Interabang Books to Open in Dallas in July

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Interabang Books, a full-service, independent bookstore with more than 12,000 titles and a special focus on fiction, children’s books, and creative nonfiction, is scheduled to open in Dallas this July.

Interabang logoThe 4,900-square-foot store, located in a busy shopping center in the city’s Preston Hollow neighborhood, is co-owned by former Brazos Bookstore manager and BookPeople marketing director Jeremy Ellis; Nancy Perot, the daughter of 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot; and literary magazine editor Lori Feathers.

The store’s name comes from an old printmaker’s term: the interabang, a punctuation mark combining a question mark and an exclamation point in a single symbol. “The word is very evocative,” said Ellis. “It’s a strange word and sort of fun and interesting.” After agonizing over what to call the store, Perot picked the name off of a list of distinctive-sounding possibilities compiled by Ellis.

“When we talked about the implications that the interabang actually had for curiosity, questioning, searching, discovery,  excitement, it seemed very natural as a bookstore-related thing,” said Ellis. “It’s a chance to be distinctive and unusual.”

Interabang Books owners
Interabang Books owners Lori Feathers, Jeremy Ellis, and Nancy Perot

All three co-owners have long wanted to open a bookstore in Dallas, said Ellis, who will serve as the store’s general manager and is currently a member of the board of directors of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association (MPIBA). Perot, a great supporter of culture and the arts, brings connections to her philanthropic family and to the city, while Feathers, who will be the store’s book buyer, will make the most of her literary experience as an assistant managing editor for Asymptote and a member of the Resident Reading Committee for Dallas-based Carve Magazine.

As a former events coordinator, Ellis said he is most excited about Interabang Books’ new flexible event space, which will feature seating for up to 100 people for book signings and a children’s stage for weekly story times and other programs.

“The store is set up to be a great event venue,” said Ellis. “A big focal wall, which you’ll see when you walk in, divides the space into the first two-thirds and the back third. I also designed a chair closet for the middle of the store. The focal wall is actually the outside of the closet, so all 100 chairs will easily fit right behind the event space in an enclosed area.”

“It’s a very geeky sort of thing,” he added, “but as an events coordinator who has had to lug chairs for 20-plus years up and down stairs, I’m thrilled to be able to put them, or pile them, in a closet afterwards and make the shop look nice all the time.”

The proprietors of Interabang Books, which will have nine employees, prefer to refer to the store as a full-service bookstore, since other Dallas bookstores fill more of a niche: Half Price Books, which focuses on new and used books, Deep Vellum Books, which focuses on books from small presses, and The Wild Detectives, a bookstore/bar.

“We want to create a store that really celebrates great writing in any genre. It’s going to be a store where there is something for everyone,” said Ellis. “We’re really focused on having a great kids section. Right out of the gate, we’ll have a kids’ programmer and a kids’ book buyer.”

Feathers, who is on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and serves as a judge for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award, is currently curating the list of books for the store’s opening order.

“As a buyer, I want to help the people of Dallas find interesting new ideas and voices,” she said. “I want to help them discover new books and new genres, to help them think about what they like to read and [to consider] something that they hadn’t thought about reading before. We feel that the real value of our store is going to be our very knowledgeable booksellers: people who are wide readers, who have a real passion for books and want to talk to customers about them.”

The store’s walls are now up, and once the shelves are in, painting will begin. Within the next month, Interabang's IndieCommerce website should be fully developed and a calendar of upcoming events will be posted.

“We are neck-deep on the preparation side, and things are going well,” said Ellis, adding that Interabang’s grand opening event is planned for the first weekend in September. “I’m eager to get back to talking with this community about books,” he said. “There’s a passionate community of readers here, and I’m really excited to interact with them about what they love and show them the things that I love as well.”