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Queen Anne Book Company: Rename it Phoenix Books?

May 17, 2013

Today we have a special spotlight on a new(ish) indie bookstore, Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle, Washington. Check out our behind-the-scenes look at this newly reopened community bookstore, and if you’d like to read more of our Spotlight on Indie Bookstore posts, you can find them here.

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Last summer I wrote about Seattle’s Queen Anne Books, which just a few months prior had been purchased from its longtime owner, Patti McCall. Our book community was shocked in the fall when the new owner announced the sudden closing of the store just before the holidays. There were a few hopeful moments when we thought someone might swoop in to save the day, but ultimately the store closed its doors.

Cue sadness, dismay, and a neighborhood that mourned its loss. Then, just a few months ago, three intrepid souls came through to revive the dead! Former buyer for Eagle Harbor Book Co., Janis Segress and couple Judy and Krijn de Jonge have created a neighborhood coalition to bring the store back to life.

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(Janis and Judy)

The first weekend of March was their grand opening and the outpouring of support was heartening and overwhelming. Here’s a table just for beautiful bouquets received for the opening (one was from Random House!).

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Local authors such as Sherman Alexie, Maria Semple, Jonathan Evison and so many more (including RH’s Jim Lynch and Daniel Marks) volunteered in droves in order to keep a constant flow of events over three days as customers came in to check out the new space.

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Although it’s the same location and a slightly different name, they have new racks (in another display of Northwest bookselling solidarity, University Books donated several warehoused racks to the store), new lighting and a slightly different feel. But experienced buyer Janis and longtime kid’s buyer Tegan Tigani (also a member of our book blogger panel) will help keep the same neighborhood, highly-curated feel that inspires such a dedicated fan base.

I took a lot of pictures when I stopped in: most of their publisher shipments had not arrived yet so it kind of looked like the Random House store. 🙂

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My daughter, Ruby, had trouble finding a book I would allow her to buy (in other words, one that wasn’t Random House) but she did love the glasses Tegan gave her that made everything look like rainbows.

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In an economy filled with bad portents for the fate of the brick-and-mortar retailer, it’s inspiring to see a community come together to support such a precious resource. When I had lunch with Tegan on Queen Anne hill while the store was closed and had no prospects, I could not believe the number of people who waved to her or stopped to talk and ask about the store. This is a major city, not the Main Street of a small town! Or is it?

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Do you have a special indie bookstore in your neighborhood? We’d love to hear more about your favorites!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mallory Loehr permalink
    May 17, 2013 8:39 am

    What a fabulous story! (And I love your pictures, too!)

  2. May 17, 2013 8:46 am

    Brava to the book store revivers!
    Brava to the authors & others in the book community for helping out.

    A favorite local bookstore is in the seaport of Apalachicola FL – Downtown Books & Purl. In a small space, they do a lot for regional stories & work with the tiny downtown library to offer a fabulous fall book festival.

  3. May 17, 2013 6:18 pm

    What a wonderful community response, very exciting! I love Kona Stories here on the Big Island of HI, but as we’re moving to Seattle this summer, I’ll certainly be stopping in to the Queen Anne Book Company!

  4. Cheryl McKeon permalink
    May 18, 2013 9:52 am

    Nice report, Deanna! It is so typical of Seattle book people that everyone came together to revive QA (and Ruby looks smashing in those glasses.)

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