Bookspot of the Week: Ada’s Technical Books

We sat down (virtually) with Danielle Hulton, the owner of Ada’s Technical Books & Cafe in Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA. This shop is truly a learning space!

Book Culture Bookspot / Libraries

Welcome back to the Bookspot column! This week, we are talking to Danielle Hulton, the owner of Ada’s Technical Books & Cafe in Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA. Besides the traditional book store experience and the cafe that still offers takeout, they also have a book subscription box and various online events! This is definitely a store that also turned itself into a community space! Their instagram is @adason15th.


How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?

In 2010, I left my engineering job in order to build community around science and technology. We started as a small bookstore in north Capitol Hill before moving to our current location on 15th Ave E. When we moved, we added on our vegetarian cafe, specialty coffee shop, coworking space, and event space.


What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?

We are a specialty bookstore that focuses on STE(A)M topics in a super approachable way.


image via ada’s technical books


If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?

A listening station, a bigger children’s area, more graphic novels, and more nerdy t-shirts :)


How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?

We are both a neighborhood shop and a destination store. We will serve customers from across the street and across the country on any given day, We love our neighborhood and we also love being part of the tech community at large.


image via ada’s technical books


What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?

In person recommendations and a non-judgmental attitude when it comes to learning something new, along with super tasty food and coffee! Plus we make a point to offer livable wages and benefits our employees can depend on. 



Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?

We’re super fortunate to have an amazing staff that have been with us for a long time! Our staff are often drawn to work at Ada’s because they’ve been customers themselves in the past and then they stay because of our practices of treating and paying people well :)


image via ada’s technical books


How else do you create a welcoming environment?

Our space is really beautiful! We get a lot of natural light and we have an open floor plan between the cafe and the bookstore. It’s just a nice place to hang out, browse, and sip some coffee in. 

We also try to offer a wide range of events for people to attend and participate in. Everything is virtual right now but even so, we have multiple book clubs and author talks each month that are free and open to the public. 


image via ada’s technical books


What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?

We have a central location, tasty food, amazing book selection and a beautiful space. We listen to what our community members want and need from us and adjust our offerings in turn. 


Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?

I recently read “The City We Became” by N.K. Jemisin… what a fantastic beginning to a new series by one of my favorite authors!


image via ada’s technical books


Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?

Yes, we carry exclusively STE(A)M titles. Lately, we’ve been carrying more political science and gender studies due to a growing demand in our community.  



What’s your favorite book?

Too many to choose! “The Handmade’s Tale” and anything by N.K. Jemisin are on the top of my lists.

feature image via Ada’s Technical Books