Chris Rushby: Five reasons why it's great to be an independent bookseller


It's Independent Bookshop Week, so there is no better time to embrace your local independent bookseller - and there are at least five good reasons why you should, says Chris Rushby

Between 24th June and 1st July 2017 it’s Independent Bookshop Week, an annual celebration of those wonderful and idiosyncratic booksellers not part of any chain, conglomerate, or online giant.

Here are five reasons why the Jarrold book department is delighted to be an independent bookseller:

  1. Books – and particularly physical books – are wonderful and important things. Some people are happy selling baked beans (and baked beans can be wonderful things too) but everyone in the Jarrold book department is here because we love books and book-selling and we all specialise in one part of the range or another.
  2. Bookshops are fantastic places. You can buy books online (and we sell books online ourselves) but there’s no substitute for being able to pick up, touch, browse – even smell – that book you’re thinking of investing in. And it’s not only the books you get to see, but sometimes their authors too : we love holding author events here in the store, bringing writers and readers together in a warm and sociable way. Keep an eye out for upcoming events here 
  3. The Jarrold heritage is incredible: printing, publishing and bookselling has been in the company’s DNA since it began nearly 250 years ago. We’re proud to be selling books for such a brilliant brand.
  4. We only stock the books we like. Actually, that’s not quite true: we certainly do stock books we love and are passionate about, but the most important thing is to try to carry the range we hope our customers want and will be delighted by. There’s no one in some faraway head office deciding what the range will be – we do it all ourselves. And that means we can support local authors and publishing in a way the national chains simply can’t do.
  5. We get to meet customers, enthuse them about books – and be enthused by them. It’s an extension of the ‘no faraway head office’ thing. We spend a lot of time guiding customers to the books they want and, we hope, inspiring them – but it’s a two-way street: if a customer tells us about a brilliant book today that we’d never heard of it can be in stock tomorrow.  

We love that there are so many fine local writers. Here are five novels by Norwich-based authors, all of them brilliant in their different ways:  


Elizabeth Is Missing

Emma Healey


A tremendous first novel, sensitive, funny and sad, which won literary prizes and sold massively.




The Essex Serpent

Sarah Perry


As someone said, what might have happened if Dickens and Bram Stoker had collaborated on a novel, a dark, rich and glorious read.

Instore only


The Last Pilot

Benjamin Johncock


An English author writing in a massively authentic hard-bitten American voice about astronauts and the NASA space programme. 

Instore only


Sacred Country

Rose Tremain


A novel about transgender issues written before most people were talking about them by one of this country’s finest authors. One of our top 100 novels of all time, but that’s another story…  

See my top 100 novels of all time here 

Instore only


Time To Win

Harry Brett


First in a series of Yarmouth-set crime novels by Harry, AKA Henry Sutton of the UEA’s creative writing team.

Instore only


Special offer 

As part of Independent Bookshop Week Jarrold will be offering Buy One Get One Half Price on all hardback and paperback adult fiction and children's picturebooks. Plus you can get triple loyalty card points from Saturday 24th June to Saturday 1st July.

Click here for more information

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