Janette Ray established Janette Ray Rare and Out of Print Books in 1995 with a specific focus on architecture, design, photography and landscape subjects to exploit her personal expertise in these areas. The business initially operated from private premises but as it flourished it soon outgrew these.
In 2000 Janette Ray purchased 8 Bootham York which is a medieval timber framed building leaning up against the walls of St Mary's Abbey and just minutes from York Minster. At the time of purchase the building was internally ruinous with all the original features masked by modern plaster boarded walls. Renovation of the building revealed original fireplaces and wooden beams and a superb space. Members of the York Artworkers Association were key in undertaking the work particularly Chris Topp, iron worker, who supplied the staircase hand rail and Peter Baker, specialist plasterer who undertook the plastering. The work of all the local craftsmen has contributed to the creation of a lovely shop for selling books on design subjects.