Alyson Stage began Mockingbird Books in 2008 to further her passion for children’s literacy. Eight years later, declining sales have forced her to turn the page.
After eight years in business, Mockingbird Books is turning its final page Saturday.
The beloved children’s bookstore opened in Green Lake in June 2008. Though other stores such as Seattle’s Secret Garden Books and the University Book Store maintain children’s sections, Mockingbird is one of the only remaining Seattle bookstores that specializes in children’s books.
“Each of these bookstores brings a unique thing to their customer base and to their community in general,” said Mockingbird owner Alyson Stage. “Every time we lose one, we’re losing a piece of the neighborhood and something that really meant something to quite a few customers.”
Final day, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Mockingbird Books, 7220 Woodlawn Ave. N.E., Seattle (206-518-5886 or mockingbirdbooksgl.com/index.html).
Advancing children’s literacy has long been a passion for Stage. She served as an early president of the children’s literacy program Page Ahead in the early ’90s, when her own two children were learning how to read.
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“Helping to encourage kids to become literate and discover reading as a joy, in addition to a homework assignment, really sets me off,” Stage said.
The opening of Mockingbird coincided with the popularization of e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle. While Stage said that e-readers never really cut into the bookstore’s business — “not many kids are using e-readers,” she said — the growth of online shopping did.
“You can get books online the next day from Amazon, and they can sell them cheaper than we can,” Stage said.
The closure of Partners Book Distributing earlier this year, which provided Mockingbird with same-day delivery, further crippled Mockingbird’s ability to cover its overhead, Stage said. Two months ago, Stage made the difficult decision to close the book on Mockingbird. In the store’s last week in business, all remaining inventory is on sale for half off. Stage plans to concentrate on her career as a certified public accountant after Mockingbird’s closure; the space occupied by the bookstore will become a preschool.
On Mockingbird’s final day, Stage plans to hold an open house and celebration for the store’s customers, thanking them for their years of patronage.
“I’ll miss the story time, I’ll miss the staff here,” said Kay Huang, 40, on Monday. She was at the store with her 7-month-old, Marco, whom she used to take to the bookstore’s daily story-time events. “They usually provide a lot of information — not just about books, but also the environment around here. They just love seeing babies grow up here locally.”
Tam Kutzmark, 48, said that she had been bringing her son Jon Copernicus, 7, to Mockingbird since she and her family returned to Seattle.
“We’ve been coming basically since we knew it was here,” Kutzmark said. “There aren’t too many bookstores that are dedicated to children’s books … We will have lost a great resource.”
Jon wandered around the bookstore, looking in vain for the latest Harry Potter book. “I think he is well aware of what he will not be able to find now that the bookstore is closing,” Kutzmark said.