Poetry News

Now Is Your Chance to Move to Seattle and Buy a Bookstore

By Harriet Staff


Do you live in Seattle, love poetry, and have pockets and enthusiasms deep enough to buy a bookstore? Now's your chance.

The Seattle Review is helping out John Marshall--who co-owns, with Christine Deavel, Open Books--to sell their "absolute treasure" of a shop (one of the sole poetry-only bookshops in the country). In an open letter published today, Marshall announces their imminent retirement (after 29 years in the Seattle literary community!) and the search for a new owner:

Dear Friends of Open Books,

It is with mixed feelings that I tell you I will retire from bookstore ownership sometime this year. This spring will mark the 21st anniversary of Open Books as a poetry-only bookstore, as well as mark the 29th anniversary of my owning Open Books, which started life as a small general bookstore with a large poetry selection. Christine and I have built what we could and now are running out of the initiative to maintain and improve it.

What will happen to the bookstore? We don’t know. We would like to have it carry on, so we will pursue selling the store -- its stock, its name, and perhaps a reasonable lease, since Christine and I own the building. There is considerable evidence that independent bookstores are having a resurgence in this country and that the sales of actual books will not sink beneath the waves of the e-book, an unimaginably freakish future some people somehow imagined. A new owner or owners may further establish Open Books as a great place to browse for poetry books and ephemera and as a cultural hub for those interested in printed poetry in the city, the state, and around the world. Christine and I hope to shop at Open Books. We rather suspect we will have that chance. If you know of potential next owners, please share this letter with them.

This transition need not happen quickly; the decision was not based on economics or health. Open Books will remain open regular hours, we will continue to order books and hopefully you will continue shopping here. By continuing to shop here you can be a partner to the store’s changing hands. We will seek new ownership for up to four months. If by the end of June new ownership does not appear possible, we will look towards other options...

Read more and/or buy a bookstore already!