This is great news - thanks Paul!
And you could lunch there daily!
A chore to go to Pioneer Square? I guess that's why you didn't actually leave your desk to find out about this story. And I can't think of a neighborhood that's more of chore to get to than your own. Magnolia, maybe.

Tourists don't go to Capitol Hill, but Pioneer Square is thick with them, so there goes Elliott Bay's summer business.
Holy shit! To have a Elliott Bay right between Century Ballroom and Basic Plumbing - it's a Street of Dreams!
Light rail is the new center of Seattle.

Yeah, it sucks trying to get to Pioneer Square and it will be a lot worse when the Billionaires Tunnel goes in.
Nooo! I swing by there conveniently from the office to pick up a magazine or a book on my route home.
this is only great news if you assume everyone lives on capitol hill, which of course do. let's be more honest: it would be very sad if they left that magical space for some dull one story building on 10th and became just another bookstore.
I see tourists milling about Elliott Bay all the time, but I never see them buy anything. I've skipped plenty of readings there because the Mariners were in town, so it's a win for me.
The truth is it probably sucks for people who frequent pioneer square and rocks for those who frequent cap hill. Simple as that.

Personally I like the bookshop a lot but find myself on the hill much more often, so this is great.
Elliott Bay IS in a neighborhood with lots of activity, and it truly is a magical space as mentioned. We need "institutions" in this town to keep some historical grounding - Elliott Bay does this.
@10 - Yes, but Paul doesn't care about the institution. He just cares about how far he has to walk.
@7: I'm all for nostalgia, but "magical space" is a bit of a stretch, isn't it? Aren't you just promoting the creaky floors to something a bit more than they really are?

In general, if you're a Seattle resident visiting Elliott Bay, you're only going there to visit Elliott Bay. There's nothing else in Pioneer Square worth going to. The only good food is open roughly from 11 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday, and people who go to Elliott Bay aren't also going to the nightclubs (and vice versa). I don't mind taking the bus or walking down to Pioneer Square, but people who drive are either scared of the bums or scared of the parking—especially on days when there are sporting events at either of the stadiums.

This rumor would be just as good for the bookstore if they were moving to Queen Anne or Ballard. Really great bookstores need to be where people live their lives. A truly great bookstore can't survive on a few months of tourist business a year, and that's all that Pioneer Square has to offer.

@12 - well, there are those sports stadiums and drunken revelry ...
personally i love Elliott Bay exactly where it is. i work just around the corner and i visit frequently! probably 3 times a month about 2 out of 3 times i buy a book...a new book at that.

since i live in capitol hill i don't mind the move to oddfellows but another empty space in pioneer square makes me sad.
First of all, I am indifferent about the move, although I have taken tourists there, and they have made purchases. Secondly, parking's going to be much better on the hill? Jeezus Paul. Just say you're happy that it's more convenient for you so we don't have to call you out on it.
It would be nice to hop over there, but I kinda wish it would stay down in skid row- I'm running out of excuses to leave CH

p.s. what about the Cafe?
@7 Sounds like you've never been to Elliott Bay; that, or you have no sense of aesthetics.

I hope Capitol Hill enjoys its new history- and character-free bookstore.
Oops. Sorry @7. I meant @12.
Might as well change the name to Borders
You're totally right, @17. I've never been to dozens (hundreds?) of readings at Elliott Bay Book Company in my ten years as a book lover in Seattle. And I certainly don't sell used books and buy books there all the time or just go there three or four times a month to see what's new. That would require leaving my desk.

I think that if this rumor bears out, it's going to turn into a Knute Berger-y old Seattle-new Seattle argument. In this economic climate (especially for bookstores), it's not always possible to retain something for the sake of nostalgia when viability is at stake. There's got to be more to this story—they wouldn't be moving just to piss you off or to make sure that I don't have to walk more than two blocks—and I'm working on the story, I promise.
I guess, Paul, I was reacting to your unrestrained glee. It sounds like the bad economy has hit Elliott Bay, which I don't see as "great news" for them.
I do like the Pioneer Square location because I do romanticize the squeaky floorboards and little niches you can hide in. With all that, I think I will go to many more readings if it comes to the Hill.
If only Light Rail came quicker -a straight line from Broadway to the Stadium would make it so much easier to get down there.
@21: Times are tight everywhere, especially for bookstores.

