When I was attending what was then North Texas State University in Denton, near the end of my stay there, a little hole-in-the-wall new bookstore called Readers World appeared in the row of businesses directly across the street from the Auditorium Building, just a few doors down from Voertman's, the big college/textbook store. (I know some of you are familiar with the area, that's why I include those details.) Given its proximity to Voertman's, it probably wasn't the best location for a small bookstore, but I liked it because it carried quite a few genre paperbacks that Voertman's didn't. I remember buying the Zebra editions of some Robert E. Howard books there, along with some of the novels based on Lee Falk's comic strip The Phantom. But my time in
didn't overlap that much with the time Reader's World was there, so I didn't visit it that often. Denton
Fast-forward a year or so, and I'm driving through River Oaks,
(a suburb on the northwest side of Texas ) one day when I spot a sign that says Readers World. It was another hole-in-the-wall store in a small strip shopping center, and when I went in (what, did you think I wasn't going to stop and go in?), the same lady was running it who used to have the Readers World store in Denton. This new location of Readers World was much the same, heavy on genre paperbacks with a magazine section as well that carried all the fiction digests of the time. That was the first place I ever bought a new copy of MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE. I also bought quite a bit of science fiction (I recall picking up Joe Haldeman's THE FOREVER WAR and the first printing of the novelization of some movie I hadn't heard of called STAR WARS), some Starsky and Hutch tie-in novels by Max Franklin (who I found out later was Richard Deming), a bunch of comic books off the spinner rack, and the first volume of the Byron Preiss-packaged WEIRD HEROES, the subtitle of which – A NEW AMERICAN PULP! – sent thrills through me. (Thrills which, I'm sorry to say, the Weird Heroes series never quite lived up to, although there was much to like in it.) Fort Worth
The store was successful enough that it moved around the corner in the same shopping center to a space that was three or four times larger. The newsstand area was expanded, and so were the number of paperbacks they carried. I bought the trade paperback edition of Glenn Lord's THE LAST CELT there and read it over and over again, and one day I picked up a mystery paperback called THE VAMPIRE CHASE, by an author I'd never heard of, Stephen Brett, published by an outfit equally unknown to me, Manor Books. Well, Stephen Brett was really my buddy Steve Mertz, of course, although I didn't know him then, and Manor wound up publishing my first novel TEXAS WIND (and stiffing me on the advance for it). But all of that was in the future, along with my friendship with Glenn Lord.
I became friends with the couple who owned the store, Gene and Linda Sanders (and I really hope I'm remembering their names correctly – this was a long time ago). When I started selling to MSMM, they would order extra copies of the magazine for me, since Renown Publications never sent comp copies to the authors, of course. I shopped there regularly for several years, making at least one trip a week into town to pick up new comics and paperbacks.
Eventually that location closed down. Probably the lease was up, and it didn't generate enough sales to make it worthwhile to continue (but I'm just guessing about that). The owners opened an even larger store in
, around on the other side of Hurst from us, called G. Sanders Books. It was there for several years and Livia and I went there a few times, but it was too far, through too much bad traffic, for us to make it a regular stop. The shopping center in River Oaks that housed the two locations of Readers World is still there. I drive past it occasionally, and whenever I do, I can't help but think about all the pleasant time I spent there and all the good books I bought. I wouldn't want to live in those days again, but it's nice visiting them in my mind. Fort Worth