I was sad to hear, a few weeks ago, that Houston's only magazine store, Issues, would be closing at the end of the year. But I was even more dismayed to find out, while at lunch with a friend yesterday, that the store's final day is actually today.
If you're like me and have been procrastinating that final visit, they'll be open until 9 p.m., but after the holiday, Issues will be no more. One source told me the store -- which shared some prime South Shepherd real estate with Azur Salon, a Kumon tutoring school and the Neptune Society ("America's Trusted Cremation Provider since 1973") -- lost their lease. An employee at Issues did not want to confirm that information, and we are still waiting on a return call from Issues owner Bang Tran, who was not at the store yesterday.
The shop, which has been open since 2004, carries/carried some mainstream titles, but was better-known for a massive library of everything from crafting mags to modern European art and fashion periodicals to obscure literary weeklies and quarterlies -- more than 3,500 titles, according to their never-updated Facebook page. Basically, if you had a hobby (any hobby), Issues carried the magazine devoted to it.
It was easy to lose an hour or two in Issues just perusing the titles, and like any good shop devoted to readers, the staff was always willing to chat you up or recommend something new. In part, that's one of the reasons it was given a Best of Houston award more than once (for both Best Magazine Selection and Best Newsstand).
But alas, magazines are no longer tastemakers in fields like fashion and weddings -- blogs and websites, subscriptions to which are free, have taken their place. And this summer, Houston also lost another specialty independent bookstore, Domy. Times are tough for dead trees.
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We'll report back if we hear anything from Issues' owners. In the meantime, make plans to make your final visit.