Author Archives: ktacke

Welcome to Seattle…

…the best literary, outdoorsy, artsy, techy, coffee-loving, dog-friendly, mountain-viewing, whale watching, ferry-riding, Sasquatch-sighting, beer-drinking, farmers market-strolling, rainy/misting/drizzling (but wow the summers and the green!), reading city in the world!

My favorite thing to do when I arrive in a new city is to find the closest local bookstore. Not only are they great spaces for relaxing or meeting people, but they often lead to the discovery of local authors and events and provide a sense of the histories, nuances, and people of the city.

Whether you’re new to Seattle, just passing through, or a local looking for new adventures, the University of Washington Press has an expansive array of books to help you discover our city. They cover everything from Seattle’s intertwined urban and Native histories, the evolution of Seattle’s gay communities, growing up Japanese American during World War II, local activism and civil rights, the plight and reclamation of our river, the history of music in Seattle, of animalstopography, food, art and architecture, and weather! We hope you’ll consider stopping by your indie bookstore and checking for our W logo in the stacks of books.


And once you’re ready, here are some fun places to read while exploring your new city!

Read: The Deepest Roots

Where: On the ferry heading over for a day trip to Bainbridge Island.

Read: Too High and Too Steep

Where: What used to be Denny Hill in South Lake Union.

Read: Classical Seattle

Where: At Benaroya or McCaw Hall during intermission.

Read: Once and Future River

Where: Before or after a kayak trip on the Duwamish.

Read: The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag

Where: Beneath the shadow of the industrial landmark at Gas Works Park.

Read: Shaping Seattle Architecture

Where: On a bench in historic Pioneer Square.

Read: Walking Washington’s History

Where: On the water taxi on route to an Alki walk.

Read: Birds of the Pacific Northwest

Where: Discovery Park, the largest city park in Seattle.

Read: Northwest Coast Indian Art

Where: wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House on the University of Washington campus.

From the Desk of Katherine Tacke: An Ode to Independent Bookstores

In this guest post, University of Washington Press exhibits, advertising, and direct mail manager Katherine Tacke writes about moderating a panel with independent booksellers at the recent 2016 AAUP Financial Officers Meeting, held from April 13-15 in Seattle.

Before coming to the press to work in marketing, I sold books and coordinated events at a small indie bookstore. I sometimes miss the thrill of the new Tuesday releases, carrying teetering piles of used books, searching for a book for a customer that had “a blue cover with a person in water,” and holding events with people stretched out the door. Now that I’m on the other side of the book biz, I realize the extent to which our press relies on our local booksellers. They are devoted readers. They have curatorial prowess. They are ambassadors for university press books.


From left to right: Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company; Karen Maeda Allman, Elliott Bay Book Company; Pam Cady, University Book Store; Robert Gruen, Village Books

This year the annual AAUP Financial Officers Meeting was held in our lovely book city and I was happy to have the chance to lead a panel of local booksellers in a discussion of all of the things independent bookshops do on behalf of publishers.

We were lucky to have four brilliant and experienced booksellers on our panel who have been working with books in Seattle (and Bellingham!) for years. Each one brought a unique contribution, and we discussed everything from selling university press books on commission (which is a good way to work with short discounts and return windows), to how to use the resources of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, to tips for collaborating with bookstores to hold events at museums or cultural venues. Booksellers hold positions on our advisory board, and in many instances we seek the advice from the shops because they have their finger on the pulse of the book world and our specific community.

panel 2

The spellbound AAUP finance officers.


A University of Nebraska Press and University of Chicago Press book are displayed side by side.

Most heartening of all was the unanimous praise from the panel: “We LOVE university press books!”

A lot of this information is commonplace in marketing circles, but was new material for an audience of business managers who are often more focused on rolled-up sales figures and organizational budgets than they are on the details from the shops. But there were many relevant crossover points: short discounts make special orders difficult, return windows could be longer, and some price points are hard to sell. But more than that, the booksellers illustrated not only all the consideration and hard work that goes into choosing and selling press books, but all of the extra steps they take to offer excellent customer service, going above and beyond to provide their readers with the easiest way to purchase press books. Combined, the area bookstores have hundreds upon hundreds of events each year and regularly work with sales reps and publicists to highlight press books.

At the end of the session, it was clear presses and independent retailers share the same goals: to disseminate knowledge, to champion underrepresented voices, and to encourage creative and critical thinking through reading. And that’s why we LOVE independent bookstores!