Classics Bookstore Updates


Be a member of the Friends of Classics FB group and I will send you exclusive deals like rainy/snowy day discounts of 20% and 30%.  I will post them there, (or let me know and I will email them to you directly).

You can find the FB group here.


11 members of the Trenton community took to the streets to talk about the Trenton businesses that they love. 26 community favorite businesses were featured in eleven videos. Check them out here!

This video contest is part of the City Hall’’s Division of Economic Development’s Shop Trenton campaign.


In the past year, there has been a lot of activity near Classics.  There are lots more eating choices before and after you buy your book!  Starbucks opened up at the corner of Warren and Front.  The 1911 Smokehouse Barbecue on Front Street is expanding (try their sweet Asian chile wings).  The Big Easy returned (try the Barundi).  The Bowl Inspired Grill opened.  Capital Smiles Dental opened. 
Plus your regular favorites Sunrise Luncheonette, Hummingbird Jamaican, Checkers (voted best burger), the State Barber Shop (you need to say hi to Joe), Subway, Columbus Pizza, Healthy Blend (smoothies and wraps) and, of course, Classics Books!  More are on the way; stay tuned!

Video Contest and a Reward for People who Support Independent Authors


Please help judge these videos!

Eight creative geniuses created videos about Classics Books. They are competing for prizes. Please check them out at under the CONTEST playlist and “like” the ones you like. The video with the most likes (on the Classics channel) wins prizes!


Help Classics support local authors!  Buy 4 books by Classics authors from Classics in 2017 and get a $20 gift certificate for used and rare books at Classics!  Reply to this email for a complete list.

Classics support of independent writers

Classics does several things to support independent writers that other bookstores do not.

During scheduled book signings,

  • independent authors keep 100% of their revenue.  Classics does not take a commission.
  • Classics invites local vloggers to capture interviews on video.

Classics authors promote that their books are on consignment at Classics and support one another.

In return, Classics

  • promotes Classics authors on social media and links to their website.
  • offers rewards for customers who purchase from independent authors. Buy 4 books by Classics authors from Classics in a given year and get a $20 gift certificate for used and rare books at Classics.
  • hosts a local authors book club, where the club chooses local authors to read and discuss.

Neighborhood News July 2016

Two exciting changes gone on in the neighborhood.

The 1911 Smokehouse Barbeque has opened up on Front Street.  Any Classics regulars who like good barbeque need to visit next time you are browsing the stacks.  I recommend the barbeque garlic sauce, though they have eleven different sauces from which to choose.  They also have the C Rock special (one rib and a sip of Coke for $1.49) which is hysterical.  Plus, if the wind is blowing right, you can smell brisket in the smoker from the bookstore.

Maxine’s has new owners and is now called South Rio.  The food is quite good and they did a great job on the interior.  You should pop in and welcome them to the neighborhood as well.


2015 Books at Home Report

In 2015, the Trenton Books at Home Program distributed $5,909 worth of books to Trenton students.

The Books at Home Program provides free books to Trenton kids. Studies show that when kids have more books in their home, they do better in school—no matter how much they are struggling. You can see one such study from 2010 as published in Science Daily here

Books were handed out with the help of the Learning Lab of Trenton, UIH, DYFS family reading room, Ida’s neighborhood book club, PJ Hill, Green Acres and Life Gate Assembly Church.

If you would like to arrange for books to be made available to your Trenton youth group, contact me at


Every fourth Saturday I come here, from Philadelphia, to play Scrabble. After I take Septa to Trenton, Barbara – our well-known Classics fixture – picks me up and drives me the short mile. Classics is such a friendly place! Somebody always brings in Scrabble food, or we go to that little outdoor place around the corner and across the street. Sometimes, to start out, Barbara and I are the only ones here, but soon other friends arrive. Barbara knows their names; I don’t. Little by little, though, I’m beginning to recognize people and things about them. I know, e.g., that John is, like me, a writer and, like me, has written memoir. On “Scrabble day” Classics is like a little commune; it’s everybody’s home. I assume it’s that way all week.

