What’s Happening to That Spanish Bookstore on West Alabama?

Roving Swamplot photographer Candace Garcia spots a for sale sign up at the Libreria Española on the north side of West Alabama between Stanford and Audubon:

I know the owner/manager was elderly, but watching him in the mornings get his shop ready and opening the gates was really a nice thing to see. I’m hoping he is not ill or deceased. It’s always sad to see small businesses close.

Who said it’s closed?


Keller Williams agent Diego Jaramillo’s listing indicates it’s the bookstore owners who are putting the property up for sale. The 1,344 sq. ft. concrete-block building has been listed for $459,000 since the beginning of February. It sits on a 74-by-120-ft. lot.

If you want to buy the business, that’s for sale separately:

Photos: Candace Garcia (exterior); Diego Jaramilla (interior)

8 Comment

  • Additionally property pictures can be seen at: 620walabama.houstonheritage.com

  • Thanks for the nice comment:) I will let my dad know the business will be missed.

  • Anybody know how the property will interact with construction of the new metro rail?

  • From Stoney:
    Anybody know how the property will interact with construction of the new metro rail?


    The rail is on Richmond. The bookstore is on West Alabama. Ne’er the ‘twain shall meet. Particularly on weekends when the West Alabama bus doesn’t run over to Greenway Plaza. Where you could at least transfer and ride the rail back. And then transfer again to the West Alabama bus.

    Personally I don’t anyone should be allowed to serve on the Metro board unless they can prove with their Q card that they have ridden Metro for the previous year.

    The choo-choo train is nice if you like to walk and go downtown or to Rice or Hermann Park or the Med Center. Other than that, well, Metro is a disaster. Particularly the scheduling. On most of the Westheimer route, the three buses that serve the route all arrive within 5 minutes of each other. So if you miss one you miss all. And have to wait another 20 to 30 minutes. Being “green” is nice and socially responsible. But in the summer in Houston it’s foolish and probably dangerous to your health. Most people probably give up and go back to driving everywhere during the summer. And most of them probably refuse to ever use Metro again.

  • According to this map http://www.gometrorail.org/posted/2491/METRORail_SystemMap1_27_2010.468583.pdf
    the “university line” will run jump up to alabama for quite a few stops, and it looks like it will run right in front of this property.

  • That’s Richmond. The gray line is US 59. The circle marked “Wheeler” where the U Line intersects the Red Line, that’s Wheeler at Main. Richmond turns into Wheeler at Spur 527.

  • The map does make it appear that the rail line will go north to West Alabama but then it’s a Metro map which is self-explanatory.

  • As somebody who occasionally goes in there to look for a book or two, I was sad to see the “closing sale” signs, which prompted me to go a little more often over the past year or two (it helped that they were discounting a lot of the books). But I hadn’t been in months, and decided to return today. I saw there was no more indication of closing shop, and when I went in and asked, the owners told me that they were no longer needing to close (but were looking to sell the business). But I guess they took my one question about the state of the business as an invitation to keep on conversing and conversing and conversing. I had barely looked at a few spines before the owner started talking to me … about weather, about Houston, about buildings, about what I studied, about Europe, about the US, about the welfare system in this country, about poverty, about happiness, about the differences between the US and other countries, about healthcare, about his religion, about my religion, about how my agnosticism was the same thing to him as atheism, about how he thought gay marriage doesn’t make any sense (he apparently didn’t notice the Pride shirt I was wearing … or the fact that his business is in Montrose). At that point (at least a good 20 minutes), I had had enough and told him that I had come to look at books and not have endless conversations about controversial issues nor defend my identity, and that I was leaving and not coming back. Maybe some people like such heavy conversation when they go to bookshops, and maybe some people have absolutely nothing else to do with their time, but he crossed a boundary with me, and it no longer surprises me that his business is struggling.