We reported at the beginning of this month that Open Books owner John Marshall was in the "closing stages" of selling his poetry bookshop to a new owner. The closing stages have finally closed, and in an email to customers last night, Marshall finally revealed the new owner's name:
We are exceedingly happy to announce that the next owner of Open Books: A Poem Emporium will be Billie Swift. She has been an avid customer for years, has a sharp and inquiring mind, and is a truly engaging soul. We cannot imagine a better person to be entrusted with the future of Open Books. The actual change in ownership will take place at the end of August, but Ms. Swift will be a fixture in and around the store from now until then. Of course, we'll have a celebratory ceremony/party near the date of transfer, and we'll count on your presence then, either in body or spirit. Between now and then, you'll have ample opportunity to see us all (including on occasion Christine, who does the bookkeeping and pops in now and then). Please know that the store you love is still here and will go on, with your continued care and support. The amazing journey continues!
We're arranging an interview with Swift now, and we'll bring it to you soon. So many questions remain — what will she change about the store, what will stay the same — but for the moment, literary Seattle should take a breath and relax; one of a handful of poetry-only bookshops in America will continue under new ownership. This is exciting news!