New bookstore in downtown Renton hopes to appeal to local readers

Owner of Apparition Books hopes it will become the cozy neighborhood used bookstore.

Downtown is getting a new addition: a used bookstore catering to the reading interests of Rentonites.

Andrew Larson, owner and proprietor of Apparition Books, has been in and out of the used-books-trade for 20 years. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic, as he had lost work and started selling more books online, that he decided to open a bookstore.

Larson lives in Skyway and said he spends time in downtown Renton regularly. He did some research and saw there was a gap in brick and mortar used bookstores in the area. He became interested in a space for rent downtown, the old Garland Jewelers location.

“While I may have flirted with the concept of opening a bookstore in a very abstract way, it’s only in the last five months its been more than a random whim,” he said. “Downtown Renton needs a bookstore.”

The concept for Apparition Books is a strong general topic neighborhood used bookstore, Larson said. It’s a small shop that will include the “best of the best.”

They chose the name “apparition” for the meaning: “the appearance of something remarkable or unexpected.” Larson said there’s also an evocative nature to the name.

Larson has book-selling and academic expertise in literary fiction, classic novels, history and anthropology, but said he wants the bookstore to cater to what the neighborhood wants most. As he gets to know what genres people read the most of, he said he will continue to refine the shop’s inventory.

At the moment he’s looking to buy used books and curate a collection that will appeal to local bibliophiles. Larson placed a poster outside the future shop asking to buy used books and said he’s already received a great response so far, with books in various genres.

There’s no date for the opening of Apparition books set yet, but Larson is hoping to get it started as soon as possible. Namely, when he’s got full inventory and shelves.

“The more books I can get, the sooner I can open,” Larson said. “So far the stuff local folks have sold me has been great. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.”

Larson is still looking for used books, especially excellent literary fiction, science fiction,and quality nonfiction books of various topics.

Book selling is available by appointment with Larson, at

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