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Walk in and breathe deeply. You're within range of 300,000 titles, all arranged on three floors, along with a coffeehouse and complete music department. This is one of the bookstore-as-community places, where shoppers are encouraged to put their feet up and read, or to sit at a convenient desk and copy a recipe from the latest cookbook. Children gather for story time every week, and a community room is available for book clubs and other meetings. Of course, they have a huge selection in every conceivable category, from anthropology to zoology. Notable are the shelves of small-press and foreign-press titles, as well as spiritual and religious books.
For over 20 years, Waterloo Records has been one of Austin's favorite record stores. Why? The selection of music is unbeatable. Shoppers will find every genre of music here, including current popular favorites and many Texas artists. Waterloo has supported the local music community for years, allowing bands a place to sell their handmade tapes, vinyl and CDs. The store is also famous for its large selection of imports and world music. If you are looking for music that is a little off the beaten path, this is a good place to start. If you are not sure what you are looking for, grab a set of headphones at one of the listening stations and sample anything your heart desires. The shop also carries a great selection of music-related books, magazines, posters and T-shirts. You will also find an excellent blank tape and CDR selection with pro-recording tapes available.
A resource for music buffs, local and traveling alike, End of an Ear is a real record store that carries a ton of actual records. If you are looking for the perfect indie selection on vinyl, this is probably the first place to look. Employees have a wealth of music knowledge that they are willing to share while being friendly and helpful. No music snobs here, just music aficionados. Of course, End of an Ear also carries CDs, including lots of new releases.
Established in 1978, this small neighborhood shop carries the latest in science fiction and fantasy for Austin's exploring minds. In addition to one of the city's best collections of sports trading cards, it also has a stellar selection of vintage toys, posters and science fiction paraphernalia. Explore the huge selection of comics and books that celebrate pop culture in America. On occasion, noted science fiction authors stop by to meet fans and autograph books, so keep an eye on their event calendar.
In operation for around a quarter of a century, this is one of Texas' oldest and largest feminist bookstores. Featuring classic and cutting edge books by women and for women, this store offers a reading experience like no other. Subject matter ranges from fiction, feminist theory, women's health and psychology, Latina and Chicano books, to spirituality. You will also discover a selection of feminist-minded stickers, T-shirts, pride jewelry, videos and music. Look for author readings and other special events, as this is one business that makes itself part of the community at large.
Recycled Reads is run by volunteers and sells books, music, and movies from both the branches of the Austin Public Library and by generous donors. This store, a business of The City of Austin, does what it proudly calls "upcycling": items that are not sold are sent to companies that work with literacy programs, while items that are in poor shape are turned into art (such as "book origami" and "vinyl earrings").