17:00 19 January 2022
The city’s independent bookstores aren’t just vibrant and vibrant, they’re thriving.
That’s according to business owners who have taken a beating from the lockdown, with many believing their businesses won’t survive the pandemic.
Dan Fridd, 47, and Leanne Fridd, 42, own Bookbugs and Dragon Tales in the city and believe the industry has responded well to the rise of online books.
Mr Fridd said: “There’s a common misconception that people don’t buy books anymore. That’s just not the case.
“There was a downturn when e-books first arrived, but the book industry has met these challenges head-on and is thriving.”
The Timberhill-based boutique also offers a range of events, including craft workshops, acting classes and creative writing classes, as well as an on-site cafe.
He added: “It’s important to branch out and offer something different.
“The range, recommendations and conversations you can have at a bookstore are unlike anything else – anywhere.
“It’s not just about taking something and going. It’s an experience.”
Phillipa Clement, owner of Tombland Bookshop, has been operating in Norwich for over 30 years and said the diversity of competition takes the whole industry up a notch.
She said: “We’re so lucky to have the choice of second-hand bookshops in Norwich and we’re all slightly different in what we do.
“The city is lucky to have such a choice and a population that likes to buy them too.”
Ms Clement thinks that in the wake of the pandemic, people are increasingly interested in buying local.
She said: “The younger generation are buying second-hand more and more and finding it more important to buy locally and understand the importance of that.
“People have realized during the pandemic how important the local community is.”
David Crothers, team leader at the Amnesty bookshop in St Benedicts Street, added that demand is actually even higher than before the first lockdown.
He said: “People have had time to get rid of their books and have donated them – so they’re on a much higher level.
“The people of Norwich are lucky to never be far from a bookstore.”
Which famous writers are from Norwich?
Norwich is renowned for its writers.
Although she was not born in Norwich, Margaret Atwood lives in the area when she is in the UK.
Mrs Atwood wrote the bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale and has previously spoken about her love for The Book Hive when she visits the city.
Sir Phillip Pullman, 75, was born in Norwich and has written several bestselling books, including his popular Dark Materials fantasy series which contains a number of East Anglia references.
Atonement author Ian McEwan studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia as a student.
Mr. McEwan has since written several bestsellers over a long and prestigious career.
Julian of Norwich was the first known woman to publish a book in English in the 14th century. Her book, Revelations of Divine Love, is a text of mystical devotions.