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Read all about it! 9 amazing independent bookshops

In honour of National Bookshop Day 2021 (9 Oct) we’re highlighting some of our favourite independent bookstores in Suffolk & Cambs. Go forth and browse this Autumn!

We all know it’s been a tough 18 months (thanks, Covid) but our local bookstores adapted brilliantly, from click and buy options to virtual author events. Now it’s time to get back to browsing and supporting our amazing bookstores IRL, whether its a story-telling kids’ event or a literary festival. Welcome to a new chapter in bookselling… 

Aldeburgh Bookshop, Aldeburgh

A dream of a local bookshop with great stock, thoughtful window displays, choice local reads and a popular children’s department. Also sells stationery, wrapping paper, classic board games, runs a book club and even an annual literary festival. What an all-rounder!

The Haunted Bookshop, Cambridge

Tucked away in St Edward’s Passage, this is probably the most Instagrammable bookshop in the county. Packed full of second-hand titles, every nook and cranny is filled with Penguin classics, poetry, fiction and non-fiction, but its speciality is children’s books – ideal for those who can’t resist an Enid Blyton tale or Ladybird classic. 

Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge

Running alongside the well-stocked shelves are a book group, which meets on the last Monday of the month (check the website for the current title to be discussed) and author events – past guests have included Alexander McCall Smith, Kate Mosse and James Runcie. 

The Halesworth Bookshop, Halesworth

From popular fiction to cookery books, it’s easy to lose an hour browsing here. Getting sucked in by the travel and local sections is also a danger. And don’t forget to bring the kids as the children’s section is lovely, with a Where the Wild Things Are-inspired mural and occasional story-telling and craft sessions. Stock up on cards, wrapping paper and stationery while you’re there. 

Harris & Harris Books, Clare

Winner of Best Bookshop in the the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2021, and we’re not surprised you voted for it in droves because this little store is a treasure trove of literary treats. Set on the High Street in Clare, Suffolk’s smallest town, it’s a great place for all ages with plenty of children’s books alongside all the latest must-reads, like Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You. Keep a look out for visiting authors and signings (Annie Garthwaite popped in last month to sign her best-selling new book Cecily). 

Dial Lane Books, Ipswich

Set up last year in the height of the pandemic by book-lover Andrew Marsh, Dial Lane is inspiring. Deals a great line in travel books (it’s a Lonely Planet Guide stockist), plenty of adult fiction that avoids the obvious (you can get some great under-the-radar reads here) and a strong, hand-picked kids’ section. FYI there’s an upstairs room that you can book for events, like a book group. 

Woodbridge Emporium, Woodbridge

Book sales, tote bags, loose-leaf tea, facebook live sessions, author events – Woodbridge Emporium goes the extra mile when it comes to transforming a bookshop into a community hub. Making it their mission to get you to relax with a cuppa and immerse yourself in a page-turner title, even offering a Tea & Book Pairing. Check out the #ReadingWithJules section on the website to discover what owner Jules Button’s recommending – they’re always a winner. 

Topping & Company, Ely

What a great addition to Ely this bookshop is, with well-stocked shelves to browse, a lively book club and year-round events with particular focus on Ely’s autumn literary festival. Current highlights include Michael Morpugo coming to town to celebrate publication of The Carnival of the Animals (21 Oct) and an evening with Mary Beard (9 Nov). 

Heffers, Cambridge

Trading since 1876, Heffers is an institution and way more than just a bookshop; think games, stationery, writing competitions and music – take that Waterstones! We’re pleased to report it recently expanded its secondhand department – with rugs and comfy chairs it’s the perfect place to while away an hour this winter. 

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