When you enter Seattle, some of the first things you’ll notice are the tourist attractions. The Space Needle poking through the skyline, the waterfront littered with restaurants and attractions, Pike Place market, and Capitol Hill. There are hundreds of ways to see this city, places to visit and things to do, but it’s important to never forget the University District as a hip, eclectic neighborhood to take a stroll through. And as the most educated city in the country, Seattle’s U-District has a ton to offer in the way of intellectual hotspots.
The Used Book Stores – Used bookstores are one of my favorite reasons to be in the U-district. Even now after the closing of too many of these jewels of literary archeology there are many more to browse through, anxiously searching for that one last pulp you never found in your own city.
Twice Told Tales – On the corner of 45th and University sits the ages old stop for book lovers young and old. You’ll find a herd of cats stalking the spaces in between shelves, and piles upon piles of unprocessed books behind the counters with the checkers. The coziness of Twice Told Tales is a fitting place to search for lost and rare works. It’s a small selection and a smaller store, but the prices are fair and the staff very helpful.
Magus Books – On the side of 42nd off of 15th, Magus Books is probably my favorite used bookstore because of the laid back atmosphere and the fact that they receive a few less customers and thus have a better selection. In the back rows you’ll find a wall of old mass market paperback copies of books and shelves of unprocessed work. Their cases are full of classics, Oz books and first editions on the walls. And they don’t even ask to check your bags. Trust is offered, and assistance always from one of their employees, some of the nicest I’ve met in the book trade. If I can find what I’m looking for here, I buy it from Magus.
Half-Price Books – On Roosevelt at 48th, Half Price Books is a chain store and thus has the feel of a chain store, though you’ll find ten times as many books here as any where else. Books are all 50% off of marked prices, which for old paperbacks can mean $1 or less books at times, and much greater selection, as they always buy your books, having a huge backstock available for immediate shelving. They also sell cds, movies, and other odds and ends like calendars. This is the place to go to find newer releases used. It’s not a favorite, but I tend to find more books here than anywhere else.
Third Place Books – Is a local store, though they have multiple locations. It’s not exactly in the U-District, but fairly close at 65th and 20th. Third Place books is the same idea as Half Price, except they also carry new books, meaning you can find anything from their shelves, if not used new. They also hold readings from local authors and have a quaint little café. It’s a fun place to hang out if nothing else.
University BookStore – On University Way, just south of 45th lies the famous University Book Store. Only recently have they begun to sell used books, but this is a grade A bookstore regardless. Independently owned, via the University, they offer selections that you could only find online otherwise. Author readings are frequent and of high profile, usually one a day and big names authors come through town monthly. And with them selling used books now, it’s one hell of a stop for all things readable.