More Independent Bookstores Appear In 2019

During Small Business Saturday this year, independent bookstores rang up another year of increasing sales. As Barnes & Nobles continues to reduce its branches in the Pacific Northwest, new indie bookstores have appeared to fill in the gap.  According to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), independent bookstore membership nationally has grown for the 10th year in a row.

Following are a few of the new stores who have arrived in Washington State. To learn more about independent bookselling in the Pacific Northwest, check out  the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association at

Madison Books Sprouts From Phinney Books

In April, Phinney Books branched out to launch a new store in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood. Phinney Books owner Tom Nissley was contacted by a Madison Park resident who wanted a replacement for the beloved Madison Park Books that closed 13 years ago. The resulting Madison Books has been hosting events throughout the spring and summer as well as offering a selection of books tailored for the neighborhood.

Paper Boat Booksellers Launches In West Seattle

Paper Boat Booksellers moved into West Seattle this October, inspired in part by the closing of the Westwood Village Barnes & Noble. The new West Seattle bookstore was started by interior designer Desirae Wilkerson and Eric Judy, former bassist for the band Modest Mouse. The couple have lived in the neighborhood for nearly 15 years. The store stocks approximately 9000 titles and offers a family reading hour on Saturday’s.

Wishing Tree Grows In Spokane

Spokane’s new children’s bookstore, Wishing Tree Books, opened for business in November in a 1907 house with a purple porch. Owned by Janelle (former events and children’s manager at Auntie’s Books) and Ivan Smith, the store was backed by Tegan (Queen Anne Book Co./ABA Board of Directors) and Jordan Tigani.

IBPA December Webinars

The Independent Book Publishers Association is offering two webinars in December for indie publishers and authors. Please note that webinars are $39 and up from IBPA. If a member, you may receive a discount. Time of webinar

How Facebook and Instagram Can Help You Reach Your Readers

December 4, 10 am to 11 am PST
With Madison Killen and Brad Cook of Facebook

Two marketing managers at Facebook, one a publishing veteran, will show participants how to leverage Facebook and Instagram tools to help find your audience and spread the word about your book


How to Break Into Professional Speaking to Sell More Books

December 11, 10 am to 11 am PST
With Jodee Blanco

Learn how to use professional speaking to take your presence to a whole new level, sell more books, and create a lucrative second income source.

Shawn Wong Books Brings Back Asian-American Classics

Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers  Third Edition

Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Asian American Writers, Third Edition (2019)

Announced on Twitter, Northwest author and University of Washington professor Shawn Wong has started a joint project with University of Washington Press.

“I’m excited to announce a new book series, Shawn Wong Books, in partnership with the U of Washington Press to reissue classic works of Asian American literature. Our first publication this coming spring will be the reissuing of Louis Chu’s 1961 novel, Eat a Bowl of Tea,” he wrote on his Twitter feed @RedcarWong.
Wong wrote or edited a number of books published by University of Washington Press inlcuding the award-winning novel Homebase and anthologies of Asian American literature, including Aiiieeeee! and The Big Aiiieeeee!

Olmsted History In Seattle Launches

As we move into prime fall foliage viewing, a book about Seattle’s wooded parks goes on sale. The culmination of an 18-month effort by HistoryLink,  Documentary Media, and Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks, Olmsted in Seattle: Creating A Park System for A Modern City traces the story of how, in the midst of galloping growth at the turn of the 20th century, Seattle’s city leaders decided on a City Beautiful movement and hired the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm.

Look for the Friends, and the author, at various events this fall for their book launch. Among the events listed on the Friends’ website are:

October 20
Dunn Gardens Fall Foliage Festival (booth at the event)
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

November 12
Book Signing and Presentation, Douglas Classroom, Center for Urban Horticulture
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Author Jennifer Ott also will speak on Olmsted in Seattle: Creating A Park System for A Modern City at the Seattle Public Library’s Central Library on November 19. An environmental historian and assistant director of HistoryLink, Ott also co-authored Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal with David B. Williams and served as the general editor and a contributing author for Seattle at 150: Stories of the City Through 150 Objects from the Seattle Municipal Archives.

