Independent bookstores in the Seattle-Tacoma metro region are staffed by passionate, well-read booksellers. These neighborhood fixtures are the ultimate storytelling backdrop. They are places where you can quietly immerse yourself among the bookshelves, join a lively book discussion group, listen to an author reading, and collect first editions or the latest best seller.
UNESCO declared Seattle a “City of Literature”. This award goes to cities that promote a diverse cultural heritage and vibrant contemporary creative scene.
To be approved as a City of Literature, cities must meet a number of criteria set by UNESCO. These criteria include: quality of publishing resources, educational programs, literary events and festivals, libraries and bookstores, foreign language material, related disciplines such as drama and poetry, and other factors.
Seattle has an extensive library system that connects to systems throughout the Puget Sound region, a vibrant theater scene, and many resources for aspiring and professional writers.
Our literary history includes ten-thousand years of native story-telling among the various peoples who lived around the Puget Sound region.
More recently, newcomers to the Pacific Northwest have brought stories from around the United State. They come from far flung places in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America.
So past and present, we’re a city of storytellers. We use words to capture the imagination and present diverse points of view. In the process, storytellers can change lives.
The thriving independent bookstores are part of this storytelling scene. And an integral part of the diverse communities they serve. Independent bookstores promote book publishers, small presses, local authors, and reading.
In a world now consumed by digital media, many people find it reassuring to walk into a bookstore, hold books in their hands to read, and talk with booksellers and authors.
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2022 Seattle Independent Bookstore Day
Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is part of a national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country. The one-day celebration is held every year on the last Saturday of April.
Every participating store is unique and hosts its own party. Store events might include visiting authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, contests, and other fun stuff. PLUS, exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Not online. Only. That. Day.
On Independent Bookstore Day, official Passport Maps are available at every participating store throughout the Seattle-Tacoma metro area. When you visit each store, make sure to get your passport stamped by a store employee. When you visit your last store for the day, turn in your passport.
The 2022 Independent Bookstore Day takes place on April 30, and this year the participating Seattle-area booksellers are bringing back the Bookstore Day Passport Challenge, but with ten days to complete the challenge, to ease crowding
Local book (and bookstore) lovers will be challenged to visit all 24 participating Seattle-area independent bookstores, but this year, to lessen crowding slightly and also to give readers the opportunity to make their visits on less-busy days, we are allowing ten days, rather than the usual single day, to complete the challenge.
Independent Bookstore Day is on Saturday, April 30, and the challenge must be completed by Monday, May 9.
Book fanatics who complete the challenge will receive a Bookstore Day Champion Stamp Card, good for a one-time 25% discount at each participating store and valid until next year’s Bookstore Day.
Use #SEABookstoreDay in your social media conversations.
More info: Seattle Independent Bookstore Day (seattlebookstoreday.com)
Seattle Independent Bookstore List
(alphabetically by city and in Seattle by zip code)
- Eagle Harbor Book Co, 157 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island
- Edmonds Bookshop, 111 Fifth Avenue South, Edmonds
- The Neverending Bookshop, 7530 Olympic View Dr. Edmonds
- BookTree Kirkland, 609 Market Street, Kirkland
- Third Place Books (multiple locations)
- 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park 98155
- (Ravenna) 6504 20th Ave NE, Seattle 98115
- (Seward Park) 5041 Wilson Ave. S, Seattle 98118
- Island Books, 3014 78th Ave. SE, Mercer Island
- Liberty Bay Books, 18881 D Front Street NE, Poulsbo
- Brick & Mortar Books, 7430 164th Ave. NE, Redmond
- Left Bank Books, 92 Pike St, Seattle 98101
- Book Larder, 4252 Fremont Ave. N, Seattle 98103
- Phinney Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle 98103
- Open Books: A Poem Emporium, 108 Cherry Street, Seattle, WA 98104
- Arundel Books, 322 1st Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
- University Book Store, U-District, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle 98105
- Secret Garden Books, 2214 NW Market St., Seattle 98107
- Fantagraphics Bookstore, 1201 S Vale St., Seattle 98108
- Queen Anne Book Company, 1811 Queen Anne Ave. N, Seattle 98109
- Ada’s Technical Books, 425 15th Ave. E, Seattle 98112
- Madison Books, 4118 E Madison St., Seattle, WA 98112
- Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave., Seattle 98122
- Estelita’s Library & Community Bookstore, 2533 16th Ave S, Seattle 98144
- Magnolia’s Bookstore, 3206 W. McGraw St., Seattle 98199
- King’s Books, 218 St Helens Ave, Tacoma 98402
Other Literary Organizations
- Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 on Capitol Hill is a place to read words, hear words, and make your own words better. HH provides classes, events, and fellowships for emerging and established writers,
- Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101. A vibrant gathering place in the heart of Seattle, Town Hall fosters an engaged community through civic, arts, and educational programs that reflect—and inspire—our region’s best impulses: creativity, empathy, and the belief that we all deserve a voice.
Free author readings in bookstores and libraries
Book readings or author readings are casual events, held in bookstores and libraries. An author talks about their work and reads selected portions of the book.
The reading is often followed by a question and answer period, as well as a book signing–where you can purchase the book and the author will sign it during the event.
Most book readings are free. For popular books from well known authors and celebrities in high demand, tickets may be required. If tickets are required, it is usually clearly stated on the bookstore’s website or calendar event.
Calendar of literary events
Find upcoming author readings, book sales, and other literary events in the calendar below. If nothing is listed below, there are no upcoming literary events in our calendar. We update literary events on a rolling basis throughout the year.
But wait, there’s more!
- Best places to find used books around the Sound
- Free fun things to do at the library might surprise you
- Puget Sound libraries online = loads of fun
- Find free and cheap things to do every day on the Greater Seattle on the Cheap calendar.
- And here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- Visit the Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page and choose from a menu of free and cheap activities in the Puget Sound region.
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