Paper gems hide inside used book stores in Waco

Golden’s Book Exchange is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and is located at 3112 Franklin Ave. Kristina Valdez | Arts & Life Editor

By Kristina Valdez | Arts & Life Editor

With books on shelves and books on the floor, Golden’s Book Exchange and Brazos Books are overflowing with possibilities. Tucked affectionately within the worn pages, entire worlds hide in between the paperback covers. There are gems to be found with ample time and a keen eye.

Golden’s Used Book Store has been selling and trading used books for 40 years. Outside, a cart of free books sits for the passerby’s grabbing hand. Inside, rows and rows of books are stacked and shelved together horizontally and vertically. The shelves of books stretch to the ceiling and far back into the store.

There are entire sections dedicated to one author, whose novels climb over one another. The rest of the store is separated by genre, from stimulating mysteries, to heart-aching romance, to adored classics.

Store manager Pam Vasquez has been working at Golden’s since her cousin opened the store.

“Our inventory changes constantly,” Vasquez said. “It changes daily, sometimes hourly. We try to keep the shelves fresh with each new book we get.”

Vasquez greeted each customer by name as they dropped off their read books and picked up baskets to shop for novels from different genres. Vasquez said her favorite genre to read is mystery, but that it is not the best seller.

“Romance is the best seller,” Vasquez said. “A lot of people are say ‘Ugh, romance,’ but there are lot more romance readers. It’s what keeps us in business.”

Many of the books are sold for half their original price, but there are racks of nickel books, 50 cent books and dollar books. On the table of dollar books, “Child 44” stood out, ready to be picked up.

In the back, there are collections of David Whitaker’s “Doctor Who,” J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and Alan Dean Foster’s “Star Trek.” An entire shelf is dedicated to books that have become movies. Books such as “Serena” and “The Freedom Writers” wait to be taken home.

Golden’s Book Exchange is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and is located at 3112 Franklin Ave. Go to for more information on upcoming book sales.

The same overwhelming number of books can be found at Brazos Book Store, except here, books are scattered on the floor.

Christina Morrow opened Brazos Books in 1993 because of her love of reading and desire to share that love with others.

“I love meeting customers and hearing them talk about books,” Morrow said. “It’s nice to meet other book lovers.”

Customers can only trade books for credit toward new books they would like to purchase. Morrow said she doesn’t have a favorite genre, but she has plenty of James Patterson and Nora Roberts novels. Brazos Books is also organized by genre, encouraging customers to carefully look around and comb through the isles.

There is a large section of Christian literature at the storefront and giant yellow sale sign in the back. Morrow mainly seeks out older paperback books to add to its collection. Morrow said she gets the books that can only be read once instead of the classics that are held onto for years.

Brazos Books is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. It is located at 1412 N. Valley Mills Drive.