Best-of, round 2

December 9, 2020

Here’s another batch of best-of-2020 books. Some lists mix the genres together, so you have to browse or search for the poetry — but they all include poetry and some of the same titles appear on list after list.

If these recommendations inspire you to shop, please support independent bookstores!

We were very sad to see that Patti Pattee of Watermark Book Company in Anacortes is turning a final page on the bookselling business. But there’s still hope for the independent bookstore: YOU! If owning a bookstore is on your bucket list, this could be your chance. See Pattee’s letter on NW Book Lovers and visit Watermark online or, better yet, in person.

holiday bonus time

December 28, 2016

James Patterson Holiday Bonus-2015Forbes calls him “Publishing’s richest penman.” His online biography says that “he has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers.” At the rate of about a dozen books a year, on his own and with co-authors, James Patterson is a writing phenomenon.

But even as he’s creating characters and stories, he’s also finding ways to encourage readers and support literacy. Through the Patterson Family Foundation he awards scholarships to students at 22 different colleges and universities around the country. In the last ten years, he has given away more than a million books to students all over the U.S. and has visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy. In 2015, Patterson showed his gratitude to independent bookstore employees through a donation of $250,000; in 2016 he is doing the same. Patterson is partnering with the American Booksellers Association to distribute the funds, which are granted as bonuses of $1,000 to $5,000 to individual booksellers.

The holiday bonus winners are nominated locally and selected by Patterson himself. We congratulate this year’s 149 winners, including the following independent bookstore employees at some of our favorite Cascadia-region stores:

  • Caitlin Luce Baker, University Book Store, Seattle, WA
  • Erin Ball, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
  • Kenny Coble, King’s Books, Tacoma, WA
  • Madison Duckworth, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA
  • Emily Fuggetta, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
  • Kim Hooyboer, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
  • Sarah Hutton, Village Books, Bellingham, WA
  • Victoria Irwin, Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA
  • Ruby Meyers, Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR
  • Emma Nichols, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
  • Linda Watson, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

if you shop…

November 25, 2016

Small Business SaturdayShop Small. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday. Many independently owned stores, possibly including your favorite local bookstore, participate with author appearances, snacks, activities for kids, and much more. Visit Shop Small to find businesses in your area. (Paying with cash helps indies avoid credit card fees.)

big news in Bellingham

November 21, 2016

Village Books

Following is the full text of an email that arrived last night from Chuck and Dee Robinson:

On January 1st, 2017, the ownership of Village Books and Paper Dreams will transfer to three current employees of the business. While the news may come as a bit of a surprise, we assure you that the time is right for us to pass on the company to the next generation. There has been a net gain of independent bookstores in each of the last seven years, including our expansion to Lynden. Our business is doing well in Fairhaven and we’re thrilled with the success of the Lynden store. And, most important, we have the right team in place to carry this business forward. They not only have the talent and skills to operate the business, they are deeply committed to the community values on which this company has been built.

Kelly, who has been with the store for five and a half years, brings many years of general retail, buying, and interior design experience, and has worked in three other independent bookstores since 1989. She, in addition to her general management duties, has been the Gift Buyer and Merchandise Manager. Paul, who came to the company at that same time, first as the Community Outreach Director then becoming General Manager, was for fifteen years the Manager of Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island. Before that he worked for several years in bookstores in Illinois and in the Seattle area. Sarah began her bookselling career after college, becoming an inventory specialist for Borders. She came to Village Books and Paper Dreams eleven years ago and has been the store manager for more than seven years. Until recently she was also the children’s book buyer.

Dee retired from everyday involvement in the stores two years ago but has continued to be involved in all strategic decisions. Chuck, who in the past few years has worked more from his home office and in the larger community, will continue to consult with the stores over the next several years and direct special projects. He also intends to do some business consulting with bookstores and other retail businesses around the country. Both of us will continue our involvement with the Chuckanut Radio Hour.

We’re both in good health and we want to spend more time traveling, working in community organizations, enjoying our new home in Lynden, and reading the books we’ve stockpiled over the years. Dee has even begun to take up gardening.

