By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Outside the Circle

Outside the Circle is a new travel series that offers Corsicana and greater Navarro County locals places to visit when they need to get “outside the circle” and explore other parts of Texas. The subjects and locations will range with each feature, but will always be within a day trip’s drive away.

I love books. My house is filled with shelves of every subject I can get my hands on. But to be more exact in my claim, I love bookstores. 

I spent my childhood whiling away in Waldenbooks every time my family would shop at College Park Mall. These days, for a good reading experience, I’ll visit Half Price Books or Barnes & Noble in the Dallas area. But it was a side trip to Denton this year where I may have found the reigning champion of bookstores that not only meets, but surpasses my wants.

Recycled Books, Records, & CDs, located at 200 N. Locust Street in Downtown Denton, is said to be the largest independent used bookstore in Texas. Established in 1983, the store started in a tiny shop off of University Drive before moving to its Wright Opera House location in 1990. 

The three-story literary behemoth houses half a million books, records, CDs, movies, video games, collectibles, and just about everything else you could think of. While I somehow missed knowing this place existed when I was a student at the University of North Texas (and could kick myself for it), I’ve been making up for lost time now.

Guests are greeted with a hand sanitizing station and a little black senior dog named Rosie, who snoozes peacefully on a pillow and has never turned down an ear scratch. From there, prepare to be overwhelmed with books on every subject you could think of. It wasn’t until later trips that I realized the store had a downstairs floor with yet another cavern filled with book subjects ranging from pets, recipes, the Civil War, and Dungeons & Dragons.

Part of the fun of a good bookstore is the exploration aspect. This place is full of back areas and side passages to walk into. There is no wasted space in Recycled Books, Records & CDs. Getting lost in the store turns into an advantage as you find entirely new sections to browse.

There is a great indie vibe that flows down every aisle. I’ve found books from my childhood there. Record albums imported from Japan. For the Denton music crowd, there is a whole section of music dedicated to local bands. I toyed with the idea of picking up a Murder, She Wrote board game for the sheer novelty of it all before moving on to their film theory section, in which I disappeared for a while.

The prices are reasonable, and the store will buy your “already read” collections. The store’s long life has built an impressive library of every subject you could possibly think of, and some you didn’t know about. Online shopping is available via their website.

For those who like rare books, they have titles locked in glass cases that you can request seeing. And yes, for literature lovers who enjoy that particular smell that comes with older books, this place is a bakery for bibliophiles. 

Recycled Books, Records, & CDs is well worth the hour plus drive. Nestled deep in the heart of Downtown Denton, it sits across the street from the courthouse and is a short walk to several other shops and restaurants.

In a time where hours are limited, events are reduced, and we’re all dealing with a lot more free time on our hands, Recycled Books, Records, & CDs is worth the drive for so many reasons. The care and sheer volume of content in the store is another example in motion of how Texas likes to go big.

Recycled Books and Records

200 N Locust Street, Denton, TX 76201

Sunday through Saturday – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.



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