Where are the used book stores in Houston?
April 17, 2008 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Where are the good used book stores in Houston?

My wife and I have lived in Houston for three years, and we still can't find any good used book stores here. By "good" I mean hole-in-the-wall places full of paper dust and feet-high piles of ancient paperbacks and things like hardbacks dating to the 50s.

When I lived in Austin from '96-'05 there were plenty of places like this - The Book Exchange on Burnet, The Book Store next to the hardware store in the shopping center at 183/McNeil, etc.

All I've been able to find here are a few Half Price Books locations, and they don't seem to have the neat selection and variety of new and ancient books that the HPB on Guadalupe in Austin did.

Can someone rescue us from a fate of depending on Amazon for our used book habit? We live near Gessner/Westheimer but are willing to drive anywhere in Houston for a good read at a good price.
posted by mrbill to Shopping (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you checked out the Half Price Books in the Rice Village? 10 years ago it was the kind of store you describe. Don't know if it still is, though.
posted by MsMolly at 1:13 PM on April 17, 2008

Best answer: Kaboom Books.
posted by plexi at 1:38 PM on April 17, 2008

Seconding MsMolly on Half Price Books. The Village location, and secondly, the Montrose locations are the best ones.

There's also a used book place right by the maid service near Star Pizza. I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of either. It's more obscure books and collections around a subject.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 2:08 PM on April 17, 2008

Best answer: I'm thinking the place by Star Pizza is "1/4 Price Books" on the Shepard side. It's just down the street from Black Dog Records - The best classic rock Vinyl Shop in the whole city. (Sound Exchange is good but selection is more modern).

There is also (or used to be) a pretty decent used book store at the SE Corner of Fondren/Richmond in with the antique firearm dealer. Place was pretty dusty when I was there a few years ago.

Katy Budget Books is a clean New/Used Book store if you make it out west sometime. I believe they are on Fry Road just north of I-10. I think they have a website but I'm not sure.
posted by Hollowman at 2:34 PM on April 17, 2008

Response by poster: My closest HPB location is the Westheimer@Kirkwood location, and frankly, it sucks.

I've tried, twice, to go to the HPB in Rice Village but both times have been unable to find decent parking near the store due to all the other businesses that are around it using all the parking.

I'm really looking for small independent used book stores, but I'll give the Montrose HPB a shot next time I'm down that way.
posted by mrbill at 2:40 PM on April 17, 2008

Response by poster: Hollowman: the "BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS" sign is still up on the corner of that shopping center (you're thinking of Collector's Firearms), but the store itself was closed down when I went to see what the signs were about shortly after moving here.
posted by mrbill at 2:42 PM on April 17, 2008

The HPB in Rice Village really is like this. You can park several blocks away or in the parking garage down the street.
posted by Pants! at 3:16 PM on April 17, 2008

Seconding Kaboom Books in the Heights. Great little store and the owner is fun to talk to. Curiously enough, Larry McMurtry used to operate a bookstore near there some years ago.

Also, I think 1/4 Price Books is changing its name - they had a banner up last time I went by there.
posted by aliasless at 3:29 PM on April 17, 2008

Try Becker's Books on Westview in Spring Branch. It's close to Ikea if you need another reason to visit that part of town.
posted by found dog one eye at 8:34 PM on April 17, 2008

I left Houston a couple of years ago so I'm not up on the latest, but Houston had lost a number of its best used book stores before then. The Internet has made it tough for used booksellers to maintain a brick and mortar location. Kaboom Books is new to me.

Detering Books was the best Houston had to offer for many years and they closed in 04. There used to be two or three in the Shepherd and Alabama or Richmond area. One had a big sign 'Used and Rare'. I think at least one of them went out of business but I'm not sure. None of these places I'm talking about had much in the way of paperbacks. If that's the kind of prices you're looking for then HPB is about it, and yes, the Rice Village location is by far the best one, although Montrose ain't bad. HPB in Austin, on Guadalupe, is in a class of its own.

1/4 Price Books is not worth a two minute walk. Incredibly poor selection.
posted by BigSky at 4:27 AM on April 18, 2008

Response by poster: Great recommendations so far everyone - wife and I checked out the Montrose HPB last night and came home about $60 poorer - it was definitely worth the drive. We'll check out Kaboom, 1/4 Price, and Becker's tomorrow.
posted by mrbill at 7:52 AM on April 18, 2008

If you're ever on a day trip to Galveston, I really liked Galveston Bookshop.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:57 AM on April 19, 2008

FYI... the Houston Public Library is having their 30th Annual Bargain Book Sale. On May 16-18, 2008 in the George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A.
posted by nimsey lou at 4:57 PM on April 19, 2008

Response by poster: We made it out to 1/4 Price Books today, and it's EXACTLY the type of store we were looking for!

Next weekend: Becker's and Kaboom, maybe Galveston!
posted by mrbill at 7:35 PM on April 19, 2008

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