Anyway, as I said, I'm on the rumor. Believe me, I love the current space as much as anyone. All will eventually become clear, or they'll announce that this rumor is bullshit, in which case we just wasted an afternoon for nothing.
I work in the Square and Losing Elliot Bay would be a disaster for me personally (I buy and trade books there frequently) and devastating to the Pioneer Square neighborhood. The bookstore is an anchor for 1st and Main and if it leaves it will mean much less foot traffic to other businesses located nearby. The place is always crowded and the cafe downstairs is doing great business, so I would be surprised if this rumor turned out to be true. Maybe they are opening another store?
Expansion would be great.

And, actually, if you wanted to expand, now's a great time to do it, provided you've got the capital or the loans to do it.

Most big firms became such by expanding during down times from small or medium sized firms.
Pioneer Square is still the most important and historically interesting neighborhood in the city, and Elliot Bay is its anchor. Paul, you say "There's nothing else in Pioneer Square worth going to", but there are several other used book stores right near it -- do you never go in Wessel & Lieberman, the Globe, Newberry? Really? Seattle Mystery Bookshop and Arundel are just a stroll away as well.

Parking is a problem? That's funny; the other day I parked across the street for $3. Whereas parking on the Hill is, as everyone knows, an unalloyed delight. And since when does the Stranger give a shit about parking? Does light rail ring a bell?

Pioneer Square is in trouble. Celebrating the loss of its most important business isn't cool at all. Fuck Capitol Hill.
A chore to go to Pioneer Square? I think of it as the perfect Saturday or Sunday treat. Parking isn't an issue unless there's a game at one of the stadiums. Even then you can park your car elsewhere and hop on one of the buses. One of the major reasons I go there is precisely because if its location. I also love the University Bookstore but I'd rather spend my time in Pioneer Square than on the Ave. I think a Capitol Hill move will be a disaster.
first let me say i love capitol hill - it was the only place i lived when i lived in seattle - but i would really mourn this move. the pioneer square location is so perfect. and as for the parking - since when would parking on the hill be any easier than pioneer square? parking on the hill is a freaking nightmare!
At first, I was disgruntled. Now, I am happy for Elliott Bay and it's employees not having to deal with tourists, lawyers and football fans. F summer business, now they will have business year round!
I live downtown, not too far from Elliot Bay bookstore and love the place, but hate going to Pioneer Square, so I'm actually stoked it will be on the Hill and will go there more frequently.
This will kill Bailey/Coy if true.
So I'm going to set things straight here for some of the commenters: I worked at Elliott Bay for 12 years, I can guarantee there is nobody in any book department in ANY part of this country that knows more about Elliott Bay, the Square, and NW publishing than Paul.

This rumor, substantiated or not needs to be viewed as a symptom of Pioneer Square's odd and cursed history as a cultural & social destination. Pan handlers are bad down there, they've been getting worse over the past decade, the police force hardly tamps down the rampant homeless drinking & drug trading/taking (Waiting for my bus I've seen tons). The city hasn't cared about the Square in a long time-- only now are some things changing, but that's these corporate types anticipating the viaduct vanishing, & property values rising more; vendors play a game of musical chairs down there it's almost amazing to see the same stores there 3 months later.

Also: Summer/tourist traffic is fine and all but when you just get looky-lous snapping photos, writing down recommended titles so they can buy them cheap on amazon, it's not that much of a blessing. The Baseball (and more recently Soccer) crowds DO help bolster business, but that's just 2 months out of the year, and when the sun falls in the Square, it's like people believe vampires live there, & they head for the hills. Winter is worse: the sun sets earlier, people still leave the Square in a rush; only the threat of not having a gift for loved ones (and the Elliott Bay Staff is clever in recommending stuff) during Xmas sends people there during the season.

I'm not sure moving to the Hill is a good idea--loyalties would be torn for people who patronize Bailey-Coy-- and you trade one Drinking nexus for another. Are revelers better behaved on the Hill than in the Square? I can't judge that.

The mention about the light rail being the new hub is astute: let's all wait and see what happens to the areas around the south end where the train runs (developers, Bar, coffee entrepreneurs TAKE NOTE). Maybe with the rail coming through Capitol Hill can easily support both stores.

But one thing is clear: SUPPORT your local indie bookstores, every sale counts. And for god's sake, when they tell you they don't have a book in stock right now, don't say "Thanks, I'll get it online" (do you know how annoying that is to a bookseller?), say: "Sure, order it for me, call me when you have it."
a) I'm with Fnarf.

b) "Because we are all sick of crappy phone photos, here is the Google Street View of the building..." Does the Stranger, which is virtually around the corner not own a CAMERA? sheesh. That Google photo is horrible.
Pioneer Square is dead easy to get to for some of us now that there's a train that goes there. (Unless you live on Capitol Hill and have to wait 7 years for your train to arrive.) Parking on Capitol Hill sucks, so I am going to be less likely to visit the store if it moves to Capitol Hill.

Crazycatguy is right, too -- this would be devastating to the Pioneer Square neighborhood.
Parking? Pioneer Square is an easy neighborhood to get to without a car - there's a light rail station 3 blocks away, all the major Seattle and regional bus lines stop within a few blocks and the neighborhood is walkable and bikeable from where most people in the city work. Oh, and it's near the ferry terminal too. And, even if you have to fucking drive, parking is plentiful and cheap except on game days. Also @31 makes a good point. Moving Elliott Bay to Capitol will wipe out Bailey Coy (a real neighborhood bookstore) and hasten the day when there's only one independent bookstore in town. How sad.
OK, I see all the reasons it would make sense for them to move, but *sob*! The wood smell, the odd little staircases, the warren of rooms, the cafe, gazillions of books, the spirit. To lose all that would make me truly sad.
Absolutely, positively, fuck that. Pioneer Square needs every good thing it's got. Get your own fucking book store hipsters.
Oh and Capitol Hill is a BREEZE to get around & parking is everywhere...NOT!

Do not move!
@31 That was the first thought that came to my mind.
I wonder what forced this hand. The Globe Building owners or the Peter? As I think I once heard, EBBCo was paying rent relative to what it earned... a possibly kind move by the building owners but also an astute one - with EBBCo as the anchor of the Pioneer Square Neighborhood, the local landlords could point to it and charge the whatever they wanted. With its departure, what's going in? Maybe another carpet emporium? A Hooters?

I am fearful that a decade from now, if EBBCo is still in business, they will regret leaving the this neighborhood soon-to-be-no-longer-besmirched by the fucking viaduct. EBBCo at its current location is the nationally recognized birth of the reading series, the cedar and brick lined former log mill, the place where you could get lost in a book, or literally lose yourself in the store. It was The Elliott Bay Book Company. On Capitol Hill it's just another independent bookstore with a parking nightmare.
I would be sick with anger if they left their spot in Pioneer Square. Pike/Pine has enough going for it right now...Elliott Bay is an anchor tenant in that part of downtown, and they can ill-afford to lose it. It's unlike anything else in the city. Moving it to Cap Hill turns it into one more fucking hipster hellhole.

This would be really bad news for Bailey Coy, which has clearly been struggling with all the difficulties of Broadway over the years. If Elliott Bay shows up in Bailey Coy's neighborhood, that would probably kill B-C. There's a story somewhere in how on earth Bailey Coy has managed to survive so long despite the odds... It can't have been easy and just from seeing their greatly diminished inventory lately it is clear that the "revival" of Broadway can't come fast enough ... If any of those new mega buildings ever fill up, they might survive.

