Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Walla Walla Book Nooks Delight Buyers

Despite the spread of chain stores like Barnes and Noble and the recent proliferation of e-books, independent bookstores still contribute to the heartbeat of Walla Walla. Doing away with unfamiliarity and the pressure of stark untouched pages, these smaller family-owned shops make it easy to just let one sentence lead to another.


Tucked inconspicuously on 321 E Main Street is Earthlight Books, an independent bookstore that has been run by a Whitman alumnus for about 40 years. And it doesn’t look like he’s leaving any time soon.

“I’ve always said I’d like to sell books for 50 years in Walla Walla,” said owner David Cosby.

Signs in the windows colorfully advertise sales and community events, welcoming passersby with the promise of cheap used books and a cozy family-owned shop.

“It’s always been a labor of love,” said Cosby.

Although Earthlight has multiple rooms filled with closely packed shelves, there are so many books that they overflow onto any available floor space. The unassuming mounds of old yellowed paper are enough to entice one to sit and peruse for hours.

“I come here often because I like the selection of books,” said one customer.

In such a slightly disorderly atmosphere, I feel no pressure to be aware of anything else but the ’70s science fiction novel I’ve happened to pick up. Hidden behind these unpretentious paperbacks with the sound of a classical music playlist in the background, it’s easy to be content with the smell of an old book and the words on the page.

In the heart of downtown, on the way to 20 of my favorite restaurants, lies Book and Game. True to its word, the store at 38 E Main St. sells both books and games, in addition to fancy soaps, entertaining coffee table books, science kits and 3-D puzzles. Whitman students often visit the store for these extra items.

“I love all their board games!” said senior Jane Carmody.

Book and Game still feels like a small-town locality despite its cleaner, hipper look and the loud crackling of newly opened hardbacks.

“We try to create a family feel,” said manager Becky Hatley.

With walls lined with paintings of rolling wheat fields and shelves full of fun trinkets, it’s obvious that this shop is a Walla Walla specialty, and many Whitman students frequent the shop.

“I’ve been in Book and Game quite a few times. It has quite an assortment of board games and nice stationary. Overall a delightful place,” said sophomore Kai Rasmussen.

Also in walking distance of campus is Just Right Books on 1905 E Isaacs Ave.

The shelves in Just Right Books are crammed with old and used books, organized by genre with signs sporting clip art to create an obviously personalized touch. What makes Just Right Books special is their dedication to providing old books and a collection of rare finds. In fact, they recently had a sale on books published before the 1970s.

Whether customers find their perfect books or not, these stores all provide cozy spaces to get comfortably lost in.

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