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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Adieu, Confounded Books

Posted by on March 21 at 7:34 AM

Confounded Books, the excellent small press/zine/comic bookseller that shares space with Wall of Sound (315 E. Pine Street), announced yesterday that it is going out of business. Here’s the official press release from proprietor Brad Beshaw:

It is my sad duty to report that Confounded Books will close its doors on the 29th of April 2006.

This has been a difficult decision for me, and I have been agonizing over it for more than a year now. In the end I reached the conclusion that continuing was both a financial and physical impossibility. With the exception of a sales spike in 2003 when the store moved to its current location on Pine St., in Capitol Hill, business has been in decline for years. Almost 6 years ago, in 2001, I took a part time job at Fremont News to supplement the Store’s income. Far from being a temporary stop-gap-measure, I have had to increase my hours over the years, so that I now work 3 days a week at the newsstand, and 7 days at Confounded, for a total of 10 days a week! Obviously this is far too much.

I have enjoyed the last 12 years-5 1/2 in Albuquerque and almost 7 here in Seattle-immensely. Through the store (under it's various names, and permutations) I have met many wonderful artists, writers, cartoonists, zinesters, filmmakers, and musicians. I have also had the pleasure of hosting literally hundreds of them at store events, and readings.

I will miss my many regular customers, who have broadened my tastes, and helped to expand the store's stock with their excellent suggestions and recommendations. I will miss the conversations about past and current trends in small press publishing that I've had with many of you. I've learned so much.

As for my future plans, I will be moving to a full time position at J&S Fremont News. The owners have invited me to stock a modest selection of indy comics and zines, so please stop in and check it out. Also, I hope to devote much of my expanding "leisure time" to increasing my comics and illustration output. Look for both in upcoming issues of Razorcake, Rivet, and Paste, among others. In addition, I plan to continue presenting local and national author readings, and am now in negotiations with several possible host locations. Stay tuned.

In the rumor control department, however, I would like to stress that my wonderful store-mates, Wall of Sound, will NOT be closing. In fact, not only are they NOT closing, they will be EXPANDING their stock to utilize the space that I am vacating.

On a more somber note, I would like to remind all Seattle residents that our small businesses rely on your support. As a decent sized city with a reputation for being "indy-minded", there is no reason for the anemic business that many local book and record shops are now experiencing. If you value eclectic stores, staffed and owned by people who share your passion for hard to find, esoteric, and underground merchandise, then please do your shopping with them. If you don't, do not be surprised when one day soon you look around to discover that our city has become as bland as any suburban shopping mall. Use it or lose it people!

Saturday, April 29th will be Confounded Books' last day open, but I will continue to make weekly orders until then, so there will be plenty to browse and buy all month long. However, since I would rather sell these books than ship them back to the distributors, I will be having a month long sale (up to 40% off) starting April 1st. This is also the best way I can think of to say thank you to all of my cherished regular customers.

Again, I have enjoyed providing Seattle readers with what I consider to be the best in small-press books, comics, and zines. And I sincerely hope that my beloved loyal customers will continue to seek out these books at Seattle's many excellent independent stores.

Brad Beshaw
Confounded Books
315 E. Pine St
(206) 382-3376

CommentsRSS icon

Shit. Confounded is the only bookstore I bother to go to anymore.

This is very sad news and I hope that Brad's well said words on the need to support small business will be understood.

The loss of Confounded is seriously disappointing.

First Fallout now Counfounded. Where am I supposed to buy my comix now?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Seattle supposed to be the home of independent comix in the U.S.? Where are all the weirdos? The hipsters? The literary underground? This does not bode well for our town.

Damn it, that sucks. Brad is a helluva guy, and always hangs up my posters whenever I ask him.

Left Bank Books recently issued a plea for support/patronage. I highly recommend we all shop there before they're gone, as well.

Left Bank--good point, Levislade. Okay, so there will still be one bookstore in Seattle I can love.

what a sad loss for the community. don't wait for the sale - stop by confounded this week and put some dough in the coffers. it's too late to save the store but i'm sure brad would appreciate the business.

So, what does this mean for Wall of Sound? Are they going to take over the whole space or get another partner?

First time I went there I bought an issue of "Crap Hound" and got to the register and discovered I didn't have enough $. The owner guy said "don't sweat it, pay the rest when you're in next." Made me a loyal customer. What a drag they're closing.
Bailey Coy on broadway has a pretty good alt comics section but sadly not nearly as extensive.

"So, what does this mean for Wall of Sound? Are they going to take over the whole space or get another partner?"

Brad said that WOS wold be expanding to encompass Confounded's space.

That's WOULD. Sorry.

Ouch. that sucks. I now feel intenesely guilty for not shopping there more.

I'm so sorry to see Confounded Books go. It's a real loss for the neighborhood and for the city. Good luck at your new gig, Brad!

It can't be said enough: shop local whenever you possibly can.

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