Skip to Content

First Light Books Opens in Former Post Office in Austin’s Hyde Park Neighborhood

Austinites welcome the new independent bookstore that offers community programming along with coffee, pastries, wine and more

First Light Books (photo by Casey Dunn)

The brand new independent bookstore, First Light Books, named “in tribute to the feeling of possibility and moment of reflection at daybreak”, aims to provide Austinites with an eclectic selection of reads including literary fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, poetry, cookbooks, expert-vetted lists for niche subject areas (photography, design, gardening, sports, architecture, history, spirituality and more) and a kid’s section. Nostalgics will also be granted an impressive magazine stand where publications range from obscure to notable, and include quarterlies and weekend newspapers. Visitors can also purchase goods like stationary, games, art supplies, home goods and bookish curio.

First Light Books
First Light Books (photo by Heidi Okla)

“At First Light, we see the book as a kind of magic trick,” shares Taylor Bruce, co-creator of First Light Books. “A skeleton key that can open minds, dust up ideas, and time-travel us into new worlds. And another beautiful thing about a book is that, as an invention and an object, it has changed very little over hundreds of years. Paper and ink and imagination. As our world spins fast, a book helps us slow down. That’s what First Light is all about.”

A peek inside First Light Books (photo by Casey Dunn)

First Light Books is a welcoming place to gather

Created by Taylor and Robin Bruce, along with Breezy Mayo, First Light Books is a combined effort to make a welcoming and inspiring gathering space. The passion project combines the skills of each founder.

Taylor, the visionary behind the cherished and authentic travelogue brand, Wildsam, brings the experience of an explorer, writer, and established company founder. Robin, a literary character herself, studied poetry in college and spent years running a business school and honing her own entrepreneurial spirit. Breezy, an expert in cultivating comfort and enjoyment, previously worked in the hospitality industry. Her commitment to service will carry into First Light’s events, membership program and cafe.

“First Light Books dates back to the early days of our marriage when Taylor and I lived a few blocks away and would take regular walks around the neighborhood and past the post office,” says Robin. “As a couple, we’ve always sought out the best, small bookstores in every place we’ve visited and dreamed of one day opening a true, community bookstore. A place where people felt at home and invited to linger, a place that was in and of the neighborhood that surrounded it. We’ve been lucky enough to call Breezy Mayo a friend for years and the opportunity to have her depth of experience brought to bear on First Light was such an incredible opportunity for us to team up on this endeavor.”

First Light Books was previous home to the Hyde Park Post Office

Gracing the corner of 43rd Street and Speedway, the store is taking over the space that previously belonged to a beloved US Post Office. First Light will continue the tradition of serving Austinites with its community programming, a significant component of the bookstore. Neighbors will be invited to happy hours, book clubs, author readings, culinary events as well as kid-friendly activities like daily story time, reading clubs, and creative writing meetups.

children’s section of First Light Books (photo by Heidi Okla)

Cafe for sips and snacks

The cafe will further serve the neighborhood by treating guests to delicious food and drink. Morning visitors can feast on Texas French Bread pastries and Figure 8 Coffee starting at 7 a.m. daily. Night owls can try European-inspired snacks, a curated wine menu and beverages from St. Elmo Brewing Company and Fairweather Cider Co. while sitting in the cafe or on the terrace. A special Saturday menu will also be available with expanded offerings of baked goods from Hello Bread and other surprises.

Curating the ambiance involved the efforts of a number of different experts. Austin architectural firm Thoughtbarn and Texan designer Ann Edgerton worked together to construct a building inspired by 1960s Europe. The earthy palette and playful pops of color pay tribute Hyde Park’s eccentricity and homeliness with a modern and sophisticated feel. Campbell Landscape Architecture thoughtfully designed a relaxing outdoor greenspace to complement the building with native plants like Texas Redbuds, Yaupon Holly, Texas Sage, Purple Coneflower, and Silver Ponyfoot. The Charleston, SC-based design firm SDCO crafted First Lights’s artful brand identity.

inside First Light Books (photo by Heidi Okla)

First Light Books Membership Opportunity

Devoted customers can join their annual membership program called First Light Years for an annual fee of $99 that will include perks of free drip coffee daily, 20% off book purchases, free delivery within a 5-mile radius and invitations to some select members-only programming.

Made with love, First Light Books opens on August 19, 2023 at 4300 Speedway in Austin. More information can be found at and on Instagram @firstlightbooks.