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Epilogue Books to close in August

Posted by Geeky Swedes on June 30th, 2009

Two weeks ago, we wrote that Epilogue Books is looking for a new location after terms with the landlord could not be reached. The search ended unsuccessfully, and they just announced they’ll close at the end of August.

“My family and I moved here with dreams of owning a bookstore in Ballard,” wrote Nathan Heath in an email, “a community within a city I fell in love with when I was just eighteen visiting my aunt.” Heath says he doesn’t want to move Epilogue out of Ballard, so he’s decided to close. “We’ve all enjoyed serving the Ballard neighborhood and surrounding area. Thanks to everyone for their support.” Epilogue will be closed Wednesday through Saturday to prepare for their liquidation sale which begins on Sunday, July 5 at 11:00 a.m. All items in the store, both new and used, will be marked down 20 to 70 percent. They need to sell the more than 70,000 books that are on their shelves.

This is the second bookstore to close in Ballard since June. Abraxus Books left their location on 24th Ave. in June for a new space on lower Queen Anne. (Thank you everyone for emailing us the tip.)

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41 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Ballardmom // Jul 1, 2009 at 4:26 am

    That makes me very sad. I was friends with the original owners and they put so much into that store. I really liked it.

  • 2 Fauxnothing // Jul 1, 2009 at 4:30 am

    I am very sorry to see Epilogue Books is closing. It's been here for years, and I love this store. I can't help but feel that landlords are out of touch of the reality that small business owners live in every day. They go to work every day, barely maintaining the ability to pay their bills, struggling constantly with a fickle public, and landlords, many of whom inherited their properties, live in a fantasyland, thinking that they can ask whatever they want.

    Please, folks, don't post your careless rants, not ever having experienced the reality of owning your own business. Simply support another small business, owned by your neighbors, who gave of themselves every day to make a local business survive, and who now have to face the hardship of closing a going concern and explaining themselves, over and over and over again, to people who haven't a clue what they're going through. Sniff.

  • 3 monrichy // Jul 1, 2009 at 4:37 am

    We will miss epilogue greatly! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

  • 4 NoraBell // Jul 1, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Very well said, Fauxnothing. This is very sad. Epilogue is my bookstore. Dang!

  • 5 rufus455 // Jul 1, 2009 at 5:25 am

    How about the hard working small buisnessman who buys and maintains small properties and has to raise the rent s to keep up with his bills. we live in a capitialist system and if epilogue books cant make the rent it is not the landlords fault. i hope for the best for the book store owners.

  • 6 Loren Hendrickson // Jul 1, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Big loss for Ballard.

  • 7 KB_Soberdog // Jul 1, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I'm really sad. Yet another dog friendly, people friendly local business going under. Now where to go for books?? (besides the library of course). Dang. A great loss, I'd say.

  • 8 Meghan O'Connor // Jul 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    The amount of our local businesses that really gave Ballard a wonderful community and hometown feel that are closing lately is distressing. I just got the notice in the Epilogue email newsletter this morning as well, and I'm sad to see them go. With the loss of Abraxus, this now leaves us with no used bookstores. I suppose we should just be grateful it's not going to become more condos on top of a Starbucks.

  • 9 sdrake1958 // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    More of that “hope/change” we're all getting? What now, another eatery to tend to all the yupsters filling up the “new Ballard”? Perhaps they're the only ones able to make the high rents? Good luck Nathan.

  • 10 chopper_74 // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I'll say it again, very sad, and distressing, so many empty spaces going into this summer. There's a commercial space near me that's available, checked into it. 1500 sq ft, for 3800 a month. It'll be empty for a long time at that rate.
    I hope that the Epilogue folks do well, in their liquidation efforts, and beyond. It'd be a good idea for us to improve our bookshelves a bit…

  • 11 Silver // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Damn. I will miss the people as much as the books!

    Um, what happens to my store credit?

  • 12 Fauxnothing // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    The email they sent said the following about store credit:

    “Trade credit must be used by the end of July as it will all expire at that time. All terms and conditions of the trade agreement are still in place. Trade credit does not apply to sale price items, trade credit may not be used towards new books, trade credit cannot be “cashed” out. “

  • 13 shanedillon // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    It's such a shame that they cannot find a place to stay. They will be missed.

