It’s hard to resist the appeal of a cozy, inviting bookstore run by intelligent, interesting locals. Especially valuable are those that skillfully stock and recommend books on a multitude of topics. Skagit County is blessed to have four such establishments operated by kind and knowledgeable staff carrying on the fine tradition of bookselling. Best of all is that each offers customers a unique experience whether you’re looking to buy new, used, hard-to-find or simply sell a few favorites. Check out the following four local bookstores in Skagit County for great reads and more.
701 S First St, Mount Vernon
Step inside Easton’s Books and you’ll want to poke around for hours. In business for 43 years, the impressively tall bookshelves contain over 100,000 titles with another 10,000 more in the back exclusively for Easton’s thriving online storefront. Specializing in collectible and high quality, interesting used books, the store owners mindfully regulate their holdings while offering an impressive inventory to book buyers across the nation and around the world. Some of their recent online purchasers have included celebrities, movie studios and renown authors. In fact, customers travel from all over the Pacific Northwest to peruse the shelves at Easton’s, with only Powell’s in Portland surpassing them in size and breadth.
Dedicated to the craft of bookselling, the owners find their greatest delight in talking to customers about books. For those shoppers that enjoy a bargain, mark your calendars for the third week in August when Easton’s holds their annual anniversary sale. At this event, all titles are 25 percent off, including their online inventory. Whether you’re on the hunt for a special edition or a familiar title, Easton’s either has it or will find it. For more information, visit the Easton’s Books website.
Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse
520 Commercial Ave, Anacortes
Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse is a used bookstore with a bright interior and distinctively northwest vibe. The neighborhood feel of the store reflects the ethos of the owners who seek to create a community center “where everyone feels welcome and all are nourished intellectually, physically and spiritually.” Such attentive care is reflected in bookshelves where it’s easy to find several gems each time you visit. The staff thrives on assisting customers and supporting local authors and artists, hosting monthly poetry readings curated by the legendary Michael Daley and providing wall space for a rotating mix of noteworthy local art. And although Pelican regularly buys books from the public, they do not accept donations.
While books and the written word alone may nourish you, Pelican Bay also offers a tempting mix of beverages and nibbles to suit your taste. The coffee and tea selections are first rate and the edibles include some of the best in-house, made-from-scratch cookies, rolls and seasonal specialties available in the area. Sourcing high-quality ingredients like Olympia Coffee, Theo’s Chocolate and Laura Chenel cheese delivers reliably delicious items that you don’t want to miss. For more information, visit the Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse website.
106 First St, La Conner
Seaport Books is a little gem located on Gilkey Square and overlooking the scenic La Conner waterfront. The cozy bookstore has an outsized welcoming spirit and specializes in new books written by and about Pacific Northwest authors and subjects. Thus, alongside the considerable selection of PNW history, nature, hiking and lifestyle books, the shelves contain carefully selected classics and gorgeous special editions, plus current fiction and non-fiction titles. The staff at Seaport Books eagerly embrace the challenge of supplying your next read and will gladly special order any book. They regularly assist customers that don’t shop online and those in search of less common editions.
Seaport Books also offers a generous consignment policy for self-published authors and cheerfully allows four-legged companions. If you need more than a good book or two, there are several displays of notecards and postcards made by local artists along with energy bars, toys, gift items and quality chocolates for sale. Before you leave, don’t forget to sign-up for the electronic newsletter covering events and author talks at the bookstore and literary happenings in La Conner. Come out and confirm the owner’s assertion that “people who love books and special editions will love this store.” For more information, visit the Seaport Books website.
Watermark Book Company
612 Commercial Ave, Anacortes
An Anacortes staple for decades, Watermark Book Company is a traditional bookstore in a cozy historic space. Flanked by brick walls, the store’s collection is a wide array of titles both modern and classic. The children’s section is carefully curated and enjoys a fun perch on the store’s mezzanine level. The new proprietors believe in offering a “safe, welcoming place for all kinds of people” and look forward to helping customers find just the right book. If necessary, staff will scour their suppliers’ warehouses and contact publishers to assure all purchase options are exhausted.
Gift shopping and not sure what book is the best fit? You’re all set, as Watermark carries numerous book accessories, calendars, journals and cards to suit all budgets and tastes. Along with complimentary gift wrap for every purchase, the store also curates a “closed” book club that begins each year in September for a maximum of 25 participants. Always community minded, there are monthly author events, extended hours to accommodate First Friday Gallery Walk attendees and wall space for local artists. Next time you visit Watermark, see if you can guess what artwork is part of the rotating display and what belongs to the permanent collection. For more information, visit the Watermark Book Company website.