Tucked away in Redmond is McDonald’s Book Exchange, a 42-year-old mom-and-pop bookstore originally owned by Doug McDonald and purchased by Anne St. Germain in 1998. After having moved around the Eastside from its original location in Bellevue and through multiple buildings in Redmond — including what was once Redmond’s first library — the bookstore is now nestled next to Victor’s Coffee on Redmond Way.
We caught up with St. Germain to hear about what it’s like to own a small bookstore today, and how she has seen the Eastside change.
To be inspired
Eastside Friends Quaker Meeting
The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan
Currently listening to
Mantra you live by
“Coming together is the beginning, staying together is cooperation, working together is success.” — Nokomis
Best professional advice you’ve received
Mind the details!
Reading and spending time with my grandchildren
Why did you want to own a bookstore? Is doing so a full-time job for you?
Doug McDonald had decided to either sell or close the bookstore. I did not want to see this great resource for books close, so I purchased it. It’s my only job, but it’s made possible for me by the efforts of a superbly excellent staff.
What are some unique elements about McDonald’s Book Exchange?
We have an enormous selection with the lowest prices around. Our inventory consists of books brought in by our customers. Instead of cash, we give our customers store credit for their books. They can use their store credit to pay 60 percent of their purchases (40 percent of the purchase is paid for by the customer). The store credit never expires, with credit being added when books are brought in and credit being subtracted when books are purchased.
How have you seen Redmond change since the bookstore opened? How have your customers changed? Has anything remained the same?
Redmond has changed from a medium-size town with a small-town feel to a large, downtown atmosphere. Small businesses, like our bookstore, are closing every day — their buildings are being demolished to make way for high-rise buildings with retail at street level and apartments/condos above those.
Many of our original customers have moved or passed away. We now see the children and grandchildren of some of the original customers. In fact, one of our current employees used to shop at McDonald’s Book Exchange as a child with her mother.
In what other ways are you involved in the Redmond community beyond the work you do through your bookstore?
I belong to the Nokomis Women’s Club, which is Redmond’s oldest women’s club, formed in 1909. I also have served as a board member of the Eastside Interfaith Social Concerns Coalition for many years. I am involved with various charitable organizations like Hopelink, Sophia Way, and The Landing, including fundraising, food drives, socks drives, and more.