In an age of online shopping, tablets and e-readers, book lovers can head to Tomball to grab a paper copy of a classic novel, literary guilty pleasure or an old favorite.
When owner Barbara Bracksieck opened The Book Attic in 2002, she said she wanted a change from her career in property management but never expected to open her own store.
“I’ve always read, and I’ve always liked books,” she said. “But [becoming a bookstore owner] was really just an accident. I wanted to do something that was peaceful and fun.”
After starting out with a budget of $10,000, Bracksieck opened her first location near Palais Royal on Business 249. She stayed for more than 10 years before relocating the business to the Four Corners Shopping Center in 2013.
The new larger space features several rows of shelves, armchairs and a large selection of books ranging from science fiction and biographies to Westerns and romance novels. Aside from new best-sellers, Bracksieck said many of her customers look for classic books or ones they enjoyed as children.
“[Old books are] just a comfort read,” she said. “They take you back to a time in your life, and you remember where you were when you first read a particular book.”
The Book Attic also implemented a book trading program to keep regular customers coming back every few weeks to find new reads. Customers can return books bought at the store to earn credit toward other used books. Bracksieck said trade-in credits typically cover all but 25 percent of the book’s cover price.
“It’s affordable, and [customers] can come in with a bag of books and go home with another bag of books,” she said. “It’s almost like couponing.”
While The Book Attic’s regular customers and trade-in program have helped Bracksieck grow her shop, she said many other local bookstores have gone out of business due to the convenience of online shopping.
“I can’t knock down [online retailer] Amazon,” she said. “A lot of people come in and find a book and say, ‘I’ll just buy it on Amazon.’ But Amazon doesn’t pay your local taxes, and they don’t put money back into your community.”
Though many people now prefer e-readers to hardcover books, some still enjoy the feeling that comes with reading a paperback version, she said.
“People read [in different ways] for different reasons,” Bracksieck said. “It doesn’t matter—just read. It keeps you sane.”
The Book Attic
28569 Hwy. 249, Tomball
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.