There are going to be two serendipities in this post. The first involves how I came to know about Classics. Well, first I came to know Barbara. Meeting her was itself serendipitous. About eight years ago my friend Susan and I were playing our weekly Scrabble game – or two or three… — in Starbucks on 10th and Chestnut in, yes, Philadelphia. Along came two friendly strangers, interested in watching our game. By the next game, they had joined in. They also joined in the next week, and the next, and the next.

And so began our Scrabble group — Barbara, Bruce, Susan, and me — meeting at that same Starbucks. This went on for several years until life evolved and Barbara got involved with Classics. Now we join her there, for Scrabble. (Barbara and I also sometimes meet for thrift-shopping, usually in Trenton.)

And then something serendipitous happened for my life as a poet/writer! I’m a mathprof and also the author of several books, poetry and memoir (one book about my passion for math), published mostly by small presses. Like many poets/writers, I have almost as many unpublished books as published. And like many poets/writers, I’m always on the lookout for (A) places to do featured readings (as opposed to open mics) and (B) publishers for unpublished books.

It wasn’t long before Barbara invited me to do a featured reading at Classics. And I never dreamed that a small bookstore reading, in a town over an hour from where I live and where nobody but Barbara and Classics knows me, could lead to so much! After Barbara, and then Eric’s, invitation about two years ago I did one Classics reading, attended by about ten people (and sold more books than I often sell at readings). Then, about a year later, when a new chapbook of mine was released – Parables for a Rainy Day – I did another.

Eric, by the way, is one of the kindest poetry reading coordinators I have encountered. And I’ve encountered many, most of whom you have to email more than once, indeed more than twice, in order to get an answer to a reading query, and many of whom consent to schedule you and then forget about it, and many of whom actually do schedule you and then forget about it. Not Eric! Eric gets back to you right away – give him a day or two – with a reading date. So I, like many, very much appreciate Eric.

At my own second Classics reading about a year ago – again, in this small town that barely knows me – something happened that’s every writer’s dream. At that reading was an actual talent scout! Elizabeth – another familiar figure around Classics – runs a press called Red Dashboard and she was at the reading looking for authors. And then – again, every writer’s dream – she heard me read and invited me to submit a book manuscript – not a chapbook, mind you, but full-length. No reading fees! No fees of any kind! (So many presses, small and large, charge anything from five to twenty-five dollars to accompany the submission of a manuscript). Of course I sent Elizabeth a manuscript right away, probably as soon as I got home from the reading.

At that time my books totaled 21, with the possibility (which did pan out) of finally placing the sequel memoir to Dirty Details: The Days and Nights of a Well Spouse (Temple University Press) being released by a small press, Unlimited Publishing. (That memoir is titled Still the End: Memoir of a Nursing Home Wife.) Of course, I was thrilled to have the sequel memoir published, but I still had many poems, both new and backlog, uncollected in books. So I was very happy when Elizabeth emailed me back, after a not very long wait, with an acceptance for my 23rd book (Lights I Have Loved).

Only at Classics has such a thing happened to me, or perhaps to anybody! In my almost-forty years as a serious writer, I’ve found publishers – and I always have to search anew – at book fairs, open mics, and mostly by hard-core sending out queries to people I never met and vice versa. Only at Classics does a book fall into my lap!

Find out more about Marion Cohen on her website:



Classics News

Barbara Keogh, reigning Scrabble Champion and artist, became a US citizen Friday May 29!

Though we give free books to kids all the time, we recently gave an inordinately large number of books (18 boxes) to the DYFS visitation room for kids to take home.

The First Capital City Book Fair, run by Jon Gordon and Iana Dikidjieva, was a great success–70 vendors (authors, bookstores and small publishers) and two full days of events, including Pultizer Prize winners Yusef Komunyakaa and Chris Hedges.

The Times of Trenton wrote up a nice article about us.  You can read it here:

Book Stalagmite

Capital City Book Fair

Join us May 1 and 2nd for the Capital City Book Fair!

Features include

Book Market with 50+ authors, publishers and bookstores running along the street from Classics Books to Mill Hill Park. Chris Hedges on The Wages of Rebellion. Jenna Pizzi on her Pork Roll Cookbook. A screening of Standing on my Sister’s Shoulders about the Mississippi civil rights movement. Guerrilla haiku. Kimmie Carlos. Clifford Zink on the Roebling Legacy. Poetry slam. Scrabble. A film festival under the stars. Books and Barbeque. Writing workshop. Papermaking. Open Mic. Book repurposing. Step teams. A literary bike tour.

