Local Bookstores Going Postal

The biggest selling point of a neighborhood bookstore will always be that it is in your neighborhood. We don't expect the bookstore down the street to carry every single book in stock — we expect it to stock interesting books, to host interesting events, and to have a personal relationship with us — to be our bookstore.

But right now, with Seattle in the thrall of a coronavirus outbreak, we can't expect everyone to visit their bookstores. If you're feeling ill, you shouldn't leave the house. If you have at-risk people in your lives, you shouldn't go to crowded public places unless you can help it.

For whatever reason you can't leave the house, Third Place Books has got you covered. For the next four days, TPB is offering free shipping on any online orders. If your self-quarantine is leaving you alarmingly low on new books, this is a welcome development and you should take TPB up on their offer immediately.

Meanwhile, Elliott Bay Book Company is doing something a little more intentional and long-term to deliver books to your home. This week, the Capitol Hill bookstore announced (sub)TEXT, a bimonthly poetry subscription box. For $125 per year, Elliott Bay will send you a care package every other month containing:

  • a book of poetry chosen by a bookseller who loves it
  • a handwritten letter about what makes each title notable
  • a custom bookmark

There may be other items, like prints or other exclusive items, included with certain boxes. This isn't exactly a new endeavor for Elliott Bay; the bookstore has for nearly two decades offered the Maiden Voyage subscription program, which sends first-edition debut novels to members six months a year. But it's interesting that they're throwing their weight behind another program now — another sign that the next frontier for neighborhood bookstores just might be your home.