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First look: Inside Ipswich’s brand new independent book shop

PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:21 04 March 2020

A new independent book shop has opened in Ipswich, Dial Lane Books  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

A new independent book shop has opened in Ipswich, Dial Lane Books Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

The opening of Dial Lane Books brings a real boost to the town’s high street.

A new independent book shop has opened in Ipswich, Dial Lane Books  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDA new independent book shop has opened in Ipswich, Dial Lane Books Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

After months of anticipation, Dial Lane Books has opened its doors to customers. The cosy and characterful shop - which is now Ipswich's only independent bookshop - officially had its ribbon cut at a launch party on Friday, February 28, which saw a large crowd gather to celebrate the opening.

"You just couldn't move for people on Friday night," said shop owner Andrew Marsh. "We had about 100 people in the shop, in total. I wasn't really too sure what I was going to say in my speech, but when I saw the crowd of people gathered around as the Mayor cut the ribbon then suddenly, all the words just came out. It's the culmination of a life-long dream and it's really just gone fantastically well."

Following on from the launch party, Dial Lane Books had its first full day of trading on Tuesday, March 3, welcoming a steady stream of customers into the shop over the course of the day. There's something for readers of all ages and interests on the shelves, with sections devoted to art and photography, travel guides, cookery, politics and fiction. At the back of the shop is a large children's section, which features a wide selection of picture books, children's fiction and young adult literature. Browsing the shelves, there are plenty of eye-catching titles, and the selection is remarkably varied.

"We decided to go for something a bit different with the books that we've stocked, and we've chosen titles that you might not see in other chain bookstores," Andrew explains. "If customers are looking for something specific, then we can order books in, and most books can be ordered with next day delivery. Even most of the bigger bookstores can't guarantee that!"

A new independent book shop has opened in Ipswich, Dial Lane Books  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDA new independent book shop has opened in Ipswich, Dial Lane Books Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The bookstore already has a packed agenda of bookish events lined up. On Thursday, March 5 - which also happens to be World Book Day - children's author Sophie Green will be appearing at the shop to celebrate the launch of the third book in her Ghostcatcher series. Also in March, author Beryl P Brown will be reading an extract from her new wartime novel, May's Boys. More book signings, poetry readings and other events are set to follow, so customers are encouraged to keep an eye on the Dial Lane Books social media pages for updates on what's to come.

"There's a lot of work that's gone into the shop, not just from myself but from local artists, designers, and friends and family who have supported me along the way," says Andrew. Walking into Dial Lane Books, it's clear that there's a strong artistic influence in the shop, from the black and white mural that adorns the back room, to the pretty stained-glass window that sits above the shop door.

The shop itself will be open from Tuesdays through to Saturday, from 9.30am to 4.30pm. It will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

You can find Dial Lane Books at 8 Dial Lane, Ipswich, IP1 1DL.

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