Best Independent Bookstores In Seattle

February 29, 2016 5:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

For 18 years, The National Education Association’s Read Across America program has narrowly focused on motivating kids to read. Their tagline is: “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” But why stop there? Reading is for everyone. March 2 is National Read Across America Day. To celebrate, why not visit one of these local independent bookstores and pick up a physical book that has actual pages and doesn’t have a battery to be worn down? Here are five of the best.
Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 10th Ave.
Seattle WA 98122
(206) 624-6600
www.elliottbaybook.com

The Elliott Bay Book Company may be the largest independent bookstore in Seattle. They have over 150,000 titles to choose from. Located in a multi-level shop on Capitol Hill, the bookstore literally has something for everyone. They feature a large selection of new books as well as a nice collection of used ones. Here, you’ll find book signed first editions, magazines and journals, hand-bound books, limited editions, audio books and more. Teenagers are encouraged to attend their own book discussion group. They also have a nice children’s section and a free story time on Saturdays. Found yourself spending too much time in this store and become famished? No problem. This bookstore is also home to the Little Oddfellows Café and Bar.

Lamplight Books
1514 Pike Pl., Suite 14
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 652-5554
www.facebook.com/lamplightbooks/

Lamplight Books is tucked away in a spot that is easy to miss with in the Pike Place Market, but it is a needle in a haystack that is worth looking for. Though just about 1,000 square feet, you will be amazed at what you will find here, including mysteries, science fiction, history, current fiction and more. The store is a hit with visitors as it isn’t cluttered. The owner also has a good track record getting back to requests too.

Seattle Mystery Bookshop
117 Cherry St.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 587- 5737
www.seattlemystery.com

The original owner of Seattle Mystery Bookshop named his place of business a “bookshop” instead of “bookstore” because he felt that “shop” implies a warm, personal place to shop instead of a large, cold environment. Here is a treasure trove for all would-be sleuths to search for new reads. Just like when the doors first opened, the staff make an effort to get to each customer, even if only for a few minutes. Of course, the hope is that you’ll return and chances are good that they’ll remember your name. The other goal, of course, is to stock the largest selection of mystery books available. And you’ll never know who might be shopping beside you. Over the years, the Seattle Mystery Bookshop has been visited by various authors including Ellis Peters and J.A. Jance.

Related: Best Books for a New Year, New You

Left Bank Books
92 Pike St., Suite B
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 622-0195
www.leftbankbooks.com

Left Bank Books has been a fixture the Pike Place Market neighborhood since 1973. Unlike other bookstores, Left Bank has just about 70 different sections of new and used books specializing in subject matter that others don’t, including anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles. You’ll also find books on subjects like feminist studies, immigration studies, poetry, graphic novels, labor history, science fiction and environmentalism, just to name a few. Left Bank is also unique in that all those who work there are also partial owners of the store. You will be directly be served by a local business owner during your next visit.

Mercer Street Books
7 Mercer St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 282-7687
www.mercerstreetusedbooks.com/

Tourists love this little indie bookstore located in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood and you should come see why. They feature a large section of fiction and non-fiction books with prices that make your trip worthwhile. Out of town visitors have commented that the store’s owner is exactly the type of person who should be running the shop. They are a friendly fellow reader who enjoy good literature and are more than happy to help you find your next adventure in print. The shop is also neat, clean and well organized so that you can hunt quickly if you are in a hurry.

Related: Holiday Gift Guide for Your Favorite Bookworm

Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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