Vick: At Larry McMurtry’s Bookstore

By Edd Vick: I just got back to Seattle from a three-day visit to Larry McMurtry’s bookstore, Booked Up, in Archer City, Texas, with Tom Whitmore and (the other) Karen Anderson. We had a really fine time and I found a lot of books, including volumes by John Kendrick Bangs, August Derleth, and Walter Machen. Luckily, they ship. Tom found a folio of prints signed by its curator, his grandmother!

Booked Up fills four storefronts scattered around the central square of Archer City, which Google tells me has a population of 1,791. One store is entirely filled with foreign books and their translations, and pre-1925 books. Every night we would drive to Wichita Falls, a half-hour away, to eat.

I felt like it would be vital to visit the store soon, since there had been rumblings about it closing up for years. McMurtry is getting up there in years, and the bookstore biz isn’t what it used to be. When I saw on their minimalist website that they were having a 25% off sale, I figured the sooner the better. Our trip could not have been more timely. The word is just now getting out, and I think the signs went up the day we got there: they will be auctioning off three-fourths of their books in early August. They’ll give up three of the store locations and concentrate what remains of their stock in the largest building.

We also shopped at the second-best used bookstore in Texas, Recycled Books in Denton. Soon, they’ll be in first place.

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