In the Internet age, the really important letters still go through snail mail, from wedding invitations to birthday cards to that obligatory thank you note after a job interview. Handwritten missives make an even greater impression than ever before. To find elegant paper or witty greeting cards worthy of a special occasion, would-be letter writers enjoy many options in Seattle, from classic stationery shops to artsy letterpress specialists, suggesting that the passion for letter writing is alive and well in the Emerald City.

Paper Delights (Credit: Elisa Mader)

Paper Delights
2205 N. 45th St., Suite B
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 547-1002

Wander into this beautiful, light-filled Wallingford boutique to buy a card, and you might come away with your arms laden with charming gifts, from books to luxury toiletries and home decorations. Yet the true passion of owners Kathy Perkins and Alicia Olsen, the mother-daughter team that opened the store in 2008, remains to be paper products. Along with countless greeting cards, they carry quality items such as Pantone notebooks and Elum letter sets. The store offers many classic brands such as Crane & Co. and Martha Stewart, but Perkins and Olsen tirelessly invent customizable designs of their own as well, over 150 to date, from thank you notes to birth announcements and wedding invitations. With the friendly service, Paper Delights makes a superb choice for custom printing.

Related: Guide to Wedding Shows and Expos

Pike Street Press (Credit: Elisa Mader)

Pike Street Press
1510 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 971-0120

Pike Street Press occupies a funky industrial space just across from the Seattle Aquarium. At its heart sits a beautiful antique Heidelberg windmill letterpress machine. By inking and pressing polymer plates (produced in-house) onto paper, the machine creates distinctive, debossed letterpress images, one by one. No two prints are exactly alike. Since owner Sean Brown started the press two years ago, he has built a bustling trade in custom printing, including wedding invitations and business cards. Shoppers can find a variety of clever greeting cards designed by Pike Street Press and funky office accessories from designers such as Kikkerland. The store also features local print artists in its gallery area.

de Medici Ming Fine Paper
1222 1st Ave., Suite A
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 624-1983

This diminutive store, located across the street from Seattle Art Museum’s “Hammering Man,” has dazzled its customers with the variety and quality of its paper products since opening in 1983. Colorful sheets of marbled and patterned paper ideal for bookbinding, collage or decoupage hang on racks from the walls, and countless letter sets, calendars, notebooks and cards line the towering shelves. The shop features local letterpress designers such as Benjamin Paul and Ilee. It also carries high-quality paper products from all around the world, made from different indigenous fibers, such as mulberry fiber in the Far East, salago and banana in the Philippines or cotton from India. The shop’s name honors the two most influential cultures in the history of paper: The Chinese, who invented it, and the Italians, who popularized its everyday use during the Renaissance.

Silberman Brown Stationers (Credit, Elisa Mader)

Silberman Brown Stationers
417 University St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 292-9404

This elegant stationery shop in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel brings to mind a cozy study or reading nook with its gleaming wooden bookcases filled with brightly colored notebooks and its glass displays of antique inkwells. Silberman Brown has shared its passion for high-quality paper, pens and gifts with Seattle-area patrons since 1977. The store offers classic stationery from top names such as Crane & Co., Kate Spade and Vera Wang, as well as quick custom printing, and it customizes stylish desk sets or albums bound in saddle leather. From exquisite traditional paper sets from Italy’s Amalfi Coast to a cool modern fountain pen that pulls ink into its cartridge by suction, shoppers will find no shortage of distinctive luxury writing accessories.

Kinokuniya Bookstore (Credit: Elisa Mader)

Kinokuniya Bookstore
525 S. Weller St.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 587-2477

This massive Japanese bookstore attached to Uwajimaya in the International District not only offers an amazing variety of books, comics, magazines, CDs and DVDs in Japanese, Chinese and English. It also houses a huge stationery section, with walls of colorful notebooks, aisles of gel pens and shelf after shelf of squeeworthy Asian office supplies, from decorative adhesive tape and food-shaped erasers to adorable pencil cases and letter sets. The store carries hugely popular brands such as Sanrio and Rilakkuma and merchandise with beloved characters like Totoro, ideal for kids’ gifts. Its ample selection of exquisite Washi and origami paper will delight crafters, too. Kinokuniya is the largest bookstore chain in Japan, and the Seattle store is one of seven branches located in the US.

Related: Seattle’s Best Independent Bookstores

Elisa Mader is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on