“Reuse is the highest form of recycling,” quipped Doug McDonald, original owner and founder of McDonald’s Book Exchange in Redmond.
Nestled in the corner of 83rd Street and 164th Avenue, McDonald’s Book Exchange is one of Redmond’s hidden gems. The store, which allows buyers to trade in books for a myriad of used books, will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Sunday, June 1.
Thirty years ago, McDonald’s Book Exchange just sold comic books, but now it has expanded to sell all genres, currently housing around 45,000 books. Over the years, the store has relocated and the price of books has changed, but the common goal to provide easy, affordable access to books and to “keep books out of the dump” remains constant.
“Used books kind of had a bad name for a long time,” said current owner and avid reader Anne St. Germain. “Now it’s obviously a very legitimate business and well-regarded and we really take pride in making books more available to people because they’ve got so expensive. A new paperback is nine, ten dollars and you get them in here by trading in books for really two, three dollars in most cases.”
Although St. Germain bought the store in 1998 and originally considered holding a 10th anniversary, she observed that some people “have been coming since the store opened, which is why we are doing a 30th anniversary instead of a 10th anniversary because people said, ‘I’ve been coming here longer than 10 years.’ So we’ve decided to go back to the real beginning.”
To celebrate, the store has been holding a raffle for the last several weeks to benefit Hopelink. One of the raffled items is a beautiful handmade afghan crocheted by the store’s very own employee Mary Schnitzler. The raffle drawing will take place on June 1.
St. Germain encourages more people to participate in the raffle, but acknowledges that sometimes “it’s hard to reach out and let people know that you exist.”Throughout the year, the store does “a lot of giveaways,” donating to library book sales, prisons, and fundraisers.
On June 1, the store will also celebrate its anniversary with door prizes, cake, and tea. Doug McDonald and several local authors are also scheduled to make an appearance.
“Independent bookstores — so many are closed because they can’t compete with Borders, Barnes and Nobles. Several of the used bookstores are closed too,” said St. Germain, who attributes the livelihood of her store to her five knowledgeable and friendly employees, three of whom who have been at the store for 25 years or more.
If you are looking for a clean, friendly, and affordable used bookstore, mark your calendars and take a trip down to McDonald’s Book Exchange, located at 16415 NE 83rd Street.
For more information, call 425-885-4773.