In an affirmation for old-school media, a new bookstore is debuting in Dallas from three book lovers fulfilling a dream to have their own store.
Called Interabang Books, it will open in the Preston Oaks shopping center at the southeastern corner of Preston Road and Royal Lane, in the same area as Central Market and NHS Grill. It's anticipated to open in May.
The store comes from independent bookstore veteran Jeremy Ellis; Nancy Perot, daughter of Ross; and Lori Feathers, a lawyer. It will sell fiction, nonfiction, and children's books, and feature a children's stage for story-time sessions.
The bookstore went from idea to reality when Perot and Ellis met. "Everything just started falling into place, as though it was meant to be," Perot says.
Ellis will serve as general manager. He began his career at Taylors Books in Dallas in 1994, worked for BookPeople in Austin, and most recently was general manager for Brazos Bookstore in Houston.
Feathers will be a co-owner and the store's book buyer. She's an editor and book reviewer who serves on the Board of the National Book Critics Circle.
The name Interabang refers to an arcane punctuation symbol that combines a question mark ("interrogative") and an exclamation point ("bang"); it looks like this: ‽
The 5,000-square-foot bookstore will go into the space between Hollywood Feed and a candle shop.
"It's the only vacant space in that center," Ellis says. "It's perfect for what we need, a good size without being enormous."
He calls that intersection "the sweet spot for book sales in Dallas."
"That neighborhood loves bookstores," he says. "Border's was still very successful there even when that chain was closing, and Barnes & Noble performs well. We feel like we can be distinctive and provide an alternative experience."
They're not concerned by gloomy forecasts about the death of print.
"It's an easy headline to say that books are over, but the book market changes regularly," he says. "The digital revolution isn't the first threat. Back in the '90s, there was a lot of talk about the 'big box revolution' with chains like Barnes and Noble. It's a landscape that's always changing."
He says there's something uniquely satisfying about reading a book.
"People get tired of looking at screens," he says. "If I'm reading for pleasure, I don't want to look at another screen. And when you read from a page, you retain more. You have to turn the page, and negotiate the object in a way that makes that reading more real."
"We get used to glancing, that's what digital reading has become," he says. "And if you're reading nine mysteries in a week, you consume at a higher speed. But for something more in depth, those are not the kinds of things that e-sales have taken. Finding books that people want to read and keep is one of our missions."