In the age of Amazon and digital reading devices, traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores were, at one point, becoming a thing of the past. Luckily, due to the demand of readers in Texas, several independent bookstores have emerged or stayed strong, offering their small towns and booming cities alike the chance to peruse through rows of bookshelves, finding the one their heart desires. Stay tuned for an extended list of bookstores in the Lone Star State coming in our print issue Fall 2020. Until then, enjoy this collection of interesting and authentic bookstores that provide pre-loved books and enjoyable reading experiences.
The Book Haus – New Braunfels, Texas
Newly opened, The Book Haus of New Braunfels offers book worms a variety of new and pre-loved publications to get their hands on. The owner, Sabrina Caldwell, opened the bookstore back in April of 2018. Since then, the owner has made it her mission to spread her love of reading in the New Braunfels area.
At The Book Haus, readers can expect to find an array of genres to choose from. Just like any hobby, reading frequently and purchasing several books can add up. With daily deals, readers can continue their love for reading without worrying too much about the cost. The Book Haus offers a buy one get one 50 percent off deal on Tuesdays, 20 percent off non-fiction pieces on Wednesdays, all cookbooks and hobby books receive 15 percent discount on Thursdays, and another buy one get one 50 percent off option on Fridays for all adult fiction novels. The weekend specials include $1 children’s books on Saturday and 15 percent off religious books on Sunday. Book lovers with an abundance of novels in their collection can bring books of their choice in, and The Book Haus will apply the credit toward their purchase.
With a variety of events to attend, there is always something happening at the new bookstore including interactive workshops to children’s storytimes and creative arts sessions. The bookstore also hosts author visits of all genres. True book worms can reserve the shop for private events like birthday parties or social gatherings. Don’t forget to grab a hot cup of joe from their free coffee bar! Stay up to date with the book shop’s featured artists, events, and author visits by visiting the website. The Book Haus New Braunfels is open to readers of all ages every day of the week except Monday.
Interabang Books – Dallas, Texas
At Interabang Books, the ever-present quest for knowledge is encouraged. The Dallas bookstore opened its doors in the summer of 2017, becoming a source of intellectual discovery that their interesting logo (a question mark combined with an exclamation point) represents.
Owner Nancy Perot and co-owner Lori Feathers have invested their love of reading into the store. Perot, who traces her passion for books back to her mother, places an emphasis on cultivating growth in the community as well as supporting local literary efforts. For Feathers, the Pennsylvania native recalls how Saturday afternoons after a library visit with her mother felt: full of excitement and potential.
The two business owners supply Interabang with over 12,000 titles to choose from, all handpicked with purpose. The independent bookstore offers readers more than just books to take home. Hardcore book fanatics can even become members of Interabang’s Signed First Editions Club. Members will receive a new copy of the bookstore’s monthly selection signed by each respective author. The books vary every week, from non-fiction, fiction, debut writers, and award-winning authors. The bookstore also has a kid’s club called Modern First Library. The club combines the old with the new and creates a master list of what is trending in children’s books.
If readers are looking for more interactive ways to be involved, Interabang has its very own book club. Organized by readership, the book club and young adult (for people ages 15 and up) clubs hold open discussions on their monthly books. The bookstore even produced its own podcast! Readers can listen to audio episodes available on Apple’s iTunes focusing on reviewing new or impactful books and the significance of themes discussed throughout. The bookstore has truly made a bang in the Dallas community.
Leaves Book and Tea Shop – Fort Worth, Texas
Who said all book lovers drink coffee? Located in Fort Worth, Leaves Book and Tea Shop offers a stimulating and engaging experience. The independent bookstore, which opened during the fall of 2018, was born out of necessity when owner Tina Howard realized a local Barnes & Noble would be closing its doors for good. The business owner recognized the opportunity at hand. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News Howard said she wished to craft “some sort of community gathering space where we can connect people.”
Leaves Book and Tea Shop differs from other independent bookstores. Howard and her husband Todd, a co-owner of the bookstore, hope to invite deeper conversation and human connection within the artfully designed walls of the tea shop. Unlike other stores, genres collide as books are organized by topic. But for this bookstore, it is not about how many first editions or bestsellers are flying off the shelves. The shop carries a select number of titles for readers: approximately 250 books. The bookstore also values the local Fort Worth authors, placing their works on the designated tree bookshelf.
The shop has over 50 tea options for readers and/or tea drinkers can taste, served both hot and iced. Leaves Book and Tea Shop hosts tea-related events.
Additionally, the bookstore schedules interesting weekly, monthly, and annual events for readers to attend in store. The store’s business book club, Booked, meets every first Tuesday of the month, and the Used Book Swap encourages readers to bring up to 20 of their pre-loved books in quality condition to receive a one-to-one credit while shopping. For Harry Potter fanatics, the Harry Potter Read-Aloud occurs in October, where the entire first book of J.K. Rowling’s series is spoken by several community members. The book and tea shop is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Booked Up Inc. – Archer City, Texas
What began on a corner in Georgetown, Washington D.C. in 1971, ended up in Archer City, Texas almost 50 years later. Booked Up Inc. is home to a plethora of titles, covers, and editions collected by Texas author, Larry McMurtry. The Archer City-native is most famously known for his fiction works that highlighted the Texas western cowboy culture. These works include The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, and Lonesome Dove. The latter, a 1985 Western novel series, won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1986. The esteemed author continued to produce twenty-nine novels, over thirty screenplays, two essay collections, and three memoirs.
While his initial store thrived on the East Coast for over 20 years and inspired the opening of other Booked Up Inc. locations in Houston, Dallas, and Arizona, the store finally settled its roots back in the author’s home town. Settled on Main Street in Archer City, the bookstore offers readers fine, rare, and scholarly books, with an inventory of up to 200,000. Many customers travel far and wide to search through the vast bookshelves of the notable author’s continuous collection. This bookstore’s new arrivals may look different than the latest publishings. Many of these books are older, worn in collector’s items. Nonetheless, novels to be treasured for another lifetime.
Eager readers can visit Booked Up Inc. from Thursday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more one on one time with the vast collection of books, guests can reserve appointments from Monday through Wednesday.
Brazos Bookstore – Houston, Texas
At the age of 29, Karl Kilian opened the Brazos Bookstore hoping it would promote literacy in Houston. He focused on quality customer service, intentional curation, and community involvement. The bookstore attracted the likes of the late novelist Donald Barthelme and playwright Edward Albee. Fellow bookstore owner, Larry McMurtry, was a frequent visitor and supporter of Brazos Bookstore.
In 2006, Kilian received bittersweet news: while attempting to sell Brazos Bookstore, the long time book-lover was named director of the Menil Collection, an art museum in Houston. In an effort to sustain the literary life source, a group of fans and philanthropists came together to own Brazos Bookstore. The list of Houstonians who collectively purchased the bookstore includes investor Edward R. Allen III, president of Inprint! Sis Johnson, and eleven other passionate fans. Now over a decade later, Brazos Bookstore is still owned by the group of individuals who saved it.
Brazos Bookstore aims to be a center for creatives to foster their writing craft as well as a place to nurture their love of reading, connecting individuals with moving pieces of work and each other. To do so, the bookstore has worked closely with several organizations, Rice University, Asia Society Texas, and the Houston Public Library to name a few, as they promote the numerous literary events hosted. Events include author readings, book clubs organized by ages, and community events. Gloria Steinem, Ernest Gaines, and several Texas authors were previous guests, graced readers with their literary presence. Now, many more creatives and potential Texas authors have the same opportunity, as the Brazos Bookstore is open.