Happy 40th, Elliott Bay Books, Capitol Hill’s most popular transplant

It wasn’t long ago that 10th Ave looked like this:8471968847_25916aa4ba_b

Then, on April 14th, 2010, it looked like this:8445181516_8012b625a0_b

Saturday, one of the largest, longest running independent bookstores in the country will celebrate 40 years of business in Seattle — the most recent chapters on Capitol Hill:

Chapter 40: Elliott Bay Book Company opens up about its past, present and…
It might not seem an encouraging sign when you describe the state of your business with phrases like, “We’re still alive” and “We continue to survive.” Such is the way Peter Aaron opened our interview about Elliott Bay Book Company, his iconic bookstore that marks the 40th anniversary of its founding this year. But, before you jump to any conclusions, there’s more to the story.

Let’s pick things up in 1999 when Aaron bought the independent bookstore, inheriting a literary legacy and a business model that, even then, looked destined to go the way of VHS rentals. Squeezed by big box chains, large discounters and the early rise of online sellers, the store had barely survived the three preceding years.

“Put it this way, during that three-year period, our sales volume decreased by one third,” said Aaron. “From a profitability point of view, it had gone from a comfortable business to one that was marginal.”  more…


Here are the details on Saturday’s readings:

Start: 06/29/2013 7:00 pm

On this, our fortieth anniversary, we celebrate the past, present and future with this evening featuring three writers who in enormously popular, nationally (and internationally) noted novels published last year, did their own form of celebrating this city we call home. Olympia writer Jim Lynch’s Truth Like the Sun (Vintage), in large part is set in a Seattle of 1962, 11 years before Elliott Bay took wing. Maria Semple gave readers the bestselling Seattle book any of us have probably ever seen, and the funniest, this side of Tom Robbins, with her present-day set Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Back Bay Books). And Ryan Boudinot, in Blueprints of the Afterlife (Grove Black Cat), gives readers a Seattle we may or may not easily recognize, one in an uncertain near future. This evening should be a fun mix of all these times—and this time, this place, which we are delighted to be here for.

Meanwhile, you can help one of the nation’s smallest independent book retailers say goodbye to the business with a “Spine and Crown B-Gone” fundraiser Friday night to say goodbye to the E Pine shop.

You’ll find more Capitol Hill weekend things to do — including a busy Pride roster — in our latest On the List post.

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One thought on “Happy 40th, Elliott Bay Books, Capitol Hill’s most popular transplant

  1. Lost Lake Cafe is proud to be the neighbors of Elliott Bay Books. To celebrate their 40th anniversary receive 15% off your bill at Lost Lake with a copy of your Elliott Bay Books receipt. From June 29th – July 15th.

    Support local independent business!