New Port Townsend book shop to celebrate grand opening Saturday

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — A small bookshop that has changed ownership is reopening with a shot of optimism for its future success despite competition from Amazon and big-box bookstores.

“People appreciate a well-curated bookstore,” said Anna Quinn, who with her husband, Peter Quinn, is now operating Imprint Books in a merger with the Writers’ Worshoppe, which has been open for five years.

The new name combines both stores as Writers’ Workshoppe Imprint Books at 820 Water St.

Writers’ Workshoppe opened five years ago as a store with workshops for writers, while Imprint Books has been in business for 40 years.

“The best of both are now combined, literally and figuratively,” Anna Quinn said.

“People come in here and know this really is the cream of the crop of what’s available.

“The selection is handcrafted and all wonderful.”

The store has about 5,000 titles, providing a large selection in a small space.

On March 9, their first day in the new location, Quinn said the store had most of the specific titles that people requested and that sales were good for a Sunday.

A grand-opening celebration will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Area authors will speak about the importance of small bookstores and their role in the community.

Expected to appear are Jonathan Evison, Judith Kitchen, Stan Rubin, Erica Bauermeister, Bill Ransom, Adrianne Harun, Mike O’Conner, Sheila Bender and Quinn herself.

The Writers’ Workshoppe closed its location at 234 Taylor St. in late February, taking two weeks to renovate the new space and move the books around the block.

Quinn asked for community support and was overwhelmed by the response, as 25 people showed up at 10 a.m. on a Sunday.

“I’ve never lived in any place where community support of a business was this strong,” she said.

“It makes me very hopeful we will survive.”

Good customer service and personal treatment are especially important for a small bookstore, Quinn said.

“Without bookstores, we wouldn’t be able to have author readings and drink wine and hang out and gush on and on about our love of literature,” she said.

“If you are a regular, the clerks learn your name, and that feels good.

“You can look through the pages of a book before you buy it, and you can look through them from the comfort of a nice soft chair,” she added.

Quinn said book readers “love the kinesthetic feel of a book. They like to settle in a chair and have something to hold onto without the glare of a screen.”

“And what about the smell?” she said. “You can’t get that new bookstore smell online.

“Small bookstores are uniquely magical places,” she added.

Peter Quinn, a published poet, also is the executive director of Team Jefferson, CEO of Quimper Mercantile and was an unsuccessful candidate for Port of Port Townsend commissioner in 2013.

The store is directly across the street from William James Bookseller at 829 Water St., which has a wide selection of used books, creating a literary vortex where customers can take their time reading books and find a variety of titles.

Writers’ Workshoppe Imprint Books is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information, phone 360-379-2617.


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or

Last modified: March 13. 2014 7:52PM
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