Bookstore

Where have all the bookstores gone? The last-standing bookstore recently closed in Downtown Bellevue, leaving the area with no other retailers like it.

Most recently, Barnes & Noble closed their doors in October 2022 and moved to Crossroads. The bookstore had been open on 106th Avenue Northeast for 29 years.

Canadian developer, Onni Group, bought the land that Barnes & Noble in 2019 for $116 million. Their plans for the land includes the construction of a three-tower mixed-use project. There will be two residential buildings with a hotel component, and one commercial building for office use.

Months before Barnes & Noble closed, Amazon Books closed its doors at Bellevue Square. The company announced that they planned to close all 68 of its physical bookstores, pop-up shops, and “4-star” stores in the United States and United Kingdom as they wanted to focus grocery stores and Amazon Style.

Amazon Books first opened in 2017. This was the second Amazon bookstore to open in the Greater Seattle area. One of the goals of the store was to customize book selection to the interest of the local buyer. Inventory at the store also included Amazon’s digital products.

Another great Bookstore that Downtown Bellevue lost in 2017 was University Bookstore. It had been open for 30 years. The company announced in January 2017 that they would be leasing the space to another retail tenant. The announcement that came from U. Bookstore included a reference to the changing retail environment for the reason that they were closing.

Even nearby Crossroads has Half Price Books and Barnes & Noble, Mercer Island has Island Books, and Downtown Kirkland has BookTree.

BookTree Kirkland features a quote by Neil Gaiman on their website, “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

Will another bookstore open in Downtown Bellevue in the future? What would you like to see?

10 Comments

  1. Its a shame to see the last bookstore close , I’ve been coming to that location since I was 9 years old.

  2. Library is a great option.

  3. Uh Crossroads is in Bellevue!

  4. Having a bookstore in downtown is about the shared values of this community. If bookstores are not supported, they can’t survive, much less thrive. Is City Hall concerned about this? Are the owners of Bellevue Square et al? This is not another high end designer store leaving downtown, it’s a key business in any community that no longer exists. Values, what are Bellevue’s values?

  5. Did it close due to rising rent? I’m sad to see a great, local, small business gone.

  6. I loved the downtown Barnes & Noble, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing that it’s no longer in its downtown location. As a long time customer, I didn’t find it was convenient to visit! You would have to move your car specifically to go there, as the mall parking doesn’t allow walkoffs and street parking in downtown is only 2 hours. You couldn’t just camp out at B&N for the day either, because the store was one of few remaining B&Ns with no cafe and no seating inside…

    Crossroads is honestly a much better location for this store, with unlimited parking shared with other convenient nearby stores. It’s 10 mins from downtown and still in Bellevue, so I don’t see the problem? The store itself is nicer too, they have added seating inside and it is near more amenities than before, without having to move your car. It’s sad about the University Bookstore though, hopefully another location will pop up sometime.

  7. I used to go to that Barnes and Noble for a number of years, and to be honest, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. You had to pay for parking, isolated location, and losing Starbucks right next door was a huge blow. The new Crossroads location is much better. Big open parking, plenty of foot traffic from the mall, and even though it’s smaller, it boasts a better selection of books.

  8. We visited the new Crossroads location and it’s really nice. You can actually get food and coffee there while you shop. Parking is way easier too. Much less hassle to shop there IMHO. Crossroads is still in Bellevue.

  9. Its not gone …. I worked in Downtown Bellevue use to ride the bus to Belsquare Having Barnes & Noble in crossroads gives everyone a an opportunity to visit….

  10. Actually Barnes & Nobles had a shop in crossroads mall. They closed in 2017 and now reopened.

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