A city bookseller has spoken about why the Fine City is unique for its range of indie shops - but he fears for their future amid spiralling costs.

Iain Dempster has been working part-time at the City Bookshop in Davey Place for seven years having previously run his own book store called Bookends in Downham Market and King's Lynn until 2009.

The 72-year-old believes Norwich's total of seven independent bookshops and stalls is unusually large for a city of its size.

But, the cost of living crisis and the prominence of online sales and tablets has raised questions over the future of such stores.

City Bookshop in Davey Place - Credit: Ben Hardy

Mr Dempster, who lives at the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in St Stephen's Road, said: "If you run a bookshop, particularly a second-hand shop, you are dealing with very fine margins.

"I had to take £15,000 before I even started with the shop in King's Lynn for the overheads. There is a lot of stress involved.

"I just hope the people of Norwich realise what they have got in this city with an unusually high number of independent bookshops.

"I am amazed they are still going."

The book boffin said the City Bookshop still gets plenty of university and school students browsing the shelves for Wordsworth Editions classics and titles such as George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Remainder books, which a publisher has an excess amount of and sells off to retailers or discount distributors, also prove popular - more so than second-hand copies.

Book seller Iain Dempster outside the City Bookshop in Norwich - Credit: Ben Hardy

Mr Dempster continued: "We do get collectors coming in but I do not think people collect books to the extent they used to.

"People do not realise the value of some of these books can go up as well as down.

"Old children's books from 10 to 12 years ago can be popular and people collect old first editions of the Famous Five series. People are still interested in the Billy Bunter books as well."

Five on a Treasure Island - the first of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, published in 1942 - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

When he is not selling books, Mr Dempster can be seen training for marathons.

The retired teacher has run the Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Manchester marathons this year, raising more than £2,500 for cancer charities in the process.

QOSHE - Use it or lose it plea for city independent shops fighting on - Ben Hardy
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Use it or lose it plea for city independent shops fighting on

5 1 5
07.11.2022

A city bookseller has spoken about why the Fine City is unique for its range of indie shops - but he fears for their future amid spiralling costs.

Iain Dempster has been working part-time at the City Bookshop in Davey Place for seven years having previously run his own book store called Bookends in Downham Market and King's Lynn until 2009.

The 72-year-old believes Norwich's total of seven independent bookshops and stalls is unusually large for a city of its size.

But, the cost of living crisis and the prominence of online sales and tablets has raised........

© Norwich Evening News


Get it on Google Play