OK, I’ll admit it, we here at CHS are pretty excited about Elliott Bay Books coming to Capitol Hill. I know many of us have our reading lists and credit cards out and ready to help make sure they’ll stick around for years to come. But if you ask Spine & Crown owner Kris Minta, our enthusiasm is misplaced.
Kris is a hardcore bibliophile and has worked in book-selling his whole life. He readily admits that the longer he’s been in the business, the more esoteric his tastes become, both in books and subsequently the stores that sell them. So take these opinions with a grain of salt. I don’t agree with everything he says here, but he makes some great points. Definitely worth a listen.
Kris is not exactly optimistic about the future of brick & mortar (new) bookselling…
Kris explains what is wrong with the mainstream book selling business, and why he thinks Elliott Bay has more in common with Barnes & Noble than a true indy bookstore.
I also interviewed Pilot Books owner Summer Robinson (for another video I’m working on) and asked her to respond to Kris’ claim that Elliott Bay is part Barnes & Noble.
Kris questions whether Elliot Bay is really the heart of Seattle bookselling, and takes a jab at the Stranger’s coverage of the move, calling it “Elliot Bay Porn.”
At least in terms of numbers of stores, Kris is definitely correct that Elliott Bay is just the tip of the iceberg for Capitol Hill Booksellers. Here’s a list of bookstores that have come and gone, just in our neighborhood, compiled by commenter willieopal whos owns Pistil Books.
Here is a list of retail bookstores that have come and gone on Capitol Hill since 1993 (when my bookstore, Pistil Books, opened):
Red & Black Books
Pages (in the same space as Red & Black)
Beyond the Closet (on Pike)
Dundee Books (this was around for only about a year on Pike St.)
Horizon Books (used books on 15th)
Fallout Records (they had comics and zines)
Automotive Books (specialty store on 12th Ave.)
Co-op Books (little leftist store on 18th Ave.)
Pathfinder Books (socialist bookstore on Madison)
Warehouse Books (in the Broadway Market)
Chameleon Books (on 15th)
Boticelli Books (where Spine & Crown is now)
We still have these bookstores:
Spine & Crown
Twice Sold Tales
Half Price Books
Louis Collins Rare Books
Edge of the Circle (not just a bookstore)
Quest Book Shop
Pistil Books (online)