Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kaboom

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This is a relatively new used bookstore on Studewood in the Heights. I discovered it by accident recently, and spoke with one of the owners. It's a Katrina refugee--the original Kaboom was in the French Quarter. After Katrina, they set up shop here, always intending to continue selling in New Orleans, once that city was back on its feet. But they have recently come to the conclusion that New Orleans will never really be back on its feet. The owner (whose name I did not get) said that Katrina finally brought home the reality that the city is not a viable city for a store like theirs. There are no Fortune 500 companies headquartered there, and the port, once one of the top three in the U.S., never recovered from the oil bust in the 80s. (Houston got most of that tonnage.) Consequently, the only real business in New Orleans is tourism, and she wasn't sure that that could support a bookstore. Especially as business did not pick up after they reopened after Katrina.

So they are selling their building in the French Quarter, and looking for a location in Houston (presumably in addition to the one they have now). They need a second location because, for some reason, they can't stay open late at their current location. This bookstore is a very welcome addition to Houston. For used bookstores, Houstonians have mostly had to choose between Half Price Books (mostly remainders) and various paperback "book nook" types of stores (not very selective about what they carry). But even in this small location on Studewood, it was clear that Kaboom had a deep deep fiction selection of highest quality (I found many Alison Lurie books at Kaboom, as opposed to one at Half Price), as well as cool older books on many subjects.

They're at 833 Studewood. Check them out.

(Photo by johnjron1 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnron1/394735721/)

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