In case you missed it.

Nowhere Bookshop is in the news!

For an absolutely ridiculous reason.

Last week we got a one-star review that was so accidentally entertaining to the team that they decided to share it with the world:

The post went unexpectedly viral (for a small indie bookshop, that is) and our booksellers demanded shirts with their favorite terrible reviews, which we’ve now opened up for everyone for a limited time.

It’s ended up on several news outlets, which is really quite lovely and bizarre:

This is currently the second most popular story on the San Antonio Express:

Very weird. But nice.

Also, some people have asked me why we keep porn in the kids section and I’m baffled too because we don’t even keep porn in the porn section. In fact, we don’t even have a porn section. Sorry to disappoint. I assume this is really about LGBTQ+ books? Or maybe it’s about science-based books for children that discuss where babies come from? Or maybe The Very Hungry Caterpillar was just too phallic? No idea.

We also have at least three items in the store that don’t have expletives written on them but we are considering investing in a label-maker so that we can remedy that, and (if requested) our baristas can probably write creative swears on your coffee cups.

Nowhere is a reflection of the team who creates it and almost every week I have someone tell me how happy they are to find a safe and inclusive space where they can explore new worlds and learn and hide away in the stacks or read and connect with other like-minded weirdos. That said, I do have friends and family who consider themselves somewhat conservative who really love the bookshop, even if not all the books speak to them. Some of them are slowly growing to appreciate that reading about race, or sexuality, or feminism or any of the hard subjects that we may fear can lead to a greater understanding of the human race and help how we can celebrate our diversity and create compassion for others and ourselves. And some of them just like our offensive sock collection and wine and would prefer I stop correcting their pronoun usage but are grudgingly getting used to it and I appreciate it. If we celebrate diversity we have to celebrate that each of us brings our own perspective and knowledge and flaws and that is a lovely thing. I hope to see you Nowhere.

Unless you’re just an asshole.

Don’t come if you’re an asshole.

129 thoughts on “In case you missed it.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Ugh. I’m glad that I didn’t see this awful review on the ‘gram. smh.
    I’m so tired of small-minded, bigoted people trying to push their views on the rest of us.

  2. You might have missed my comment on a previous post that we visited Nowhere (a side trip from being in Austin for a week) in early October. [We live in Chicagoland.] I was sad not to set eyes on you, but ever-so-happy to be in your awesome store with your wonderful staff. I picked up a signed copy of Rick Riordan’s latest. Yay!

  3. The last line brought tears to my eyes. I think I’ll make that my motto to live by!

  4. I’ve never even been there and ordered the shirt. I stay far from Texas, but celebrate your poor reviews!

  5. You all are actual heroes. Thank you. It is so important that books not be censored. I don’t understand the need of a small segment of the population to want to regulate what everyone else can and can’t do. If you don’t like a book, don’t read it. Super simple. But they don’t have the right to tell me (or my kids) what we can or can’t read. Appreciate you all so much for having to deal with that group and for defending books. Much love!

  6. I love you guys so much! Thank you for being a space of safety in a state of weird regressive bloodlust! If you ever want me to come read and sign, I’m open to discussion!

  7. I love that you guys embraced the one star comment 😂 keep on being you, Jenny and the crew at Nowhere Bookshop!!

  8. I love this! I love that you’re here and that you have what I’m betting is the coolest bookstore ever! I’ve never been but you can bet if I found myself in TX, I’d come. There better be some porn though! 😉

  9. Shit, yes!!!!
    Anywhere a banned book is and inclusive reading materials are available, is the bookstore for me.
    The world needs more reading, of all kinds of materials, not less.
    And as a former Barnes and Noble bookseller, the actual porn in that chain bookstore is behind the checkout counter, the health and medicine books are near the psychology and self help sections (try reading it, one star reviewer, you might learn something,) the LGBTQ+ and feminism and black and brown relevant culture books are in sociology, biography, fiction, history, art, etc, and yes, in the teen section, and the “where do babies come from” and “how is my body changing” books are in the children’s section.
    Because knowledge is power, and we have a constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
    And the books that tell you how those constitutional laws came to be the law of our land that our democracy is founded on can be found in the reference and history section.
    And if you really want to worry about porn and explicatives and violence and body shaming and lies and con artists and predators and other stuff you don’t want to see or have your children see, check out the internet, which a is far more dangerous rabbit hole than a bookstore.

  10. Never coming to Texas, I’m afraid (it’s kind of everything my Canadian lesbian heart is against), but thank you for providing a place where people who are like me but stuck in Texas can feel loved! And I buy my wife all the sweary socks, if they’re the BlueQ ones. Especially thank you for providing pornography in the children’s section!

