Independent bookstores in Dallas have always been the backbone of the literary movement in the city, helping #LiteraryDallas to flourish in beautiful ways. These amazing independent bookstores offer lovers of the written word a place to connect and read, all while supporting the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Dallas unique.
Javier García del Moral and Paco Vique were Spanish civil engineers who loved books and booze and wanted to create a place where the two could come together. From this passion arose The Wild Detectives. Part coffee shop, part bar, and part bookstore, The Wild Detectives has become a favorite in Bishop Arts District. Set in a converted home with a front and back patio, the bookstore offers a curated selection of books that covers a variety of categories like mainstream, local, indie, children, artistic, and Spanish-language. They’ve hosted over 300 literary events, including readings, symposiums, community discussions, and book club meetings.
Deep Vellum Books is part bookstore, part publishing company | Courtesy of Deep Vellum Books
Deep Vellum Books opened in Deep Ellum, the artsy neighborhood of Dallas, offering something the area was greatly lacking: a bookstore. The bookstore is connected to Deep Vellum Publishing, a nonprofit literary arts organization that wanted its bookstore to showcase books of independent, small presses, and diverse, local writers like people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. Spanish-language books and authors were also very important to include. Deep Vellum Books hosts weekly literary events like readings and workshops. It also has a small bar that serves coffee and alcohol.
Interabang Books is a 5,000-square foot (465-square meter) independent bookstore that got its name from an old printmaker’s term. An interabang is a symbol that combines an exclamation point and a question mark into one symbol – handy for writers who can’t choose which one to use!? This bookstore has about 12,000 titles that focus on fiction, creative non-fiction, and children’s books. As a larger independent bookstore, Interabang Books offers more activities beyond weekly readings, like a podcast. It also has a larger staff than most bookstores to help readers search for a good read.
The presence of The Dock Bookshop in the DFW area is significant in many ways. Open in 2008, it’s one of the largest African American-owned independent bookstores in Texas and the Southwest. With 4,000-square feet (372-square meters), The Dock Bookshop provides a range of titles from fiction to non-fiction, children’s books, faith books, and self-help books. They’ve hosted author signings of known celebrities like Tyrese, Gabriel Union, LL Cool J, and poetry performances by poets like Georgia Me and Black Ice. With cultural-focused readings, events, and screenings, The Dock Bookshop offers the DFW a space for discussions that inspire and educate the community.
Lucky Dog Books offers two locations that sells second-hand books | Courtesy of Lucky Dog Books
The second-hand bookstore Lucky Dog Books is the most adaptable independent bookstore in Dallas. The brand started in 1974 in Mesquite as Paperbacks Plus by a wife and husband duo, John and Marquetta Tilton. The Mesquite store still exists as Paperbacks Plus, but the owners opened two bookstores in Dallas under the name Lucky Dog Books. These bookstores have hopped between a few locations before settling where they are now in Oak Cliff and Casa Linda. The bookstores sell used books of all subjects and have a mom-and-pop shop vibe.
Monkey and Dog Books of Fort Worth is reminiscent of The Shop Around the Corner, the fictional children’s bookstore in the hit film, You’ve Got Mail. Shelley Lowe, the owner of Monkey and Dog Books used to play “bookstore” when she was younger, so it’s no surprise that her childhood imaginary game turned into a bookstore for children. Monkey and Dog Books has a small staff, all of whom like to help children find the special book that makes them want to read. The store hosts story time twice a week.