The classics section at Wendy R Bookery & Gifts, located north of the Square in Lockhart. Photos by Celeste Cook
Tess Coody-Anders, owner of Pecantown Books & Brew, located in the historic district of downtown Seguin.
The Nowhere Bookshop in San Antonio features a variety of books representing diverse authors and voices.
The writing on the wall at Nowhere Bookshop in San Antonio says it all. Photo by Celeste Cook
Where the Books Are
Over time, populations shift and change. We know this, because we see it happening right here in our town. San Marcos has always been a place to adapt with the changes, pivoting from its agrarian mill-town roots to a college town and then a tourist destination with the addition of the outlet malls.
As the world changes, some cherished mainstays get lost by the wayside. Local businesses such as Paper Bear, Hastings and the latest, Half Price Books, which closed its doors earlier this summer. San Marcos is now a city with a massive Amazon fulfillment center, but it no longer has an independently-owned shop for books.
Fear not, however, because independent bookstores are making a comeback, and there are several dotted around the Hill Country that warrant a literary daytrip.
First up and closest to home is Pecantown Books & Brews in the neighboring town of Seguin. Located at 212 S. Camp St., Pecantown occupies a lemon-yellow house in the historic district, right off the main square. In addition to books, the shop features locally-grown food, wine and all-Texas craft beers, making it as much a social destination as it is a haven for book lovers.
“Our mission is to foster productive collisions,” said shop owner Tess Coody-Anders. “These are not things you can achieve with an algorithm online. People connect over books and great food more than they ever could online.”
Manager Hannah Perry said Pecantown has become a social hub where people can come together. “It’s been amazing for the community,” Perry said. “Getting people excited about reading. We are going through books so quickly, especially the children’s section. Plus, we curate. We’re putting orders in for people, to bring that extra mile.”
See Pecantown Books & Brews website at pecantownbooks.com/ for information, including staff picks, events, menus and hours of operation.
With so many local businesses, this face-to-face interaction has been a welcome paradigm shift in the post-Covid world. More than ever, people crave that interpersonal connection, and are willing to travel beyond a webpage interface to get it.
Nowhere Bookshop employee Paul Taylor summed it up with these words: “There are a lot of book people out there that don’t mind taking an afternoon trip to the bookstore.”
Further afield from Seguin, but well worthy of the hour-long drive, is the Nowhere Bookshop, located at 5154 Broadway in San Antonio. Owned by Texas-born author and humorist, Jenny Lawson, the Nowhere Bookshop features new books, author events and quirky, unique gifts. The Nowhere Bookshop is named for that feeling a person gets when they’re lost in a good book, and as such, it aims to be a safe space for diverse people to gather and share their passion for the written word. Nowhere Bookshop has an online book club as well as face-to-face book events. The shop is planning to open a wine, coffee and beer bar in the future. To learn more about the Nowhere Bookstop, visit their website at nowherebookshop.com/
For a true adventure into book world, one only needs to drive as far as Lockhart. Half an hour away from San Marcos, Lockhart boasts not one but three bookstores on its Square, including Best Little Wine & Books, the Golden Hour Book Nook and Wendy R. Bookery & Gifts. Best Little Wine & Books, located at 210 W. San Antonio St. in Lockhart, specializes in wine and cookbooks. Golden Hour Book Nook buys and sells used books on commission as well as vintage records and clothing.
Then there is Wendy R., owned by former speech therapist and educator Wendy Ramsey. Ramsey has been in her present location at 105 N. Main in Lockhart for 13 years, but as the town changed, Ramsey changed with it, shifting focus in February from a mix of gifts and clothing to books.
“As the town evolved, we changed,” Ramsey explained. “People started coming from Austin, and indie bookstores are making a comeback. All of the sudden Lockhart started coming to life, and Lockhart has always been a very accepting town. So we closed for a month and reopened with books. It’s been an interesting little evolution.”
Like with Pecantown and the Nowhere Bookshop, Ramsey relies on community interaction to inform her selection of books. Ramsey has a notebook at the ready filled with scribbled book titles, recommendations from her customers which she eagerly shares with others.
“People will come in and say, ‘Oh you need more of this genre, or you need more of this kind of book,’” Ramsey said. “So I’m curating each section as I go.”
Ramsey does not hesitate to sit with her customers in her colorful, overstuffed sofa to hold long, pleasant conversations, starting with books and meandering through a variety of subjects.
This is the type of personalization and community that book lovers crave, and as the times have begun to change, these bookstores are rising to meet it.
To learn more about Wendy R. Bookery & Gifts, search for her on Facebook at Wendy R Bookery and Gifts, or call 512-787-6067.
“People connect over books and great food more than they ever could online.”
— Tess Coody-Anders, Pecantown Books & Brew