Ballard Books, a quaint antiquarian bookshop just opened in Seattle, Washington, and houses a wide range of titles from old to new. Whether it’s the Seattle Public Library or Elliott Bay Books, Seattle boasts a vibrant literary culture. Ballard Books is a testament to this notion with its artistic decor and antiquarian room, which holds an impressive collection of historic literature.
Ballard Books Antiquarian
Nils Dickmann, the owner of the newly opened Ballard Books in Seattle, Washington, possesses a love for books that has manifested throughout his life. As a young man, Dickmann always dreamed of opening up a bookstore. Dickmann would soon have the help and knowledge of Michael Lieberman, the co-owner of Wessel & Lieberman, in curating the shop’s contemporary book selection. Wessel & Lieberman is a prized Seattle antiquarian bookstore that closed its doors in 2014. Dickmann’s Ballard Books is an independent bookstore devoted to selling antiquarian and used books ranging from modern first editions to poetry.
In Ballard Books, one can expect to find hidden treasures like centuries-old Travel & Exploration books published in the 19th century. Antiquated books from Dickmann’s bookshop are well-preserved and introduce customers to the world of antiquarian books through weathered pages and titles from earlier times, leather-bound and golden. It’s natural to feel as if Ballard Books brings the experience of taking a trip to the past. From the click of a button. The bookshop’s website shows a neat grid, which lays out various genres as well as a New Arrivals list of books available for purchase. Ballard Books is sure to introduce readers to unique books like its first-edition Six Prize Hawaiian Stories of the Kilohana Art League or Piccolo’s Progress, written by Gillian Debenham.
Nils Dickmann’s own life reflects his love for book-collecting, specifically used and rare books. Dickmann worked in Shorey’s Bookstore, a legendary bookstore founded by John W. Todd. It was at Shorey’s that Dickmann recognized his passion for buying, collecting, and selling books. The bookstore owner first created Dickmann Antiquarian Books, then opened up Ballard Books in December of 2023 at 5416 20th Avenue NW. The architecture of the antiquarian bookshop speaks for itself: the front entrance holds contemporary titles (cooking, poetry, art, fiction) and everyday books, whereas the antiquarian room is illuminated by the golden glint of leather-bound antique literature.
It’s here one can expect to find well-conserved and old editions of literary works. Examples include Shakespeare’s plays and Sir William Gell’s Pompeiana. Dickmann’s bookshop features works from local bookbinders and artists as well, further exemplifying the owner’s passion and commitment to the craft of bookselling.
Nils Dickmann at Ballard Books is enthusiastic and eager to bring his bookstore to life by helping customers shop around for books that match their wants and needs. Dickmann’s antiquarian room allows readers to, as Alexander Pope once wrote, “Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” The room hosts historic artifacts and source materials that illuminate the history and stories of the past. The Ballard bookshop itself is inviting, and Dickmann has plans to make the spaces engaging with literary events and programs in the future. Dickmann’s goal is to develop and connect with individuals in the local book business (authors, presses, and clubs) in order to engage with the community.
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