As reported, Elliott Bay Book Co. may be moving from Pioneer Square. One possible new location is Capitol Hill, where business conditions aren't necessarily more favorable. Now it's Broadway's venerable Bailey/Coy Books sending out an unhappy news release. After 26 years, writes owner Michael Wells, the store "will be closing its doors at the end of November."
Wells, who lamented changing business conditions on the hill in a SW story last year, blamed most of the same economic forces affecting Elliott Bay: "We have struggled, along with independent bookstores across the country, for the last decade to keep our bookstore profitable and healthy. The economic downturn of the past year, combined with the rapidly changing world of bookselling, has led us to believe that this is the most responsible decision."
The "rapidly changing world of bookselling" includes competition from big-box retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco. And, of course, Amazon. A going-out-of-business sale begins this week with 20 percent price reductions. It truly is an indicator of how bad things are for the books trade that Bailey/Coy couldn't even hang on through the holidays. Wells explains after the jump...Full press release from Bailey/Coy Books:
Bailey/Coy Books, after serving the Capitol Hill community, the greater Seattle area and generations of book lovers everywhere for 26 years, will be closing its doors at the end of November. This has not been an easy decision for us. We have struggled, along with independent bookstores across the country, for the last decade to keep our bookstore profitable and healthy. The economic downturn of the past year, combined with the rapidly changing world of bookselling, has led us to believe that this is the most responsible decision.
Starting this week, we will begin a closing sale with everything in the store marked down 20 percent. Gift certificates and redeemable book cards will be accepted until the final closing date, at the end of November.
The recent news that Elliott Bay Book Company is considering moving to Capitol Hill has no bearing on this decision. We wish Elliot Bay Book Company and all Seattle independent bookstores the best of luck in this challenging time.
Bailey/Coy Books began as B. Bailey Books, founded by Barbara Bailey, in the Rainier Square building in 1977. In 1982 she opened a second store on Broadway and in 1983 that store became Bailey/Coy Books. That year she sold the downtown store and Broadway became the store's home. In 2003 Barbara retired from the bookselling business and sold the store to Michael Wells, the manager of the store since 1989.
Barbara created a bookstore that was not only a model of the best in bookstores but was also specifically designed to welcome a lesbian and gay clientele. The American bookselling landscape at that time included general independents and lesbian and gay stores but rarely did those two models mix. Barbara wanted to create a store where the best in general literature existed side by side with the best in lesbian and gay books. Today that seems like a fairly pedestrian idea but in 1982 it was nothing short of revolutionary. We remain proud of our long history with the Seattle lesbian and gay community and the rich and varied culture that that community has supported over the years.
We have been active participants in the Broadway Business Improvement Area, the Mayor's Task Force on Broadway and the newly formed Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. We have been deeply involved in the Capitol Hill community for over 20 years. It is our belief that this bookstore could not have flourished the way it once did in any other Seattle neighborhood. Capitol Hill's history of diversity, eccentricity and a commitment to the arts are a part of our history that we cherish. Capitol Hill Rules.
We would like to thank the customers and friends who have come through our doors in the last two decades. Our bookstore is a community that includes all of you. We urge you to continue to support independent business and especially independent bookstores. It makes a world of difference.
Again, thank you to all of our customers, to the hundreds of authors who have read in our store, to all of the Pacific Northwest bookselling community and book lovers everywhere. We are honored to have been part of your lives.
Michael K. Wells