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Grand Rapids' Eastown becoming a used books haven? Icapsa Used Books aims to make it so




Eastown's gigantic Kingsley Building, the former Zondervan Publishing warehouse, is once again home to hundreds of thousands of books -- this time, the used books of Grand Rapids' Icapsa Used Books.

Icapsa, book shelf in Latin, began in 2005 as a strictly Internet sales used book supplier operating out of owner Steve Howells' northeast Grand Rapids garage and a spare bedroom. Since then, Howells and his partner and brother Mark Howells, have moved the warehouse to increasingly larger facilities on the city's west side.

Now the duo have relocated 100,000 of their used books (the ones already online) to 7,000 square feet of the Kingsley Building's (Lake Dr. SE and Robinson Rd.) second floor, another estimated one million unsorted, uncategorized books to the fifth floor, and plan to open a used book shop on the main level, says Steve Howells.

Howells hopes the shop, which will be less than half a block from well-established bibliophile haunts Argos Books (1405 Robinson Rd. SE) and Redux Books (1349 Lake Dr. SE), will make Eastown the "used book central for West Michigan."

"Our intent is not to compete with what they're doing, but to complement them," he says. "Hopefully, there'll be a synergy between us that will bring a lot of bookphiles to that area."

Howells has been in and out of the book sales industry for over three decades, having owned Lantern Book and Bible House in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, which he sold to Family Christian Stores, and having worked for Zondervan in the 1970s.

He says Icapsa Used Books sells on every major book website, including Amazon, Alibris, Biblio.com and Barnes & Noble. The store ships an average of 75 books per day.

The walk-in store, however, will have 1,700-square-feet of display space and will feature a large section of children's books, one of Icapsa's biggest selling categories.

While no opening date has been set, Howells hopes to have the store ready by March 1.

Source: Steve Howells, Icapsa Used Books
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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