Budget, Kids

The Largest Indie Bookstore in the Lone Star State

June 4, 2012 by

BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas

Known primarily for its live music scene, ever-abundant food trailers and general air of hipster cool (pro tip: just don’t call the hipsters “hipsters” to their faces), Austin, Texas is arguably America’s fastest-growing boomtown, at least in popularity if not actual population.

Popping up on various media outlets’ top ten lists as one of the best cities in which to be single, raise a family, launch a startup, and just plain live, part of the town’s infectious and conversation-worthy charm is its genuine curiosity about everyone and everything.

Its musical roots, hippie sensibilities and Southern hospitality blend together to form an atmosphere full of of open-ended questions about the world around it, so it’s no surprise that the capital city also boasts the largest independent bookstore in the entire state of Texas.

BookPeople in Austin, Texas

The literary gem known as BookPeople was founded in 1970 and has been consistently voted Austin’s best bookstore for more than 15 years running, even being hailed Bookstore of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly in 2005.

The two-story shop’s greatest resource, among many, is its warm and knowledgeable staff, all of whom are voracious readers quick to give recommendations and answer questions. Their own hand-written and illustrated reviews are displayed liberally throughout the stores’ shelves on index cards, as are book reviews by local children in the impressively curated youth section upstairs.

Former President Bill Clinton at BookPeople

Former President Bill Clinton at BookPeople

The store offers a remarkably vibrant community engagement program, with special events, classic book anniversary parties, and appearances by critically acclaimed (and otherwise high-profile) authors taking place multiple times in almost any given week of the year. Having hosted former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as well as an endless roster of esteemed writers, its knack for making fascinating minds highly accessible to its customers in a relaxed and open atmosphere is one of its signature traits.

Bookstore connoisseurs might liken BookPeople to similarly progressive contemporaries like City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco and The Strand in New York City.

Dean Fleischer Camp & Jenny Slate at BookPeople

BookPeople Hosts Dean Fleischer Camp & Jenny Slate, Authors/Creators of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

A perfect destination for a family wandering the Lone Star State on a budget with knowledge-thirsty kids, the store is nestled into a bustling area of downtown Austin, across Lamar Boulevard from the legendary Waterloo Records and new local favorite 24 Diner, not to mention just one block north of the Whole Foods headquarters and flagship store, which hosts a formidable international food buffet and al fresco seating.

BookPeople itself also houses a small cafe serving coffee and refreshments as well as breakfast tacos, a staple of the local diet. It opens its doors at 9 am and is generally open until 11 pm, 364 days a year; the bookseller closes its doors only on Thanksgiving.


Photo credits: BookPeople



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