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Boutique bookstores emphasize style, not size

Posted 6:44pm on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

Two recent additions to the DFW bookstore landscape feel less like retail and more like small lounges.

That’s fitting as both Taschen Library, the brick-and-mortar offshoot of the upmarket German art/culture-book publisher of the same name, and Chapter Two, a foot-traffic lure for the Highland Park boutique/organic cafe Number One next door, aren’t really meant to stand on their own. In fact, Taschen is tucked inside The Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth venturing into -- if you’re killing time and need browsing options while waiting for your table at The Joule’s hot new restaurant, CBD Provisions, or for the movie to start at the Village Theatre in Highland Park Village.

Despite its name, Taschen Library does sell books, though only those published by Taschen. Anyone familiar with any of their other stores in such high-end hot spots as Beverly Hills, South Beach and New York’s Soho knows what to expect: a sleekly designed environment spotlighting their elegantly designed coffee-table books sporting such titles as Mid-Century Ads: The Fifties and National Geographic: Around the World in 125 Years.

Find a place on the couch and you may get so engrossed thumbing through the collection that you’ll miss your restaurant reservation.

The Taschen space isn’t big but Chapter Two is so small that it seems more like an installation than a store. But such fashion/food/culture book titles as Dior Glamour or Vogue: The Editor’s Eye provide distraction or you can purchase magazines like Gastronomica, Wallpaper or British Vogue in the cafe to peruse while noshing on chicken salad made with organic, pasture-raised chicken, washing it down with a cold-pressed watermelon-lime-mint juice, and finishing it off with a piece of sea-salt caramel chocolate.

In terms of square footage, Taschen and Chapter Two don’t equal a corner in a big-box store but what they lack in sprawl, they make up with style.

---Cary Darling

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