World-class cities have world-class bookstores.

You probably recognize the names: Tattered Cover in Denver, Elliott Bay in Seattle, Politics and Prose in Washington D.C., Harvard Bookstore in Boston, Books and Books in Miami, BookPeople in Austin (to name just a few). Each of these stores is unique in its approach and focus, but all have served their communities for decades and are an important part of their cities’ identities.

Reading nurtures empathy and experience. Books are paths to understanding something new, something outside the reader’s personal experience. Great independent bookstores pride themselves on facilitating discovery by promoting and supporting independent voices. They enliven the minds and imaginations of their customers.

The time is right for an independent bookseller in Dallas. Over the past few years, there has been a surge of interest in bookstores and literature in Dallas. The formation of the literature-in-translation pub- lisher, Deep Vellum, and the Bishop Arts bar and bookshop, The Wild Detectives, have forged a path. But these shops are niche. They lack the experience, expertise and ambition to be full-service booksellers. How- ever, the success of these ventures demonstrates a broad community support and suggests that a full-service general bookstore would quickly find stable footing. Texas bibliophiles recognize the name of Brazos Bookstore even if they’ve never visited it in Houston. For more than 40 years, Brazos has built a reputation for being smart, literary and stylish. When founder Karl Kilian announced his retirement in 2006, the community came together to purchase the store and sustain the neighborhood institution.

I took over the leadership of the business in 2011, bringing more than twenty years of independent bookselling experience to make the store even more successful than before. My approach to programming, service and selection expanded the customer base and created an engaging and interesting place to discover new books and authors. In 2015, Publisher’s Weekly recognized Brazos Bookstore as one of the top five independent bookstores in the United States.

Now, we want to bring that success to Dallas.

Brazos Bookstore Dallas will retain the smart, sophisticated selection of books and gifts that have made the Houston store a favorite shop, but it will also expand and adapt its offerings to the Dallas market. Brazos Bookstore Dallas will encourage and nurture a love of reading and books in children with year round programs and events. Weekly story times, monthly parties and regular visits from children’s authors will give kids and families a number of ways to enjoy the bookstore. By making books and bookstores exciting and fun, children will grow up to become customers who will bring their own children.

A main attraction of the business will be author appearances and book signings. Publishers are eager to send authors, both new and famous to Dallas because of the potential media coverage. Dallas is the best city in Texas for media attention for books. The store will have space to seat 100 people for events and standing room for at least 100 more. I have a long and successful track record of managing author events across Texas.

The experience of the Houston staff gives the Dallas store a head start to success. How do you choose the books to carry? Where do you find the unique gifts? How do you get the word out to potential customers? Having an experienced team of buyers and marketers who have been working on the development of this store for more than a year means that we will open strong and confidently make adjustments as the marketplace demands.

Where do we want to go? The Preston Oaks location is a ‘bookstore sweet spot’ with a long history of very successful stores. Dallas’ first big and important independent bookstore, Taylor’s Books, opened their original store at the corner of Preston and Royal - leaving that location was one of their first missteps that led to the closing of that business. Borders operated one of its most successful stores here as well. The Preston Royal Borders was THE event store in Dallas for almost ten years. There is still a Barnes and Noble at this corner, however Brazos Bookstore would be a distinctive alternative to the big box feel and corporate book selection.

The time is right for an independent bookstore in Dallas. Brazos Bookstore and myself invite you to be a part of this venture and share in the excitement as we create the world-class bookstore Dallas deserves.

Sincerely yours,
Jeremy Ellis
General Manager
Brazos Bookstore

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