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Hastings' Shaps Sells Books Online Via Magna Libris

Hastings online book store owner Jaek Shaps and some of his stock of current and rare books.
Hastings online book store owner Jaek Shaps and some of his stock of current and rare books. Photo Credit: Jake Shaps

HASTINGS-IN-HUDSON, N.Y. - A young veteran of a dying independent bookstore business, Hastings' Jake Shaps has found a way to market new and used books through his online book store Magna Libris.

"Magna Libris is an all online bookstore since brick and mortar independent (stores) don’t last unless you own the building and in New York City that is just hard to do," said Shaps, who worked in several book stores  including the now defunct Good Yarns in Hastings and Borders Books and Music. "(Magna Libris) sells new, used, rare and out-of-print books to people who love, need and want to read great books."

Shaps, 23, opened his online business after Good Yarns closed in 2009. A  member of the U.S. Coast Guard for three years, he had to drop out of college 10 credits short because his GI bill and salary as an overnight waiter at a diner didn't cover his expenses.

"In order to get out of being homeless I started selling books, which led to a roof over my head, one book sale at a time," said Shaps. "The business grew very fast and than fell apart because I was working solo and in college. I shut it down for six months, did research on how to make it better and it took off bigger than ever before."

Shaps said typical sales include current New York Times bestsellers and art books, which Magnus said he sells  at the lowest market prices. He stocks more than 2,000 new and used books as well as rare and out of print hardcover and paperback books.

"The most unusual sales was a request for us to find a first edition first printing of "The Hobbit," Shaps said. "By sheer luck, I found one on a library book sale book cart."

Shaps, who also works at Clockwork Records selling vintage vinyl albums, calls his Magna Libris business, "Your local and reliable bookstore with an always-open online storefront staffed by people who are there for you." For more on Magna Libris or to purchase books, log on to the website links for the bookstore and the rare books link.


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