Houston area bookstore opens its doors to Texans battered by Tropical Storm Harvey

A woman walks through the rain in Houston, Texas on Aug. 28, 2017.
(Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)

A Houston area bookstore that emerged from Hurricane Harvey relatively unscathed is opening its doors to storm-battered southeast Texans who need a place to unwind.

Murder by the Book, a mystery bookstore in West University Place, Texas, announced it would open Monday afternoon and offer free coffee and charging stations to those in need, it announced on Instagram.

In an email, the bookstore said it would provide Wi-Fi and restrooms to Houston-area residents who lost power during the hurricane, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm, the Houston Press reports.

More than 5,500 people in the region are in shelters and almost 95,000 households in the greater Houston area are still without electricity.


The bookstore, however, is not in bad shape. “[We have] a few damp places where water came in, but it is minimal compared to what we expected,” the store’s proprietors wrote Sunday. “All of the homes of the MBTB staff are currently dry and we all have power. We’re of course all still watching the weather, and have a few rough days ahead, but so far we feel very fortunate. Stay safe, be kind, and we hope to see you tomorrow.”

Other Houston-area bookstores decided to play it safe and stay closed. Brazos Bookstore, also located in West University Place, announced Sunday on Twitter that it would not be open, writing, “So this is probably obvious, but we’re NOT open today! Be safe, #Houston. We love y’all! (Except for you, #Harvey, you cretin).”

That store’s general manager, Benjamin Rybeck, told the book industry newsletter Shelf Awareness that the shop had not sustained serious damage from the hurricane. “I’ve received tons of notes from people though — other bookstores, publishers, authors — checking in and wishing Brazos well, which is a nice feeling and speaks to the generosity of our literary community,” he said.

Murder by the Book’s decision to open on Monday was met with praise on social media. On Facebook, one customer commented, " You store is a beautiful example of what it means to be a neighbor and Houstonian. The reasons keep piling on for why this store is my favorite place to be.” Another wrote, “Glad to hear everyone and everything is ok. Thank you for doing what you can to help. This is why I drive over 4 [hours] from Bossier [City, La.] to visit your store.”

Fans of the bookstore also sent supportive messages on Twitter: