As our final big outing of 2018, the CBA went on a booksellers’ tour of Seattle. In brief, the itinerary was:
- Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum
- Michael Maslan Vintage Posters & Photographs
- Arundel Books
- Fairlook Antiques
- Collins Books
We were joined at our first stop by the friendly members of the Book Club of Washington, and our host David Brewster introduced us to Folio, which just moved into a beautiful space above the Pike Place Market. Intended as a hub for book-related activity, this is comes across as a perfect combination of a public library and a special collections library. The inventory is curated & rotated; the books are of interest to both readers and collectors; and the space is open enough for a variety of events centered around reading, writing, and book arts.
Michael Maslan, one of the premier dealers of vintage posters and photographs welcomed us into his amazingly over-stocked shop. It’s one of those stores where you literally need to ask the proprietor what you’re looking for, and he’ll come up with something for you. Mike shared his knowledge of ephemera with us, and everyone went away from there a little smarter than before!
Our next stop was Arundel Books, where Phil Bevis greeted us with champagne–surely a sneaky sales technique, but it might have worked because quite a few of us left there with full bags. Arudel’s storefront is apparently just the beginning of their domain, as they have a warehouse full of books that they can pull from on request. The staff was friendly & knowledgeable, the store was clean, and the books were wonderful to explore.
Our last stop downtown was the hidden treasure known as Fairlook Antiques, owned by Michael Fairley. This is a great store for browsing, as tens of thousands–well, probably hundreds of thousands–of photographs and other paper items are accessible for diving into. It’s a store that combines a relentless organizational effort against overwhelming chaos–sometimes it’s very easy to find what you’re looking for, and sometimes you get to experience wonderful serendipity.
Bill Wolfe of Collins Books welcomed us into his domain of unusual books. This was especially generous considering he is busy organizing the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, which is coming up in a couple of months. As an online bookseller, the home of Collins Books is more of a maze-like warehouse than a retail environment, and it was just fun to wander around the various rooms, trying to discover all the different shelves. Bill was excited to have a checkout line for the very first time!
Seattle is a city that loves books, and it is also a friendly, intelligent, and welcoming city. Our group of tourists, which included some ABAA members, the former owner of the nation’s largest independent bookstore, a young man who only recently decided to take the plunge and call himself a bookseller, and a variety of other booksellers & ephemera dealers, were welcomed everywhere. Thank you, Seattle, for a fantastic trip!