When Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove, passed away in 2021, his beloved bookstore in Archer City, Texas was taken over by the store’s long-term manager, Khristal Merklin. But in November 2022, the deed was purchased by none other than Fixer Upper’s Chip Gaines. What does this mean for the future of the store?
As it turns out, Booked Up, Inc. is now an “fully online” venture, following the sale of the buildings and inventory to an investment company with Chip Gaines as the director. The deed records show that the properties were sold for a mere ten dollars “and other good and valuable consideration.”
McMurtry was a master bookseller specializing in rare books, with multiple locations across the U.S. at one point. The Archer City store was the last remaining shopfront and had become a pilgrimage of sorts for devotees of McMurtry’s Westerns. It’s no surprise then that when a tipster reported seeing Gaines and his father “carrying boxes of books out of the store,” it caused quite a stir.
Gaines’ company Magnolia encompasses TV shows, home interior products, books, and also destination events and flagship stores in his hometown of Waco, Texas. Could he be planning to turn Archer City into a similar destination? We can only imagine what it would be like to take a steamer in Larry McMurtry’s original bookstore while leafing through fabric samples.
For now, Gaines is remaining tight-lipped about his plans for the store. However, we do know that an auction of McMurtry’s personal effects will take place in May, including items such as typewriters, his grand piano, his bed, and his duct-taped cowboy boots.
It will be interesting to see what Chip Gaines does with McMurtry’s beloved bookstore in Archer City. Will he tear out the bookshelves and cover the store in shiplap? Or will he simply spend time in the store reading in a comfy chair? Only time will tell!