An Uncertain Future
On Wednesday, the owner of Open Books released a letter discussing the future of the business. More than a business, Open Books is a shop that curates a community of poets, readers and literature lovers. It’s a place to sink deeply into the perfect reading chair with a stack of books by your side and transform your afternoon. The letter, posted below, details how Open Books is looking for a new home upon learning that their lease expires on March 1st with no option to extend.
Owner, Billie Swift, was a customer just completing an MFA in poetry when the former owners announced retirement. She took on what has revealed itself to be a wild ride these last 5 years. The Seattle Times describes Billie’s pandemic-driven decision to start online sales without compromising the store’s inviting warmth. This experience may prove handy if Open Books does indeed lose it’s current location. Billie’s goal has always been for online sales to deepen the brick and mortar experience of Open Books rather than to replace it. With this competence, Open Books will surely find a way forward, even if it’s by rolling a cart of poetry books up and down the street and doing a bit of virtual couch surfing until a new location is landed.
How We Can Help
Open Books is on the hunt for a new space. If you know of an adorable place with a restroom and good natural light, please let Billie know. Better yet, maybe you want to buy the building when it goes up for sale and let them stay so Wallyhood can continue to patronize the world’s best reading chair!
November 4, 2021
Dear Friends of Open Books,
In the spring of 2016, I, like many of you, received word that Open Books was looking for new ownership. So, it was with a great deal of enthusiasm (and perhaps a small dose of panic) that I jumped at the chance to keep the door open to my favorite poetry haven. Five years later, Open Books remains ready to meet your poetry needs, even through this ongoing pandemic.
Now, once again, we find ourselves on the threshold of transition. On March 1, 2022, our ground-level lease will expire, and some time later the entire building will be put on the market. Since that leaves the location of our future whereabouts quite uncertain, my priority now is on securing a sustainable and long-term home for Open Books, wherever that may be. All offers and connections welcome!
And speaking of transition, there are even further changes on the horizon for us, as Alexander, our beloved bookseller, book buyer, and full-time employee extraordinaire is making changes of his own. Come spring, Alexander, like many people dear to us, will be leaving Seattle and, therefore, his role at Open Books.
Lastly, our events calendar: We’re putting our own event bookings on hold, virtual and in-person, until we know more about how long we’ll remain in our current location and what sort of space we’ll be able to offer for readings in the future. We’ll continue stocking books for SAL readings through the end of this season’s Poetry Series (including Fridays’s terrific event with Sherwin Bitsui and Kenzie Allen!) and we’ll continue to list those on our online virtual events calendar, along with the reading and classes we’ve already booked.
So here we are. Rounding out another year-that-never-was/and-was-too-much with lots of moving parts and changes afoot as we make our way into 2022.
In the meantime, we’re keeping our shelves stocked and restocked with the latest titles and perennial favorites. And, as always, your continued business, virtual or in-person, is tremendously appreciated. Here’s to building the next 25 years together!
Yours, with lots of tiny gerbils doing backflips in my stomach at all times,