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Trade and buy at By the Books

December 09, 1997

Trade and buy at By the Books

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Books, paperback and hardcover, are floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall in By the Books, a used bookstore in downtown Waynesboro.

Walls of books create rooms that are filled with books. Shelves line the hallways. There isn't a square foot of wasted space, yet it doesn't make a browser feel claustrophobic.

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Ask for a particular title or author and chances are owner Russell Morningstar or his wife, Shauna, both 20, can walk right to it.

"If not, I'll come close," Russell Morningstar said.

Russell Morningstar is a full-time student at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, where he is studying history. His wife is a part-time legal secretary in Hagerstown.

Their respective hours working in the bookstore constitute a full-time job between them.

The store at 38 E. Main St. is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

It was opened seven years ago by Russell Morningstar's parents.

He and his wife took over the store a year ago when his parents moved to Hawaii "to take some time off so my dad could write a book," he said.

His father, Albert Morningstar, was an attorney in Frederick, Md., and a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates from Frederick County, Md.

"He's had some short stories published, but never a book," Russell Morningstar said. He said his father hopes to publish a romance novel first, then work on historic or suspense novels.

"Romance novels are the easiest to get published, so he hopes to get his foot in the door that way," Russell Morningstar said.

He said his parents hope to return to the area one day and take back the bookstore.

He will probably go to law school when they return, he said.

The store buys used books for cash, trades and sells them, Shauna Morningstar said.

Best-sellers are general fiction, Civil War and romance books, she said.

The store's inventory includes fiction, nonfiction, reference, biographies, classics, how-to books, books on war, cookbooks, science fiction, law, business, religion, sex, history and poetry - something for nearly every reader's taste.

Browsing is encouraged.

It's not unusual for a customer to spend two and three hours browsing, then take an armful of books to the counter, Shauna Morningstar said.

She said she is impressed by the number of local teenagers who come into the store, many with books to trade.

"People still do a lot of reading," Shauna Morningstar said.

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