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Wild Lark Books: New Independent Bookstore Spreads its Wings

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Dreaming of curling up with a good book and sipping a hot cup of coffee on a rainy day? Wild Lark Books, a new independent bookshop in Lubbock, is the perfect place to make that dream a reality. This cozy bookshop opened its doors in December 2021. Since then, readers from all across West Texas have fallen in love with its quaint atmosphere and the many worlds filling its shelves.

Hundreds of titles stock the beautifully crafted shelves in the front room, with a wide variety of genres from world-renowned classics to hidden gems by local authors. Every book on the shelves is new. Wild Lark Books is dedicated to supporting authors—and authors only receive compensation for sales of new books. In the spacious back room, guests can sit back and crack open the latest offering from their favorite writer. The backroom also plays host to special events, such as a Victorian gothic tea party, open mic night, or the popular pop-up coffee bar.

Wild Lark Books: New Independent Bookstore Spreads its Wings

Photo: Wild Lark Books

More than a local bookstore, Wild Lark Books is also a publishing company. The two wings of the business make it truly unique in West Texas. “I wanted to do something different to help the writing community,” owner Brianne van Reenen said. “I have such an appreciation for the heart and the effort, the vulnerability that it takes to bring a book out into the world. And I wanted to find something that could support authors.”

Van Reenen graduated with a double BA in History and English, then went on to forge a career in sales and marketing. She worked with tech companies before starting her own marketing and consulting firm. Though van Reenen found success in the business world, she could feel her roots calling her back to her love for books.

Wild Lark Books: New Independent Bookstore Spreads its Wings

Photo: Wild Lark Books

A trip to Scotland to explore her ancestral homeland provided van Reenen with inspiration. While in the northernmost corner of Scotland, she stopped by a small bookstore on a rainy day. “When I walked in, it was just your typical local bookshop,” she said. “Stacks everywhere, you could barely walk through. Hidden gems from all over the world. A quaint, nostalgic, soul-filling kind of place. The gentleman behind the counter, who obviously owned the shop, had his head behind a newspaper the whole time. Didn’t care if we came or went—we were no bother to him. I went up to purchase a book, and he barely said two words, just took my money and had us on our way. And I said, ‘I want that someday.’” Van Reenen laughed. “I want to be able to just bury my head in a book and offer something unique to the people who walk in.”

Van Reenen built a business plan and thought through what lay ahead. “I thought, ‘I have the courage now—I’m quitting my job and doing this,’” she said. “Hurdle after hurdle came up in the process, but also, so many things fell into place just perfect.”

Wild Lark Books: New Independent Bookstore Spreads its Wings

Photo: Wild Lark Books

Wild Lark Books is nestled on Broadway, between Auld Brewing Company and The Nicolett restaurant. Van Reenen has built a true sense of community around the shop in the short months since first opening her doors. “I love it when I’m perusing the shelves with someone who’s just come in and said, ‘Hey, I like this genre,’ or ‘I’m really into this subject,’ and we start pulling books of the shelf, exploring and talking. It really is a community feel. As an introvert, I think that was the most terrifying part about opening up a bookshop.” Van Reenen laughed. “I wanted to be that old man behind the newspaper—that was very appealing to me. But it has been surprisingly easy to converse and explore with customers, because everyone who walks through that door has one commonality. In all the divisiveness of the world, in all the concern and the burden and the worry we have in our society, everyone who walks through that door loves books, whatever those books might be. To be able to start there and get to know someone in that capacity has been really lovely. You pour a hot cup of tea and watch the worries melt away. It’s this corner of pleasure in a world where that’s hard to find sometimes.”

Under their publishing wing, Wild Lark Books has released the work of author DL Hammons. His thriller Knight Rise features: “A group of middle-aged friends embarking on a sentimental quest… A female Private Eye with a decades-old murder to solve… and a killer trying to erase an old mistake – and with it, anyone in his way.” Knight Rise can be purchased here.

Wild Lark Books: New Independent Bookstore Spreads its Wings

Photo: Wild Lark Books

Van Reenen offers a range of publishing packages for writers ready to get their book out into the world. Wild Lark Books represents the best of both worlds between the path of traditional publishing and the self-publishing route. Traditional publishing is often-slow and heavily gate-kept, with authors receiving small royalties. Self-publishing presents its own difficulties—from sourcing editors and graphic designers to bearing the brunt of marketing the finished product. Either way, authors can be overwhelmed. “All of my authors retain 100% ownership of their book,” van Reenen said. She explained the Wild Lark path of publishing.  “I wanted to create something that would honor the artistry of the author, print it as they intended it to be, and then provide avenues of marketing and sales expertise. So they can continue doing what they do best—and that’s writing.” With Wild Lark Books, authors are “getting published from a true publisher,” van Reenen said, “but you’re still retaining directive and ownership of your artistry.”

All authors published with Wild Lark Books are sure to have their works featured on the shelves of the bookshop. “Digital sales are wonderful,” van Reenen said, “but there’s this nostalgia of having your book on a shelf in a bookstore.”

Wild Lark Books: New Independent Bookstore Spreads its Wings

Photo: Wild Lark Books

Don’t miss the Victorian Gothic Tea Party on Feb. 25, 2022. “Instead of a Valentine’s Day event,” van Reenen said, “we’re putting on our black lace gloves and paying homage to gothic writers.”

Browse the shelves at Wild Lark Books, located at 513 Broadway in Lubbock, Texas. anyone can support Wild Lark Books, near or far, through their online shop with over 1.5 million books. Call (806) 503-5330. Visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Shop Hours:

Wednesday: 12 PM – 8 PM

Thursday: 12 PM – 8 PM

Friday: 12 PM – 8 PM

Saturday: 11 AM – 8 PM

Sunday – Tuesday: Shop is Closed

Monday & Tuesday are reserved for author meetings.