Books-N-Things reopens with COVID-19 precautions

HARLINGEN — Cathy Gomez, manager of Books-N-Things, explained to a customer as he walked inside the store that it was closed, but he could come back on Wednesday.

Gomez said he hasn’t been the only one to ask if the shop was open.

Thankfully for those who have been waiting since it closed in March, the bookstore will be reopening Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I had people here this morning. They see my car out there and think it’s open. We are the only used bookstore in town, in the Valley,” Gomez said.

What has kept the bookstore alive are the customers, she added.

“The winter people help, and there are a lot of them coming back,” she said.

The bookstore closed because of the pandemic and stayed closed, but Gomez said it could only be closed for so long.

People were asking for the doors to reopen, she said.

“I kept running into my customers at H-E-B, and they ask when we are going to open and would tell me they need books to read,” she said.

The store has been open for 42 years, and Gomez has been a manager for the last 32.

Those interested can trade a book for another or can buy one at half the price of when it was new.

“Everything in here is a trade in or a donation. I am trying to figure out a way they can trade their books in, but I don’t want them in the store immediately,” she said.

Because of COVID-19, Gomez is making sure all safety precautions are covered. Hand sanitizer will be provided as customers walk in, tape has been placed on the floors to practice social distancing and masks will be required.

This week, the store will be open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and next week from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Since Gomez began working at the store, it has expanded. It includes nonfiction, fiction, classics, teen area, biographies, travel, sci-fi and more.

“We have paranormal romances, children’s books and kind of erotica. There is a storage room in the back I am trying to get open this winter to put oversized books in,” she said.

Gomez added she is not sure how many people will show up, but only 10 will be allowed in the store.

“I don’t think we have ever had only 10. Usually, Saturdays are the busiest,” Gomez said.

Gomez is excited for the reopening. She said she reread about three times the books she had at home.

“I am tired of being home,” she said.

According to Gomez, there are around 75,000 to 80,000 books inside Books-N-Things ready to be bought or traded in.

ecavazos@valleystar.com