Also, if EBB moves wouldn't it be into a GREATLY reduced amount of space??? That can't be good for Elliott Bay, from a wide-ranging selection standpoint.

I don't get the "save Pioneer Square" sentiment, and I worked there for years. It does not function as a neighborhood. As a place to work during the day and get the hell out of at 5 PM: Yes. As a place to binge drink: Yes. As a place to park your car for the ballgame: Yes. As a place for tourists to gather in herds and harken unto tales of Ye Olde Skid Row: Yes. As a place to urinate freely: Yes. Indie bookstores need to be where the readers are and create community there; otherwise, price, availability, and convenience win, and all of those cards are in Amazon's hand.
yeah, what's with the lack of love for Bailey/Coy and all the other book sellers, used or otherwise, on the Hill? This will kill them.

this will also mean MORE tourists on the Hill...goody (that was a sarcastic goody)...and yeah, we already do get tourists (just take a good like around in the summer...the tourists are the fat, old, poorly dressed people with bewildered looks on their faces).
@44, tourists do not go to bookstores, don't worry. They go to Elliot Bay because they're already there, not because they've made any special trips.

Your screed, Vlad @32, would be more interesting if you hadn't said that baseball plus soccer is only two months out of the year. More like seven, eight if we make the playoffs.
Fnarf, don't say "if." GAH!
@everyone: It is WAY too early to announce that this rumored move will kill any business, let alone Bailey/Coy. The funny thing about a big bookstore is that it can often make the environment more amenable to smaller bookstores. Think about all the bookstores in Pioneer Square (which I single-mindedly neglected to mention before in the comments—much to my embarrassment, and I do send my sincere apologies to those stores): Wessel & Lieberman, the Globe, Seattle Mystery Bookshop and, to a lesser extent, Arundel. Remember David Ishii Booksellers, which closed a few years back because Mr. Ishii was retiring? I don't believe that any of those bookstores are hurt by Elliott Bay.

Assuming that this is true: I'm not worried about Pilot Books at all; I don't think Elliott Bay and Pilot Books would do anything but complement each other. Used books and new books are a completely different thing, so even though they have used books, I'm not concerned about Elliott Bay cutting into Half-Price or Twice Sold Tales. I do believe that Bailey/Coy would probably have to reimagine itself (perhaps from a general interest store with an impressive gay section to a gay bookstore with an impressive general interest selection, maybe? Capitol Hill lost its last good gay bookstore, what, five years ago now?) I think all this talk about Bailey/Coy is insulting to a bookstore that has survived through many permutations and is very much loved in its community.
Since this thread is about Elliott Bay Bookstore, I would like to say that they can blow me. Several years ago I took some of my chapbooks down there. The indie press person said they took them on consignment. Everytime I went back, I saw fewer of my books and the buyer was on lunch or had the day off. They sold my books and I never saw a dime. Some way to treat the little guy.
This news, if true, is the death-rattle of Pioneer Square. Game over. 5 year prediction: burned-out squats.

God this sucks. Get your own shit, Capitol Hill.
I have an office down there primarily because I love to be near Elliott Bay Bookstore. Well there are also the great lunch spots (Tat's, Salumi, Guajillos, etc.).

Will be deeply saddened if it moves, and I live on Cap. Hill.
Oh and also great coffee shops like Trabant, All City, Zeitgeist and even the Hemp lattes at Elliott Bay Cafe!
@fnarf @45: by 2 months I was referring to the height of business at the store. As the weather becomes more clement, more fair-weather baseball fans make the move to a game: I've seen this in the baseball fan friends I have, their interest in going to a game usually heats up (no pun intended) around late June.

And yeah, the Soccer crowd is still a new quantity to factor in, so my judgment on that is out.

I know both sports have looong seasons, but attendance always fluctuates (we won't know about the soccer until next year).

