For our final stop of Independent Bookstore Day 2016, we saved the one location every member of our expedition party had asked to be included in the day’s itinerary: University Bookstore. I love this bookstore, all three stories of it, from the textbooks and school supplies in the basement, through the huge selection of magazines, sale items, staff picks, and nonfiction books on the main floor, to the third floor where the children’s books and fiction sections reside. This bookstore is the perfect combination of the college bookstore full of character and knowledge, and the independent bookstore full of books selected for their merit and content rather than a corporate action plan. It is big, it is airy, it is well stocked, and always manages to get great authors to come in for readings and signings. In past years I have been lucky enough to see two of my all time favorite authors here: Neil Gaiman and Deborah Harkness.
As one of the biggest independent bookstores in the Washington, with three locations throughout the Seattle area, University Bookstore goes all out for Independent Bookstore Day with a full schedule of activities and contests. These included hourly drawings for books and prizes, special story times for children and adults, kids crafts and activities, funny photo opportunities with favorite book covers scattered throughout the store, and special wine and dessert parings at the bookstore café. We never fail to find something awesome when we come here, and today was no exception. In addition to the free books the children won, I finally managed to pick up my own copy of The Boys in the Boat. Fitting, given the stores affiliation with the University of Washington.
Ordinarily, we would have spent far more than the mere hour we visited. However, after 7+ hours, 7+ stops when including bookstores and food supplies, the 7 of us were exhausted and hungry. It was time to call it a day. With our treasures in hand, and bags, and boxes, and stacks, we began the long drive back home on the peninsula.
A good time was had by all, and we are all looking forward to next year’s Independent Bookstore Day, where once again we will pick a few new stores to investigate a few favorites to revisit.