Saturday, July 19, 2014

Third Place Books - Seattle, WA

Third Place Books - Seattle, WA

I should've asked about the history surrounding the name of this bookstore.  Third Place Books is so wrong for this indie.  Great Place Books.  First Place Books.  Wonderful Place Books.  But Third Place Books?  That's so honorable mention.

Third Place Books is located in what I can only describe as a strip mall.  I hate to use that term because I don't care for the connotation.  This is a nice area.  The store is on the 2nd level, surrounded by several places to eat, including The Honey Bear Bakery.  Latte and wifi?  Check.  The whole area is very open and airy and you're able to easily flow from one area to the other, all under one roof with no walls separating the space.  There are also sky lights in the ceiling for great natural light.  There is plentiful seating in this commons area and also a small stage/theater area for book readings.  On the day I visited they were expecting 700 to hear Diana Gabaldon read from her latest book.  They were already planning for where customers should line up at 3pm.

Robert, the managing partner, was great to talk to.  There are two Third Place Bookstores in the Seattle area and both of these indies are doing fine.  They have new and used books, rare and collectables in "The Den" area, lots of extra cool stuff (et al), a great children's section, and some CDs.  The staffers I got to visit with were very nice and the store has numerous staff picks on display.  They also have staff recommendations throughout the many bookshelves.

Which brings me to one of my favorite things about this indie; the height of the shelves!  I understand the need for many indies to take advantage of space with incredibly high book shelves.  But boy is it tough to browse books on those top shelves.  In Third Place Books, the shelves were approximately 5'6" tall (I'm unable to provide an exact height measurement.  I don't take my tape measure on these visits!).  I could browse all the books I wanted and see over them as well to other sections of the store.

What else?  A life size chess board and chess pieces.  This place has it all (well, except a wandering cat!).  Third Place Books is First Place all the way!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion.  Loving it.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Songs Of Willow Frost, Jamie Ford.  The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson.  Jamie Ford also wrote Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet which was fantastic so I'm looking forward to reading Songs Of Willow Frost.

From the parking lot.  Free parking here and lots of it.  

From the commons/cafe seating area looking over into the bookstore.  

Find a latte, wifi, and lots of tasty calories here.  

Theater/stage area for book readings.  Apologies for the blur.  

Life size chess board.  It looks like a table top but these pieces are really set on the floor.  

"Kids, you go ahead and play in here for a few days, mommy is going to find some books."  

A great display of staff picks.  

Lots of unique and fun stuff in this area.  

Rare and collectable books in this area.  They also use this area for book readings with smaller crowds.  

Low shelves make it easy to browse.  

Always looking for great seats to try out a book.  

When your kids are done in the play area, bring them over here.  

Robert, a managing partner, with my guidebook that he signed, My Bookstore.  

Robert and yours truly.  Another great indie.  


  1. "Third place" is a reference to sociologist Ray Oldenburg's idea that people need places besides homes and workplaces (and that American development since WW2 has neglected that). See this brilliant essay, "Third Places in the City of Five Seasons," at

  2. Fantastic comment, Bruce! This makes perfect sense. Thanks!