Elliott Bay Book Co. wants a t-shirt for its 40th birthday

All the Elliott Bay Book Company wants for its 40th birthday is for someone to design the Capitol Hill retailer a t-shirt.


We’re starting the celebration off with a bang and are pleased to announce our T-Shirt Design Contest! The contest winner will have their design printed on all our 40th anniversary T-shirts, which will be sold online and in the store as a featured limited edition T-shirt.

Your design should be inspired by the Elliott Bay Book Company, by our 40th celebration, by a love of books and reading, and by our community. Be creative. Have fun. Think about what the bookstore means to you.

The winner will get a $100 Elliott Bay Book Company gift certificate.

For more contest rules and instructions for submitting a design, visit The Ship’s (B)log.

While design contests are often frowned upon, CHS is OK with a t-shirt exception. You?

We’ll have more on 40 years of EBBC soon.

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11 thoughts on “Elliott Bay Book Co. wants a t-shirt for its 40th birthday

  1. I’ve usually felt good shopping at Elliott Bay because I’m supporting a local small business. It’s unfortunate that they’re unwilling to do the same and chose a crowdsourced design contest over hiring one of the excellent local design firms or freelance creatives working in this area.

    • It’s a contest. A 5th grader could win!

      Your complaint is so very overly politically correct.

      It’s a contest. It’s interactive. It connects them to their community near and far and is great marketing.

      It provides the winner with $100 of book fun from their store.

      Stop it already.

      • I agree. It’s a community bookstore, why not have the community have a little fun with it?

        Besides, if it’s “professionalism” you’re worried about, I already know a few freelance designers who are going to submit work for this.

    • Local design firms aren’t cheap. I’m sure Elliott Bay’s “profit” margin isn’t much – it’s a book store! in the 21st century! competing against large corporate chains! and websites!
      This is both cost effective and inclusive(!) – anyone can enter! How much more local can you get?
      It’s a great old school/small town idea too.

  2. While it is certainly a community bookstore, they make a shit ton of money. It’s a fun idea but it also seems like they are going to make money from the t-shirts… Not that big of a deal either way. Just something to think about.

    • Of course, one person’s shit ton ain’t another’s. But if you know the profit margin on books, you know that between their build out, rent, and large staff, they are not making what I would call a shit ton of money.

      Selling things with larger margins is what often helps keep bookstores open: pens, journals, cards, lattes. And t-shirts.

      • Hey, i’m just saying, as someone that used to work in the cafe in the back, things seem pretty peachy. I recall them having their best sales year in 25 years or something like that in 2011.

    • Wow, negative nancy “sam” – Elliott Bay is one of the few remaining independent bookstores remaining, and they making their business model work somehow. I think it’s safe to assume they are not surviving due to vast numbers of t-shirt sales! (however vastly inflated you might believe the prices of those t-shirts to be)
      Secondly, any designer who wins will be contributing to the success and continuation of this great local business if their design actually results in more shirts and tote bags to be sold.

      • Yo Viv dawg. I’m all for EBBC continuing to thrive. I even have dreams of being able to regularly shop there when i’m not a broke student. But aren’t designers local business people too? Most of them freelance and “independent”?

  3. I live in Cleveland and was in the store only once back in 1995 and loved it. The t-shirt idea is great. I don’t care how much money they make off of it – as so many have pointed out, its a book store!!! So what if they make a few extra bucks. Can’t wait to see the final design so that I can buy one. Looking forward to the t-shirt contest for the 50th and 75th anniversary as well.

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