Monday, September 9, 2013

Wordcraft -- Indie bookstores live in North Texas

A Facebook friend sent me a post about a bookseller’s West Coast vacation visiting independent bookstores. So I wondered -- are there enough indie bookstores in North Texas to populate a blog post? Turns out there are enough for more than one post, all within a half day’s drive or less. I’ll start with the east side of the state and work west to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and beyond in later posts.

Along the I-20/I-80 corridor, I located three independent bookstores in Tyler, one from goggling “indie bookstores” and two by bookseller word of mouth.

-- Fireside Books, 110 East Houston St., Tyler. This is located near downtown, half a block east of Tyler’s main street, Broadway Avenue. Proprietor James Leath also provided a copy of the Texas Booksellers Association’s membership guide, which I’ll use to track down more sellers. Fireside is open 11 p.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday. Its stock includes vintage and collectible books, with a selection of Texana and Americana. For Leath, the joy is “finding the book.” I bought two vintage volumes of Albert Payson Terhune dog stories, one with dust jacket, paying while Leath chatted about the books’ local provenance. For more information, including more detailed directions, contact him at 903-593-3611 or
www.firesidebookstyler.com/.

-- Once & Again Books, 4558 S. Broadway Avenue (French Quarter Shopping Center at Broadway and Loop 323). Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Wide ranging selections, space upfront selection for new books as well as plenty of used ones. This shop specializes in school reading lists, and has an extensive selection of recent children’s and YA titles. I bought a gardening picture book, lovely to contemplate indoors while outdoor temperatures rage at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Contact them at 903-939-3800 or www.onceagainbooks.com/.

-- The Pea Picker Bookstore, 2803 University Boulevard (just off Loop 323). The selection of romance volumes at this shop near the University of Texas at Tyler campus is truly, jaw-droppingly amazing. However, it actually “specializes in everything,” says proprietor Jon Johnson, including a section of new books. Hours are 9:30 - 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. I lost track of time and browsed until closing, buying an early Elizabeth Peters archeological mystery, Alfred Lansing’s nonfiction story of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, and an Illustrated Classics version of Treasure Island for my elementary school age grandsons. See  www.PeaPickerBooks.com/.

Continuing east along the I-80/I-20 corridor, I reached Gladewater. Don’t be put off by the drab Highway 80 entry to this little town. Gladewater has a lovely antiques district, including a bookstore.

-- Gladewater Books, 109 E. Pacific Avenue. This is at the intersection of North Main and Pacific, about three blocks south of Upshur Avenue (Highway 80). It’s open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday. (Website may not reflect current hours.) Proprietors Betty DeRieux and Peter Adams have turned an antique building -- the pressed tin ceiling alone is worth a look -- into a store specializing in used books, toys and ephemera, with emphasis on the books. Extensive selections of science fiction, among other offerings. A couple of cautions -- they don’t take trades and currently only accept cash. Adams, on duty when I dropped by, says they may consider accepting credit/debit cards in the future. For now, be prepared to visit a nearby ATM. The store fronts an area that becomes an open air market during the East to West coast Historic US 80 Hi-Way sale each spring and fall. I bought a hardback copy of Tanith Lee’s Black Unicorn with dust jacket. Contact the store at 903-845-4843 or
www.gladewaterbooks.com/.

(For more pictures from these stores, see my "to everything a season" board at www.pinterest.com/.

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