If rarities and antiquities lead your bookstore explorations, look no further than Cheever Books in San Antonio, Texas, a popular used and vintage book shop that opened its doors in 1986. Some 60,000 books line the shelves in the quaint, columned home that is the bookstore. From Texas history to Latin grammar to Sherlock Holmes, no genre feels any less cherished than another.
As a lifelong Wizard of Oz fan, I was immediately taken by a row of old Oz books, as well as a few other novels penned by author L. Frank Baum, that lined the counter the day I happened inside.
“Sometimes we get to know where the books come from, and most of these books had one owner,” said the friendly bookseller whose name I failed to get in my excitement over seeing so many early Oz editions in one place. “These books were his childhood.”
There is a great deal of care evident in the displays at Cheever, whether neatly arranged along the glass countertop, like the Oz books, or stacked in a tall pile on the floor. Perhaps most visually appealing of all is the impressive collection of leather-bound volumes lining an entire wall in the front room.
It’s obvious that the shop is owned and operated by a knowledgeable staff who knows books. While prices do reflect the collectability of its old volumes, storewide sales appear to be routine. Everything was thirty percent off during my visit.
After making my way through the shop and fighting the urge to by an armload of old first editions, I wound my way back to the counter and, instead of adding to my own vintage Oz collection, I was drawn to a first edition copy of Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus – a purchase which pleased the bookseller.
“Oh, I’m so happy it’s going to a good home,” she said.
Indeed it is.
Cheever Books is located at 3613 Broadway Street, San Antonio, Texas. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m.