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Ballard author and Jeopardy! champ buys Santoro’s Books

Good news for independent book store lovers: Santoro’s Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N., has been sold to Ballard author and number four all-time Jeopardy! champ Tom Nissley.

Carol Santoro put the bookstore up for sale three months ago, hoping someone would buy it before she had to close when her lease ended on May 31. Nissley and his wife, Laura Silverstein (who owns the popular Glittersweet handbag company) will take over the store in early May and will change the name to Phinney Books. Santoro’s will have a farewell party from 5-7 p.m. on its last day, Saturday, May 3. Phinney Books will open in early June, and also will sell Glittersweet bags and custom book-themed paper goods.

“I couldn’t have hoped for a better buyer or a better outcome for the bookstore,” Santoro said in a press release. “After nine years owning Santoro’s Books and 29 years in the bookselling business, it’s time for me to make a change. I feel completely confident that Tom will take the bookstore in an interesting new direction. He’s extremely knowledgeable and well-connected in the bookselling world – it’s a perfect fit.”

Nissley was an eight-time winner on Jeopardy in 2010 and runner-up in the Tournament of Champions in 2011. He’s back on the show this week as part of the “Battle of the Decades.” Since winning Jeopardy, he quit his job as a book editor at Amazon and is a full-time writer. His newest book is “A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year.”

“We’re living in a digital age, but it’s become clear in the past couple of years that many readers still want to read physical books and want to buy them at local, independent bookstores, which are thriving in Seattle,” Nissley said in the press release. “After recommending books online for 10 years, and then in the pages of my own book, I’m looking forward to putting good books directly in readers’ hands for a change. And I’m excited to be doing so just eight blocks from my house, at a store that Carol has built into a neighborhood institution.”

Carol Santoro is keeping the Santoro’s Books name for her wholesale business that provides books to schools and libraries. That business offers discounts and free shipping within the greater Seattle area. She can still be reached through her current email, [email protected].