  11. YOU HAVE AN OFFENSIVE SOCK COLLECTION??? I love you even more. Thanks to you and all independent bookstores for being…independent. ❤️

  12. I love this! As a librarian by training book bans and censorship are very frightening to me and I worry if this country will survive the next couple of years.

  13. My soul person and I have already determined that Nowhere is where we want to go when we have the funds and the time to make the pilgrimage.

  14. This sounds like something that Malicious Women’s Candle Company would do – they have all kinds of cool candles with snarky statements on the labels (most involve swearing). They too get one star reviews (and share them online) and plenty of busybodies that think that they are “unChristian” or something. I think they get nasty phone calls too, and they share those TOO. Take that bigots! We will make you famous! Maybe not in the way you want! (stay malicious, friends!)

  15. Yup…NOWHERE Bookstore where annoying Conservatives is the side gig. So proud that your selection of books in the children’s section promotes books children need to have and read.

  16. OMG, LMAO! I love this, love this, love this. Just ordered a sweatshirt. Keep on fighting those close-minded nutjobs with that imaginary kiddie porn. And those everywhere in Nowhere expletives. And love, joy, and open arms – and books. You’re the best.

  17. I laughed so hard when I read the news article! I love the shirts! I also bought a my three work besties profane work socks to wear for meetings because friends support friends!!

  18. Shit man. I used to teach sex ed and had a pop up book on where babies came from. Ever seen a pop up sperm and egg? If you closed the pages real fast, the sperm swam! My kids were so embarrassed by their mom’s “porn” collection but hey. They knew where babies came from!

    That reviewer needs to get out and read more.

  19. We visited San Antonio in Sept of 2021 for my dad’s memorial. The family I traveled with stayed several days as it may be our last trip to San Antonio. The only thing I wanted to see what Nowhere Bookshop. It was fantastic! Thanks for being radical, Jenny.

  20. DON’T COME IF YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!!!! This would be going on all my future invitations, except that there is no way I’m inviting anyone anywhere ever again, so now I’m going to have to waste it, but it just gave me life. Also, I don’t drink coffee but I would totally order one if I was guaranteed to get some creative sweary message on the cup.

  21. You know, this might also make a nice t-shirt:
    “If we celebrate diversity we have to celebrate that each of us brings our own perspective and knowledge and flaws and that is a lovely thing.”

  22. I think the reviewer does not have their own bright aesthetic- glad you can laugh at the people who are prisoners of their own weird, judgy morals.

  23. Have you considered installing a Banned Books section? Just a thought.

    (We do often have one. We change stuff up constantly so it can be different from week to week. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

    I wish I had learned of you when I lived in Austin, it might have made me move to SA. Alas I am in Floriduh now, where we have plenty of uptight chocolate starfish. I’ll be sure to visit EVEN MORE next time I get to go visit my friends!

  25. As a post-script: What Anonymous 33 said!! I was in a little bookstore in Neptune Beach a few weekends ago and they had a Banned Books Table!! Love it, must do it!

  26. Can I be a conservative and still love you, Jenny? Because I am and I do.

    (As long as you respect others right to live and love and thrive then we are friends. ~ Jenny)

  27. Despite being born in Texas (Kingsville), there are very few things that might entice me back to visit (like my brother) but your store is high on that list of, well, okay
    two things. Keep doing what you do. In the immortal words of Tupac “The fake get in where they fit in, the real stand strong where they belong” ~ Erina

  28. Fantastic! Wish I lived close enough to visit (probably daily.) If I’m ever there, I will definitely put it at the top of the list. The Alamo can wait for another day. 🙂

  29. A badge of honor indeed Jenny! Glad a paper ran with it to expose the idiocy of some people. I just bought a mug that gives people one star. Now that’s a rating I can get behind

  30. Sounds like something our Oklahoma Secretary of Education would write. Texas may be bad but Oklahoma is a whole other world now because of Ryan Walters. Ugh. Stay as wonderful as you are Nowhere!

  31. I love this quote… “If we celebrate diversity, we have to celebrate that each of us brings our own perspective and knowledge and flaws and that is a lovely thing.”

  32. Assholes gonna asshole, and porn-seekers will find it everywhere. It’s amazing how the rest of us manage to get through life without stumbling over ALL the porn! 😀

  33. As much as I love this post, and the sweat shirt!, I feel a little sorry for the OP. Asshole? Seems a little harsh. Unkind. Unclear on the concept? DEFINITELY! Misguided, opinionated (but aren’t we all?), willfully ignorant? But see the brilliant contribution she’s made!! We should all be grateful! Maybe she’ll think twice next time about spouting off in public.

