Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Three bookstores in Austin to find community, literary escapes

Skyler Sharp

Several locations in Austin celebrate the city’s love of books while providing a literary escape from daily life. The Daily Texan compiled a list of three bookshops around Austin that give readers the perfect place to meet other book lovers and get away from everyday stressors.

South Congress Books

Erika Allbright, senior clerk at South Congress Books, began working there 11 years ago. 

“We see a vast spread of ages,” Allbright said. “Working here has been very affirming for me because people tend to say that young people don’t read. I’m aware that we all read less than we once did in American society, but there are lots of young people that are really into reading.”

The store relocated in March from SoCo to Kerbey Lane. The calming South Congress Books welcomes readers of all ages in the laid back Kerbey Lane atmosphere while offering a safe place where book lovers will feel at home. 

“It’s more peaceful,” Allbright said. “We can browse better here. Spend a little bit of time with people more. The calm is certainly nice. It speaks to our maturity as a business, and that was an appropriate shift for us to make because we’re no longer a young upstart bookstore.” 

Austin Books and Comics

Dan Rucker, the general manager and “game master” of Austin Books and Comics, said his unique shop focuses on creating different experiences for readers of all ages and fandoms.

“In Austin, there are people who come in and want to be challenged in terms of the literature they’re reading,” Rucker said. “In our staff, everybody has their areas of expertise, so when customers come into the store, you’re likely to get very good but different recommendations from each of the different staff members.”

The store caters to the fandom needs of Austinites and visitors alike. With events and appearances around Austin, they truly keep the lively spirit of Austin pop culture fans strong. 

“They say every comic is somebody’s first comic, and we’re always ready to have recommendations for people who just walked into the store and have never read comics before,” Rucker said.

Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar

Owned and operated by Jean Buckner since November of 2022, Vintage caters to more mature audiences. With a social lineage dating back to 1880 when it existed as a general store, Vintage does something different than most bookstores, Buckner said. 

“The world needed spaces that weren’t just transactional or retail oriented, but places that encourage you to stay,” Buckner said. “ It seemed intuitive to combine book sales with wine sales and to allow people to enjoy complimentary products integrated in one place.” 

Being a part of the diverse Austin community, Buckner said Vintage hosts events that cater to poetry, fiction, LGBTQ+ culture and student life. 

“We do a lot of events with the (UT) writing program. Recently, (we had) a writing workshop, and the students had spent however many weeks working on their pieces,” Buckner said. “After the weeks were over, they came into the store and had an event where they read from all their pieces and celebrated each other. That was a really special moment.”

According to Buckner, fostering community stands as a  keystone of Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar’s mission.

“People want to come in and not just purchase their book and leave,” Buckner said. “They want to be surrounded by books whenever they have social engagements. As a customer said when we had a singles mixer, there’s never a shortage of things to talk about when you’re surrounded by books.” 

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