University Book Store launched in 1900 and continues their founders’ original intent to improve their community both on and off campus

In 1895, when Washington had only officially been a state for six years, the Territorial University moved north of Portage Bay and became the University of Washington. Student supplies and books were hard to procure at the turn of the century and had to be ordered from the East Coast. After years and years of late shipments—textbooks often didn’t arrive until several weeks after the start of the term—a group of pioneering students decided that their growing university community needed a better, local option.

With their combined efforts, University Book Store first opened for business on January 10, 1900, in a cloakroom next to the University President’s office in Denny Hall. The space was humble, at best, but business expanded quickly and continued to outgrow several spaces over two decades until the book store moved into a former pool hall on The Ave in 1924, where the flagship store still stands.

Today, University Book Store, Inc. is an independent college retailer with five locations around the Puget Sound (as well as and is one of the largest independent bookstores on the West Coast. In addition to course materials and school supplies, University Book Store offers Husky insignia apparel and accessories, new and used books, art and office supplies, gifts, and many other products.

University Book Store continues their founders’ original intent to improve their community both on and off campus. Providing and supplying affordable and accessible course materials at varying price points and delivery options is still, 120 years later, at the crux of the book store’s driving philosophy. University Book Store strives to be there for its communities in other ways by highlighting local authors and products. 

Thank you for supporting indie retailers like University Book Store! Keep reading for a few fun facts about the 120-year-old shop:

  • Over the years, University Book Store has sold records, skis, typewriters, tennis rackets, shoe’s, men’s and women’s wear, luggage cameras, music and instruments, china and glassware—in addition to everything else students need!
  • University Book Store has hosted thousands of author events and book signing over the years, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Margaret Atwood, Duke Ellington, Allen Ginsberg, Sophia Loren, Gary Larson, Isabel Allende, Bill Clinton, Ginger Rogers, Tony Curtis, Salman Rushdie, Shirley Temple, and many more!
  • Between 1930 and 2015, University Book Store issued more than $50 million in customer rebates to the UW campus community. The Pack Rewards™ membership program, which supplies UW customers with 10 percent savings every day on Husky gear and books, replaced the UW Customer Rebate in 2015.

To find out more about University Book Store, visit

Show Comments