    (Yeah, I wouldn’t say the reviewer was an asshole. Confused/misguided and inappropriately angry? For sure. And honestly their last line was very catchy so I’d give them a high-five for the wording alone. We very rarely get assholes in the store. To me that’s a person who makes others feel unsafe, says racist or otherwise shitty things to the team or customers, comes in just to yell at the staff…that sort of thing. Luckily most people either love the store, or do what I do when I walk into a store that isn’t to my taste and just leave. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  34. I’m a fan of the offensive sock collection. I bought mine at another indie shop but I’ll bet my 2 f-words pairs of socks can be found there. Love the socks but my vocabulary doesn’t usually include that word . So when I wear them my jeans do cover the bad word. But when I talk to someone about my socks I ask the person I’m talking to if words offend them.if they don’t I raise my pant leg to show what the socks say. Damn I’m like a feminist exhibitionist who gets consent before exposing my socks!
    Ps I’m getting older and don’t want the socks to just be tossed when I die. I might need to list then in my will for disposition!

  35. I sure wish there were a lot more Nowheres everywhere, and I especially wish there where one near me, seems like my kind of place & tribe.

  36. Too bad in wasn’t a hand written review. If so, I suspect you’d find it covered in grease marks from their Chick-fil-A take out.

  37. As a writer I can’t help but note that on top of everything else this person thinks they’re a super-star for supporting independent bookstores that actually pay their fair share into the publishing loop (“paying full price”). And on that note, I’m off to make another Nowhere purchase because of course writers need to support writers, and all the amazing independents.

  38. On my FB page I quote “Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.” I’m glad you share the sentiment.

  39. This post is absolutely fabulous ***except*** I had never even thought of the Very Hungry Caterpillar as phallic — until now. Core memory activated.

  40. I’m an asshole, but the good kind! Don’t correct my grammar or you’ll understand the asshole that is me.

  41. Any idea of which books in the children section this person considered pornographic?

    (Haven’t been able to figure that one out. We have a science-based book for children about where babies come? Or maybe ones about kids with same-sex parents? No clue really. ~ Jenny)

  42. I received some sweary socks once as a gift from a friend. (I didn’t realize they were such a thing!) My mouth is 100% as dirty as those socks, but for some reason I didn’t want to wear my mouth on my feet (nor do I wear my heart on my sleeve). So I said thank you for the socks, appreciated the thought, and gave them away to someone who would enjoy wearing them. End of story. If everyone else could act like a functioning adult (except for small children, of course, who are not yet adults), including Mr One Star Review, the world would be a much better place. Turning the review into shirts was a brilliant adult move! Now Mr Review can enjoy his 15 minutes of fame, the shop makes some money, and everyone can be clothed so as not to offend anyone in the children’s section! Wins all around!

  43. I am nonplussed. I live in a town that some people would think it is terrible, with sickos, perverts and more. Luckily, I live in a town that has loving, open, caring and giving individuals that accept people just like them or people unlike themselves. I live in Palm Springs and love our newish, one and only bookstore ‘The Best Bookstore’. Goofballs welcome. Hate not allowed.

  44. This solidifies it – I need to come and visit the store. Hmm, how far is it from Pittsburgh, PA to San Antonio? 🙂 Thank you, Jenny and staff for such a fabulous space. I wish there were more bookstores like Nowhere.

  45. I loved that review too, so I bought a sweatshirt. I hope there are more people like you in the world than people like the reviewer.

  46. Narrow minded woman she probably doesn’t get any Loving so she is jealous and strikes at anyone and anything she doesn’t understand so she is afraid of it but hey you got a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I GIVE YOU 5

  47. Ahhh! I have never left a reply here in my many years of reading, but I had a trip planned to the area over the weekend and was SO happy to finally see the store in person! Alas, COVID waylaid me at the very last moment. Clearly someone trying to keep me from pornography and cool chairs.

  48. Suggestions for more t-shirts for the staff “We also have at least three items in the store that don’t have expletives written on them but we are considering investing in a label-maker so that we can remedy that.” and “If requested, our baristas can probably write creative swears on your coffee cups.”

  49. I am glad the reviewer felt safe and secure in the right to free speech while writing. I am glad Nowhere is safe and secure in it’s right to uncensored book selection in the Great State of Texas.

    I suspect the reviewer may genuinely (?) not understand that to some readers, the books at Nowhere are not propaganda. I hope l can visit the reviewer’s favorite bookstore one day and respect it’s right to sell the books of it’s choice – and not label or superficially diminish all of them as propaganda.

