Frequently Asked Questions
Are your books new or used?
Our books are brand new.
How are your books priced?
Nearly all of our books are regular list-price, meaning we sell them at the price printed on the back or inside cover of the book.
Can I donate books?
Unfortunately, no! As a tiny bookstore specializing in new books only, we cannot accept book donations.
Where do you get your books?
Like most independent bookstores, we get our books wholesale from various distributors and publishers.
I'm a local author. Will you sell my book, or can I give you a copy to read for consideration?
Unfortunately, no. We generally only stock professionally published books that are (or have been) Pacific Northwest bestsellers (and/or have at least 500 reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, with an average review of 4-stars or higher). Feel free to contact us via email if your professionally published book meets the requirements above. We do not do consignment or accept free copies of books for any reason -- as we don't have the space or operational bandwidth to manage those. There are numerous local bookstores throughout the Seattle area that have more shelf space than we do, so we encourage you to look around!
What kinds of books do you sell?
About 70% of our books are adult fiction and non-fiction. The rest is comprised of young adult, manga, juvenile fiction, preschool picture books and baby board books. Our selection includes literary fiction, memoirs, autobiographies, romance/comedy "beach reads," nature/science writing, cookbooks, Pacific Northwest foraging/travel/exploring guides, manga, comic books, mythology books, coloring books, and more. Most people love our selection, and it's because we are passionate about stocking something exciting for everyone.
How do you decide what books to stock?
As a very small mobile store, we curate hard. We have to be very particular about what books we sell, since there isn't a lot of shelf space to work with. Typically, we carry Pacific Northwest bestsellers for all ages, book club and Booktok favorites, books of local/regional interest, select classics, and other books that strike us as wonderful and fascinating. We love community recommendations and consider all "hot tips" from shoppers on what books to stock.
Do you just drive all over town? Where do you go?
We do regular events around town including street fairs, markets, musical festivals, partnerships with breweries and coffee shops, and other pop-ups. You can track our events by checking our events page, subscribing to our email list, or following us on Facebook or Instagram.
Can the bookmobile come to our school, town, hospital, corporate office, or other special event?
Possibly. Contact us to tell us your idea.
How did the idea of Blue Kettle Books come about?
Of course, bookmobiles have been around for a long time in the form of mobile libraries. A brick-and-mortar store was going to be too costly and complicated to do. So, we sort of combined both ideas and decided to make a mobile bookstore.
Do you have an online store as well?
While we don't process online orders ourselves, you CAN buy from Blue Kettle Books at our Bookshop.org site. Bookshop.org processes all shipping and order handling, and delivers books to your doorstep, with Blue Kettle Books getting a cut of the profit.
Can I special-order a book to pick up at the bookmobile?
Sometimes! Contact us to inquire.
How do the books stay on the shelves when you drive?
We put plastic bars across every shelf while we drive. That keeps the books from flying off.
What kind of vehicle is the bookmobile, and who did the remodeling work to turn it into a bookmobile?
"Blue" the Bookmobile is a 2014 Startrans shuttle bus, and the remodel work was done by NMK Fabricators in Portland, Oregon.
Can I work for the bookmobile?
We're always looking for safe, responsible, friendly folks to drive and operate our bookmobile. Email to inquire.