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Tales from the Bookseller #5

2024, the year I will not be popping up here, there and everywhere. At least not in the sense of a 3 month pop-up. Lesson learned and all that. Whilst I don’t regret the 2 attempts which I had at doing a lengthy pop-up, it did leave me spread a bit thin and trying to do too many things at the same time. This year is all about focusing on my shop. My baby.

My baby will be four years old in a couple of months. My launch party was on 28th February 2020 and my first day open was the 3rd March. Whilst there will not be a big ol’ party to celebrate, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be marking the occasion in some way. Because let’s face it, it’s something to celebrate.

Four years since I realised my long standing dream. Four years since Ipswich had its first indie bookshop in many years. Four years of changes to the high street, and to our lives. Four years of trying to carve out a niche for Dial Lane Books.

On that last point, I think I’ve succeeded. And the belief that I have in that is unequivocal. Not in a cocky way, but in a way that I’m almost forced to accept and admit.

Who knows what is round the corner, and who knows ‘what next?’ for Ye Olde Shoppe. But one thing goes without saying, and that is that I will keep doing what I do with a love and passion that is effortless. This is not my job; this is my passion. And as demanding and as stressful and scary as it gets, I simply cannot imagine doing anything else.

I never actively strived to be different and do things in my own random and peculiar way, that all (unfortunately) just came naturally. My shop, and the way I do things is simply an honest, hand on heart, extension of who I am and of my personality. And that is something that the longer I’m doing this, the more I realise, is what makes an indie bookshop so special. Yes there are books. And yes there is a shop, but the thing that sets us all apart is the ‘indie’. The ‘independent’. The chance to throw caution to the wind and do it our way. And THAT is what it is all about.

For me, my customers literally mean the world to me and I will go to the nth degree to keep them happy and to accommodate them. And to spoil them. They look after me, so why the hell would I not look after them. It really is a symbiotic relationship.

Yep, 2024 is where I rein in the bright ideas and the ‘ooh, I know what I’m going to do’ moments, and just focus on what is really important. My shop. My hometown. My customers. My core values.

Join us, won’t you...

Andrew Marsh

The Dial Lane booksellers provide books for our audiences at SBL events.

More about the Ipswich shop here:


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