The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Dead Tree Books: five years later

Dead Tree Books: five years later - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

FILE PHOTO: “People don’t know is the love of what a book does for you, it opens up your horizons," customer Gregory Hernandez said. "It opens up a whole different world...it leads you someplace out of your norm.” Dead Tree Books, the Southside's only bookstore, recently relocated to 2815 W. Southcross at the corner of Southcross and Quintana in the historic Quintana Neighborhood.

The Mesquite covered Dead Tree Books when it first opened in April 2016. Since then, owners Kenny and Lisa Johnson temporarily shut down and relocated because of financial difficulties. 

“As far as the business end of it goes, pretty much the whole time we were struggling,” Kenny Johnson said. “Struggling to make a profit. In order for any business to survive, it has to make a profit. We’re not money grubbers but you got bills to pay.”

Prior to the relocation, the bookstore closed down for a couple of weeks due to COVID-19 health concerns. Despite the physical closure, the store began getting business virtually. 

“People were supportive at the time,” Kenny Johnson said. “Although the business closed down, we started getting online orders… People started ordering left and right through there.”

Once located on S. Flores street, Dead Tree Books relocated to W. Southcross, less than 20 minutes away from A&M-San Antonio. 

The Johnson’s got assistance from the community for the move.

“The moving process was very very difficult,” Kenny Johnson said. “Some people who had been our customers before came and helped us out.”

The business also created a GoFundMe to help with costs.

“One of the reasons we were able to open again was because of all the support we got,” Kenny Johnson said. “We had a GoFundMe and I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to everybody… We had resisted it and finally decided we weren’t going to make it if we didn’t have outside help.” 

The store had its grand opening on Nov. 6. Since moving, the business has made some changes to try to stay afloat.

“We significantly lowered our overhead,” Kenny Johnson said. “We moved from a bigger place to a smaller place. We’ve raised our prices slightly and we hope that in between the two things, we can get to a point where we can draw paychecks and actually pay our bills.”

Kenny Johnson said although the support is appreciated, Dead Tree Books needs customers  to stay afloat.

“We’re a business, we can’t run purely on emotion,” Kenny Johnson said. “In order to survive, we need people to come in. Spend a dollar, buy a bar of soap… buy whatever you want.”

Dead Tree Books offers marketplaces on Amazon, Biblio and eBay and sells handmade soaps in-store. 

Book prices range from $2-$5, with gift cards available for purchase. 

Dead Tree Books will host book signings for two local authors in December;  Joanne R. Easley on Dec. 4. and Johana Lizeth Hernandez on Dec. 12.

To find out more about Dead Tree Books, visit the business at 2815 W. Southcross, Suite 3 San Antonio TX 78214 or their website and Instagram.

About the Author

Asiah Mendoza
Staff Writer
Asiah Mendoza is a communications junior with a minor in psychology. Born and raised in San Antonio, she enjoys writing and listening to music in her free time. Her favorite things to do are go to concerts and discover new artists. After graduation, she hopes to combine her two interests and become a music journalist.

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