Books-N-Issues reopens with COVID-19 precautions

Books-N-Things manager Cathy Gomez poses in front of the store’s mural. She prepared the shop for the arrival of the customers. The bookstore closed in March and will reopen on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. By Elsa Cavazos / Valley Morning Star

HARLINGEN – Cathy Gomez, manager of Books-N-Things, told a customer when he walked into the store that it was closed but he could come back on Wednesday.

Gomez said he wasn’t the only one asking if the store was open.

Fortunately for those who have waited since it closed in March, the bookstore will reopen on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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

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

“The winter people are helping, and many of them are coming back,” she said.

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

People asked to reopen the doors, she said.

“I’ve met my clients at HEB time and again and they ask when we will 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 32 years.

Those interested can swap one book for another or buy one at half price when it was new.

“Everything here is a trade or a donation. I’m trying to find out how they can trade in their books, but I don’t want them to be in the store right away, ”she said.

Due to COVID-19, Gomez ensures that all safety precautions are observed. Hand sanitizer is provided when customers walk in, duct tape has been placed on the floor to practice social distancing, and masks are required.

This week the shop is 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 started in the business, it has expanded. It includes nonfiction, fiction, classics, youth, biographies, travel, science fiction, and more.

“We have paranormal romances, children’s books and a kind of erotic. There’s a storage room at the back that I want to open this winter to put oversized books in, ”she said.

Gomez added she wasn’t sure how many people will show up, but only 10 are allowed in the store.

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

Gomez is looking forward to the reopening. She said she read the books she had at home about three times.

“I’m tired of being home,” she said.

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

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