The End of an Era: On the Closing of Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers

wl exterior randlett photo

 When I approached Mark Wessel in late 1992 with the idea of opening up a bookshop little did I know the profound effect it would have on my life and the impact it would have on the Seattle book community and beyond.

Now some 20+ years after we opened the shop will close its doors. All good things come to an end.

The end of the road for Wessel & Lieberman does not alter the fact that I remain bullish on books and bookshops. The wear and tear of nearly twenty years of running a bookshop in an urban core takes it toll and with the rise and promise of Book Patrol it simply became time for me to move on. Forget the fact that operating a bookshop is a very tough way to make a living, for that always remained a non-factor as we built the business one book and one relationship at a time. Value for us was in what we were creating not how much money we took home per week.

Our bookshop was not one to sell or pass on for it was entwined in our DNA. We were as much apart of  the bookshop as the books and fixtures. And it is time to move on.

wl interior

To all the collectors, customers, librarians, printers, poets, book artists, booksellers, publishers (and even the crazies) that crossed my path I say  THANK YOU! Many have come to occupy a significant presence in my life and I will be forever grateful for that. And to Mark Wessel and our families who have supported us beyond any reasonable doubt I have nothing but love and hugs forever.

I am a rich man.

Now it’s time for Book Patrol 2.0, please stay tuned.

For a more in-depth look at my life as a bookseller here is an interview conducted by Taylor Bowie for the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America video archive:


And finally, The shop is in the midst of a closing sale, perhaps you can find something to take home to remember us by 🙂

Top photo by Mary Randlett