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Second act underway for The Paperback Encore

Former owner Lois Spizzirri (left) and new owner Matt Coyle were at Paperback Encore on Wednesday in Sandwich.
Former owner Lois Spizzirri (left) and new owner Matt Coyle were at Paperback Encore on Wednesday in Sandwich.

SANDWICH – Thanks to a longtime customer, a staple of the business community in Sandwich will continue.

Matt Coyle has browsed used bookstores for years, long before you could find them on the Internet, and he remembers when The Paperback Encore first opened.

“I come from a family of collectors,” Coyle said. “My family came down here [from Aurora] to camp and we always went to her bookstore. I even remember when she opened. She had a little store in a flower shop.”

Lois Spizzirri and her friend Else Otero opened the store Aug. 1, 1976, in the lower level of the Village Square Mall in Sandwich.

Spizzirri and Otero already had worked together before as volunteers, Spizzirri said.

“She suggested we go into business and make some money,” Spizzirri said. “We visited all the used bookstores in the area to get ideas, and we finally found a space we could afford.”

Last year, Spizzirri decided it was time to retire, just as Coyle was looking for a new challenge.

When his mother and sister told him the bookstore was closing, Coyle, a web designer who had never dreamed of owning a bookstore, decided to look into it.

“If someone didn’t buy the store, it would close,” he said. “I just hated the idea that a business that had been open for 37 years would just close.”

The shop opened with 2,000 books, including some the women “sacrificed” from their personal collections and 1,000 they bought at an estate sale.

Over the years, the store moved to larger locations as its inventory expanded.

After 10 years, Otero retired, leaving Spizzirri to run the store at Main and Central streets for 20 years before settling into its present location at 110-112 Terry St. five years ago. Coyle, of Sheridan, said the store’s inventory now numbers about 100,000 books.

“I didn’t ask for a book count,” he said with a laugh. “And I didn’t want to count them all. They’re not all on display.”

Although he is keeping the basics the same, Coyle has instituted a few changes at the store. Customers can still buy used books and can trade in their old books for credit, he said, but the store will have expanded hours, including evening hours twice a week.

Coyle is also adding a book locator service, which he said will help customers find the book they’re looking for even if his store doesn’t have it in stock.

“I feel bad when I don’t have something someone is looking for,” he said.

The Paperback Encore
110-112 Terry St., Sandwich
815-786-8175 or

New hours:

Monday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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