Meet Charlie Hunts, owner and bookseller at Charlie’s Queer Books in Fremont. As one of the few queer-focused bookstores in the country, Charlie’s Queer Books provides a vital space for the LGBTQ+ community and book lovers of all kinds. Since opening in November 2023, Charlie’s has become a thriving hub of connection and celebration, hosting author events, workshops, drag shows, and more. The store’s warm atmosphere and commitment to community make it a special place where everyone can find belonging and discover new stories. With its wide book selection and fun bear mascot, Charlie’s is a must-visit for anyone looking for a bookstore that truly cares about representation and inclusivity.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Tell us about Charlie’s Queer Books:

Charlie’s Queer Books is one of the only queer bookstores on the West Coast, one of less than 10 in the country, and we sell books that are written by queer people and or have queer people at the center of their stories.

We sell all the genres that you would expect to see in any general bookstore, from cooking, activities, fiction, science fiction, horror – and we just sell them by queer people.

We’ve been open since November 2023 – we opened right before the holiday season, and this is our very first Pride Month!


How did you choose to open your bookstore in the Fremont neighborhood? 

We loved Fremont because it felt like a place that queer people were naturally gathering. We were a pop-up before we were a brick and mortar, and did pop-ups in different neighborhoods to test the vibe and the reception to us. 

Some neighborhoods were better than others, and we also wanted to make sure that we were on the north-ish end so that Capitol Hill can have its thing and because Seattle is such a spread out city ,we wanted to be somewhere else. Fremont just felt like a good fit – it’s a very hippie neighborhood. It’s full of people who live here, but also tourists and it is a central place where people from all over Seattle can get to.


What’s been the community reception to Seattle’s first queer bookstore? 

It’s been great. We’ve been able to grow very quickly in just nine months or so. We’ve been able to host author events, community events, workshops, fairs, anything – you name it. In June, we had some kind of event or activity almost every day of the week.

We’ve had a lot of people come through who are tourists and people who live here in Seattle expressing gratitude for a place like this. There’s not a lot of third spaces in Seattle, especially for queer people. You don’t always want to go to a bar, or you’re not 21, or you want somewhere to go during the day. Third places can be great for that, and I hope that this bookstore serves as one for the queer community.


Bookstores have a history of being places for the queer community to find each other and to find belonging. Can you share a little bit about how Charlie’s Queer Books builds on a little bit of the history of bookstores as places for community to gather?

There were several queer bookstores in Seattle about 20 years ago, so we’re the first in about 20 years. I think bookstores are so critical for marginalized communities – and in this case the queer community – because we don’t necessarily get to see ourselves, imagine different realities for ourselves, different ways of being, or getting affirmed in the way we are or how we’re living.

Books can serve as ways of imagining ourselves. We get a lot of customers who are exploring their identity, and who are looking to see themselves represented on the page. Bookstores serve as ways to filter, curate, and match readers with the book that they want to see themselves in or learn about others through. 

This bookstore isn’t just for queer people, it’s for anyone who just likes to read. It’s a way of understanding each other. Bookstores provide a public service in the same way that library systems do.

What’s something that you’re proud of as a small business owner?

We got to hold our first Queer Book Fair this June during Pride Month. I’m super proud of that event because we put it together quickly and we were able to find amazing vendors from independent authors, zine makers – even a cookie decorator who makes intricate book covers! We were able to provide music and fun and tap into something from our childhoods like the Scholastic Book Fair, but in a way where you were surrounded by community.


Why do you think it’s important for people to #SpendLikeItMatters? 

It’’s critical to spend like it matters so that we become more mindful of how our money impacts the place that we live and the communities around us. Spending like it matters means being mindful with my money and making conscious choices about the impact that I want to make in my community.


What book are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading a book called Four Squares by Bobby Finger. It’s a fabulous literary fiction book that just came out. It’s very sweet. It’s very tender. It touches a little bit on Tales in the City, if you remember that series, and it’s a great summer read.


Any recommendations for first-time visitors? What should somebody expect when they come in? 

First-time visitors should expect a lot of pink, very bright open spaces, and very friendly employees. We want to make sure that you’re finding what you’re looking for, and you don’t have to be shy. Let’s just have some fun with books.

What can you tell us about the bear who is on the t-shirt and in the mural? 

Oh, the bear. I start to look more like him every day [laughs]. The bear is just a fun way to express the Northwest in a playful way. The store has a Palm Springs vibe, so we incorporated the bear so it didn’t feel too far away from where we are – but we gave him a Hawaiian shirt. 

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