Don’t Judge a Bookstore By Books Alone

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All photography captured by JL Smith

When’s the last time you picked up a book instead of your phone? Or connected with an old friend over a cup of coffee after browsing albums of your favorite musician? When was the last time you listened to live music?

Yeah, it’s been awhile for me too.

The world seems to be spinning faster these days and we’re always on the go–whether it’s work, school, running errands or family–life keeps us busy. But sometimes the routine becomes mundane and naturally, our spirit begins to seek new adventures.

Bookstores, like Half-Price Books in downtown Dallas, offer that getaway.

Contrary to popular belief, they’re not crawling with hipsters. I even witnessed a little magic as children reached for books and board games instead of their parent’s cell phone to stream videos.


From baby boomers to millennials and centennials, I met a smiling, friendly face around every corner of the bookstore and conjoined cafe, Black Forest Coffee. I grinned while watching a gray-haired woman scan the young adult romance section and paused to hear a preteen ask his mom to buy a collection of cassettes.

Want to travel through time? Visit a bookstore.

Some buried their face in fiction, while others sought liberation through a pair of headphones rummaging through used records. Strangers became acquainted watching a folk band perform and while several stories were read, some were being written.


After introducing myself to a plethora of customers, I began to learn why bookstores remain relevant in a society affixed to mobile and Kindle screens. For many, it’s a safe haven filled with cozy nooks inviting escape from reality through pages of books, writing, music, film and conversation.

Looking for adventure? Travel to the bookstore this weekend. You’ll never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll find.

For Half-Price Books events, visitĀ

JL Smith

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