Catch this lecture on Saturday, November 16, 2019, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. at Central Library’s Microsoft Auditorium.

November Event: Publishing Choices at SPL

Beth Jusino’s popular workshop “You Wrote a Book: Now What? Understanding Today’s Publishing Choices” returns to the Seattle Public Library on November 3 at the Columbia City Branch, 2:00-4:00 pm. This free session is part of “Seattle Writes” program.

Jusino’s workshop takes you through a modern writer’s publishing options, from “Big 5” traditional publishers to small presses to self publishing (with or without the support of service companies) to “hybrid” and other emerging models. As a publishing professional who appreciates both sides of the fence, Jusino examines pros and cons of each choice, realistic costs and income potential, as well as scams and pitfalls to avoid. Gain better understanding of your own goals, strengths, and how to make a decision about the best publishing options.

Changing Up Series Covers

The redesigned cover for the first book in the Brass and Glass series

Halfway through a series isn’t  when you want to revamp the look, but necessity drove author and publisher Dawn Vogel. “The first two books in my Brass and Glass series were published by a small press. Unfortunately, they decided to close up shop before the final book in the trilogy was complete. They returned the rights to my books to me, but with the closing of the press, the cover artist I had for the first two books was no longer available,” she said.

Vogel had been publishing other authors and the Mad Scientist Journal as part of the DefCon One Publishing group. So taking over the production of the trilogy, including new covers for the first two books, made sense.

“Fortunately, I knew other cover artists, so I connected with one online and asked if she’d be interested in redoing the first two book covers and making a third cover to go along with the set,” said Vogel. “We started out by looking at covers for other steampunk novels and identifying the elements I liked the best. I sent her a really awful drawing I’d made of The Silent Monsoon, the airship in my novels. We went back and forth on a couple of different ideas until we were both happy with the direction things were going.”

With new artwork in place, the series launched under the DefCon One imprint this fall with the final book in the trilogy, The Boiling Sea, scheduled to be released on October 22, 2019.

Boiling Sea

Book three will be released in October.

“I liked my previous covers, but my new cover artist was able to create covers that I love,” said Vogel. “For the first time, the airship I’d envisioned, with its multi-colored balloons, is on the cover of my book. All three of the covers make it very clear that this is a steampunk series with an airship, maps, and clunky diving suits, which point to the sorts of adventures that the crew has. I’ve got a nice, consistent line design, which is key for a series. And the covers all have a bit more color than your average steampunk novel, which makes them stand out in a wonderful way!”

Look for DefCon One  in the GeekGirlCon 2019 dealer room, November 16 and 17, at the Conference Center, 800 Pike Street, in Seattle, Washington. Vogel will be speaking on panels at the event.

Portland Book Festival Set For November

Literary Arts brings back the Portland Book Festival on Saturday, November 9. The Oregon event invites  readers of all ages to the largest celebration of books and writing in the Pacific Northwest. There will be 100+ authors, 90+ vendors, 9 stages, 14 writing workshops, food trucks, and satellite bookstores from indie bookselling partners Annie Bloom’s Books, Broadway Books, Green Bean Books, and Powell’s Books, at the 2019 Festival in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The featured authors at this year’s festival include Laurie Halse Anderson, Jericho Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, Mitchell S. Jackson, Saeed Jones, Elizabeth McCracken, Tim O’Brien, Morgan Parker, Ambassador Susan Rice, Rainbow Rowell, Karen Russell, Raina Telgemeier, Renée Watson, G. Willow Wilson, and many more.

Adult advance passes are $15 (day-of passes are $20) and include a $5 voucher to spend at the  book fair.  Youth 17 and under or with high school ID attend for free. Festival passes include all-day admission to the Portland Art Museum. Learn more at