The closure of Queen Anne Books in October 2012 left a literary void in the neighborhood.

But more than that, its demise also meant the loss of a community gathering spot.

Both Janis Segress and Judy de Jonge wanted to do something about it.

And several months after the sudden shuttering of its predecessor, Queen Anne Book Company opened its doors, with Segress and de Jonge (and her husband, Krijn) at the helm.   

“We wanted to provide a bookstore that instantly felt like community to anybody walking through the door, that felt like home,” said Segress, who previously worked as head buyer at Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island.

And much like a good page-turner, time has passed quickly since, with March marking five years in business for the shop at 1811 Queen Anne Ave. N.

The original vision started with building on the quarter-century legacy of the store that came before it.

“They had literally built a treasure of a small independent bookstore,” Segress said.

While some may wonder how small bookstores fare in the current retail climate — against the likes of Amazon and other online behemoths — Segress said it has “crystallized and distilled” what indies do best.

“That is to offer a personal relationship with every customer that comes through that door, and to offer our combined expertise as a professional bookselling family, and match up needs and wants and desires,” she said.

People have also become increasingly aware of keeping those stores alive, and the role they play in the communities.

“The way that we survive is by our neighborhood,” Judy de Jonge said. “And the word of mouth from one customer to another customer saying, ‘You need to come to this store,’”

And while customers have been committed to the store, Segress said the feeling is mutual.

“We feel very vested in the Queen Anne community and very vested in wanting to help our community businesses stay alive, to just keep this downtown core alive,” she said. “And the three of us feel very passionate that a literary meeting spot is one of the most instrumental for that purpose.”

And with a new five-year lease in hand, the owners are excited for what the future holds.

“We just want to keep on doing what we do best, and that’s taking care of the people that walk in the door, or the people that call on the phone, or the people that shoot us an email,” de Jonge said.

For more information on Queen Anne Book Company, visit To comment on this story, write to