    Pity the Old Redeemers Church can't let them use the abandoned church instead of having the shelter there.

  • 14 Silver // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you! Of course if everything is on sale, then my credit can't be used on any of it. I trust the gang to do something fair.

    Maybe I'll volunteer to help them pack up or something. I'll bet they could use the help!

  • 15 silence_kit // Jul 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Ugh. What are you talking about sdrake1958?

    Anyway, sad to see them go. It's weird that Ballard won't have a book store anymore.

  • 16 ExBallardite // Jul 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Look…room for another set of apts/condos

  • 17 NoraBell // Jul 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    No used book store is going to turn enough of a profit to stick around at that kind of pricing. I know rents in Ballard have gone up (mine has gone up twice in as many years) but that's ridiculous.

  • 18 mizDC // Jul 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    This makes me very sad; I LOVE Epilogue. I don't purchase from Amazon or Barnes & Noble because I want these little bookstores to survive; evidently my book-purchasing habits aren't enough to keep 'em thriving. Sad indeed.

    I know that businesses come and go, capitalism is survival of the fittest, and blah, blah, blah – please don't respond with a lecture; it's not needed nor wanted. This comment is about how I feel, not how you think I should feel. Thanks.

  • 19 Julianne Jaz // Jul 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Is there any way that the community can bring some pressure to bear on the landlord? Losing an independent bookstore to something like this is truly unconscionable. There are few enough indie's left at this point…

    I'm sure that talking with Epilogue's owners first about the situation would be the thing to do, and while I also understand that the landlord undoubtedly has their own life situation with which to contend, still I can't help but think that by expanding the dialogue to more voices that perhaps a better outcome could be reached.

  • 20 chopper_74 // Jul 1, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Yeah, pressure should be applied, but so should common sense. I've said that it seems obvious to me that an occupied space generates more revenue than an empty one. Rents should be decreasing, they seem to have to, but it also seems that they won't decrease anytime soon.
    Starbucks managed to get most of their lease rates reduced at least 20% in most of their locations, and so have many other chains. Of course, they are in a better position to insist on such relief than a mom and pop business.
    I don't know how to hurt, or shame the owner of an empty retail space more than they are already hurt, or shamed. Perhaps it will take some bank to take a property back, for 30 cents on the dollar, which will allow them to offer a more reasonable rate for the space.
    No guarantee that they would, but they could.

  • 21 Jules2 // Jul 1, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    It's deja vu . I am sick at heart that they are closing, they are great people, as are Sharon and Becca.

    About 25 years ago, I saw the same thing happen in the U-District. Rents got raised (in some cases tripled- I had a friend with a store that was next door to Bartells.) parking became difficult, and shoppers unwilling to deal with the escalating homeless/panhandling population went elsewhere. Little by little, stores that had been around 25, 30, 40, 50 years either closed or moved to U-Village. (Nelly Stallion, Benders, Benton's, Yankee Peddler. Miller-Pollard, Porter & Jensen, Nordstroms, to name a few.)

    I worked at the UDUB at the time…where we once used to go up to the Ave regularly after work to shop and dine, we then switched to U-Village, because there was free parking, and a dearth of panhandlers. As more storefronts closed, more of the homeless moved in, making it even less attractive for the people who lived and worked in the neighborhoods (Ravnenna, U-District, Roosevelt, Laurelhurst, etc.) to shop on the Ave. It was a domino effect. Now there is no reason for me to go to the Ave…and BTW, the number of workers in the neighborhood from the UW and surrounding businesses far outweighs the # of students.

    It's breaking my heart. We had less businesses close in Ballard during the Depression.

  • 22 txtony // Jul 1, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Wow, seriously? Ballard is either going to be a ghost town or condo city. We can't let this happen. It's so hard to see those older shops go

  • 23 angelatini // Jul 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I am so depressed that Epilogue is leaving. Totally my favorite bookstore. I will definitely be in to re-stock (stock another?) bookshelf before they are gone!

    You will be missed, Epilogue!!!!!

  • 24 wharf_rat // Jul 1, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Sad to see this businees go. I imagine the owner of the building can get more $ than Epilogue can pay, which is a terrible situation.

