Solid State Books’ Second Act

The DC indie opens a new location in Northwest.

Solid State Books’ Second Act

The embarrassment of riches that is Washington’s independent-bookstore scene got even more embarrassing recently, but in a really good way: Solid State Books opened a new outpost on 14th Street in Northwest DC.

“My business partner, Scott Abel, and I both lived in that neighborhood for many years, so we witnessed its slow (and then dramatic) transformation over the past two decades,” says Solid State’s co-owner and buyer Jake Cumsky-Whitlock. “We knew the space well [and]…have caught many a show next door at the Black Cat. Opening on 14th Street feels like a homecoming in all the best ways.”

Although a smaller space, the new shop — which came to fruition remarkably quickly and has been up and running for a few months — shares much in common with Solid State’s flagship store in Northeast’s H Street Corridor, which is by design.

“We certainly strive to create a throughline between the two,” says Cumsky-Whitlock. “Both stores have the same color scheme, we used the same shade of wood for the shelves, and the inventory mix should feel broadly similar.”  

While each shop has the flexibility to respond to its particular customers’ needs by tweaking its offerings accordingly, both are stocked with a wide mix of bestsellers and classics to satisfy area readers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for books and indie booksellers.

“DC is such a great book town!” says Cumsky-Whitlock. “Folks here care deeply about supporting local institutions, and they take pride in repping the District whenever possible. I firmly believe that every community in this country deserves, and can support, an independent bookstore, but I know for a fact that that is true in DC.”

Holly Smith is editor-in-chief of the Independent.

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