the country looking to experience the increasingly rare environment of a neighborhood used bookstore.

Steinsiek says Duttenhofer's loyal customers have helped the store survive for many years but with changes on the horizon, she felt it was time to finally close up shop.

"Well, the building's for sale. It's had the same owner during all these decades and it's for sale now," Stiensiek told WVXU. "Because of my age, ten years ago we certainly would have bought the building. It would have been a sensible thing to do, but at this point, it's a good time for me to retire."

While the number of used bookstores is shrinking, Stiensiek says there's still a market for this kind of shop and she hopes somebody else can carry the torch.

"There's not a fortune to be made and you can only do it because you love to do it. There's no other reason, but there's absolutely still a place for stores like this," Stiensiek said.

Duttenhofer's Books is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.