Read all about it: Bookshops busier than pre-lockdown

Norwich bookshop owners

Norwich bookshops on their bounce back in 2022 - Credit: Archant

The city's independent bookshops aren't just alive and kicking - they're thriving.

That's according to the owners of businesses which took a kicking in lockdown, with many thinking their companies wouldn't make it through 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.

Dan Fridd and Leanne Fridd, owners of Bookbugs and Dragon Tails.

Dan Fridd and Leanne Fridd, owners of Bookbugs and Dragon Tails. - Credit: Archant

Mr Fridd said: "There's a common misconception that people don't buy books any more. It's just not the case.

"There was a dip when e-books first came in but the book industry met those challenges head-on and is thriving."

A new independent book shop has opened in Norwich. BookBugs and Dragon Tales specialises in children

Bookbugs and Dragon Tales specialises in children's books but also caters for teenagers and adults. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The Timberhill-based shop also offers a range of events including craft workshops, drama classes and creative writing classes - as well as offering an in-house coffee shop.

He added: "It's important to diversify and offer something different. 

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"The range, the recommendations and conversations that you can have in a bookshop is unlike anything else - anywhere.

A new independent book shop has opened in Norwich. BookBugs and Dragon Tales specialises in children

There is also a coffee shop at Bookbugs and Dragon Tales - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"It's not just about picking something up and leaving. It's an experience."

Phillipa Clement, owner of Tombland Bookshop, has operated in Norwich for more than 30 years and said the diverse range of competition pulls the whole sector up a notch.

Phillipa Clements and Ian Gallagher, owners of Tombland Bookshop.

Phillipa Clements and Ian Gallagher, owners of Tombland Bookshop. - Credit: Phillipa Clements

She said: "We are so fortunate with 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 selection and a population that likes buying them too."

Ms Clement believes that following the pandemic people are increasingly interested in shopping locally.

She said: "The younger generation are increasingly buying second-hand and are finding it more important to shop locally and understand the importance of it.

"People realised during the pandemic how important the local community is." 

David Crothers, team leader for The Amnesty Bookshop in St Benedicts Street, added that demand is actually even higher than before the first lockdown.

David Crothers, team leader for The Amnesty Bookshop and volunteer Anne Gooding.

David Crothers, team leader for The Amnesty Bookshop and volunteer Anne Gooding. - Credit: David Crothers

He said: "People have had time to have a clear out of their books and have donated them - so they're of a much higher standard.

"People in Norwich are lucky to never be far from a bookshop."

Which famous writers are from Norwich?

Norwich is renowned for its writers. 

Although not born in Norwich, Margaret Atwood lives in the area when she is in the UK. 

Ms Atwood wrote best-selling book 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 best-selling books, including his popular fantasy series Dark Materials which features a number of references to East Anglia. 

Atonement author Ian McEwan studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia when he was a student.

Mr McEwan has since written a number of best-sellers during a prestigious and lengthy career. 

Julian of Norwich was the first woman known to have published a book in the English language during the 14th century. Her book, Revelations of Divine Love, is a text of mystical devotions.