It may be the end of the line for Seattle Mystery Bookshop, in business in downtown Seattle since 1990.
Update, 12:05 pm, 9/18/17:
Seattle Mystery Bookshop owner JB Dickey reports, on the store’s blog, that a buyer has not emerged and that the shop will close on Saturday, Sept. 30.
In his blog post, Dickey says there are many reasons for the closure.
“Blame Amazon? Sure, that’s the easy thing to say but the massive changes in the world of bookselling are far larger than that,” he writes. “In fact, the changes in the over-all economy make it a much, much bigger story.”
In a great mystery novel, there’s always one last, perfect twist. Seattle Mystery Bookshop, in business on downtown’s Cherry Street since 1990, is hoping that twist is coming, but it’s getting pretty close to the end of the story. Owner JB Dickey announced in early August that the store was up for sale, and this week wrote in an email that he has “received no firm offers for the shop so it feels as if it is time to start winding things down.”
SMB, Seattle’s only bookstore specializing in crime fiction, has struggled financially in recent years, with a GoFundMe campaign in early 2016 helping to pay some bills. “It bought us a year — but barely, and that has taken its toll,” wrote Dickey on the store’s blog. “While we could do another such fund raiser, that’s not a viable way to continue in business.”
The bookstore was founded 27 years ago by Bill Farley and his wife, B Jo Bauer, newcomers to Seattle who’d dreamed of owning a mystery bookstore. It was called a “bookshop” rather than a “bookstore,” Farley explained on SMB’s website, because “I felt that “store” implied size, and perhaps coldness, whereas “shop” implied the opposite. I think the name of a retail business is like the title of a book: it gives a first impression, which can make or break it.” Farley, who died in 2015, sold the store in 1999 to Dickey, who was one of its original employees.
Most of the store’s stock is on sale this month: 50 percent off used books; 30 percent off new books published before this year. It will stay open for a few more weeks but “most likely the end of the month will be it,” wrote Dickey. Potential buyers can contact Dickey through seattlemystery.com. Now’s the time for that twist, and quickly.