A combination reception for the new owners and farewell for Chuck and Dee will take place at the Fairhaven store on Saturday, February 4, 2017, and at the Lynden location on Sunday, February 5. Kelly, Paul, and Sarah will also hold a series of meet-and-greets over coffee and pastries in Book Fare Café at Village Books in Fairhaven, and at Avenue Bread in Lynden during the month of February. Dates will be announced on the website and in email newsletters.

We will be eternally grateful to you for the support you’ve given us over the years and for helping us build a community of readers. We know you’ll continue to support Kelly, Paul, and Sarah as they continue to build community, one book at a time.


Chuck and Dee
Village Books and Paper Dreams
360-671-2626 • 800-392-BOOK (2665)

bricks and indies

November 20, 2016

Chin Music Press, Seattle

“Why Indie Presses Are Opening Bookstores” was published in LitHub back in June, but we’re big fans of independent bookstores, so we thought we’d give it a mention. As the title suggests, the article talks about the recent opening of bricks-and-mortar bookstores by independent presses. Not mentioned in the article is Seattle’s Chin Music Press and one of the originals, City Lights Books in San Francisco.

For more on this encouraging topic, see articles on Milkweed Books (Minneapolis) and Pages (the first Arabic-language bookstore in Istanbul). A twist on this approach is POST, a bookstore in Tokyo that offers titles from one publishing house at a time (more here).
. . . . .
photo: Chin Music Press, Seattle

good news

May 13, 2016

Third Place Books

For those of us who love words, and books, and print in its many forms, and people who create and nurture those things, the opening of a new independent bookstore is indeed good news. Third Place Books, which has been a stalwart of independence since the first store opened in Lake Forest Park in 1998, has announced the opening of a third store, in Seward Park.

The new store, at 5041 Wilson Avenue South, will offer 15 to 20,000 titles, an event/reading space, a separate children’s department, an espresso bar, a full restaurant and a full bar.

Join in the celebration of the Grand Opening on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Watch for details on Facebook.

Village Books a finalist!

January 28, 2016

Village Books

That Village Books should find itself on a Bookstore of the Year list will be no surprise to anyone who has browsed the aisles, purchased books (etc.) or attended one of the 300-plus events that the Bellingham, Washington, independent bookstore presents each year. But when Publishers Weekly lists Village Books on its shortlist of five for the 2016 PW Bookstore of the Year, it’s enough to make all of Cascadia proud. The winning bookstore will be announced in March and the award presented at Book Expo America in May. Congratulations to Chuck & Dee Robinson and the entire VB crew!

congratulations, booksellers!

December 16, 2015

James Patterson Holiday Bonus-2015

James Patterson’s bio doesn’t need a lot of superlatives. The facts are enough: “In 2011, it was estimated that one-in-four of all hardcover suspense/thriller novels sold was written by James Patterson, he is the first author to achieve ten million ebook sales, and he holds the Guinness record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers of any author.” Patterson writes books for adults and children and, to his enormous credit, invests his time and money to encourage reading and readers.

This holiday season, Patterson is giving away $2 million in grants and bonuses to independent bookstore employees and school libraries. Working with the American Booksellers Association, Patterson invited readers to nominate hardworking employees of independent bookstores and from the 2,848 nominations, “Patterson personally selected the booksellers who will receive bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.”

The list of 87 winning employees was announced yesterday and we extend special congratulations to these booksellers who serve us in the Cascadia region:
Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, OR: Charnee Rose
Green Bean Books, Portland, OR: Earl Dizon
King’s Books, Tacoma, WA: sweet pea Flaherty
Powell’s Books, Portland, OR: Carol Easter
Powell’s Books, Portland, OR: Kevin Sampsell
The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA: Karen Maeda Allman
Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA: Rich and Patti Harriman
Village Books, Bellingham, WA: Joan Terselich

See the complete list on the ABA’s Bookweb.

Village Books in Lynden

In case you missed this bit of local independent bookstore news, Bellingham’s Village Books has announced that it will open a second store, in Lynden! Slated for a November opening, the 3000-square-foot store will occupy a part of the renovated Waples Mercantile Building (formerly Delft Square). The building, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, was renamed for William H. “Billy” Waples, who operated the Lynden Department Store at the Front Street location.

Read the full story on the Village Books site.

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