T is for Third Place (Books)

There’s a very cool bookstore in Seattle called Third Place Books. They’re a general interest bookstore with over 200,000 new, used, and bargain books. Third Place Books has a commons area with several restaurants and live music Friday & Saturday nights. Plus, they hold tons of awesome author events (last summer I attended a signing with, among others, Lisa Schroeder, Mandy Hubbard, and Kimberly Derting, and this January I saw John and Hank Green’s Nerdfighters show there!). All in all, Third Place Books is fantastic, but that’s precisely why the store’s name used to perplex me. Why would any bookstore — any company — want to be third place?

I did a little research…

From Third Place Books’ website:

Sociologist Ray Oldenberg suggests that each of us needs three places: first is the home; second is the workplace or school; and beyond lies the place where people from all walks of life interact, experiencing and celebrating their commonality as well as their diversity. It is a third place. In his celebrated book, The Great Good Place, Oldenberg discusses how the cafes, pubs, town squares and other gathering places make a community stronger and bring people together. Third Place Books has something for everyone.  Whether you need to study, host a community meeting, or get out of the house for the evening, we hope you will make this your third place.

Awesome, right?

So, tell me: What’s your THIRD PLACE?


44 thoughts on “T is for Third Place (Books)

    • katyupperman says:

      Sure, your second place is where ever you write, right? And I’m in a Third Place transition now… My former Third Place, Borders, is closed now, and since we’re getting ready to move, I’m going to have to find a new spot to hang and write and socialize!

  1. Taryn says:

    First of all, I can’t believe we didn’t meet at the summer signing last year. I think I even knew you were there. My third place? The living room of y friend’s apartment when I’m at school. When I’m home . . . we’ll see!

    • katyupperman says:

      Weird that we didn’t meet! Two ships passing in the night. 😉 I’m going to have to hunt down a new Third Place too, once we get moved and settled.

  2. A.D. Duling says:

    Hi katy,
    I really enjoyed reading your post and had to add it to my A.D.’s FAV 5 of the A to Z Challenge today!
    If you do not see it up right away, I am working my way through, you are #4, so please do check back!

    Have a wonderful Monday!

  3. Alison Miller says:

    That place sounds great! I guess my third place right now would be my online writing community. It really does bring we writers together and gives us a chance to share our experiences.

    • katyupperman says:

      The online writing community is very often my Third Place too, Alison. Amid all my life’s changes and craziness, my writing friends are always consistent and awesome!

  4. Jaime Morrow says:

    The ‘third place’ is Starbucks number one M.O. From the moment I was hired (back in the day) they pounded that ‘creating the third place’ goal into my brain. I suppose they probably succeed in doing this for a great many people. Personally, I think a bookstore would be my first choice of third place over a coffee shop, even though I really love coffee. If I had to choose between the two, books would win every time. This Third Place bookstore sounds fascinating 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Borders used to be my Third Place, Jaime. I used to hang out there all the time, shopping and reading and writing in the cafe. I miss it so much! Hopefully once we get moved and settled, I’ll find a new bookstore that’s equally awesome!

  5. mel says:

    My third place is this silent retreat centre I go to every year for a few days. But it’s getting pulled down soon for some highways 😦

  6. Lindsay says:

    I think my third place, might be the woods we go to periodically. 80 acres of timber, creeks, ponds and silence. I love this post Katy:)

    • katyupperman says:

      I didn’t know you live in Nashville, Liz! We were stationed at Ft. Campbell for three years and I absolutely loved Clarksville and Nashville. I haven’t been to Dose Coffee and Tea, though, which means I need to find my way back to Music City to visit. 🙂

  7. katharineowens says:

    I just love this! My third place right now is my neighborhood and my kids’ school– but it has been a coffeeshop, a restaurant, or a bar in the past!

    • katyupperman says:

      Funny how our Third Places shift and change as our lives do. My neighborhood is very much a Third Place for me. It’s great to be involved in a fantastic community!

  8. Rebecca B says:

    Such a cool meaning behind the name! My Third Place(s) are my neighborhood bookstore and the new Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf that I might as well move into, I spend so much time there. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is such a cute name… Makes me want to visit! I wish we had a local bookstore for browsing/shopping/writing/hanging out. Ever since Borders closed, we’ve been lacking.

  9. Elodie says:

    Great post, Katy 😀 I love the meaning of the name…My third place right now is like Alison: the online community…The train I take everyday could also qualify I guess 😀

  10. Heather Spiva says:

    Great post. My third place is a fantastic thrift store that I visit once or twice a week. Besides writing, I need something else to go to, when that other something else (writing) requires too much editing and rewriting … you know. So, I sell vintage clothes on the side. It’s so much fun. I also end up being green, because I’m reusing and recycling, meet great new friends in the community and also help my local neighborhood. It’s a True Trifecta that’s pretty Terrific! Greetings from a fellow A to Z’er!

  11. Colin says:

    I don’t know that I have a “third place”–but I think this bookstore has caught a concept that will keep brick-and-mortar bookstores alive in the digital era: providing the community something the internet can’t. The live experience of gathering with others, book signings, and so forth in an intimate, cozy setting. Or even just being a place to get away and read, write, or study. May Third Place, and its kin, live long and prosper! 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Yay! I totally agree, Colin. The internet is amazing for connecting and marketing and inexpensive book shopping, but nothing can replace the experience of gathering with like-minded people to appreciate books and authors.

  12. Marquita Hockaday says:

    I just had to teach my Sociology students about Third Place! I don’t necessarily have a third place of my own–unless you count my head 🙂 I think this is an excellent concept, though and I’d love to have eventually get a third place for myself!

    • katyupperman says:

      I bet you’re on such a conference high, Kris! How did your panel with Vickie go? I’d love to hear all about it when you have a few spare minutes!

  13. Sherry Ellis says:

    I was wondering about that “third place” name. It makes sense now that you explained it. I’m not sure I have a third place where I currently live. I had a third and fourth place in Cleveland: The Lakewood Library, and Rocky River Metropark.

  14. Jessica Love (@_JessicaLove) says:

    I love this so much! What a great name for a bookstore!

    My local Panera might be my Third Place. Or the online community, like Alison said. Is it ridiculous to say Twitter is my Third Place? That’s embarrassing.

  15. Bridgid Gallagher (@bridgidlee) says:

    I looove Third Place books. I lived a block from the Ravenna location when I last lived in Seattle. It’s such a great place for getting work done, and I loved scoping out the new books. They have a pub in the basement at that location, too – it’s the perfect place to meet people and chat over a glass of wine or beer. 🙂 I miss that book shop!

    Great post, Katy!

    • katyupperman says:

      Ooh, you’re lucky to have lived so close! I’ll definitely have to check out the pub someday; shopping for books then grabbing a beer sounds awesome!

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