UNESCO declared Seattle a “City of Literature”, awarded 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, including quality, quantity, and diversity of publishing, educational programs, literary events and festivals, libraries and bookstores, foreign language material, related disciplines such as drama and poetry, and other factors.
Seattle’s 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 States, as well as far flung places in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. It’s a city of storytellers who use words to capture the imagination and present diverse points of view. And, in the process can change lives.
We have an extensive library system, a vibrant theater scene, and many resources for aspiring and professional writers. Our literary treasures also include thriving independent bookstores that serve diverse communities, publishers and small presses, readers, and writers.
Independent bookstores in Seattle and throughout the Puget Sound region are an integral part of our thriving literary scene. These local haunts are staffed by passionate, well-read booksellers. They’re the ultimate storytelling backdrop where you can immerse yourself among the shelves, join a book discussion group, listen to an author reading, and collect first editions or the latest best seller. In a world now consumed by digital media, many people find it reassuring to walk into a bookstore, hold books in their hands, and talk with booksellers and authors.
Seattle Independent Bookstore Day
Seattle Independent Bookstore Day is part of a national, one-day celebration held every year on the last Saturday of April.
Every participating store is unique and hosts its own party, which can include authors, live music, readings, contests, kids events, treats, and other fun stuff. There are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Only. That. Day.
On Independent Bookstore Day, Passport Maps are available at every participating Seattle-area store. (See list of independent bookstores below.) On one side is a map and on the other is a list of every participating store, with address and contact information.
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. If you’ve visited three or more stores, in return you’ll get a prize.
If your passport has stamps from every store*, you’ll get an invitation to a Grand Champions party and a Grand Champion Card, good for a discount at all participating stores for the following year. (*For stores with multiple locations, you need only to get a stamp at one location.)
Seattle Independent Bookstore List
(listed by city and in Seattle by zip code)
- The Traveler, 256 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island
- Eagle Harbor Book Co, 157 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island
- Liberty Bay Books (multiple locatiions)
- 409 Pacific Ave., Bremerton
- 18881 D Front Street NE, Poulsbo
- Page 2 Books, 457 SW 152nd St., Burien
- 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
- 6504 20th Ave. NE, Seattle 98115
- 5041 Wilson Ave. S, Seattle 98118
- Island Books, 3014 78th Ave. SE, Mercer Island
- University Book Store (multiple locations)
- Mill Creek Town Center, 15311 Main St., Mill Creek
- U-District, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle 98105
- Brick & Mortar Books, 7430 164th Ave. NE, Redmond
- Open Books: A Poem Emporium, 2414 N 45th St., Seattle 98103
- Book Larder, 4252 Fremont Ave. N, Seattle 98103
- Madison Books/Phinney Books (multiple locations)
- 7405 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle 98103
- 4118 E. Madison St., Seattle 98112
- Arundel Books, 212 1st Ave. S, Seattle 98104
- 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
- Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave., Seattle 98122
- Magnolia’s Bookstore, 3206 W. McGraw St., Seattle 98199