Indie bookstores coming soon, just opened, and closing


Unruly Cactus Opens in Port Isabel

Seeing the need for an independent bookstore in Port Isabel, Unruly Cactus has opened right by the Port Isabel Lighthouse, in the Fort Polk Commissary building. After the closure of Paragraphs on Padre Boulevard bookstore last year, Unruly Cactus’s owner, Gayle Curry, wanted to bring a bookstore to the area, saying for the Port Isabel Press, “I love Port Isabel, I love this space, and I recognized that there was no bookstore.”


Curry was a teacher for several years in Los Fresnos and Port Isabel prior to deciding to open the bookstore and has been rewarded with a great response from the community. One customer said to the Port Isabel Press, “I found a local bookstore, it was just my soul needed.”


Unruly Cactus also doubles as a coffee bar serving the local Laguna Coffee Roasters and features local artists such Diana Lehmann from the Laguna Madre Art League. You will also find book clubs, story times for kids, poetry readings, and book signings for local authors in the future. Curry aims for Unruly Cactus to operate as a communal space with chess boards and places to read and study.


Unruly Cactus plans to have a grand opening ceremony but is currently open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, at 412 E. Queen Isabella Blvd, Suite C, in Port Isabel.



Karma Coffee & Books – coming soon!


Café Karma, a South Padre coffee shop, is opening a second location and working with the recently closed Paragraphs on Padre Boulevard bookstore to sell books, in addition to their signature coffees, at their new location. Per Will Everett, the owner, they hope to open in September, 2021.



Dead Tree Books Closes


On July 30, 2021,  Dead Tree Books, located on South Fresno Street in San Antonio, closed its doors on its brick-and-mortar location citing high rent as the reason. Selling mostly used books at an affordable price, Dead Tree Books has brought literature to a historically underserved area in the South side area since 2016.


Owners Kenneth and Melissa Johnson still want to keep the store alive and are looking for a new, smaller location on the South side to continue selling books. The owner said via Twitter: “To survive we need to downsize.”


In the meantime, you can support the bookstore through donations or by shopping at any of the four online marketplaces listed on their website.



Imagine Books and Records Closes


After 10 years in business, San Antonio’s Imagine Books and Records announced on August 26, 2021, that it will be closing its doors.


Per their Facebook: “We want to take this moment to say thank you to everyone for giving my family and I such rich and fulfilling lives these past years. You all have filled our hearts with kindness, support, laughter, beautiful memories, and great music. We will always remember the many different communities and people that have come through the shop. There are too many people to name so we will simply say thank you. Though this chapter of our lives has to come an end many more memories and happiness will be in our future.”


Imagine has been a staple in the San Antonio community, providing an event space for budding musicians and hosting bookish and musical events. After posting their announcement of closing, hundreds of individuals commented on their love for the shop with praises like, “I will be forever grateful for every single moment spent in the loudest bookstore in Texas,” and “Imagine was just one of the most unique book/record stores ever.”


Due to the COVID pandemic, for the past year and a half they have been closed to indoor shoppers and relied on donations and curbside orders.


They will be having a sale of everything, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, August 29, 2021 and invite the community to “come visit, say your goodbyes, and support my family as we close up shop.” Imagine will not as of now be selling via online platforms but will make an announcement in the future if this changes.


This self-proclaimed “loudest bookstore in Texas” will leave an echo of good books and tunes in its absence.