    I adore Jenny’s books and blog and humor and products – and also feel sure I would not like or agree with all books at Nowhere, or any bookstore. Example: I am wuss when it comes to horror books, and in my own writing, I like my pronouns where they always have been found.

    But that’s kind of the point. When the US is free of censorship – and many nations never have been! – there are options out there and choices for readers to make.

    So, Make America Read Again!

    Anything! Something! The Good News Bible! The Holy Koran! Just read something and respect reading!

    I myself really want socks and furniture and coffee cups with more swear words ….

  50. On the downside, there’s now a non-zero chance that hordes of ultimately disappointed porn aficionados will descend upon Nowhere.

    (At least their one-star review will be entertaining. ~ Jenny)

  51. I got my gray hoodie ordered on Bonfire and can’t wait to advertise your awesomeness!

  52. wow! good for you for embracing the review & spinning into something positive. also, i respect that you did so w/respecting their comments…ie. the porn in the kiddie section comment-i wondered too but you’ve given a great explanation of what could have been construed that way by someone w/extreme conservative views. Loved- we don’t even keep porn in our non-existent porn section. ha ha!!! Glad it hasn’t effected your business negatively. I think it’s important to support indie book shops.

  53. This guy could have been writing from the script used by parents in my school district, crying about “pornography” in school library books. They keep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means.
    Any book that dares to teach about the human reproductive system in a totally age-appropriate way is labeled “pornography.” These people really need to get a life.

  54. Also, do you want a porn section? Because some of that erotica by and for women is awesome. I recommend Lonnie Barbach.

  55. This librarian of a small, rural, and very conservative community appreciates you; Fight the man…and the assholes.

  56. This drove me straight to your website to look for offensive socks. Found them! Do you ship to the UK?

    (We do! ~ Jenny)

  57. Thank you for everything you do!! You and your team has taken something negative and blown it up in the most positive way possible. You are my heroes!!! I plan on coming to visit Nowhere some day!!!

  58. I always expect the people who leave reviews like this to come forward and yell because they were mocked for leaving their shit out on the internet. Or ask for compensation and a part of the shirt money since it uses their words.

  59. Congratulations! When you are irritating those folks, you are doing things right!

  60. I’m in the CFISD zone, and THEY (not me) just elected three fundie rightwings to the school board right after our amazing superintendent retired. Coincidence? I think not. The book banning has only just begun. The RAGE I am feeling has taken my blood pressure to levels I assume should transition me to werewolf status at the next 3/4 moon because I don’t think a full moon is required. Jenny, do you have any other thoughts about what we can do to fight this?

    (It’s disheartening. What we’re doing is donating banned books to classrooms, but it can be hard. Keep voting. Keep letting your voice be heard. Keep supporting libraries. Donate banned books to Little Free Libraries in your area. ~ Jenny)

  61. Yay you!! Y’all are awesome! Someday I’m going to drive to Texas just to visit you!! And I agree – no assholes allowed.

  62. My family and I love Nowhere! My little one loves the children section with the fun environment (the mushroom stool and giant cat are things he has asked to take home with him hahahaha) and I love the quirkiness of it all. The book choices are superb! I just wish we lived closer so we could go more often.

  63. Now I know how I want to adult! I want my own coffee bar where I can write creative curse words. I feel like this should happen.

  64. I live in Canada and I’ve been contemplating a trip to Texas just to visit your bookstore!

  65. Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, how I adore you! Am I wrong to assume it was a woman who wrote that review? If so, then, well, fuck her. If it was a man, then fuck him, also. We will not heal this national stupidity with small minds; people like you and your bookstore and your books can save us from the dark ages.

  66. My friend’s aunt just got fired from her job as a librarian because she refused to take LGBTQ+ books out of the children’s section. Nothing racy, of course. Just books that were going to let LGBTQ+ children feel at home in their library. These people are horrible.

  67. Sometimes I like to think of the women who left that review, and what she might be feeling seeing her comment all over San Antonio? I can’t imagine she thought this is how it would go.

  68. This story makes me SO happy! Meeting anger with humor and love is what our world needs. Keep up the good work!!

  69. Oooh, I need to get to San Antonio to visit your store and the Navy museum, which apparently has a display on my grandfather’s ship from WWII, the USS Grayson, if you go say hi to Frank Rieger’s photo.

