Photo by Shane Harms
John Watkins showing the philosophy section of his new store in Ballard.

Twice Sold Tales opens off Market Street

Twice Sold Tales Books opened last month, abutting Bauhaus Coffee at the corner of 20th Ave NW and NW Market Street.

John Watkins, owner, said that he is happy to be back after taking time off, acting as caregiver for his parents on Vashon Island.

With books lining the shelves they have still not unpacked all of their books.

“Its kind of a long process but we hope to be fully unpacked soon,” said Watkins.

Since 1992, Watkins has been partners with Jamie Lutton, who owns a store by the same name in Capital Hill. Watkins had a shop in the University District, but closed it after his parents become ill.

“I come from one of those families where everybody sits around and reads, and once in a while someone starts laughing and shares what they’ve read. ... I read pretty widely, some history, philosophy and a lot of different kinds of fiction,” said Watkins

A true military brat, Watkins traveled and lived all over the United States. He studied political science and earned a masters degree from Northwest University.

Watkins said that the Ballard community is an up and coming neighborhood so it seemed like a viable place to start a new store, especially along side a brand new café.

Watkins has a kind of partnership with Bauhaus Coffee.

“They use books for display at the café and so I said I wouldn’t mind suppling the books. Some of them are for sale but others are just decoration,” said Watkins.

Pointing to the many sections of his store, Watkins said organizing is an ongoing process. The store has many sections including “how–to,” philosophy, fiction, mythology, psychology and maritime.

Co-founder of the Sail Now! sailing program and volunteer at the Center for Wooden Boats, Watkins has a special maritime section fit for discovering the maritime culture that makes up Ballard.

Like many bookstores Twice Sold Tales offers rare titles and first additions, but customers need to ask to view.

Beyond books, Watkins also edited a weekly, wrote for trade journals and worked for a paper in Texas. Watkins is an avid blogger and writes about many of the books he has in the shops on his blog,

“I have a lot of fun with it and indulge my political philosophies. I read Fredrick Hyack so you don’t have to,’ said Watkins, chuckling.

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