How are they doing? Third Place Books

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Reporter Luanne Brown checked in with Sam Kass of Third Place Books to see how the store is faring during the pandemic.

Sam's response:

Third Place Books is, of course, open for business online, offering as many of our regular services as is possible in the digital realm. You can order books from us - new books only, right now, just like placing a special order in our store - and you can also purchase digital audiobooks or ebooks, same as usual. Customers who need personalized recommendations for kids can ask Rene, and we have Michael standing by to offer personalized recommendations for adults.

We have daily content, including plenty of new recommendations, on our social media - @thirdplacebooks pretty much everywhere - and we've ramped up our blog content, so there's something new from one of our booksellers a couple times a week on the blog. Definitely worth checking out. We've got some good stuff on there, and more coming every day.

Responding to an obvious need in the broader Seattle community, we launched the Books to Students fund last month, when it was announced that Washington State schools would be closed thorough at least the end of the academic year. 

Many young readers in our community rely on their schools and libraries for access to books and other learning materials; with those services closed, this access has dwindled, especially for students without a reliable internet connection at home. 

We began accepting donations, with the modest goal of $5,000, to help provide books to those students. That goal quickly had to be increased to $10,000, and as of this week, we've surpassed the goal and are looking to hit $15,000! 

This money is being used directly to buy books and donate them to our partners at Seattle Public Schools, Shoreline School District, Northshore School District, and Reading Partners. This is a program I am particularly proud of, and one that continues to showcase the generosity of our reading community here. 

Niki Marion, our intrepid Children's Outreach Manager, is the driving force behind this program, and I'd be happy to put you in touch with her if you have any questions.

We have ramped up virtual author events. In past weeks, our schedule was a grab-bag of different offerings - now that we, and our publishing partners, have some experience with these kinds of events, we're getting more standardized programming on the calendar. 

I have been trying (though not altogether succeeding) to send out a weekly update to our press contacts with a list of upcoming events, and I hope to have an update next Monday. In the meantime, we are updating our events calendar on the website, and our social media feed is also a great place to get the latest on these events.

Our business has been steady so far, but just like all local businesses, we need the ongoing support of our reading community. 

Entrance to Third Place Books
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
We've been the to the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park community for nearly 22 years, and we plan to see our community through this trying time, and through times to come.

We've been deeply encouraged by the continued support of our customers, and all I can really say is thank you and keep it coming

Just like in ordinary times, we're able to keep doing this because people keep shopping with us. That said, these are not ordinary times, and the ongoing purchases from readers in Seattle and beyond are crucial for us right now.

Please let me know if you have additional questions - we'd be happy to answer them.

Brick and mortar Third Place Books is located in Town Center, Lake Forest Park and will be open again someday.


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