And my screed would've been more interesting perhaps if I'd, say, interpretive tap-danced it for you, Fnarf?
53 why not contact Michael of Bailey Coy and the other book shop owners and get their opinion on this "gossip" (which is what it is, at this point) and how it could affect them? Isn't that what reporters do?

Yes, I think it's POSSIBLE that Bailey Coy MIGHT survive but they would have to radically change the way they sell books. Going 'gayer' is certainly an idea especially since their has been a major hole in bookselling since Beyond the Closet closed. But would that be enough to compete against a store with 5 (?) times more stock and presumedly a cafe?
@53: First: "Presumably."

If this happens, there are lots of different stories to tell, and they'll be told. This is not that story yet.

And bookstores everywhere have had to radically change the way they sell books. That's the way the industry has worked for the last few years. Almost every bookstore in town (except for maybe three I can think of off the top of my head) should radically change the way they work, or at least take a good look at themselves and think about what they do well and what they do poorly and what they should do to stay in business.
You know it is always possible Elliot Bay could be opening a second store. The capital cost is about the same and the only real risk is they would have a harder time covering their operating expenses with two stores.
"[Store manager Tracy] Taylor would not comment on a report in a blog operated by the tabloid The Stranger that said the bookstore would reopen in a building between Pine and Pike streets on Capitol Hill." (From Mike Carter's article in the Seattle Times)…
Amy Martinez gets the goods:…
The owner of Elliott Bay Book Co. said Sunday he's considering moving the landmark Seattle business from its longtime home in Pioneer Square partly because of financial troubles.

Owner Peter Aaron said the store's lease at the Globe Building expires in late January, when a maxed-out line of credit he had been using to run the business also comes due.
Parking? Parking? That's why this would be a great thing for Elliott Bay? Perhaps it should move to a strip mall somewhere, or a big outlet store out in the exurbs. Then we could all drive our 2.5 cars off to buy beach books, assuming we could drag ourselves off the couch and the Amazon website to actually interact with humans at all. Better yet, we could all live happily ever after watching TV in the back seat of our SUVs.
I love Elliott Bay but I only go as a "reward" for the times I'm forced to go to Pioneer Square. It's unpleasant down there guys. I'm sure you can acclimate to it, but the "tourist meccas" of most cities are much much nicer. I hope the change works out for them.
Move the damn Cowgirls to cap hill and be done with it...
Used bookstores are synergistic. New bookstores are not. Every used bookstore is different; every new bookstore is the same, pretty much (it's the same publishing world). That's why having Elliott Bay in Pioneer Square is GOOD for the other bookstores (used bookstores), they will not be good for Bailey/Coy, unless they can differentiate their stocks in some significant way.

What I'd like to see is a bookstore with a focus on international books, which is half of what I buy, but I'm a weirdo. I doubt you could make that work commercially.

Get used to it: in the future, after this "radical change" Paul talks about, there will be no more retail stores of any kind except Wal-Mart, selling the crap that's too cheap to sell over the internet. Every retail strip in the country is going to be wall-to-wall Pilates studios and nail salons, with a few failing restaurants in between.
I used to live in Pioneer Square and was a champion for the neighborhood. But it's gone downhill. I love Elliott Bay but rarely go. The last time I went to a reading at Elliott Bay, I had to run a gauntlet of homeless people to get to my car.

Moving Elliott Bay Books to that location would be great. It's also close to the Richard Hugo House, so it would have a built-in audience of people who read. The Hugo House can accommodate fairly big readings in its theater, which would be good for authors/readers, too.
Here's my two biases: 1) We need independent booksellers like Elliott Bay Book Co. to survive. 2) I love Pioneer Square more than Capitol Hill.

But, if owner Peter Aaron decides they must move in order to stay alive, then that's what they have to do. Yes, they could do a lot to promote their business regardless of location, but as long as they're dependent upon evening and weekend foot traffic, then yeah, they may have to move. That or the City needs to step up its PSq investments and/or we the people need to stop browsing and actually buy something when we're at Elliott Bay, regardless of its location.

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