If you’re having difficulties finding an old rare book, we’re here to help. Below we’ve featured 10 of the best used bookstores in Seattle, especially for you.
1. Magus Books
Magus Books has been a Seattle mainstay for used, rare, and out-of-print books since 1978. Because their location in the Seattle University district, Magus Books specializes in scholarly, academic, and collectible texts.
While Magus Books focuses on just buying and selling quality used books, they do host the occasional event, such as local community rallies and international book day celebrations. Contact them to see how you can come by to check them out or sell your own quality secondhand books.
Opened by Jamie Lutton in 1990, Twice Sold Tales on Capitol Hill is known for much more than their secondhand books. While they do have an impressive collection of used, rare, out-of-print and collectible books, they’re also known for the cats allowed to roam the store, allowing you to pet them while you read.
There are usually between four and seven cats in the shop, and while they are adorable enough to keep bringing visitors back to the shop, it is Twice Sold Tales vast inventory of genre fiction, poetry, and plays that keep bringing people back in the door or to the online shop. Contact them to find out if they’re taking books and how you can stop by.
If you take a walk down the underground annex on 10th and Pike, you’ll find Horizon Books, one of the oldest independent bookstores in Seattle. Opened in 1971 by Don Glover, Horizon Books carries used, rare, and out-of-print books on every category from accounting to World War II.
Horizon Books also hosts author events such as book signings, discussions, and even local author book launches. Contact them for more information on how to stop in and see what’s new on their shelves.
The self-proclaimed smallest bookstore in Seattle, owner J.B. Johnson opened BLMF Literary Saloon in the early 2000s because a visitor to the owner’s home said he had ‘books like a m— f—-,’ hence the name.
And books he has. The shelves overflow with the random and rare alike, from William S. Burroughs to Dan Brown to William Shakespeare. He is always taking more books, so contact him to find out whether he’s willing to take your books!
Ophelia’s Books opened in 1997 to provide the Fremont community with a place to buy and sell new, used and rare books. They have books in nearly every genre and interest, as well as non-book related items, such as totes, t-shirts, cards, and notebooks.
Opened in the early 1980s, Pegasus Bookshop has been West Seattle’s only bookstore, independent or otherwise, since 2019. Pegasus Bookshop is known for their eclectic collection of secondhand books, often with rare titles and editions. At one time, they had a 1906 first edition of Peter Pan and a 1965 first edition of Dune by Frank Herbert.
They do sell the occasional new release title; if you prefer a new book, it would be easiest to purchase from their online shop. They get most of their in-store stock (and their rarest titles) from trading with the local community. Contact them to stop by and see what unusual titles they currently have in stock.
If secondhand poetry books are your thing, then check out Open Books: A Poem Emporium. John W. Marshall and Christine Deavel opened the shop in 1995 with the intent to not only feature solely poetry books but also foster a love of poetry in the local community. They now carry over 10,000 new, used, rare, and collectible poetry collections on a range of themes and topics.
Open Books hosts events such as poetry readings and poetry book signings, as well as open mic nights and local poetry slams. They even partner with the Seattle Arts and Lectures to offer poetry writing and publishing classes and workshops for aspiring poets. Contact them for more information and to see if they have the poetry book you’ve been searching for!
Lidia Icardi opened Lamplight Books in 2003 to provide the community of Pike Place Market something a bit different than the other five independent bookshops nearby. While there are some more ‘literary’ secondhand books on the shelves, Lamplight Books specializes in cultural history, philosophy, art, poetry, and children’s books.
Lamplight Books doesn’t host a lot of events due to its location, but it does buy and trade gently used books you may want to offload. Contact them via their social media to find out more.
Also in the Pike Place Market is Left Bank Books Collective, opened in 1973 as a true booklover’s cooperative with no single owner or board of executives. Left Bank Books sells new, used, and out-of-print books on nearly every category but specializes in social justice fiction, philosophy and political theory, health and science, and children’s books.
Events at Left Bank Books reflect the community-oriented mission of the shop, with local author book launches, book signings and discussions, and community lectures and fundraisers. If you want to know more about their mission and in-house publishing, send them an email or contact them via social media.
10. Arundel Books
Opened in 1984 as a publisher of art and poetry books, Arundel Books began selling rare and out-of-print books in 1987 to meet local demand. These secondhand books come from far more categories than simply art and poetry; Around Books has titles covering everything from ancient history to young adult.
Events at Arundel Books reflect the titles and categories represented on the shelves, with local and national author signings and conversations, poetry readings, and even short story competitions (with the aim to have a collection published by Arundel Books themselves). Contact them for more information about what they have in stock.