A Quest for the Title of Bookstore Champion

There’s not much I will voluntarily get up for at 5 a.m., but tomorrow’s Seattle Bookstore Day challenge to visit 19 bookstores in one day is tempting.

“Evening girl” (that’s me) has her route planned and her alarm set. Will “morning girl” (alas, that’s also me and she makes different choices), hit the snooze button or get up and out the door?

To earn the awesomely bookish title of “Bookstore Champion” one must start at a crazy early hour. Visiting 19 Puget Sound area bookstores in one day requires two ferry rides, notoriously awful Seattle traffic and parking, and navigating around the People’s Climate March happening in the middle of town.

I won’t be alone in my quest. In 2015, the first year of the Seattle Bookstore Day challenge, 40 participants earned the crown and the crown prize: 25 percent off books for a full year at participating bookstores. Last year, the number of winners tripled to 120. Organizers expect this year to be even bigger as word of the event has spread.

The “challenge” is really just the icing on the cake of a whole day of special events, readings, giveaways and more planned in conjunction with the nationwide Independent Bookstore Day. It’s a chance for all us book nerds to show our support for community bookstores. Without us, there would be no them. For those readers who cannot make it to all 19, visiting just three stores will earn you a raffle ticket.

To participate, pick up an official “passport” at the first store you visit and collect a stamp at each location. I picked up my passport (pictured above) a couple weeks ago at Island Books on Mercer Island.

The first stores open tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. and the last closes at 11 p.m. I’ve planned a route that makes sense from where I live, paying special attention to those opening and closing hours. Some stores close at 5 p.m.!

Are you interested in joining in on the fun? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Here’s some advice from those who have done this before (and from one who hasn’t, but she has a good plan in place).

And finally, here’s the route I’m planning:

Visit #1 and #2: Eagle Harbor Books, 157 Winslow Way E. and The Traveler, 256 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island. Both open at 7:30 a.m. To get there at opening, I’m planning to catch 6:10 ferry from Seattle. My backup plan is the 7:55.

Visit #3: Liberty Bay Books, 18881 Front St. N.E., Poulsbo. Open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Participants need only visit one location, either in Poulsbo or Bremerton, to qualify for the challenge. The Bremerton location doesn’t open until 10 though.

Visit #4: Edmonds Bookshop (111 5th Ave S, Edmonds), open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit #5: University Book Store, Mill Creek, 15311 Main St, Mill Creek. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Participants need only visit one of the University Book Store locations. I’m thinking in Mill Creek because I haven’t been there and most importantly, parking will be easier.

Visit #6: The Neverending Bookshop, 10123 Main Place #2, Bothell. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Visit #7BookTree Kirkland, 609 Market St, Kirkland. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit #8: Island Books, 3014 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Visit #9: Third Place Books, Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave. S., Seattle. Participants need only visit one location: Seward Park, Ravenna or Lake Forest Park.

Visit #10: Seattle Mystery Bookshop, 117 Cherry St., Seattle. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit #11: Queen Anne Book Company, 1811 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit #12: Magnolia’s Bookstore, 3206 W McGraw St., Seattle. OPen 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit #13: Secret Garden Books, 2214 NW Market St, Seattle. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Visit #14: Phinney Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Visit #15: Book Larder, 4252 Fremont Ave N., Seattle. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit #16: Open Books, A Poem Emporium, 2414 N 45th St, Seattle. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Visit $17: Fantagraphics Bookstore, 1201 S Vale St, Seattle. Open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Visit #18:  Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe, 425 15th Ave E, Seattle. Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Visit: #19: Elliot Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, Seattle. Open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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