Spotlight On: Third Place Books

Get up close and personal with this week’s featured Independent Bookstore

Indie Spotlight: Third Place

When you shop this holiday, and all year round, help support independent bookstores in your community by ordering your books early or safely planning an in-store visit. When you shop indie you support your community.

We’re featuring some of the best indie bookshops around the country to celebrate and support the work they do. This week is Third Place Books in Washington – a beloved store with three locations. We spoke with Managing Partner Robert Sindelar to get a sense of what makes Third Place special.

What’s the best part about owning a bookstore?

Connecting books with readers directly. Finding the right book for the right reader never gets old. And when they come back, or flag you down on the street or at the grocery store, and tell you that they loved your last recommendation – that’s the best!


How can readers support indie bookstores most effectively?

Very simple – when you and or your friends and loved ones need a book, buy it from an indie. If all my existing customers bought 100% of their books from my store, we would never have to worry about our future.

What’s a career highlight or a favorite event you’ve ever had at the store?

One of my favorite events ever was when we hosted John Green. We had 900 tweens in the audience eagerly waiting for their favorite author. While waiting the kids taught each other chants and cheers that the whole group participated in. In a burst of enthusiasm, a young man leapt to the stage and proceeded to lead the entire audience in song as he played his ukulele. Any cynicism you might have about the future of reading and the power of the written word would have been erased that day.


For folks who are shopping for the holidays, what 3-5 books are you recommending the most?

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – how this book did not make the short list for the National Book Award, I’ll never understand.

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar – a brilliant take on what it means to be American – I rarely reread fiction, but I keep returning to certain passages of this – stunning!

Deacon King Kong by James McBride – so funny, so full of heart – its feels strange to call it a feel good book, but I smile every time I think about it.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam – what makes this novel so effectively chilling is how likely its premise feels.

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson – this reframing of how we think about “race” is one that goes home with anyone who hasn’t read it yet – required reading for 2020 (and beyond).


What are you personally reading right now?

Nick by Michael Farris Smith – a novel telling the life of Nick Carraway before he meets Jay Gatsby – it sounds like a gimmick, but this is a bold and intense character study – I’m halfway through and can’t stop thinking about it.

Be sure to visit Third Place Books if you’re in Washington, or shop online on their website. Do good, shop small! Find your local bookstore here and support your community.