Every single book produced by local publisher Chin Music Press is a work of art. There's no house style: The books always feature unique design elements, embracing typography and color and use of images in a way that makes traditional publishers look, well, traditional. These are books as art objects, books that look good and that feel good in the hand, the perfect response to the argument of e-books. (And how are they between those beautiful covers? They're quality works that span a whole range of topics. I've reviewed a few Chin Music titles over the years.)

Today in the third underground level of Pike Place Market, Chin Music is opening a retail store just as memorable as the press itself. Parked at an angle along a sunny wall of windows, the Chin Music space houses multiple copies of the publisher's various titles on a series of spacious shelves. Chin Music publisher Bruce Rutledge estimates that the store will only carry somewhere between thirty and fifty titles, including a few zines and chapbooks. They'll also display local artwork and sell a handful of prints and t-shirts. "Our books showcase really well," Rutledge says, and it's the truth: sitting there on the shelves in multiples like that, they beg to be picked up and turned over and inspected.

Chin Music Press is home to a large paper sculpture of Godzilla.
  • Chin Music Press is home to a large paper sculpture of Godzilla.
How can a bookstore manage to turn a profit by just selling a few dozen titles at a time? That's where the genius of the space comes in: Chin Music's new retail store is also home to the press's publishing offices, where the staff works on editing and designing new titles year-round. Since it's the office of a small-but-successful publishing company that's been in business for a decade, the store doesn't have to sell a certain quota to pay the rent; it's basically a large showroom in their front office. The space gives off a welcoming, artistic vibe, and the desks and computers in plain view of passersby indicate that you're in a room devoted to the lifespan of the book, from its most conceptual stages to the hands of a curious browser. Rutledge says one of the exhibits he's thinking about displaying in the shop is a series of photographs demonstrating the creation of one of Chin Music's titles. Seattle is home to several temples to books—Elliott Bay Book Company, Hugo House, the Fantagraphics Store—and Chin Music's storefront is the newest, and smallest, addition to that list.

Chin Music will be open from 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. They're having an open house to celebrate the new space this Saturday, July 19th from noon to 2 pm. At the event, local translator D. Michael Ramirez will be discussing his latest work of translation, the poetry collection Lizard Telepathy, Fox Telepathy by Yoshinori Henguchi.