    According to the King County Parcel Viewer, that property is valued over 2 million dollars, and taxes are more than 14K per year. That maxes out to just under 1200/month. Add on maintenance and who knows what the monthly nut should be.

    Personally I think inheritance should be illegal. When you die, it all goes bakc in the community pot. Spend it on your kids when you are alive, or give it all away…

  • 25 Fauxnothing // Jul 1, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Of course, the interesting thing about that building, aside from the fact that the owner inherited a paid-in-full building, is that 14K in taxes per year covers the Epilogue Book space, as well as Palermo, and the dry cleaners, the Thai restaurant, and the new Greek restaurant as well.

  • 26 wharf_rat // Jul 1, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Hey..I hadn't thought of that, I just looked at the parcel..

    I wonder how long the other leases are set for and how much longer than that any one of those businesses will be there…

  • 27 changehappens // Jul 1, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    What you are describing is a socialist/communist country with no public property. I hear Northern Russia is nice this time of year.

    It isn't that guys fault he inherited it. It isn't his fault he is trying to make money. It certainly isn't his fault that Amazon.Com etc hurts small businesses.

    The landlord himself fancies himself a small business, too, remember….

  • 28 Fauxnothing // Jul 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I completely understand the desire to make money. But, making money and gouging are two different things. And, the owners of Epilogue Books have decided they won't put up with it, so the landlord will now find himself with a vacant space for quite some time, as there are a lot of better and cheaper spaces on Market Street available right now.

  • 29 wharf_rat // Jul 1, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    No, I'm really not describing that. You are making a leap. I do think inheritance should go by the wayside. I don't think (adult) children should benefit from the hard work of parents, the community should because that is where they made their money.

    I have nothing personal against people who inherit $$ or assets. I'm one of them, I just chose to give it away. If this property owner wants to make $$ off of his assets, then more power to him. But, tis a shame that another business is lost in the process.

    The space will go to a new business, perhaps one with deeper pockets, less risk aversion and more profitability. I wish all parties the best!

  • 30 rufus455 // Jul 2, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Some of the comments on this topic are terrifying, the owner of this property has the absolute right to charge what ever he wants, even if that means he has empty storefronts. It does not matter how he acquired this property, as long as it was legal. I feel bad that epilouge books can not remain in ballard, it is a cool independant store that adds alot to the hood. Good luck to all those involved, including the landlord.

  • 31 Marty Gordon // Jul 2, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Greed is killing the world.

  • 32 chopper_74 // Jul 2, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Add apathy and ignorance.

  • 33 wharf_rat // Jul 2, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    And bloggers

  • 34 changehappens // Jul 2, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    greed has been around for a long time, buddy.

  • 35 shanedillon // Jul 2, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Shouldn't the parents who worked hard for their money have a say in what happens to their assets when they are done? They should have to right to say if their loved ones benefit from their hard work or the community they love. They might hate things the community is doing at the time. I want my kids to get everything I worked for and get a good education, and not have to struggle. I don't want my hard work going to some cause in the community or not that I don't approve of.

  • 36 shanedillon // Jul 2, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    “Greed is good!” :- Gordon Gecko

  • 37 SweetRose // Jul 3, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Selling used books is a marginal profit maker at best and usually successful shops are in low rent areas. I stopped going when they changed hands and changed policy and the merchandise they bought and sold but I am sorry to see any business close right now.

  • 38 Structural // Jul 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    So is buying used books…go buy a new one and support a writer and publisher, cheap skates.

  • 39 Structural // Jul 4, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Another loser who wants to take away other people's hard earned success and give it to losers. I mean, come on go live in Cuba if you love socialism so much.

  • 40 Silver // Jul 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Today I spent all of my remaining $65 of store credit at Epilogue and an additional $50 in cash. The place was packed! Lots of people using up their store credit (which expires at the end of July) and taking advantage of their %20 off sale.

    What impressed me is that there are a LOT of really cool books left. I was expecting seriously depleted shelves! Not so – Nathan says they have thousands of volumes in storage, and will keep putting interesting books out.

    Check it out!

  • 41 Bobby Boulders // Mar 17, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    sdrake1958

    Please don’t tell me your 54 and that clueless about economics.

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