Dead Tree Books, the only bookstore on the South Side, was on the verge of closing its doors due to being late on its rent.
The store is owned by husband and wife Kenneth and Melissa Johnson. Both had a love for books and reading, and that was part of what brought them together. That loved transferred into Kenneth's dream of owning his own bookstore.
If you want the only bookstore on the South Side to stay where we are, please come in soon and buy something. Doesn't have to be much, just something to help us pay the past-due rent. Please.— Dead Tree Books (@DeadTreeBooksSA) July 31, 2019
"I have always wanted to own my own bookstore, and at a certain point, the opportunity came to where maybe we could do it," he said.
Together, the couple opened Dead Tree Books in April of 2016, and since then, they have grown their business. Prices are very reasonable as most paperbacks are sold for just $2.
"There's been a lot of growing pains, including most recently, but it has been a steady progression," he said.
Following the plea on social media, the community showed up in a big way. Since the initial tweets, the bookstore has seen an increased volume of people visiting and purchasing books.
According to Johnson, the day after their plea was as successful as they would be in a whole week.
We are overwhelmed and enormously blessed today. We are touched and amazed at the outpouring of customers and online orders we have seen today. We have been extraordinarily busy all day today since we opened the doors, and we cannot thank all of you enough!— Dead Tree Books (@DeadTreeBooksSA) August 1, 2019
"We were overwhelmed, sometimes literally, at the outpouring of support. We would have been happy with just a small fraction of it. Almost no one left empty-handed and literally brought tears to our eyes," the owner said.
Customers are also reaching out online by purchasing books through the bookstores' Amazon site.
They even received a donation from a customer that allowed them to offer store credit. As of press time Tuesday, this store credit was still available to use.
The bookstore has had many loyal customers over the years, some of which donate to the bookstore by bringing boxes of books they want the store to sell.
We have had a gift presented to us, for us and for our customers, in the form of a store credit. While this credit lasts, if you come in and give us the code word (currently "Chicken") you will receive a $10 credit towards your purchase. Limited to reg. price merchandise.— Dead Tree Books (@DeadTreeBooksSA) August 1, 2019
"They bring them in and they're happy to share them and see that the books have a life after they're through with them," he said.
While most of the customers that visit are older in age, children, college students and their families also visit the bookstore for their book needs.
Dead Tree Books also hosts events such as book signings by local authors where community members have the chance to see the face behind the writing and hear what they have to say.
Through the ups and downs, the Johnsons have managed to stay positive and are forever grateful for the community's support.
"We cannot overstate our gratefulness to the people of San Antonio and everywhere for all that they have put into it," Kenneth said. "It's gonna take us a while to get where we need to be, but we are so grateful for everything."
For more information on Dead Tree Books, visit their website. You can also keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter.
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