Interview with Edmonds Bookshop Owner, Mary Kay
Dear blog followers: I’m reissuing this blog after my writing friends noticed that my brain and my editing of the blog was really off kilter. My apologies to Mary Kay for misspelling her last name. She has my complete appreciation for all that she does and I apologize again for my errors. For book lovers everywhere who cringed at my book title typos I can say there are some days I should stay in bed and not touch a computer!!
Celebrating Books with Mary Kay-Edmonds Bookshop
Following a successful Where’s Waldo event in downtown Edmonds, it seemed like a great time to interview Mary Kay Snerringer (MKS) the owner of the Edmonds Bookshop and coordinator of the event.
How did the bookshop get started with the Waldo Passport activity?
MKS: It began in a Boston bookstore and looked like a great family activity. In Edmonds it’s grown from 20 businesses when we started six years ago to 52 Edmonds businesses this year. Each participating business hides a Waldo (in plain sight) inside their space and then stamps each child’s Waldo passport to show the Waldo has been found. This year we created over 1800 Waldo passports. Several hundred kids with their families completed one, two or all three paths to receive prizes. It’s a huge undertaking that we enjoy coordinating and creating the passports that invite families to explore Edmonds each July.
How did you come to buy a book shop?
MKS: I met my husband, David Brewster, through the University Bookstore store. For years after that we thought about of owning an independent bookstore. When the Edmonds Bookshop, established 46 years ago, became available, we jumped at the opportunity. We’ve enjoyed being part of downtown Edmonds for the past 17 years.
What surprises you the most about owning a bookshop?
MKS: Realizing that the shop truly belongs to the people. We provide a place to peruse, purchase, and order books that interest them. We’re happy for the continuing support from the community.
What are your current favorite books?
MKS: I’ve recently enjoyed Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and Richard Powers’ book, The Overstory. In general I enjoy modern, contemporary fiction.
Have the electronic books affected the bookshop?
MKS: Of course. We experience ups and downs as people look to ebooks as well as Amazon. Both have changed things for independent bookstores. Fortunately we see a lot of people across all ages who still love to hold a real book in their hands when they read.
Has there ever been a book requests that temporarily baffled you?
MKS: We once had a customer ask for the book Chocolate for Elephants which we smilingly untangled as a request for either Water for Elephants or Like Water for Chocolate. (PE: The Edmonds Bookshop is a great place to call when you are looking for titles, even when you have only partial titles! They are effective in ordering books and letting you know when your requested books arrive.)
What do you enjoy about owning a book shop?
MKS: Every day we meet interesting people who love books. We help people locate books, share ideas with them , and we support local book events like WOTS and the Sno-Isle reading challenges. (PE: Mary Kay handles ordering and distributing the books for two students spring book events: the grade 3 Rock’em Sock’em Book Challenge and the High School Battle of the Books. On her own, she collects book galleys which she offers to teens who participate in the high school challenge.)
What notable book events are coming up soon on our calendars?
MKS: This Thursday, September 6th is Read-A-Book Day followed by Library Day on Saturday, September 8th. (PE: The Edmonds Bookshop also supports authors and their community of readers through weekly author events and book talks during the monthly Thursday night Edmonds Art Walk.)
From my point of view as a reader and a writer, the Edmonds Bookshop has a bright future. The friendly, book savvy staff makes selecting a book a delightful personal experience well worth your time. I also appreciate her helpfulness and support for my book events. I hope you will all consider the Edmonds Bookshop http://www.edmondsbookshop.com first on your list when you are searching for a book.