Verbatim: Karen Klein

There are three things most people dream of doing, says Karen Klein of Twice Loved Books, 353 W. Bell St. She has enjoyed the adventure of doing one of them.

There are three things most people dream of doing, says Karen Klein of Twice Loved Books, 353 W. Bell St. She has enjoyed the adventure of doing one of them.


Before I moved to  Sequim, I had lived in Las Vegas so here I was in the glitz and glamor but I was in a very staid profession — banking. I had been in banking for 25 years. I was tired of mergers and acquisitions because I was always working on the acquisition team, always with that level of concern — I should say panic — that every day you get up and you think, ‘OK, will it be me today that doesn’t have a job next?’

I started thinking, ‘What would I love to do?’ I talked to my mom and she said, ‘You’ve always loved books.’ I thought, ‘That’s true!’

I’d fallen in love with Sequim in the 1970s. I came to visit again and fell in love again with the area.

On that last trip, I went to mail a postcard and happened to see a little bookstore that was in the strip mall.

I walked in and the guy who was there said, ‘Whaddyawant?’

I said, ‘Uh, I came to buy a book.’

The guy immediately said, ‘You wanna buy a bookstore?’

And I thought: Buy a bookstore? Buy a bookstore? ‘No, I just came in to buy a book.’

When I went back to Las Vegas, I had that stuck in the back of my mind: ‘You wanna buy a bookstore?’

It was a teeny tiny bookstore, two rooms with just a few books. The guy who owned it had been a merchant marine. Wherever he went he bought books and just shipped them back to his wife. They’d set up a little storefront in the strip mall.

I began doing research about the market and a Sequim friend went back in to the little bookstore’s other books — financial books —  to see whether it was a lucrative kind of thing. At the time there were five used bookstores in Sequim and that indicated the demographics were good. There were lots of retirees who love to read.

So I set out my business plan and having no experience in owning my own business, I said, ‘Yeah, maybe I could run a bookstore.’

I’ve discovered over the years that there are three dreams people have: own their own bookstore, own their own restaurant or own a bed and breakfast. They just seem like really neat things. Nobody every realizes the work that goes into them.

I didn’t have a clue what to name my store. My mom, again, said, ‘Of course it would be “Twice Loved Books.”’ So we always have to listen to our mothers.

I knew one thing I could do to set my business apart was give service. I remember names. I make an effort to get to know a customer as a person. There are times when people come in and talk and share things with me — I’m like a bartender. They trust me enough to know that I’m not going to go running out to tell. That’s part of the pleasure of being in a small business in a small town.

Here you are in Sequim and here are your neighbors: Right next door to each other there may be a retired rocket scientist living next door to a retired plumber living next door to a retired professor, and we have this wonderful range of incredible people who live here. And I get to meet all of them!

So I’ve now been doing this 17 years. I never expected to be doing it for so long and I’m having so much fun! I get to go to work among books and talk to people every day. What more could anybody want?


Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at