mission of the midtown scholar bookstore


The Midtown Scholar is the largest academic used bookstore in Pennsylvania. Our Harrisburg warehouse and shop together stock over 1 million books! Over the past decade, we have sold tens of thousands of books to students, professors, librarians, and countless other satisfied customers in more than forty countries.


We are committed to being a socially responsible, family-run business. We seek to provide quality books at reasonable prices with the highest possible level of service. To highlight and support the creative arts, we offer exhibit space in our Yellow Wall Gallery to artists and photographers with minimal commission, just as we stock select works by regional poets, writers, and musicians.

We believe in valuing our workers’ whole lives and extended families and are honored to have been named one of the “Best Places to Work” in central Pennsylvania. We recognize that a culturally diverse workforce with strong connections to the surrounding urban community is essential, and we understand that our company’s future success depends on the satisfaction and commitment of those whom we are fortunate enough to employ.

We feel strongly that reading and intellectual inquiry are necessary for an informed citizenry and that the bonds of community are immeasurably strengthened and enriched when public spaces are dedicated to artistic expression and the life of the mind. The sale of scholarly books, while fully compatible with our deeply held ideals of social justice, is ultimately but a means of achieving our larger, transformative goals for society.


We are personally dedicated to urban historic preservation and to Midtown Harrisburg's ongoing cultural renaissance. In 2002 we restored a severely blighted, long-vacant but historic property as our retail bookstore. We have actively encouraged other businesses to locate in the North Third and Reily Street area. We host Midtown’s annual outdoor community book sale, in which local non-profit groups sell books as a fundraising activity. Past participants have included the Central Pennsylvania Literacy Council, the Friends of the Harrisburg Downtown Library, the Friends of the Harrisburg Uptown Library, and Friends of Midtown.

As devotees of civic and public art, we are honored to have sponsored Harrisburg's finest mural project. Stephen Fieser's Sunset at Riverfront Park originally graced the side of our first bookstore, with scenes of people past and present along the banks of the Susquehanna River. Now the mural forms a dramatic backdrop for browsers in our new, expanded shop. 


We seek to be catalysts of Midtown Harrisburg’s ongoing transformation into a regional artistic and cultural center.  In August 2009, we completed the rehabilitation of one of the district's most prominent mercantile buildings, formerly home to Fissel's Antiques (since the 1980s), Greenberg's Boston Store (from the 1950s), and the historic Broad Theatre (in the 1920s and '30s).  Our renovations incorporate 6 levels of books, a full-service coffeehouse and upstairs lounge, art-gallery and meeting spaces, and two performance stages with full-scale sound and lighting systems.  In the coming months, the Bookstore will launch a series of lectures, book talks, and “conversations” by the nation’s leading cultural critics. We seek to become the destination-of-choice for prominent authors, progressive thinkers, and African-American and Latino scholars. We look forward to providing a regular meeting spot for groups that wish to discuss compelling and controversial works, from Jane Jacob’s The Life and Death of American Cities to Arundhati Roy’s An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire. As a premier acoustic-music venue, the Bookstore is again regularly hosting singer-songwriters and is available to other musical acts, community theater groups, and local non-profit organizations.

During Harrisburg’s 2007 elections, the Bookstore also hosted a series of evening conversations with City Council candidates, in order to disseminate information about them and thereby create a more informed electorate. Each of our endeavors and community partnerships is accomplished through the dedicated efforts of the entire Midtown Scholar team!


We take great pains to describe our books accurately and package them securely. We always reply to our email and will do our very best to answer all your questions. As a result, in the past five years, satisfied customers have left tens of thousands of positive feedback comments for us on Amazon, Ebay, and Half.com. Our sales through Abebooks, Alibris, and other online book sites have consistently resulted in positive e-commerce experiences.


for example: 
Harrisburg chapter of Habitat for Humanity
Harrisburg Area Community College
the art program at B"nai B'rith Apartments
St. Stephens’ Episcopal Church and School
Historic Harrisburg Association
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Central PA
Friends of the Harrisburg Downtown Library
Friends of Messiah College’s Murray Library
United Brethren Church For All People
Bethesda Mission
Susquehanna Folk Music Society
Friends of Midtown
and many others.


"Extraordinarily fast, courteous service, very nice book!"
"The best period. Best price, service, and the packing was A++++++++++++"
"FANTASTIC! The best Z-shop merchant I've ever encountered! Highly Recommend!"
"The finest service imaginable: extremely quick turn-around, exactly as promised."
"This is surely one of the best used bookstores on the web--or off it."