Brave New Books closes on The Drag, expands to more locations

London Gibson

Brave New Books closed its location on The Drag Friday and will begin selling products in May at various locations around the city.

Though the alternative bookstore is losing its brick-and-mortar location, it will still have a campus presence in the form of a bookmobile at the Spider House Patio Bar & Cafe. BNB owners Catherine Bleish and John Bush said decentralizing the store will strengthen their business and their message.  

“Decentralizing has always been really important to Brave New Books,” Bush said. “It’s more resilient and effective at achieving common goals.”

Alongside its new Spider House spot, Brave New Books products will be sold at five other locations around Austin, including some JuiceLand locations. In addition to these changes, the store’s presence is moving out of Austin and into shops in Dallas and Houston.  

The owners decided to split up the business after the store’s lease was not renewed earlier this year. Bleish said moving out of the store’s current location is a long-awaited change because of limited parking and difficulties with Wi-Fi and space.

“I wanted to move the day we took over,” Bleish said.

Brave New Books came into Bush and Bleish’s possession in 2015, though it originally opened its Drag location in 2006.

The store was intentionally founded near the UT campus to engage in outreach with students, Bush said. He said staying near the University was influential when deciding to expand to the Spider House location, and he and Bleish hope to continue working with students in the future.

Brave New Books is undertaking a variety of other community-engaging endeavors besides dispersing store products throughout Austin. Bush said they will be leaning heavily on the online store and blog, as well as starting up a self-improvement group and entrepreneur workshop in the upcoming months.

Krista Clark has been volunteering at Brave New Books since November. She is just one of the regular volunteers that help out at the store.

“We’re honestly doing this out of our care for the community,” Clark said.

Clark said the natural supplements and alternative literature offered by Brave New Books will be missed on and around campus.

“To me, it’s a very big loss that Brave is leaving this area, because every semester people from around the world come to UT to learn, to raise their consciousness about life,” Clark said. “We’ve really touched so many hearts.”