Ipswich shop owner 'chuffed' to be up for independent bookstore of the year

Andrew Marsh opened Dial Lane Books in Ipswich in March 2020

Andrew Marsh opened Dial Lane Books in Ipswich in March 2020 - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A Ipswich bookstore that has been open for less than two years is in the running to be crowned independent retailer of the year.

Dial Lane Books, which was opened by Andrew Marsh in March 2020, has been included in the shortlist for the 2022 British Book Awards.

In the Independent Bookshop of the Year category for the East of England region, it will be up against stores in Norwich, Maldon, Huntingdon and Margate.

The shops will compete to win their area first, with the regional winners announced on Wednesday, March 16.

Andrew Marsh, owner of Dial Lane Books, outside his store near Ipswich town centre

Mr Marsh, owner of Dial Lane Books, outside his store near Ipswich town centre - Credit: Jessica Coppins

The successful stores will then compete for the national prize, which will be announced in a ceremony on Monday, May 23.

Mr Marsh revealed Dial Lane Books was suddenly forced into a temporary closure three weeks after opening due to Covid, but was proud of the progress his business had made.

He said: "To say that I’m chuffed about making it through to become one of the regional finalists would be a massive understatement.

"At the heart of every independent bookshop is an independent bookseller, and at the heart of every independent bookseller is passion. And that is what I have in absolute abundance and is what people see, feel and believe in.

The bookstore was forced to close three weeks after opening due to Covid

The bookstore was forced to close three weeks after opening due to Covid - Credit: Jessica Coppins

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"This has been and is my dream - my only dream - and I believe that shines through in everything I do.

"I love Ipswich and It’s a place that felt like home to me as soon as I decamped from London and settled here.

"Whilst not actively setting out to go against the grain in terms of how things are done in the bookselling world, and not constantly looking at how other booksellers run their shops, for nearly two years now I have bypassed the bookseller tick-list or ‘the norm’ in favour of me realising my dream in my own unique way.

"The last two years have been more challenging than I could ever have imagined.

"Even after Covid landed with a bang and I was hit with having to close only 21 days after opening, it has been extremely tough, and both emotionally and physically draining, as I’ve had to adapt every part of my business on practically a monthly basis."