The Subject is Predicate: Talking with the founder of "personal book shopper" service Predicate Booksellers

Founded in summer of 2019, Predicate Booksellers seeks to offer one-on-one bookselling experiences to people who want a more bespoke experience than the traditional independent bookstore has to offer. We talked with Predicate founder Wesley Minter about his neat new venture, which provides personalized handselling, curation, and home consultations for those in need of book advice.

Are there any more booksellers on your staff? What kind of bookselling experience do they have?

There are currently four of us, all told. I am the founder but Predicate is also shaped by three other booksellers: Niki Marion, Sam Kaas and Haiden Lisenby. If you add all of our experience together, it lands just on the far side of forty years of bookselling. Our reading tastes are widely varied but we all have one thing in common: we each see bookselling as a craft. Sharing that with local readers and each other has created an ability to work together intuitively and learn from one another.

Can you give an elevator pitch of what your services are?

We are personal book shoppers offering appointments for readers of all ages. Each one-hour appointment is spent discussing a thoughtful, concise stack of recommendations. A book purchased at a local independent bookstore is always the client’s to keep, as well as a solid list of other titles we’re confident are a good fit. It’s great for individual readers as well as book clubs who might need a little guidance planning future selections. And what most excites me personally: we offer curation for anyone looking to bulk up personal book collections of any size, from a simple stack on your nightstand to an entire library.

What's Predicate's ideal customer?

We are looking to connect with any reader who values a human exchange over the cold, sales-based recommendation of an algorithm. Folks who value expertise and personal service over the vacuum of corporate convenience. Sharing how we react to books and ideas is an intimacy that benefits a community and few cities understand that better than Seattle.

The four of us are all have wildly different reading tastes but we talk about books similarly and those far-flung tastes are our greatest asset. Pooling our individual tastes make it easy to create a distinct experience for readers and Predicate is perfect for people who like a little extra, tailored touch. And, personally, anyone who wants to talk about Mary Robison.

What services do you offer that are different from traditional bookselling?

Extreme flexibility and nominal distraction. We are entirely mobile and our service is largely one-on-one. Where an appointment takes place is up to the customer: their home, favorite coffee shop, wherever they’re most comfortable. There are no new release tables to overwhelm you if you’re not in the mood to browse. There are no lines, not as much noise or static. Just a little old-fashioned human interaction and a small, sharply executed stack of books chosen for you and you alone.

It is not our aim to compete or take away from the fantastic independent bookstores in Seattle - I hope what we do supports them and the reading community at large. All books we provide come from local indies and a good chunk of each appointment is spent recommending not just books but all of the wonderfully eclectic and energetic booksellers who call Seattle home.

I love the name. Can you offer a little insight into where your inspiration came from?

I wish it were something romantic or profound but in elementary school I just loved the tidy aesthetic of diagramming sentences. The predicate is where all the action happens in a sentence, what gives the sentence its meaning. Nothing has brought more meaning to my life than reading. It just fits.