A beloved destination for mystery readers from around the world is in danger of closing. Seattle Mystery Bookshop, a 27-year fixture in Pioneer Square, is struggling financially and now it's for sale.
“We can say that this summer’s sales have been far lower than they have been in the past,” owner J.B. Dickey said, Monday.
The conundrum is this: how does a one-of-a-kind shop, with five-star marks on online review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, a place many visitors have on their to-do list, still struggle?
“It's a shift of many different things at once,” said Dickey, who points to the rise of Amazon and e-books as a major factor. He says things like parking, foot traffic, and changing reader habits are also impacting business.
Ultimately, there just aren’t enough people buying paper mystery books these days.
“This was the #1 place I wanted to go,” said Lisa Munroe, who lives in Florida and visited the shop, Monday, with a long hand-written list of titles she couldn’t find at her local library. “This is a store I’ve never seen anywhere, I really haven’t.”
Dickey said he hopes someone will revitalize the business and attract more customers.
“We have tried over the last decade to keep everything going, to keep it all afloat, and it's now time for someone else to try and do it better than we can,” Dickey said.
He says they’ve had a few calls from potential buyers, but if a buyer doesn’t come forward in the next few months, Seattle Mystery Bookshop might have to close.
“Whether it's a bookstore or anything else, if you don't support it, if you don't spend money with it, it will go away,” Dickey said.