For times and specifics, visit the Book Fair web page at

10 Years in Trenton

In 2005, Classics Books came to Trenton, successfully recruited by the Trenton Downtown Association (TDA), when part of its mission was to recruit retail businesses.  Matt Bergheiser, then Executive Director of the TDA, led a burst of growth on South Warren.  In this time period, empty dirt lots and gutted buildings were turned into buildings that now house delis and the AT&T store and a yoga studio.  The Zagat’s rated Italian restaurant Settimo Cielo came to Front Street.  And Classics Books came to town.

Classics started as part of a TDA co-op on South Warren, expanded to take over the entire space and eventually moved to its current location, across from the hotel, at 4 West Lafayette.

In those ten years, Classics has dealt in metric tons of books–cookbooks, poetry, fiction, history, science, classic literature, art, science fiction, kids books.  It sold top-of-the-line first editions like The Cat in the Hat and leather bound Shaker histories.  It has hosted book clubs, and Peoples and Stories, and poetry open mics.  They supported authors–from neighborhood Shakespeares to Pultizer Prize winning Yusef Komunyakaa.  They printed the Trenton Review, hosted booksignings and sponsored the 2008 Trenton Book Fair.

In those ten years, they played Scrabble on 520 Friday nights–each night until midnight in the heart of Trenton.  They played Cards against Humanity, the Name Game and Civilization.  They knitted, and origamied, and discussed urban development.  They hosted the filming of music videos, mayoral hopeful meet and greets, jazz bands, rock bands and belly dancers.

In those ten years, they distributed over 25,000 books to Trenton kids free of charge, through the Books at Home program, because having books in your home has a dramatic effect on how long kids stay in school and how well they do.

In those ten years, people made good friends, found jobs, found publishers, supported local businesses, built a life, built a community.

Classics in ten years old in April.  To celebrate, one party didn’t seem like enough.

  • April 4 from 2 pm to 6 pm, poet Todd Evans, host of the Capital City Open Mic, will host a poetry marathon with poets and musicians from all over Mercer County featuring poets Janelle T. Harvey and Jay Knives.  FREE event.  50% off all poetry books.
  • April 10 from 6 pm to midnight, the Trenton Scrabble Club will have a Scrabble party with prizes for every winner.  All skill levels are welcome.  FREE event.  50% off all used and rare books.
  • April 11 from 12 noon to 2 pm, the Trenton Knit and Stitch will toast community and creativity.  FREE event.  50% off all craft books.
  • April 18 from 12 noon to 4 pm, the Trenton Party Games Coalition will break out Cards Against Humanity, Trivial Pursuit, Headbandz and the Name Game.  FREE event.  50% off all used board games.
  • May 1 and 2, the Capital City Book Fair will line the streets with up to 100 authors and bookstores from Classics Books on one end to Mill Hill Park on the other.  For more information, visit!/pages/Capital-City-Book-Fair/450123515140208.

Happy 10th Birthday Classics!

2014 Books at Home Report

In 2014, the Trenton Books at Home Program distributed $4326 worth of books to Trenton students.


The Books at Home Program provides free books to Trenton kids. Studies show that when kids have more books in their home, they do better in school—no matter how much they are struggling. You can see one such study from 2010 as published in Science Daily here


Books were handed out with the help of the African American Pride Festival, the Carver Community Center, Ida Malloy’s neighborhood reading program, Isles Youth Build, BOYD, Children’s Futures, Kelli Mitchell’s Hoagies for the Homeless, the Butterfly Effect, Razor Sharp Barber Shop, the Capital City Community Coalition’s, Westminster’s GetSet program, Planned Parenthood, and teachers from Jefferson, Hedgepath, Paul Robeson, Trenton High School West, and the Foundation Academy.


Current major supporters include donors honoring the loving memory of Lois Dowey, The I Am Trenton Community Foundation, Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson, Home Rubber, and Children’s Futures.