There is, I think, a certifiable syndrome at this point, which goes something like this. You wander into one of our city’s lovely brick-and-mortar bookstores. You pick up a new, supremely well-reviewed hardcover book. Then you look at the jacket price—$27. Then you go home and buy it on Amazon and save, oh, 30 percent. Whatever your feelings on our local monolith—which are likely conflicted—you’d probably like to buy that book in the store and support their passionate staffers, who don't algorithmically recommend books. But 30 percent.
Well, there is another way.
If you can’t make it to Spokane’s Get Lit! Festival this week, Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is a sort of citywide alternative. Each of the 23 individual local stores will host readings, talks, offer free cake and donuts, a happy hour, etc., and if you want to go to the one nearest you, cool. Bainbridge Island-novelist Jonathan Evison reads at University Bookstore. Kit Bakke will be at Elliott Bay Book Company supporting her new book, Protest on Trial: The Seattle 7 Conspiracy. And if you visit three stores, you get a one-time 30 percent-off discount.
But here's the major allure: if you get a card stamped at all 19 Seattle-area bookstores over the course of the day, you get a Champion Card which knocks 25% off purchases at all participating stores for the year. Visiting all 19 means you be heading out to Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo, up to Edmonds and over to Mercer Island, so this will be a full day.
Everyone will have personal math to do—time commitment, gas money, books bought in a year, depth of your spite for Bezos—but if nothing else this is a fun way to direct some cash away from the monolith, since you know you’ll be buying a new pair of headphones on there soon.
If you want to attempt the trek, here’s your list. (For stores with multiple locations, you need only visit one.)
- Ada’s Technical Books (Capitol Hill)
- Book Larder (Fremont)
- BookTree Kirkland (Kirkland)
- Brick and Mortar Books (Redmond)
- Eagle Harbor Book Co. (Bainbridge Island)
- Edmond’s Book Shop (Edmonds)
- Elliott Bay Book Company (Capitol Hill)
- Fantagraphics Bookstore (Georgetown)
- Island Books (Mercer Island)
- Liberty Bay Books (Bremerton)
- Liberty Bay Books (Poulsbo)
- Magnolia’s Bookstore (Magnolia)
- The Neverending Bookshop (Bothell)
- Open Books: A Poem Emporium (Wallingford)
- Phinney Books (Phinney Ridge)
- Queen Anne Book Company (Queen Anne)
- Secret Garden Books (Ballard)
- Third Place Books (Bothell)
- Third Place Books (Ravenna)
- Third Place Books (Seward Park)
- The Traveler (Bainbridge Island)
- University Book Store (University District)
- University Book Store (Mill Creek)