Back in the day, we used to have these things called book stores. Basically, they were physical stores you could visit and buy physical books. Pretty crazy, right?
Of course, Amazon (a Seattle native) turned the whole business model on its head, but a few brave physical locations still remain. One of the ways to stay alive is to differentiate yourself, and that's exactly what Open Books has done. The 500-square-foot shop is 100% dedicated to poetry.
Thrift shopping is a staple of Seattle culture (perhaps you've heard the Macklemore song). Open Books offers a large selection of second-hand titles that can be purchased at discount rates. The staff can help you pick out a truly unique souvenir.
To help customers along their journey, Open Books has a list of staff recommendations. Along the same lines, they have a subscription service where a northwest-based poet will curate a selection of poetry books to send to you every month. This would be great for someone who doesn't know where to start.
Open Books offers various poetry-related classes and events. Examples include individual poets coming in to talk about selected issues, festivals of innovative writing, and poetry readings.
While Open Books does have an online store (potentially a necessary requirement these days), the real essence of the place is in the physical store.
The location is close to the University of Washington as well as a Dick's Drive-In. Depending on how you're feeling, you can take your new book to the Suzzallo Library or you can devour your poetry while enjoying a classic Seattle meal.
Cover photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash Copy