It’s no secret. I love bookstores. Big ones, small ones, chain bookstores, funky independent ones, and most definitely, used bookstores. I love the smell, the stacks, and the ability to browse unmolested. I’m fairly indiscriminate in my affection for bookstores, but each type serves a different purpose.
For example, as long as I’m not looking for anything specific, I love to walk around a Barnes & Noble. Yes, it’s a little like saying I enjoy a Bud Light now and then, but I enjoy wandering around a place that large,usually with an overpriced coffee, never quite knowing what you’ll find. It’s more like fishing than hunting. My family even has a Christmas/New Year’s tradition where we go to lunch and then to the local B&N to spend the stack of gift cards we inevitably (and gratefully!) received. Undoubtedly, B&N has lost its way in recent years as their public financial struggles will attest and yes, every B&N is basically the same with an inventory seemingly curated by the same buyers, all with pretty mediocre taste. Still, the new CEO has designs on allowing the stores to stock what their customers want which is a step in the right direction in my judgment.
At the other end of the spectrum from B&N are used bookstores. They represent an entirely different animal, with inventories that are ever changing and always eclectic. I’m also drawn to the fact that used bookstores allow a book to live on. I love my home library and will only part with it when I’m dead, but not everyone feels that way and not everyone should. Allowing books that you’re ready to part with to reenter circulation through a used bookstore allows to the author’s ideas to live on and is one of the ways the physical book to remain relevant.
The Bookshop is operated by the Friends of the Boerne Public Library, in support of the Patrick Heath Public Library. Its prices are incredibly reasonable and its inventory, like any good used bookstore, is ever changing. Since its shelves are largely stocked with donations from library patrons, you get an interesting look into what the readers of Kendall County have been reading or, at least, what they’ve decided they didn’t need to keep.
In this case there are lots of paperback novels and a fair amount of current political pulp. Still, there is wheat among the chaff, if you happen to look carefully and be there at the right time. I hit my usual genres this morning: business (blah), nature, history, and biography. I left $13 lighter and four books heavier. Not a bad haul for a Saturday morning.
The whole vibe of the Bookshop is one of energy, much like the Hill Country Mile on a weekend. I’ve never been there and found it empty, there are several chairs around for quiet reflection, and the children’s section is ample and welcoming.
On top of that, the library grounds on which the Bookshop sits are adjacent to the Old No. 9 Trail and feature numerous pieces of public art and are beautifully manicured the Hill Country style.
I really do love the Bookshop Under the Windmill and hope you’ll visit it too but two quick warnings…first, they’re only open 10 -2 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Second, they only take cash or checks.
If you visit, please let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear about your favorite bookstores!
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