  70. Gosh, this makes me want to visit Austin just to see the shop and sit in a cool chair.

  71. My library in Kingsland made the national news when our librarian refused to pull banned books off the shelves. She was fired. There was a lively discussion on Nextdoor about it and MANY people made the same claim that there was porn in the children’s section. The only book I could get anybody to name was In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. There’s a cartoon drawing of a naked toddler in it. 🤔They also objected to I Am Jazz, a book about a transgender girl. I secretly put my own copy of that book back on the shelves.

  72. This is DELIGHTFUL. 😀 We came in with our 10 year old daughter on a road trip south from Dallas this past summer and she thought everything about the shop was the best, from Sir Terry (she was Tiffany Aching for Halloween this year), to the book selection (Bought the new Amari novel), to the giant axolotl plushies, to the middle aged gentleman customer at the bar who made sure to tell her Sir Terry’s name when he learned we liked Discworld. If we lived closer, I know we would be there all the time. 10/10, keep offending the assholes!

  73. WTH?? seriously, people are mental…not us of course.!
    I agree with post # 108……..Nowhere is Nowhere near me.

  74. WI agree with poTH?? Small people should not be reviewing anything. can’t read either!! I agree with Post # 108, Nowhere near Me 🙁

  75. Why can’t we enjoy what we want without being criticized or threatened for it? I am neither liberal nor conservative. I have a mind of my own and express it frequently, but not often enough. That’s changing right now. The army of haters that are marching through our country scare me. The second world war in Europe should have opened our eyes to censorship, bigotry, hate… that list is endless. As is the US with our own history of racism and radicalism. Have those haters figured out how they can squash those of us who just want to live and enjoy life on our own terms? They will have an easy time, or so they think. How to stop them sounds too easy, but it isn’t.
    When the time comes, GET OUT AND VOTE!

  76. I’ve ordered my sweatshirt! But I’m disappointed it doesn’t have any swear words or pornography.

  77. Here’s another idea for a shirt.
    “Nowhere Bookstore. Don’t come if you’re an asshole”

  78. Comment 21 mentioned the Malicious Women Company as particularly sweary, so of course I had to go check them out — I’ll definitely be buying gifts!l from them! But I was also enraged to find that Amazon has screwed them to the tune of 5000 candles that they “mislaid” (5000 x $20 retail = $100,000, a huge hit to a small company) []

    So let’s give them some serious love and order candles, makeup or other snarky wonderfulness on their site:

  79. Some of my favorite businesses I found via their 1 star reviews. Our favorite wine bar: “loud mouthed tattooed women working behind the bar that talk loudly about cunnilingus”. Found ourselves at said bar an hour later. They’re the best people.

    (That sounds AMAZING. ~ Jenny)

  80. Can you please share some of your expletives? I constantly find myself running out of those, thanks.

  81. I love you, Jenny, but aren’t you always saying, “Be kind?” Or is that only for people you share your beliefs, values, and opinions?

  82. This woman could have just thought to herself: I don’t approve of what this store is doing, so I won’t go there again, and then gone on with her life. But that wasn’t good enough. She wanted everybody to KNOW what she thought. And she wanted to rile up like-minded folks, to get her opinion validated, and get people to pile on, and to damage Jenny’s business.

    Jenny is simply helping this woman’s review get out to a wider audience. All Jenny did was to turn the harm this woman tried to do to her into a positive. She didn’t hurt the woman. She didn’t post shit about her. She didn’t put her name and photo on the sweatshirt.

    Being kind doesn’t mean you just have to accept what unkind people dish out.

  83. “The objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think.” – H.L. Mencken
    Mencken was a bigoted asshole, but he got that one right.
    In 65 years bumbling around on this planet I’ve found some people, like this reviewer, who are like reverse compasses, charter members of the Dunning-Kruger club. They can be depended upon to be diametrically wrong about any subject that comes up, and their negative opinion is almost always a guide to something good, and if they approve of something it’s usually boring, pointless, or evil. If in doubt I can check in with one of them, find out what they think is the right choice, and then do the opposite with serene confidence.

  84. Have been ghosting, er, following you for a number of years. And today I am completely drawn to finally comment. What a fucking brilliant response all round. Love this. If we ever drive down your way – 24 hours if we don’t stop but I would need a pee break every 94 minutes or so – (and driving because I don’t do planes. Bridges. Really tall buildings. Elevators, especially glass elevators. Open stairways. Um. Yeah), will totally drop for a chat and a book or seven. And, yeah, I bought the fucking t-shirt.

  85. And I am apparently ‘anonymous’ in Firefox but not in Chrome. The ghost is revealed.

  86. My decomposition notebook featuring purple space cats) was bought at Nowhere. No expletives anywhere (outside of my head, because work meeting notes).

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