Washington’s Bookstores: Who You Can Still Buy From During the COVID Crisis

Who is selling, who delivers, and how to support.

In Anna Quindlen’s book, How Reading Changed My Life, she writes, “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” Now that Governor Inslee has issued a stay-at-home order, it’s a good time to visit, or revisit, some of your favorite books, or discover new ones—and do so in a way that supports a valuable community resource. Independent bookstores, state-wide, are in crisis. Profit margins are already slim in the industry, but now they, along with other “nonessential” businesses, must close their doors to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Information changes by the minute and emotions and anxieties are a roller coaster ride,” said Mary Kay Sneeringer, owner of Edmonds Bookshop. “We are taking it day by day and are so grateful for the love and support that we feel from our friends and customers.”

But though their doors are closed, that doesn’t mean these stores still can’t get books in your hands (washed diligently, please). Ordering books through independent bookstores helps keep them functioning and makes it more possible for them to reopen again after the stay-at-home order has been lifted and the coronavirus is behind us.

“Independent bookstores are the businesses that bring authors and illustrators to schools, have storytimes for the kids, and help you make a selection when you say, ‘I don’t know what I want, I just want something good,’” said Paul Hanson, a co-owner of Bellingham’s Village Books. “Those are the things that bring us joy and they will continue to bring us joy for many years.”

But for some owners who offer online ordering, the number of people buying isn’t currently enough.

“This is, as yet, not going to pay our bills,” said Suzanne Selfors of Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo. “So we need to rethink our strategy if we are to get through another month or possibly two.”

“This is a dream turned nightmare,” she added.

Listed below (by no means exhaustive) are bookstores across the state that could use your help. Are you a bookstore not on this list? Send us an email and let us know how people can support you. Not sure where the closest indie bookstore is to you? Here’s a good place to start. Since the pandemic crisis is ever evolving, best to check their website and/or call them since their business operations may have changed by the time of this writing.

Adventures Underground (Richland): You can order online or pick-up curbside.

Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane): You can order online.

Ada’s Technical Books (Seattle): You can order online or subscribe to their monthly book club.

Ballast Book Company (Bremerton): You can order online with 99 cent shipping.

Book & Game Company (Walla Walla): Call for free delivery.

The Book Larder (Seattle): You can order online.

Book Quest (Centralia): You can order online.

BookTree (Kirkland): Curbside pickup available.

Bookworm Books (Kennewick): It offers free delivery within five miles of the shop. Further than that is a $2 delivery fee. At this time they can only service the Tri-Cities.

Brick and Mortar Books (Redmond): You can order online.

Browser’s Bookshop (Olympia): You can order online and it’s offering free shipping on web and phone orders over $50.

The Comics Place (Bellingham): You can order online.

Darvill’s Bookstore (Eastsound): They have limited pick-up at the store and can mail.

Eagle Harbor Book Company (Bainbridge Island): You can order online. You can even pre-order soon-to-be-released books.

Earthlight Books (Walla Walla): You can order online.

Edmonds Bookshop (Edmonds): You can order online.

Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle): You can order online.

Giant Nerd Books (Spokane): Curbside pickup available 2 – 6 pm on weekdays. You can also order online and by mail order.

A Good Book (Sumner): You can order online.

Harbor Books (Aberdeen): You can order online, and do curbside pick-up on request.

Island Books (Mercer Island): You can order online. Free shipping.

King’s Books (Tacoma): You can order online.

Left Bank Books (Seattle): You can order online.

Liberty Bay Books (Poulsbo): You can order online.

North Bank Books (Stevenson): You can order online.

Madison Books (Seattle): You can order online.

Magnolia’s Bookstore (Seattle): You can order online and they are offering free take-out service and delivery in Magnolia.

Magus Books (Seattle): You can order online.

Open Books (Seattle): You can order online.

Pearl Street Books & Gifts (Ellensburg): You can order online with free shipping on books.

Pelican Bay Books and Coffeehouse (Anacortes): Available by phone and email. “Tell us what you need and we’ll do what we can to make it happen.”

Phinney Books (Seattle): You can order online.

Port Book and News (Port Angeles): You can order online and they are offering free home delivery for orders over $10 in Port Angeles and free ground shipping for orders over $30.

Queen Anne Book Company (Seattle): You can order online.

Riverwalk Books (Lake Chelan): You can order online.

Seaport Books (La Conner): Call or email for ordering.

Secret Garden Books (Seattle): You can order online.

Third Place Books (3 locations, Seattle-area): You can order online and they are offering free shipping.

University Bookstore (Seattle, and other locations): You can order online and they offer free shipping.

Uppercase Bookshop (Snohomish): You can order online.

Village Books (Bellingham): You can order online. Their evening with David Sedaris has been postponed until June.

Watermark Book Company (Anacortes): You can order online, via email, or via phone. They are also offering free local delivery.

Wishing Tree Books (Spokane): You can order online.

Still don’t know what to read in self-isolation? PEN America has some ideas. So does the Guardian. Or perhaps it’s time to crack into one of the 100 greatest novels ever written, or one of the 100 best non-fiction books of all-time. The legendary James Baldwin said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

Bookstores connect us. Keep them alive, too.

Looking for more ideas on how to support your independent bookstore? Check out this Vox article.

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