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Umi Wagoner’s Tacoma: Content for A KingAeroplane Icon
Umi Wagoner
March 10, 2023
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King's Books

For a city with a focus on the arts you would think books would be a larger part of that focus and growth. Books unceasingly inspire the arts while also being art. The old adage stands true that art begets art. The literary arts are as difficult and often fruitless as any other art form when it’s your profession. I’d wager that a solid 20-30% of the “starving artists'' demographic are writers. It’s not easy to do and in turn it’s not always easy to sell, especially in mid major markets, where independent bookstores are often overlooked for the sake of convenience. It was shocking to search and find that in all my years there has been only one addition to the city able to make it last and that is King’s Books. 

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It originally opened into 2000 and has been a pillar in the print savvy community for 22 years now. The selection is current and exciting, I happen to stay abreast to some of the upcoming titles via an enthusiastic reader and bookseller Kenny Coble. But their website is up-to-date and their ‘staff picks’ provide plenty of suggestions. The decor and store atmosphere is both friendly, cozy and well labeled. Like any good bookstore there are books and bookshelves everywhere including immediately upon entry into the shop. The cash wrap is often covered in books and employees look more like college students with a deadline crunch than admin sorting and restocking books. Outside of providing reading at both high and low levels they have that natural Tacoma knack for letting others utilize their space. Their spaces host a number of book clubs, meetups, and events when applicable. The most memorable event was one put on by Aramis Johnson with engineering help from Matt “Baloogz” Clark. For a small moment in time Tacoma had its very own ‘Tiny Desk’ inspired experience called ‘I’ll Keep That in Mind’. Maybe there’s a way back to that in the future.

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King's Books

218 St Helens Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

(253) 272-8801


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