In 2020, a study ranked Seattle as the ninth most bookish city in the country, as measured by the number of book retailers and libraries. While our local indie outlets are spectacular, the rest of the state has many a cute small-town bookseller worth a road trip.
Tucked into Skagit County like a treasured collectible, La Conner sits on the quiet Swinomish Channel waterway for a unique kind of maritime vibe. Home to museums and quilt shops, it's the quintessential spot for strolling and shopping, and Seaport's sign invites visitors to "come hook a book." The store specializes in Pacific Northwest tales and displaying works from local artists.
The Victorian downtown of the Olympic Peninsula's historic seaport begs for a literary shop, and for 46 years, Imprint has delivered everything that is quaint and cozy. In 2014, it merged with the Writers' Workshoppe, a collection of classes on everything from creating children's books to perfecting written dialogue.
Every good indie bookstore has a history, and the capital's store can boast origins in 1928 Aberdeen before relocating to Olympia in 1935. From its Capitol Way location, the shop curates staff recommendations and new releases but also sells local independently published tomes on consignment, helping bring nontraditional voices to the forefront.
Though it sports the same name as a famous Paris shop, Lewis County's used bookstore is its own special blend. Its former iteration, in a two-story house, closed during the pandemic, but it was born anew attached to a cafe that boasts vegan and gluten-free options among its pastries. The shelves include LGBTQ and anti-racist literature, and the owners make a point to support local makers and causes.
It's only appropriate that the tiny mountain town with logging roots have a store aimed at the outdoors. Though the compound includes a bar that's host to live music, and it has an adventure gear retailer sister shop in nearby Cle Elum, books don't get short shrift; shelves are filled with gardening tomes and a hefty supply of paper maps.
No, this entry isn't lost. The vinyl shop just south of Tacoma Mall took over its adjacent storefront in 2021 and added a bookstore, which now makes up almost half of the total square footage. They sell a wide range of books—not just music ones—but also band T-shirts, stickers, and gifts along with the requisite records and CDs.
Located at the edge of the mountains, along a popular route to Mount Rainier and ski areas, downtown Enumclaw has held on to its charming downtown. The Sequel's vast inventory includes shelves upon shelves of paperbacks from favorite series and authors; coffee from the espresso bar up front is almost a requisite to get through all the browsing.